The campaign period marks a critical moment in American politics. Recent election cycles have witnessed a trend in the increase of political funding by private corporations. Big corporations with cast financial resources have determined the election process through massive financial support provided to specific candidates. Changes in election laws based on the victory of the Citizens United case have laid leeway for organizations to finance their preferred candidate through campaign contributions(Bentleyn.p). Officials who win elections due to the role played by corporations are susceptible to the demands and wishes of their financiers. Thus, the sponsors can use the elected officials to impact the legislative and decision-making process. This essay speculates on the impact of corporate contributions in the state of California.
The state of California's congressional delegation comprises of Senator Harris Kamala and Senator Dianne Feinstein. The two belong to the Democrat party. Senator Kamala raised $ 21,500,986 while Senator Feinstein raised $ 16,568,626 ("Sen. Kamala D Harris - Campaign Finance Summary" n.p). The corporations that contributed to Senator Kamala's campaign, in descending order, are the Warner Media Group, the University of California, Alphabet Inc, the 21st Century Fox, and Venable LLP ("Sen. Kamala D Harris- Campaign Finance Summary" n.p). The Warner Media Group led the other companies with $127,975 while Venable LLP closed the top five list at $90,758. The top contributing corporations for Senator Feinstein, in descending order, are EMILY's List, Edison International, the PG&E Corp, J Street, and Pisces Inc. EMILY's List led the group with $103,680 while Pisces Inc. closed with a $45,900 contribution. It is imperative to note that lawyers and law firms were the leading industry players for both elected congressional members.
Senator Feinstein's main committee assignments as a member of the 115th Congress include roles in appropriations, the judiciary, and policy formulation on rules and administration. On the other hand, Senator Kamala's responsibilities involve budgetary issues, roles in Homeland security and governmental affairs, as well as in the Judiciary. The University of California as one of the primary financiers revealed its political interest through lobbying for bill S. 2998: Quantum Computing Research Act of 2018 (Sen. Dianne Feinstein - Campaign Finance Summary" n.p). Among Senator Feinstein's contributors was the Edison company. The organization is one of the many that combined forces with other lobbyists to advocate for bills such as the S.3001: Contra Costa Canal Transfer Act ("Sen. Dianne Feinstein - Campaign Finance Summary" n.p). The involvement of these large enterprises in support of specific bills sponsored by their candidate of choice reveals their desire to advance their private interests.
I think that political financiers choose candidates to back depending on their political ideologies. In most cases, the big organizations support candidates who share similar ideologies as them. Another basis for candidate selection is their flexibility and ease with which the political donors can sway them. The essence of donating financial and human resources to facilitate campaign activities is to earn the elected official's favor. In return for the funding, the candidates protect the interests of their major donors(Bentley n.p). The dominance of the Democrat party in California influenced the support given to the two leaders. Senator Feinstein, considered a moderate, has played significant roles in sponsoring bills that impact California's business atmosphere. Senator Kamala, as a former attorney general, had made political opinions on law issues clear. Thus, the massive support for both candidates from the industry.
A review of all contestants in the state of California reveals a significant disparity in the amount of money raised in preparation for the elections. For instance, in the contest between Feinstein and Kevin De Leon, Senator Feinstein raised $ 16,568,626. Her competitor, on the other hand, managed to raise $ 1,657,017 only. Data samples of California districts 5, 6, 11, 14, 18, 20 and 30 reveal a shocking trend ("California Congressional Races" n.p). The incumbent officials in all the listed areas had a significant amount of money raised while the losing opponents had zero finances ("California Congressional Races" n.p). The candidates whose policies and political ideologies did not appeal to the private sector did not secure any funding. It is evident from the data sets that winning candidates are likely to gain the support of various organizations. Besides, candidates with low performance on poll rates lack popularity among the financiers.
Additional information on Senator Dianne Feinstein reveals that she is among leading representatives who have sponsored earmarks worth millions of dollars. Open Secrets claim that the senator has introduced and co-sponsored 163 bills. The estimated value of the earmarks totaled $211,598,500 in the 2010 fiscal year. Thus, she ranks as 14th out of 435 representatives who have actively participated in the policy formulation ("Sen. Dianne Feinstein "n.p). The senator also has debts accrued from expenses during the campaigns. Extra information on Senator Kamala indicates that she has no liability and still has a substantial amount left from the campaign period.
In conclusion, it is essential to monitor the role of corporations in the financing of prospective leaders. The decision of the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case created an avenue for unchecked corporate spending on elections. By arguing that the barring of independent political expenditures is a violation of the First Amendment, the court allowed wealthy companies to corrupt the electoral process. With increased corporate spending, America's political landscape is bound to succumb to the interests of private organizations. Thus, the decision does little in the protection of the average citizen against corrupt that may occur when enterprises influence legislators.
Bentley, Nick. "What Is Citizens United: An Introduction." Reclaim Democracy. http://reclaimdemocracy.org/who-are-citizens-united/. Accessed 4 Nov. 2018.
"California Congressional Races." Open Secrets. (n.d). https://www.opensecrets.org/races/election?id=CA. Accessed 4 Nov. 2018.
"Sen. Dianne Feinstein - Campaign Finance Summary." Open Secrets. 2018. https://www.opensecrets.org/members-of-congress/summary?cid=N00007364&cycle=2018. Accessed 4 Nov. 2018.
"Sen. Kamala D Harris - Campaign Finance Summary." Open Secrets. 2018. https://www.opensecrets.org/members-of-congress/summary?cid=N00036915&cycle=2018. Accessed 4 Nov. 2018.
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