Citizens United opened the floodgates of special interest campaign spending not just nationally, but in local elections. The last NYC City Council election saw $15 Million dollars in Super PAC spending. To address this epidemic, and use NYC as a base for a national reform effort, Cory Provost will introduce legislation calling for a 36% excise tax on all Super PAC contributions in NYC elections to counter their corrupting influence. The proceeds from this tax would be forwarded directly to NYC’s matching funds programme that subsidizes small contributions to grassroots candidates.
The law would also call for updated disclaimers on all Super PAC ads reading:
“This ad is paid for by XYZ. We are a Super PAC legalized by Citizens United and can accept unlimited money from corporations or individuals wishing to influence your vote.” In the case of TV or Radio Ads a narrator would be required to read the entirety of this disclaimer, while print ads would be required to feature it prominently.
This bill has national implications as it’s passage would allow states throughout the country to follow our example, many of whom have been horrified by their complete inability to restrain the millions of dollars flooding their airwaves post Citizens United. It will immediately be challenged, leading to a legal battle that could serve as the first step in undermining Citizens United. Remember that all successful national progressive reforms have begun at the local level.