Elections attract money like garbage attracts flies. Perhaps that's why this year's campaigns smell so putrid. The Supreme Court's rotten decision in Citizens United has made it possible for anyone with money to run an unlimited and opaque campaign for or against any candidate. That's why there is an avalanche of negative TV advertising and sleazy politics.
And why do rich corporations and individuals seek to influence elections? To buy the tax, spending and regulatory policies they want.
The most prominent local example is U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch's re-election race. The Tribune reported the other day that FreedomWorks, a tea party super PAC (political action committee) that opposes Hatch, has disgorged $649,000 into efforts to deny him the Utah Republican Party's nomination. But five similar outfits that favor Hatch have spent even more. The biggest, Freedom Path, has spent $571,000. American Action Network has dumped another $200,000 into pro-Hatch efforts. Three smaller groups have pitched in about $100,000 between them.