Yesterday, members of the People’s Alliance organized a “Take the Money out of the Elections” action in Grand Rapids. In an attempt to highlight how campaign funding influences elections people sent information packets to several local offices of companies who have all donated over 1 million dollars to presidential candidates in 2004 – PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP $1,298,406; Merrill Lynch $1,507,183; and Ernst & Young LLP $1,089,454
Two main problems arise with this kind of money ingested into politics. First, according to the Alliance for Better Campaigns, political parties spend the bulk of money raised on paid political ads. For example, in 2000, Democrat Debbie Stabenow edged out Spencer Abraham for a US Senate seat here in Michigan. As late as September, Stabenow was polling 22 points behind. EMILY’s list founder Ellen Malcolm says her group’s ability to raise money for television advertising turned that race around.
The second problem is that campaign donors are giving money with the expectation of something in return. Just look at the way legislation was passed last November that benefited the pharmaceutical industry. Those in the House and the Senate who received the largest amounts of money fromthe major drug companies voted for the legislation that would benefit these drug companies. This is called bribery. According to the US Federal Criminal Code on Bribery of Public Officials:
Whoever directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers or promises anything of value to any public official./…with intent to influence any official….,or, being a public official, directly or indirectly, corruptly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally or for any other person or entity, in return for being influenced in the performance of any official act…
Title 18, Section 11, Subsection 201 of the US Federal Criminal Code Statute entitled “Bribery of Public Officials” mandates up to 15 years in prison & fines. Now, no one in Congress is investigating this because both parties are so tied to these big money interests.
- Whose Pocketbook Has Your Best Interests In Mind?
- Top 10 Donors to Both Parties
- How Money Drives Elections? quarter page
Do your own research:
- The Center for Responsive Politics
- The Center for Public Integrity
- Public Campaign
- The National Institute for Money in State Politics
- The Color of Money Project