Jeb Bush Would 'Eliminate' Citizens United, Super PACs

Jeb Bush, shown at a town hall meeting in Salem, New Hampshire, on February 7, says he would "eliminate" the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling. Adrees Latif/Reuters

Jeb Bush would "eliminate" Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that paved the way for super PACs to spend unlimited money in support of candidates and that has also been the target of Democrats.

"If I could do it all again, I'd eliminate the Supreme Court ruling," Bush told CNN's Dana Bash. "This is a ridiculous system we have now, where you have campaigns that struggle to raise money directly and they can't be held accountable for the spending of the super PAC that's their affiliate."

The "best way" to finance a campaign, Bush said, would be "if a campaign could take all the money they wanted and have it be posted up in 48 hours on the Internet."

"That would be the most transparent," he told Bash. In a "perfect world," Bush explained, campaigns would essentially absorb the functions of super PACs, putting every dollar raised in the candidate's name under his or her control.

Right to Rise, Bush's affiliated super PAC, has been criticized for spending more than $65 million on ads that so far have failed to nudge him up in the polls. Right to Rise has spent most of its ammunition attacking Marco Rubio and Chris Christie, who are competing with Bush for the support of mainstream conservative Republicans. But critics have called for the super PAC to direct its attention—and the $118 million it raised in 2015, more than any other Republican candidate or super PAC—to Donald Trump, who has repeatedly humiliated Bush on the national stage and whose nomination would be, as many party insiders reportedly see it, a doomsday scenario for the GOP.

Bush reiterated his stance Monday, according to CNN. "The ideal situation would be to overturn the Supreme Court ruling that allows for...unregulated money for the independent and regulated for the campaign," Bush said at a luncheon in Nashua, New Hampshire. "I would turn that on its head if I could."

At a town hall meeting in Derry, New Hampshire, in June, Bush told voters that Citizens United "doesn't make sense to [him]."

Most of Bush challengers for the Republican nomination support the ruling. In September 2014, Senators Ted Cruz and Rubio both voted against a constitutional amendment of the sort that Bush said he supports to overturn the decision. Cruz has publicly defended the ruling as a victory for the First Amendment. Trump, however, has blasted it for allowing a source of corruption in politics, as have Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.