Since the United States Supreme Court has ruled corporations are people and money is speech, it appears more than ever American politics is up for grabs based on money. Several months ago I wrote an article recommending that a great investment money-wise was to give a large contribution in the range of $100,000 to $200,000 to Rick Perry.
In hindsight, with the current scandals of multi-million dollar, no-bid contracts and other giveaways by the Perry administration of millions to supporters, it seems my financial advice was right on point. More and more evidence is being uncovered that there was a direct connection between awards from various slush funds of taxpayer money and contributions from the beneficiaries of those awards to Perry’s various campaigns.
The Koch brothers now have revealed they intend to spend about $900 million on the coming presidential election. They classify their commitment of nearly a billion dollars as an investment. Last time I checked, business folks expect a profitable return from any investment they make. The larger the investment, the larger return they expect.
Ordinary folks, whether Republican or Democrat, should pause thoughtfully to consider whether or not the trend of more and more money that is kept more and more secret is in the interest of democracy. More specifically, middle class working folks should consider whether or not it is in their interest. If money talks, do you really believe if you are an “average Joe” working for an hourly wage that you can be heard as well as a $900 million contribution?
More and more hypocrisy and money are drowning out basic American values--particularly many values which are trumpeted by conservatives. A glaring example is the case of Denton, Texas, where a grassroots movement forced the city to adopt an anti-fracking ordinance. Earth tremors, polluting water supplies–even to the extent of being able to light a fire on water from your water well–drove citizens to demand accountability of the oil companies.
Because of massive lobbying, expenditures and oil company largess to our state leaders, it is very likely the Legislature will push through a measure disallowing cities to protect their citizens as did the city of Denton. Most defenders of unlimited, secret spending and favoring national and state measures over local ones are supported by big-money efforts and lobbying. To influence elections is bad enough, but even worse is the allowance of massive spending without revealing the sources.
Even though the Koch brothers have announced their intention to spend $900 million, it will be spent in such a way--through 501c(3) corporations or volunteer groups with high-sounding names--the average citizen will never know from whence came the massive loads of money to influence the election of their leaders. The will of the public in this regard is pretty much being ignored.
The Federal Election Commission has recently called for comments on proposals to put limits on secrecy and the way huge money donors can spend their money. Even though 75% of the comments favor restrictions, openness and disclosure, I will wager that few, if any, of these measures will be adopted-- continuing the Supreme Court mandate that we offer our political leadership for sale.