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Last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission granted corporations (and unions) the right to directly and expressly back political candidates, and triggered an enormous new wave of political spending. Now watchdog groups are trying to find ways to make sure voters can see who is funding which candidates.

In a web seminar sponsored by the Business Ethics Network last week, groups concerned about the role of money in politics gathered to review strategies for increased disclosure.

Norm Ornstein, a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, who once helped craft the McCain-Feingold campaign finance act, said that he was struck and “even a little bit heartened” by the fact that Sarah Palin railed against crony capitalism during her Labor Day speech in Iowa saying, in effect, “what do we suppose those fat cats want for their money?”

“It suggests to me,” Ornstein said, “that there is at least a glimmer of a possibility that we might be able to build a very unusual type of coalition against what has become an utterly appalling landscape of influence peddling by enormous monied interests and more and more overt, almost shakedown schemes by political figures to get the money they want from corporations and individuals.”