Friday, April 4, 2014

Motherís milk just got richer

    As the old saying goes, money is the mother’s milk of politics. This week, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling eliminated another limit on how much milk can flow. Individuals can now give as much money as they want to any group or combination of groups involved in a political campaign.
    Casino owner Sheldon Adelson knows something about politics and even more about money. So many potential presidential candidates came to court Adelson’s money during a spring conference in Las Vegas recently that the weekend was dubbed the “Adelson primary.”
    When one individual is able, willing and allowed to invest $34 million in a political campaign, which Adelson did for former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the only vote that counts is his.
    Why claw and scratch for each dollar when one guy can change the game? While the golden rule doesn’t always work in politics, he who has the most gold tends to rule. In the last national campaign, President Obama’s top five donors gave somewhere in the $2 million range; Romney’s top gave a minimum of $3 million.
    If billionaires didn’t believe before that they would eventually triumph, they must believe it now. In 2012, Adelson’s income was approximately $32 million a day. He is one of America’s richest men.
    Between this week’s Supreme Court elimination of legislated contribution limits and the previous Citizens United decision that gave corporations the right to give as much as they want, campaigns will be awash in spin and marketing.
    Citizens and the press must demand to know who is giving what to whom, and judge what those givers expect in exchange. Otherwise, ordinary citizens will be left out of the game before it begins.

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