Now let's be honest again: For these reasons, politicians have proved unsuccessful at regulating campaign finance. For example, Democrats like to blame the "dark money" being spent by outside groups to influence voters on the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling in 2010. But such spending was
already on the rise
for nearly a decade before Citizens United, because the real impetus was the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law of 2002. That law restricted the ability of national parties to raise and spend large amounts of money from a small number of donors, on the premise that doing so would "get the money out of politics." Instead, it pushed the money away from the parties, which would have had to disclose it, and into groups organized, run and funded independently. And with fewer reporting requirements.
All Citizens United did was end some of the restrictions on how that money could be spent. The result is that wealthy conservatives have begun to engage in elections in a way that previously was dominated by labor unions. If Reid, et al. were being honest, they would acknowledge the thing that really chaps their hide is that
has gone from being advantageous to them -- in 2000, 2004 and 2008, liberal outside spending surpassed conservative outside spending by two-thirds to three-quarters -- to a disadvantage.