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At the mercy of Big Money

February 23, 2012 - Blaine Hyska
It’s the political season.

I cannot resist beating the public funded election drum. Why? If they are spending gazillions of dollars on an election, there will be corruption.

And our current system encourages spending sums of money you and I cannot even imagine.

For example:

On the left coast recently, President Obama attended a dinner at the home of soap opera producer Bradley Bell and his wife, Colleen, co-hosted by actor Will Ferrell and his wife, Viveca Paulin. Eighty people attended the private affair, with tickets costing $35,800. Think they were serving brats and burgers? The fundraising benefitted the Obama Victory Fund.

Obama also relies on an extended team of more than 440 supporters who help him raise money, including 61 people who each raised at least half a million dollars. Altogether, those top dollar fundraisers collected at least $75 million last year to help Obama win a second term.

That’s last year.

Obama's campaign reported raising a combined $29.1 million in January among the campaign, the Democratic National Committee and other joint fundraising committees. That’s $29.1 million — in one month.

That’s not all. As you can imagine, Republicans are also pretty good at taking in cash.

The Mitt Romney-leaning Restore Our Future and Newt Gingrich-supportive Winning Our Future raised a combined $17 million in January. Restore Our Future, which had $16 million cash on hand, has been boosted by more than two dozen repeat donors. Winning Our Future, which had $2.4 million in the bank, is largely supported by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife.

Meanwhile, Romney himself raised $6.5 million last month and had $7.7 million on hand, while Gingrich's campaign raised $5.5 million in January and had about $1.8 million in cash remaining.

Endorse Liberty, the group supporting Texas Rep. Ron Paul, reported roughly $2.4 million in donations, including $1.7 from the billionaire founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel of San Francisco. Red, White and Blue, a super committee supporting Rick Santorum, raised $2.1 million in January.

And the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the biggest overall spender in the 2010 midterm elections, doled out about $93 million to help state and federal candidates, mostly Democrats.

A few million here, and a few million there, and the national debt would become a surplus.

People are always complaining about political corruption. Until spending like that is taken off the political table, we will continue to be at the mercy of Big Money. It's a cancer eating away at both political parties.



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