The Lookout Letter to the editor
Speak Out! Send Letters to

Citizens United Isn’t to Blame

October 15, 2020

Dear Editor,

In erroneously asserting that the 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United is the culprit, Mary Marlow destroys the entire premise of her condemnation of Political Action Committees spending, large amounts or small, for the re-election of incumbent City Council members ("OPINION -- Will Special Interest PACs Get Council Incumbents Re-Elected?" October 14, 2020).

Not one of the entities she lists in her "table" of PAC expenditures was enabled to spend "unlimited" funds by virtue of Citizens; each could have been organized as an independent expenditure PAC prior to that decision and spent unlimited amounts.

Particularly, the Firefighters and City Employees PAC, along with the Police Officers’ PAC, have long been players in Council elections -– well before the Citizens decision.

Consequently, the reality of the political fund-raising sweepstakes is that the challengers simply do not have sufficient broad support to raise significant sums, nor do they have the support of a few wealthy donors to establish an independent expenditures committee in their behalf.

If the challengers are so virtuous and preferable to the voter base of Santa Monica, it would seem that some or many supporters would put their money where their mouth is –- the very purpose of the interplay of speech and money in the political world.

For a tutorial about political organizations and political spending see "Political Money: A Journey into the Land of Hypocrisy" (The Lookout, February 21, 2011).

Kip Dellinger
Santa Monica

Editor's note: Kip Dellinger served as Treasurer of Citizens for the Republic (Ronald Reagan, Founder and Chair Emeritus) from 1982-1985, the 4th largest PAC in the Untied States at that time; he is also the Policy and Practice Columnist for TAX NOTES magazine, a leading publication for the tax professionals.


Lookout Logo footer image Copyright 1999-2020 All Rights Reserved.