/ Modified apr 26, 2014 10:18 a.m.

AZ Week: 'Campaigns Could Be Playground for Billionaires'

SCOTUS recently ruled there should be no limits in campaign financial contributions; ASU political science professor says this could change political landscape in an unbalanced way.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently decided there no longer should be restrictions on how much money a single donor can give in an election season, a ruling that has many wondering how upcoming elections will play out.

David Berman David Berman, professor of political science at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University. (PHOTO: AZPM Staff)

There are concerns that big donors will have too much influence in campaigns, leading to inequality in the political landscape, according to David Berman, professor of political science at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University.

During Friday's broadcast of Arizona Week, Berman also argued many candidates are already dependant on a handful of wealthy donors, and the Supreme Court ruling could magnify that.

There are candidates "kissing the ring of a billionaire to get funding," he said from a studio in Phoenix.

"It has gotten to the point where many of our campaigns are playgrounds of billionaires who monopolize the media," he argued.

He said having no limits for financial contributions will change the landscape, possibly tilting it to a more conservative direction.

Berman argued wealthier people, particularly billionaires, tend to be on the right side of the political spectrum, and if those who have more money will have the most influence, then voters will only receive one-sided political messages.

"We are not getting the message of balance," he said. "Why should a billionaire have the right to impose his views on other people? Where is the other message?"

However, how much money a person wants to give to a candidate has been defended under the First Amendment.

"It has been defended on the grounds of free speech...and the court sees it that way," Berman said.

But "other people see it as neglecting the problem that results from that, because what is really saying is 'the people who have a lot of money could speak a little louder,'" he said.

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
Arizona Public Media broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents. Arizona Public Media and AZPM are registered trademarks of the Arizona Board of Regents.
The University of Arizona