Citizens United ruling most benefits GOP candidates

Minnesota is among the most affected states.

A recent study found that the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has conferred a distinct advantage to Republican candidates in state legislative elections.

The 28 states that allowed independent expenditures before the Citizens United ruling served as the study’s control group, while the remaining 22 states were the primary focus for researchers at the University of Alberta, Emory University and Competition Economics, which conducted the study.

Overall, independent expenditures have made it 6 percentage points more likely that a Republican candidate will win a state legislative race. In the six most affected states, which includes Minnesota, the likelihood of a Republican victory has increased by 10 percentage points or more since 2010.

Additionally, the researchers found that there were an increased number of Republican candidates who ran for re-election, and fewer Democrats who ran for state House elections. 

For Minnesota’s 2010 election, the study found that two pro-Republican groups — the Coalition of Minnesota Businesses and the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce — spent an average of $28,300 on each of their 12 victorious candidates. This represented 34 percent of the money spent in those campaigns, and it surpassed direct contributions to candidates by a 2-1 ratio.

At the same time, liberal groups also wield a newfound influence on elections. In 2012, the Alliance for a Better Minnesota, financed by labor unions, spent more than $1.9 million on legislative races.

Corporate expenditure on elections necessitates the public’s active participation in the political system. In the hopes of furthering a fair race, we encourage every eligible voter — regardless of his or her political stance — to vote in the upcoming elections this November.