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With its Jan. 21, 2010, ruling on Citizens United vs. Federal Electronics Commission, the United States Supreme Court overturned a longstanding ban on the use of corporate profits to fund political advocacy – a ban spawned decades earlier by bald, wholesale corruption in politics in this country.
The Court also unequivocally endorsed the value of transparency in elections as the first step to leveling the political playing field for individuals who want to counter corporate spending in elections.
They wrote: “The First Amendment protects political speech; disclosure permits citizens and shareholders to react to the speech of corporate entities in a proper way. This transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages.”
While disclosure of political donations and interactions in this country is far from perfect, it is better than in most other countries.
For more than a decade, the National Institute on Money in State Politics has been revealing the major players in state elections. In our routine investigating of state-level donor activities in all 50 states, we found some astounding facts:
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