Lawrence Lessig wrote an excellent opinion piece for The Washington Post not to long ago titled “Democrats embrace the logic of ‘Citizens United’“, it’s good article and worth reading on its own but more than that it helps to quantify the argument for and against the case of “corruption” as its applied to or feared in Citizen’s United.
“Since the Supreme Court cleared the way for unlimited independent political expenditures by individuals, unions and corporations, there has been a fierce debate among academics and activists about what the term “corruption” means. For five justices on the court, “corruption” means “quid pro quo” — a bribe, or an exchange of a favor for influence. Corruption is not just a contract. Corruption is also a kind of economy — an economy of influence that leads any sane soul to the fair belief that private influence has affected public policy. It is for this reason that practically every Democrat has insisted that the court’s Citizens United decision (and its progeny) needs to be reversed.”
The above is simply just a mashup from the article itself, but hopefully serves to illustrate the idea of “corruption” and what it means within the context of Citizens United and politics. This seems to me one of those classic examples of it just feels wrong and we all know it, Citizen’s United is indeed paving / has paved the way for unfettered corruption within our political system.