Washington, DC (TFC) – Politicians are on the fundraising trail as they look to fill their pockets for the 2016 elections. Rarely people ask where the hundreds of millions in donations come from. Here is a hint, it isn’t from your grandma sending checks for $5 to the candidate she thought had the best interview on the Ellen show. People often say that politicians are bought off. This brings to mind the image of people meeting in an alley during a midnight rainstorm and exchanging an envelope full of cash. The truth is stranger than fiction.
Political campaigns are backed and funded by corporations and big business. Sure, averages citizens do send in private donations; but these are drops in the bucket in comparison to the money corporate donors are forking over. The question remains; why do corporations have an interest in donating hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars backing politicians as they run for office?
These are the same corporations that cut the wages, benefits, and the pension of their employees every chance that they get. The same corporations who cry out that they are barely able to keep their doors open each year. What makes the wallet hinges glide with ease when it comes time to fund the next potential elected politician? The reason is simple. Big business has a personal gain to make.
A major coal extraction company doesn’t care about sponsoring candidates who want to improve the quality of your miniscule life. They don’t care about backing a politician who will vote for tax cuts for the middle class, or minimum wage increases. They definitely don’t want a candidate in office who will vote for clean air acts, or someone who has an interest in researching and investing in renewable energy sources.
The coal company wants someone in office who will maintain the company vision. Someone who will help them stick to the business plan that keeps the fat cats getting fatter. They sponsor weasels. They sponsor worms. They sponsor individuals who are willing to do anything they can to get into office. Personal gain, personal gain, personal gain. Amazingly, this is all done legally through a program deceptively called Citizens United.
In 1988, Citizens United was founded by a Political Action Committee in Washington D.C., and was backed by a Supreme Court ruling in 2008. In short, this movement removed the set boundaries and regulations of money that can be donated and spent during campaigns. In the early years the power of this legislation was not fully being taken advantage of. That is until corporations figured out that they could basically buy, sell, and trade whoever they wanted to hold a political office.
Collected data from the 2012 elections show that the candidate who has the most financial backing will have an election success rate between 90% – 95% of the time. It is terrifying that elections are not about key issue, or what is best for the citizens of the country. Elections have become about who can beat their name into people’s brains the hardest by running the most television commercials.
These purchased political patsy’s are pushing corporate agendas, voting for lowered taxes for the wealthy, and raised taxes for the rest. They are slashing the funding to our schools. They are letting our roads, bridges, and communities crumble. They are having a great time, and patting each other on the back while doing it.
To stop this trend would be quite simple. Legislation just needs to be passed that would not let corporations or individuals donate to the campaign funds of aspiring politicians. Good luck finding people in office who would be interested in making such changes. Elected officials would never bite the hand that feeds them. They have no reason to structure legislation that would take away the funding process that not only put them in office, but is keeping them there.
We must stand together with eyes open. We must understand who is truly selecting our representatives each election term. We are now trapped, and we can’t even gnaw off our own leg to get away.
Bentley, N. (2015). What is Citizens United? An Introduction. Retrieved from:
Communications. (2008) Money Wins Presidency. Retrieved from: