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Perhaps you think that corporations use their campaign donations to buy politicians who then deliver public policies the corporate donors want. And perhaps you think this is corrupt, anti-democratic, and… well, stinky.
You would, of course, be right. As Lily Tomlin has put it, “No matter how cynical you get, it’s almost impossible to keep up.”
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The corporate purchase of Washington is pretty widely reported, but – keep up now – for the kleptocratic stinkiness is fast consuming our statehouses as well. The Republican Governor’s Association has devised a layaway purchase plan allowing brand-name corporations – Aetna to Walmart – to make secret donations of $100,000 or more a year to the RGA in support of the corporate-friendly agenda of various GOP governors.
Feed the RGA’s political-favor-meter with $250,000 a year (as Coca-Cola, the Koch brothers, and others do), and the association cynically anoints your corporation with the ironic title of “Statesman,” opening up gubernatorial doors throughout the country. Well, sniff the participants, the money buys nothing but “access” to policymakers. But wait – when was access put on the auction block? Shouldn’t everyone have access to our public officials? Of course, but if you call your governor, you can’t even get an office intern to call you back.
If you’re an RGA corporate “Statesman,” however, you could get a tête-à-tête with Rick Perry, the recently indicted governor of Texas, or a private breakfast with Bob McDonnell, the now-convicted former-governor of Virginia. See, membership in the corrupt club has its privileges.
The corporate donors to this previously-secret scheme of plutocratic rule says it’s okay, for they also give money to Democrats. Oh, bipartisan corruption – that makes me feel so much better, how about you?
“G.O.P. Error Reveals Donors and the Price of Access,” The New York Times, September 25, 2014.