Big Political Donors Buying Elections... and Public Policies

Big Political Donors Buying Elections... and Public Policies

Who does David Keating think he's fooling?

He heads an obscure, corporate-funded group pushing to wipe out the few remaining limits on the special interests that put extremely big bucks into political campaigns. It's only fair to turn the fat-cat donors loose, he explains, because an unlimited infusion of cash (from, say, the Koch brothers) would instantly make an unknown candidate competitive. After all, Keating adds, "Most start-up operations need an angel investor: Someone who believes in the project... and puts money in to make it viable."

Ah, yes, a devilish new twist on the old cash-and-carry business model – our cash can carry you into office to help us! But a run for public office should not be thought of as a corporate "start-up" and ought to be made "viable" not by the special-interest money it attracts, but by the ability of its ideas and principles to draw public support. Also, while a corporate campaign donor clearly does see itself as an "investor" hoping to profit from the "project," there's nothing angelic about it.

Acknowledging that presidential, congressional, and many gubernatorial campaigns are now financed and even run by a small band of deep-pocketed elites, Keating says ordinary folks needn't worry, for this top-heavy system really doesn't mean that the officials it elects will put their patron's interests over the public's. Really? Well, he admits, while those who paid for the election will naturally get their phone calls returned by officials they put in office, "I don't think it's going to drive policy.

Really? Golly, Little Nellie Sunshine, then why do you think the moneyed interests would bother calling – just to chat with a corruptible politico... or to collect on their investment? They're not buying a phone call, they're buying public policy. Really.


This has been reposted from Jim Hightower's website.