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Your standard governor, congress critter, and other elected officials routinely insist that they represent “The People.” But when it Comes to making public policy, do they actually represent you… or Mr. Money, who writes big campaign checks?
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Any pretension that we live in a self-governing democratic republic is gone. It’s been snuffed out by a tiny club of Big Money donors (only about, 600 people out of our population of 330 million). They’ve empowered themselves to choose candidates, control the public debate, and bend public policy to their selfish interests. Both major political parties are complicit in this kleptocratic transformation – Republicans by aggressively pushing it, and Democrats by passively acquiescing to it.
While Barack Obama has done nothing to stop this money-perversion of democracy, he’s at least made noise about making the thieves disclose their theft. But noise is not action, and the GOP’s enablers of the thievery have even moved to kill Obama’s modest disclosure ideas. In June, for example, House Republicans quietly voted to prohibit the SEC – the shareholder’s watchdog – from requiring CEOs to tell the corporate owners how much of their money is being spent on particular political candidates. Another GOP backroom proviso would keep the IRS from disclosing the names of corporate tax-law manipulators that use so-called “social-welfare” groups to funnel money anonymously into partisan political campaigns. Also, a third Republican hide-and-seek provision would allow corporations that get billions of dollars in taxpayer funds to avoid telling us the names of lawmakers they’re showering with campaign cash.
The torrent of secret corporate money in our elections is hosing our democratic ideals and possibilities, blasting the people out of the process and imposing Big Money governance over America.
“Dark Money’s Deepening Power,” The New York Times, June 29, 2015.
“The ‘Non-Candidate’ Money Spigot,” The New York Times May 31, 2015
“McCutcheon vs FEC,” www.opensecrets.org, 2014.