Too much money, too little fairness

Max Blaska, Clarion Staff

An average person is born, he cries when he goes to kindergarten for the first time, he sneaks his first kiss, he graduates high school, he finds love, he loses love, he gets a career, he gets married, he has children, he retires and then he dies. A corporation can do none of things therefore a corporation is not a person.

Money has been a corrosive element in politics for time immortal. The progressive reforms in the early 20th century and the McCain-Feingold act of 2002 helped fight the tide but it was a loosing battle that was all but lost in 2010 when the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision said that all limits on corporate spending on behalf of politicians is a violation of free speech.

Citizen’s United opened the floodgates for money into politics, individuals and corporations can’t donate huge amounts of sums to a particular candidate but you can donate to advocacy groups that produce ads for those candidates.

This is not a free speech issue. You have every right to say whatever you want in support of a political candidate, but you don’t have a right to use money to buy influence. That is what unlimited political donations and lobbying does. He who spends more money, gets a louder voice in implementing policy whether it is tax policy, environmental policy, or any other policy that benefits those who give the money, the gifts and the campaign donations. The most sickening thing is that those who contribute to these advocate groups and Political Action Committees don’t have to disclose who they are.

The statistics are from, a non-partisan watchdog group that covers campaign donations and lobbying.

So far this election cycle, these outside groups spent $55,470,398 for ads, robocalls and campaign literature and the election just got started.

These organizations donate large sums to congressmen and senators who are on senate and congressional committees that oversee those industries. These congressmen and senators say that these donations are just a part of politics and that they don’t influence them. I just have one thing to say to them, prove it.

A perfect example of this is Wall Street and finance reform. In the 2011, the top 10 Banking, investment, and real estate groups spent more than 10 million dollars in political donations and that was to Democrats as well as Republicans. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a business-lobbying group spent $66.3 million dollars on lobbying, another way to buy influence in politics. The rules for lobbying are so convoluted that there are holes so big that you can drive a campaign bus through them.

It makes sense that politicians don’t want to implement common sense regulations because if they do, the donations and the gifts will stop coming in. And even worse, if a moderate Republican stands up to groups like Americans for prosperity and Club for Growth, they will have a primary challenger and most likely will lose

Thirty-three Congressmen who left in 2010 are now working for lobbying firms. They are lobbying their former colleagues; they know how to game the system. How can advocacy groups for the environment and the poor compete?

Both Democrats and liberals do this. Unions and liberal interest groups donate large sums of money and the AFL-CIO, one of the largest union organizations sues the sponsors of the McCain-Feingold because they also said that limits on spending on political ads violates free speech.

The recall effort is going strong and Gov. Walker brought in $12 million in donations, 42 percent of that out of state, including four $250,000 donations. As a Wisconsinite I don’t want outside influences dictating our internal politics. Gov. Walker said on Rush Limbaugh that 79 percent of donations came from people donating $50 or less, according to It doesn’t take a math professor to point out that the numbers don’t add up.

Walker received $2.8 Million in donations last year, United Wisconsin, the organization that is leading the recall raised $329,994. The largest donation to United Wisconsin was $15,000. The election is going to be based on who has the larger campaign chest and it will be very hard for the democrats to catch up. This election should be based on the facts, like all elections, and not on PACS, Unions, and large donators.

This is why we need an amendment to the constitution that will bar money from politics. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) is trying to pass such an amendment. The sad thing is I believe that even though this amendment would have the two-thirds of states to vote for it, not enough congressmen and senators will vote for it.

Even if that amendment is not passed, we need serious campaign finance reform. No individual donations more that $200 and no organization donations more than $2000. With these laws, no party would have the advantage. Unions, corporations, abortion rights groups and gun rights groups, Warren Buffet or the Koch Brothers.

Over 2,500 years ago Prophet Isaiah said this your rulers are rebels, partners with thieves; they all love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them. (Isaiah 1:23)

With all our technological, medical, and even moral advances, the sad thing is, it is as true today as it was then.