Have Super-PACs and Dark Money Stolen our Birthright?

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Will Freedom Survive?

By Mike Scruggs- On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States decided a case, Citizens United versus the Federal Election Commission, which has dramatically changed the relative influence of American voters on government policy for the worse. The average voter is scarcely aware or as yet much concerned that his relative influence and voice have been reduced to a whisper beside giant Political Action Committees (super-PACs) that spend unlimited millions on political and media propaganda campaigns. Moreover, legal arrangements can now hide the identity of donors in what are called “dark money” PACs. This has probably already resulted in laundering foreign or criminal money and influence into U.S. election campaigns. How much Muslim Brotherhood money from Saudi Arabia and Qatar enters our political arena or directly influences our political leaders? How much Sharia Finance influence buys or defeats bills before the North Carolina and South Carolina legislatures? Furthermore, there seems to be little accountability for truth in the PAC advertising I have seen in 2016 Presidential Primaries.

Campaign finance money has always been important to winning political campaigns. Communication is all-important to the persuasion of voters, and unless candidates have a genius for generating free, favorable media exposure, the costs of buying competitive media exposure in print, mail, telephone, television, radio, and internet are tremendous, especially for federal or state executive and legislative offices. Door to door campaigning is quite effective but time and energy generally limit it to a small fraction of voters.

Campaign financing is crucial to both major parties and even more to third parties and third party candidates that do not have high name recognition and issue identity. It is much more important to Republicans, because most of the communication and education media favor liberal and therefore Democratic Party agendas. In addition, the Democrats usually have considerable automatic income and manpower advantages because of their close identity with labor unions. Furthermore, due to a historical consensus that huge donors should not dominate fiscal support for candidates and thereby dominate elections, campaign donations by individuals and organizations have traditionally been limited by ceilings of several thousand dollars. This, however, had the effect of making it even harder for Republicans to compete against liberal media dominance and labor union dues and manpower. This also tended to suppress free speech for those who had the money to influence elections and public opinion, often defensively, but were severely limited by the Federal Election Commission in doing so.

The Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court was at first celebrated as a victory for conservatives, but its supposedly unforeseen consequences now threaten to place overwhelming political power in the hands of giant international corporations, business associations, compliant banks and unaccountable government. Super-PACs had an enormous impact on the 2014 Congressional elections, and that is why The Republican victories were predominantly Republican establishment victories rather than conservative victories.

Whether the public noticed it or not, in 2014, the Republican establishment was campaigning hard and deceptively for more foreign cheap labor, the exact opposite of what their grass-roots conservative constituents wanted. A PAC headed by establishment GOP RINO, Senator John McCain, even spent $1,000,000 trying to defeat NC Third District conservative Republican Congressman Walter Jones. The liberal pro-amnesty GOP establishment is lining up again to try to defeat Jones in 2016. May God forbid!

According to the Institute of Southern Studies in Durham, independent PACs not associated directly with a candidate, but supporting that candidate and attacking their opponents, have spent $270 million so far in the Presidential primaries. More than $87 million spent supporting Bush and $60 million supporting Rubio were spectacular failures. As with the Congressional primaries in 2014, the lion’s share of independent PAC spending has gone to candidates supporting amnesty and increased legal cheap foreign labor.

But in North Carolina state legislative primaries, the $1.4 million independent PAC spending reported to date helped elect 77 percent of their candidates. More than $350,000 was spent by the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce. The NC Chamber spends most heavily on candidates that support amnesty and increased cheap foreign labor. Thus they often oppose conservative candidates.

In the 48th NC Senate District Chuck Edwards received outside PAC support of $47,800, tenth highest in the state. Lisa Baldwin received none. Only $13,000 of this PAC support shows up on his Disclosure Report to the NC Board of Elections (NCBE) as of his March 7 filing. $3,500 of it comes from five typically pro-amnesty, pro-cheap foreign labor PACs. This includes the four PACs generally associated with the heaviest amnesty and cheap-labor support—The North Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the NC Farm Bureau, The Home Builders, and the Restaurant and Lodging PAC. But the $1,000 from the Restaurant and Lodging PAC was not surprising or significant, since Edwards is a McDonald’s owner and would probably receive their support whatever his position on immigration issues. These four organizations actually wrote key parts of NCHB 786 in 2013, which called for driver permits to be given to illegal immigrant workers and for weakening North Carolina’s E-Verify system to prevent hiring of illegal immigrant workers. The driver license provision, however, was struck from the 2013 bill because of public protest. In 2015, they also presumably wrote a substantial part of NCHB 328, which had the same provision giving driver permits to illegal immigrants. This would have passed the General

Assembly, but it was not given a final vote because of growing public outrage on illegal immigration. According to the NCBE, Edwards’ campaign received just over $26,900 from individuals. He also financed campaign expenditures with money borrowed from himself, a very common practice. As of March 7, his campaign had spent just over $92,000. As yet unreported are the four high quality mail brochures printed and mailed by the NC Chamber, costing perhaps tens of thousands more. Note that $34,800 in PAC support had not yet been reported as of March 7.

Edwards won his campaign handily with 56 percent of the vote against 34 percent for Lisa Baldwin and 10 percent for Dennis Justice. As of March 7, Edwards’ NCBE Report showed spending of over $5.52 per vote, not counting the expensive looking mail brochures printed and mailed by the NC Chamber. Lisa Baldwin spent $4,500 on her total campaign or slightly over $0.45 per vote.

Although Edwards was elected as a special interest candidate probably willing to support liberal positions on immigration, he now has the opportunity to prove he will serve the people rather than cheap-labor interests. What needs to happen is for the voters to take a keen interest in how immigration issues impact their community, state, and country. That will take some independent study on their part. They should keep in mind that illegal immigrant households receive over $14,000 per year more in benefits and services than they pay in all kinds of taxes. According to the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform, this costs North Carolina taxpayers $2.0 billion per year, at least $1.75 billion net after tax collections. Who benefits and who loses from this? Another thing to consider is that excess labor supply, whether legal or illegal, costs American workers nearly $2,800 per year per worker in depressed wages. There are other costs to public safety, educational quality, and national security that are unpopular to mention but are very real and a very legitimate concern for all North Carolina voters. Yet we are allowing political correctness and massive outside super-PAC spending to dominate our elections and prevent the tough common sense decisions necessary for the survival of freedom.

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