MONEY GOES IN, MONEY GOES OUT

Surely you don’t think that campaign donations from wealthy interests are intended to buy favors from our lawmakers – do you?
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
MONEY GOES IN, MONEY GOES OUT
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Surely you don’t think that campaign donations from wealthy interests are intended to buy favors from our lawmakers – do you?

Me either. For example, the fact that a New York billionaire and his family have donated thousands of dollars to the campaigns of Senators Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer has absolutely nothing to do with the coincidental fact that the two senators have siphoned a million of our tax dollars into his rock and roll tourist development being built near Woodstock, New York. How do I know this was not a quid pro quo? Because Sen. Clinton’s spokesman told us so: “One thing had nothing to do with the other,” he said.

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Alan Gerry, a former cable television mogul, is the developer of the Woodstock project. He, too, has come forward to assure us that his donations to Clinton and Schumer are unrelated – totally unrelated – to the million dollars in federal tax funds he received. Making political contributions, explains Gerry, is not about gaining favors, but merely is “something we think a good citizen should do.”

I’m sure you agree with that, don’t you?

Yet, some busybodies will try to make a fuss about the timing of this money exchange. Yes, it’s true that the senators funneled our tax dollars into Gerry’s project on June 21. And, yes, it’s true that the Gerry family donated $20,000 to Schumer only five days later, then donated $9,200 to Clinton four more days later. But, picky-picky! It’s not like Gerry sent a note with his donations, saying, “Thanks a million – here’s my bribe money.” How can people be so cynical when it’s obvious that Gerry was simply feeling civic-minded after learning that his two senators had behaved in such a statesmanlike manner? He was just expressing his love for America – and nothing says “love” like cash.

Really, people, you just have to learn to trust our system of government.

“Timing of gift stirs ‘earmark’ debate,” USA Today, October 17, 2007

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