It costs a lot of money to run a successful political campaign.
If there’s any doubt about it, ask Massachusetts Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, both Democrats, whose campaign committees raised a combined $52 million between 2013 and Sept. 15, 2018, according to the Center for Responsive Politics based in Washington, D.C., In the current election cycle, the nine U.S. House of Representative incumbents raised a combined $13.8 million in Massachusetts.
The numbers only grow after accounting for the millions raised for statewide, regional and local elections. And those millions do not include the cash that flows from political action committees and leadership PACs, funded largely by wealthy individuals and special interest groups. The seemingly endless amount of money is spent in support or opposition of the politicians.
In Massachusetts, Ballot Question No. 2 proponents have identified money in politics as an issue in desperate need of repair.
“We’ve seen elections get more expensive every single cycle,” said Ben A. Gubits, national political director at Concord-based American Promise. “This has had a tremendous impact on the people’s ability to have a voice in our democracy because political power has been concentrated to those who can afford it.”
American Promise is the organization behind the political group People Govern, Not Money, which is calling on voters to approve Question No. 2. The ballot measure, which voters will address on Nov. 6, would establish a nonpartisan, 15-member Citizens Commission to consider and recommend an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The amendment — if approved by Congress and ratified by the states — would essentially overhaul the current system of political finance, including the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United that determined campaign spending by companies and other groups is protected by the free-speech clause of the First Amendment.
The landmark decision opened the door for unfettered political…