Free Speech or Corruption?

Experts will speak April 25 at Johnson and Wales on the how the Citizens United decision has affected the political landscape.

Fortunately, the presidential election is over and we haven't been faced with creepy ads for a while. But they'll undoubtedly be back. If you're wondering how it all started, you'll have the opportunity to learn more from two national experts at an upcoming forum about the controversial United States Supreme Court decision called Citizens United that changed the political landscape.

The 5-4 decision, which was handed down in January 2010, allowed corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts to defeat candidates they opposed. It's sparked major debate about money and elections.

"A rising tide of campaign spending, the emergence of Super PACs, the growth of undisclosed funding…Some observers view these developments as affirming the American tradition of rough-and-tumble speech and the free market of ideas. Others see looming corruption and a threat to the integrity of our political process," the flyer reads.

The forum, entitled "Money and Politics–Unholy Alliance or Free Speech? The Aftermath of Citizens United," will feature Anthony Corrado of Colby College, who specializes in campaign finance, and Paul S. Ryan, an expert on election law who has testified before Congress. Providence-based attorneys Matthew T. Oliverio and Steven M. Richard will moderate the event.

The free event is scheduled for April 25 at 7 p.m. in the Yena Center Admissions Presentation Room, Johnson and Wales University, 111 Dorrance St., Providence.