The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Money In Politics: Elections To The Highest Bidder; Governance With Less Regard For The People

The Center for Responsive Politics continues to work to educate a populace about money in politics. Unfortunate, we are preoccupied with manipulation and subterfuge from political operatives and we are simply not paying attention. Thus, we relegate ourselves to the uninformed low information voters (LIVS) that provide substantial revenues for cable networks like CNN and Fox News.  

While organizations like the American Legislative Exchange(ALEC) and major plutocrats like the Kochs are well known for huge infusions of cash to politicians, there are other sources. Fortunately, President Obama and the Democrats reaped moderately more contributions than Romney/Ryan and the cabal of US regression (AKA the GOP). 

Our point cannot be better illustrated than the following from Demonocracy Dot Info. If you follow the link to the website, you will come away with validation the Democrats out-paced the GOP in 2012 and you will also find major contributions from small donors carried the elections. Donors giving under $2500 ran roughshod around mega donors from the Right.
US Presidential Elections - For sale to highest bidder
In America, winning the Presidency has proven to be a question of how much money you're willing to spend. The trend constantly shows that, he who spends the most money on elections usually wins. 
A new law in 2010 allowed SuperPACs, through which people can indirectly (often secretly) donate unlimited amounts of money to a candidate. Since the candidate who raises most money, usually wins... the election is up for the highest bidder. Data collection date: 2012-08-14
2012 Presidential Elections - Who gets the most money usually wins

Our candidates have managed to organize serious sums of cash. Donations are mostly limited to $2500 per person, per candidate, but the Campaign finance laws are confusing and full of loop-holes. 

Bank of New York MelFlon - Derivative Exposure


Super PACs: 
Where the donations are spent

SuperPACs spend their money on advertising that attacks or defends a presidential candidate. They usually use the their raised money for negative ads, destroying the candidates that oppose their agenda. 

Obama is getting 'attacked' the most by negative SuperPAC ads. 

Mitt Romney got $14.6 million of positive ads from SuperPACs. 

Super PACs spent $4.86 million on positive ads for Ron Paul, and only $134,000 on negative ads. 

Source: OpenSecrets

2012 Super Pac's Total Raised - American Crossroads, Priorities USA Action, Restore Our Future

The Demonocracy site offers many additional comparisons and each points to the fact that money rules all in US politics. Of particular interest is the section of the page that delineates top donors.

After the Demoncracy data, think about taking a break and coming back to data from Open Secrets. The monitoring authority has published a 10 Things You Need To Know About Money In Politics

We are going to post one chart from the first five of the "10 Things" pages. 

Millionaire candidates

Millionaire candidates present one of the more credible threats to an incumbent, but they don't have a very good track record. During the 2010 election cycle, only 11 of 58 millionaire candidates who challenged House and Senate incumbents using their own money to finance their campaigns actually won.

The rising price of admission

Does the rising cost of elections discourage those without monied connections, or money themselves, from running for elected office? Consider this: The average winner of a U.S. House race in 2010 spent about $1.4 million. The Senate? Nearly seven times more. Hiring staff, running ads and otherwise operating a robust campaign is ever more expensive. And each midterm election or presidential election cycle costs more than the previous one -- by a lot. According to research by OpenSecrets.org, the 2010 midterm election cost $3.6 billion -- about 28% more than the 2006 midterm election. The 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has unleashed tens of millions in spending by special interest groups attempting to advance their agendas.

Large donors took  the nation to the House of Oz in 2010.  We need say no more about a congress that has the lowest approval ratings in US History. 

Every politician loves to talk about all the "small" donations they've received, But the money that really pays for elections comes from big donors, not little ones.
If you've never given money to a politician in your life, join the club. Polls have shown that less than 10% of Americans have ever given a contribution to candidates for any office, at any level. And if you look at contributions big enough to be reported to the Federal Election Commission -- those exceeding $200 -- the number of Americans contributing in a typical election year is infinitesimal. Even in the presidential election year of 2008, which saw more people giving than ever before, barely more than one-half of one percent gave more than $200 to a federal candidate, political action committee or party.


The remaining "Five Things" illustrate exactly what is meant by "Dark Money." 

The messages here: The sad state of money in politics, the power of the small donors in the general elections, and the fact we have to compete as we move in to 2014. 

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