I came across a graphic in regards to campaign fundraising for the 2013-2014 election cycle that would normally be quite shocking. The website Masters-In-Accounting.org has created a handy informational graphic called “Who Owns Your Congressman?”. This very interesting graphic shows where the big money originates in our system and who’s benefiting the most from the influx of cash. Thanks to ever loosening campaign finance laws, I think we’re only at the tip of the avalanche of money that’s about to overcome our political system. It’s often joked about, but there may soon be a day where elected officials simply wear NASCAR styled suits with all their sponsors listed. I think that’s the closest we will ever get to campaign finance transparency.
With a total of approximately $441,501,321 raised in campaign contributions, that is enough to pay the $174,000 salary for all 535 members of Congress for almost 5 years. As the graphic states, there are other uses for that money that could better this country as opposed to re-electing 85% of the people who are getting paid to pretty much do nothing but avoid doing the jobs they were elected to do.
If there is no better graphic available, this one should be proof enough to show we need public financing of elections. There is no way anybody can expect honesty and trustworthiness to come from a system with that much money circulating around. People are not giving huge sums of money just for the ego stroke of helping someone win a popularity contest. As the saying goes, “To the victor goes the spoils”, and you’d better believe there’s quid pro quo in effect when this kind of money is being tossed around.
How much longer will we tolerate such a system here in America? We can’t demand others hold fair and honest elections while we don’t require the same here. If we’re going to continue to go this route, we may as well let these campaign donors pay the salaries of Congress instead of using taxpayer dollars. It’s not like Congress is doing anything for us anyway. They’re too busy taking care of things for their sponsors. We could then direct that money towards things to actually help out those of us who don’t have millions to spend on our own personal Congressman.
Next summer, the SCOTUS will drop another decision in the succession of campaign finance cases. I’m hoping they will see the wisdom in limiting the potential corruption of our system with the injection of massive sums of money, but based on previous rulings, I think I have a better chance of being the winning quarterback in this year’s Super Bowl.
- Real-Time Disclosure – One Simple Fix for a More Informed Public (sunlightfoundation.com)
- Leadership PACs – Built for Corruption (sportmystic.com)
- Who Owns Your Congressman? – Infographic (opposingviews.com)
- Who owns your members of Congress (dancingczars.wordpress.com)
- The business of politics is a billion-dollar industry (naplesnews.com)
- Wingnut PAC grifters tell FEC: “Suck it. You’re not the boss of me” even though they are (rawstory.com)
- America for sale, democracy the loser (collegian.com)