Last updated: June 11, 2012 - 8:43am
[Commentary] Whatever questions remain about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's recall election, there is no question that his campaign was built on big money, the likes of which we've never seen in a gubernatorial campaign before. And where did all that money go? Right into thin air -- our air. And as owners of the air -- our public airwaves, to be precise -- there is plenty we can do to combat the corrosive effect of big money on our elections, by holding our partners in broadcasting, local TV and radio stations, accountable to the communities they serve.
Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruling that the First Amendment prohibits government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and unions, is the reason huge amounts of money poured into the Walker camp from third parties like the billionaire Koch Brothers and others. So the Walker recall gave us the first glimpse at how the infamous Supreme Court ruling will affect campaigns for years to come unless something changes. There is a large and growing movement now from groups like Move to Amend, to amend the Constitution to alter the unlimited spending allowed by Citizens United. Such an effort, however, will take years to accomplish, if it ever happens at all. But what's not being talked about is where most of this money goes: about half of all campaign dollars go directly into our local radio and TV stations' wallets -- local broadcast stations which get licensed in the public/private partnership of broadcasting only if they "serve the public convenience, interest, and necessity."
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