This week I read a New York Times article about a D.C. lobbying firm that apparently exerts a great deal of control on states Attorneys General. New York Times Article I also have a habit of reading ethics reports of various Missouri political candidates. MIssouri Ethics Commission. Look on the page where it lists contributions over $5,000. Rex Sinquefield contributes millions of dollars, literally, to candidates. Recently he contributed $750,000 to the campaign of Catherine Hanaway. But, don't get me wrong, these types of contributions are for candidates on both sides of the aisle. Politics these days is big money. Candidates need not go to the gambling boats, or work hard. Just find a political sugar daddy, the Koch brothers, Rex Sinquefield or any number of the newly crowned humans, these 'people" corporations of unlimited means. These disclosures make me sad. Since the Citizens United case, there is no limit on political contributions. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The people, who now include corporations, with the most money can theoretically control our government. You know how corporations are legally and officially people now. In fact, it probably is conceivable that a person can marry a corporation. You may wonder how a marriage to a corporation is consummated, but it should be obvious to all, that corporations now screw people every day.
I do not know if elections of public officials was ever fair. We have had political bosses, such as Boss Tweed and Tom Pendergast in our past. You would think in today's day and age we might have come up with something better. But, what incentive do people have to do away with obscene campaign contributions when it is those in power who want to maintain the status quo? Peruse the ethics commission records and it may surprise you what attorneys general do with the political contributions they gather, spending it on McDonald's meals, Starbucks coffee, everyday expenses that the rest of us use our paychecks to cover. Money is power in the political realm and at times those people who seek political office in reality seek money and power.
Our system is one of legalized bribery. How can we condemn corrupt regimes who benefit the rich and powerful in order to receive riches and power when that is exactly what our political system rewards. I do not know of a better way to find political candidates than the self-selection process we now have, but I can envision a better way of controlling the bribery. We should have political contribution limits. We should have limits on campaign durations. We should have better limits on what political contributions can fund. We should pay more public funds to all campaigns and limit spending.
In a couple of days the political advertisements will end. Then we get on to the task of seeing the real fruit of the contributions. We will see the bills proposed or opposed based on the contributions received. We have a sordid system of conducting our government. The people who would be the best and most altruistic do not have the stomach for politics and its requirement of constant campaigning and begging for campaign contributions. In fact, in light of the legalized bribery system we have, is it any wonder that politicians' motives are generally suspect. It disturbs me when I think about our system. Sure, we do not have wide-scale tyranny and we are fond of saying that we have a flawed system, but it is the best system in the world. Is that true? And if it is true, is that any reason to stop making it better. As long as unbridled political contributions are sought and allowed, our countries political system, and the country itself, is in danger.