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NEW YORK. – Public Advocate Bill de Blasio today released a comprehensive report analyzing the broad impact of U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in the 2010 election cycle.  The report catalogs that the Court’s decision led to significant secret spending this election cycle and that groups which kept their funders hidden from the public spent more money on negative ads than groups that adhered to pre-Citizens United disclosure rules.

A full copy of the report is available here: http://advocate.nyc.gov/files/12-06-10CitizensUnitedReport.pdf

“The 2010 elections offer the first indication of what the Citizens United decision means for our democracy.  Removing transparency, and the accountability that comes with it, have clearly made it easier for special interests to fund negative campaign ads without repercussion.  This unprecedented anonymous spending threatens voters and investors alike,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s report, Citizens United and the 2010 Midterm Elections, provides a more complete picture of the role Citizens United spending played in this election cycle, including the following key findings:

CITIZENS UNITED LED TO A SIGNIFICANT UPTICK IN SPENDING ON ELECTIONS:

·         Citizens United spending represented 15 percent of total political spending

·         Citizens United spending was responsible for over $85 Million in all U.S. Senate races

CITIZENS UNITED SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASED ANONYMOUS SPENDING:

·         New anonymous spending allowed by Citizens United represented 30 percent of all spending by outside groups.

·         Anonymous donations funded over $40 Million in the 10 most costly U.S. Senate races

CITIZENS UNITED HAS CREATED A MORE NEGATIVE ELECTORAL ENVIRONMENT:

·         Anonymous spending groups created by Citizens United spent 20 percent more on negative advertisements than groups required to disclose

The Public Advocate’s report emphasizes that new anonymous spending in our campaign finance environment has far reaching implications for voters and investors. The report highlights the academic consensus that is growing around the negative impact that corporate political spending has on company bottom lines. Several studies have shown that anonymous spending denies investors the means to evaluate their companies’ spending practices, and the risks they may face on account of those practices.

In Citizens United the Supreme Court held that the First Amendment precludes limiting corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in elections. As a result, corporations may now spend unlimited sums on independent political expenditures.

Additionally, Citizens United , along with the Court’s earlier decision in Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc., 551 U.S. 449 (2007), enabled non-profit corporations to spend unlimited amounts on independent political broadcasts and to accept unlimited political contributions for the purpose of such advertising spending.

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