Money controls elections. Election results provide control of Congress, the decision making process of government. Results even control Presidents.
There is an old saying…..He who pays the fiddler calls the tune. How true!
Big money controlling the government has resulted in elected politicians becoming feudal serfs of those who have the money. Elected officials no longer represent the people. Major corporations and the rich reap the benefits of laws that make it easier for them to increase their net worth and profitability. To the detriment of the American people.
Former President Carter recently said that the United States was an oligarchy. He was correct. He said the United States became that way because of unlimited political bribery. Correct again.
Carter claims that large unlimited contributions by the rich are “…..a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors.” He observed that elected officials consider “…..unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves.”
Our elected representatives are dance house ladies willing to dance with anyone who can pay their way. Major corporations and the rich buy all the tickets.
Million dollar contributions are the direct result of Citizen United decided several years ago. Recall, corporations are persons, they have a right to be heard, etc. Called freedom of speech. Citizen United and subsequent decisions paved the way. The modus operendi. Contributions would be to super PACs. The money in turn found its way into candidate’s coffers. All legal.
For years, the United States recognized the danger of large amounts of money influencing elected persons. Contributions were limited. Today, unbridled.
A perfect example is Hedge-Fund magnate Roger Mercer. He donated $11 million to a super PAC supporting Ted Cruz. If he had donated directly to Cruz’s campaign, his contribution would have been limited to $2,700.
Who is screwing who here?
Today, there are three ways to make contributions to candidates.
The first is the old fashioned method of personal direct payment. Limited by law. The $2,700 thing. The second is the relatively new super PAC indirect way which permits corporations and the rich to give unlimited dollars into the millions. The third involves contributions via non profit groups. Referred to as 501(c) (4) contributions. Disclosure not required.
Quite frankly, the nonprofit one confuses me. I cannot figure it out. All I know is that the contributor to the nonprofit fund is not disclosed. Important to those who do not want the public to know who they might be trying to influence or buy.
Analyzing which candidate is taking in the most money is difficult. Direct contributions are one item. Super PACs another. Considered separately for accounting and disclosure purposes.
Via the direct contribution route Hillary Clinton as of 7/31 had raised. $47.5 million. She had raised twice as much as any other candidate. Jeb Bush raised only $11.4 million re the direct donation route. A far cry from Clinton’s $47.5 million. However, Bush had raised considerably more when super PAC monies were considered. Bush had raised $103 million as opposed to Clinton’s $15.6 million.
Scott Walker announced his candidacy on July 13. Within days, Wisconsin billionaire Diane Hendricks contributed $5 million to the Walker Super PAC. In two weeks, Walker took in $20 million total via super PAC contributions. He even announced he was going to finance his candidacy with super PAC dollars rather than direct contributions.
Walker appears to be a favorite among super PAC contributors. His Wisconsin governor years have been supported by the Koch brothers. In addition to the $5 million Hendricks contribution, Marlene Ricketts gave $4.9 million. The owners of the Chicago Cubs $2.5 million.
Then there are those candidates who have few if any supporters with the big bucks. Bernie Sanders, for example. He raised $15.2 million via direct contributions. Significantly less from super PAC monies. Direct contributions represented 76 percent of the $15.2 million.
Ted Cruz has taken in $38 million via super PAC contributions. Glad to receive the money. However, he is right up front condemning the process. An intelligent man. He speaks effectively out of both sides of his mouth. He recently said, “Lobbyists and career politicians today make up what I call the Washington Cartel….. (They) on a daily basis are conspiring against the American people…..career politicians’ ears and wallets are open to the highest bidder.”
Joe Biden says that “…..where the money is, there’s almost implicitly some string attached.”
John Dingell, the 29 term Democratic Congressman from Michigan, recently stated, “…..our government has largely been put up for sale.”
John Kerry in his farewell remarks to the Senate in 2013 said, “…..alliance of money…..is steadily silencing the voice of the vast majority of Americans…..corrosion of money in politics…..muzzles more Americans than it empowers…..an imbalance that can only sow the seeds of unrest.”
In 2009, a year after the bank created recession, John Durbin said, “The banks…..are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill…..they frankly own the place.”
The America we knew is gone. Do we want it back? If so, we have to work for it. Citizen United must be reversed. Only the Supreme Court can do it. Which means the next member of the Court has to be a Democrat. Get involved. Watch for whom you vote. Party affiliation should not be the guiding force in who to vote for. Make candidates keep promises made. Let them know you are watching.
Keep in mind that money talks, bullshit walks. Another reason Citizens United has to go.
It is said we have become a 1 percent / 99 percent society. Things are bad. For the people. Not the rich. Some say power still resides with the people. It has only diminished. I say under present circumstances less power is no power.
We are supposed to be and once were a government of the people, by the people, for the people. We have become a government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich.
Is this what we want?