The 2010 United States Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. FEC, has the potential to present a significant threat to American democracy. The landmark decision removed limits on corporate contributions, allowing disproportionate dark money influence from corporations in American political campaigns. This paper explores the ethical dilemmas of the Citizens United decision, drawing from peer-reviewed scholarly journals, legal documents, and advocacy organizations to highlight the negative impact that dark money has on American politics. Citizens United and its aftermath demonstrate the necessity for rhetorical competence in a democracy with broad protections for individual and corporate speech. The paper argues that citizens can counter the disproportionate influence of dark money by enhancing their rhetorical competence and media literacy skills to effectively recognize and navigate the influence of undisclosed, untraceable funds in the American political system.



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