BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Consultants in Baton Rouge say political campaigns will take on a new form after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a century-old campaign finance law that limited corporate contributions to political candidates. They say the change means candidates will no longer control their own campaigns. Instead, businesses, labor unions and non-profits will take the reins.
"It's the Wild West," said Roy Fletcher, longtime Louisiana political consultant. "That's what this decision amounts to. Campaigns will no longer be controlled by the campaign. It will be controlled by third parties…all of a sudden, just flying into campaigns."
In a 5-4 vote, the high court decided government should not regulate political speech. This means corporations can now donate as much money as they want to a campaign. Judges against the change argued corporate money will corrupt democracy by controlling who gets elected. Fletcher admitted corporations already had a hand in who won. Only now, instead of using lobbyists, they'll be directly involved.
"I think it's going to increase the amount of negative campaigning. It's going to make it a whole lot more difficult to manage and operate a political campaign as a candidate. It probably puts another billion dollars or more into the political system, just like that," Fletcher added.
He claimed that politics as most now know it will drastically change. For example, he explained if a company dislikes the way a candidate voted in the past, they could actively campaign against that person with commercials, calls and radio ads.
Fletcher noted most of his political clients are against the change. He said his business just got flipped, shuffled and pushed around. However, he likes the new law.
There's no question the change in law means more money will be spent on political campaigns. It translates to more money for political consultants, like Fletcher, and more money spent on campaign commercials.