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First Effects of Supreme Court Citizens United Decision in 2012

By Robyn Hagan Cain | Last updated on

With the Ames Straw Poll only a few weeks behind us, America is once again in the throes of the presidential election season. For political junkies, election season is more exciting than all of the winter holidays combined. Why? Because elections bring on the barrage of political campaign ads.

Granted, state attack ads are usually more entertaining than the presidential ads - presidential candidates have to maintain a modicum of dignity - but while normal people are muting candidate advertisements, political junkies are savoring every mud-slinging moment.

If you're one of the normal people who dread the opening line, "I'm so-and-so, and I approved this message," we have bad news: Political campaign advertisements will be more prevalent than ever this year due to the Supreme Court Citizens United v. FEC decision.

Quick refresher: In 2010, The Nine ended most corporate and union campaign advertising restrictions. The practical effect of the Supreme Court Citizens United decision is that corporations and unions can funnel unlimited funds into "electioneering communications."

How will the Citizens United decision affect political campaign advertisements in quantifiable terms? Consider this: The 2008 campaign season yielded a $5 billion election cycle; that number is expected to increase to $6 billion in 2012 following the Citizens United decision, reports Reuters.

If you're silently lamenting the fact that corporations and unions are one step closer to buying political positions - even the White House - for their candidates of choice after Citizens United v. FEC, try to look at the silver lining: unlimited funds for election season electioneering communications mean that we might get more ads like the California Correctional Peace Officer Association's 2010 Bobblehead Meg ad. If you aren't already a political campaign ad junkie, consider that ad your gateway drug.

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