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Plutocracy Rules October 3, 2010

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Dwight Furrow's Posts, politics, Uncategorized.
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Maybe this is why so many independents are planning to vote Republican this year—they watch too much TV.

A couple weeks ago The NY Times reported on how a supposedly non-profit group is funding the upcoming election thanks to the Roberts Supreme Court.

Americans for Job Security, investigators found, had helped create the illusion of a popular upwelling to shield the identity of a local financier who paid for most of the referendum campaign. More broadly, they said, far from being a national movement advocating a “pro-paycheck message,” the group is actually a front for a coterie of political operatives, devised to sidestep campaign disclosure rules.

“Americans for Job Security has no purpose other than to cover various money trails all over the country,” the staff of the Alaska Public Offices Commission said in a report last year…Americans for Job Security avoids disclosure by reporting all its revenue as “membership dues.” It claims more than 1,000 members. But a review of its tax returns shows membership revenue fluctuating wildly depending on election cycles — similar to the fund-raising of political committees that escalates during campaign season.

Meanwhile tea party nitwits, who believe Americans for Job Security is some sort of grassroots organization, vigorously  join with their bosses in preserving tax cuts for millionaires  while cutting schools, public health or anything else associated with government (except for the military).

Michael Luo and Stephanie Strom report in the New York Times:

Interviews with a half-dozen campaign finance lawyers yielded an anecdotal portrait of corporate political spending since the Citizens United decision. They agreed that most prominent, publicly traded companies are staying on the sidelines.

But other companies, mostly privately held, and often small to medium size, are jumping in, mainly on the Republican side. Almost all of them are doing so through 501(c) organizations, as opposed to directly sponsoring advertisements themselves, the lawyers said.

“I can tell you from personal experience, the money’s flowing,” said Michael E. Toner, a former Republican FEC commissioner, now in private practice at the firm Bryan Cave.

There are no hard figures about corporate financing of elections because they no longer are required to disclose their donations.

Jonathan Martin of Politico using internal Democratic data reports that as of 2 weeks ago pro-Republican organizations had paid for a total of $23.6 million worth of ads compared to $4.8 million for Democratic-aligned groups. Over the next four weeks, GOP groups have $9.4 million worth of TV ads reserved across 40 districts compared to $1.3 million in five districts for Democratic groups.

Now that the supreme court has eviscerated campaign finance rules, there are no constraints on corporate cash flowing to conservative causes. I suspect this is happening all across the country. We no longer live in democracy; we live in a plutocracy in which business interests can spend any amount they wish to control political ads on TV.

book-section-book-cover2 Dwight Furrow is author of

Reviving the Left: The Need to Restore Liberal Values in America

For political commentary by Dwight Furrow visit: www.revivingliberalism.com

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