Thursday, April 08, 2010

Campaign Financing in America, the Most Special of Special Interests


Lobbying has been part of the government process ever since the fight for freedom and adoption of the US Constitution in America. No doubt as a result of the pressure put on colonists by special interests during the formation of America, great care was made to protect the fledgling Republic from these marauding manipulators of governments, wars and people.

During debate over the new treasury department there was an argument over the need to form a US National Bank, sought by the international bankers who were bankrolling the revolution and arms bought by the colonists. The fear of international bankers controlling the economy and printing the nation's money was debated extensively. Opposition was led by Thomas Jefferson.

In time the First National Bank was approved and chartered to a group representing the House of Rothschild. When Andrew Jackson was elected our 7th president and served from 1829-1837 he blocked the renewal of the First National Bank charter by vetoing the Congressional bill. It was a bitter battle with the banking interests and before it was through there was an assassination attempt on the president.

So we know special interests have a long and dubious stranglehold on our nation's capitol.

Today it is more prevalent than ever as witnessed by the accommodation of big banks in the TARP program, big labor in the stimulus and health care reforms, Wall Street and Goldman Sachs in the watered down version of Financial reform being considered, Goldman Sachs again in the cap and trade bill proposed, the unions again in the card check bill, and all sources of big bucks in the total lack of campaign reform not being considered by Congress nor advocated by the administration.

Campaign reform, the only hope for America if it goes far enough to break the stranglehold of special interests on our government, remains the elusive dream of justice and the only effective tool to wipe out corruption.

Obama directly spent nearly three quarters of a billion dollars getting elected. Hundreds of millions of additional dollars were spent on his behalf by other political and special interest groups. The same groups are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the campaign coffers of our elected officials yet the media gives no attention to this massive buy out of our politicians.

Paid political advertising must be stopped or our government will always be for sale to the highest bidder. There is no paid advertising in Great Britain yet their government seems to function. Most European nations control the licensing of media companies to a degree that prohibits massive television campaigns yet they seem to function.

Political advertising, which dominates the airways during primary and general election campaigns with often obnoxious and misleading ads should be banned and those media corporations getting federal licenses to use the airways must be required to make available limited time for all legitimate candidates through debates or other forums.

Estimates are that over $5.3 billion dollars were spent during 2008 alone for political television ads for congress and the presidency. That includes spending by candidates, campaign committees, political parties, political action groups, and special interest groups. A few million more was spent on the internet.

Over $5.5 billion was spent to elect 469 politicians. Hundreds of million more dollars have been spent since then by special interests on behalf of legislation they want approved.

No longer can our federal elected officials spend weekends in Washington working on the nation's business because they are running for re-election the day they take office. Of course billions of more dollars are being spent by the same groups to raise the money needed to bombard us with those political ads.

Unfortunately, many media outlet owners are now addicted to the political revenue to stay in business and that raises the most obvious conflict of interest possible for the news media. How could they possibly be advocates or even report fairly on the need for campaign finance reform when their jobs are dependent on that campaign revenue?

It is time Americans realize the campaign money is the root of all evil in Washington and in our media. It is time we realize that meaningful reform, missing from the agenda of our president and both political parties, is the only way to end corruption and special influence peddling in our nation's capitol. It is time we recognize that without such reform, our politicians are on a fast track to permanent slavery to special interests.

Yes, it is time the people demand their elected representatives stop the policy of selling out our government to the highest bidder and ban political advertising in America. European countries have proven that it can be done Constitutionally.

Just as important, if it was done there would be no need for never ending campaigns, for politicians to start raising money for the next campaign the minute they are elected, for them to be spending all their free time raising money rather than taking care of our nation's business, and most of all, for them to be owned by special interests.

Demand campaign finance reform from your politicians. Demand more than just empty promises or watered down actions to achieve these reforms. Do this and there is a chance the Republic may survive. Fail to do this and you will live forever with the corrupt system we now have in place.


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