Friday, March 14, 2014

Money Suppress Vote Ugly Campaigns = Lame Congress

I call this post: Velkom to Democratic-We the People-Open Elections-Level Playing Field for Everyone-Equality, Justice, and Fair Representation in Congress. Were it true — it ain't!!! That chart caught my eye and I pretty much already knew that fact. It is posted here with a ton of money-related data that is good to know, for those who like this stuff like I do. I love their logo:

My input for what's it worth:

Hey, it’s just good government and only access to your Representative and Senator, right – ha – think again. How about quid pro quo – you donate to me and I’ll scratch your back or – the real return on the big money’s investment: 

Big money bundlers:

·        In 2000, there was just one tier of money bundlers disclosed by George W. Bush: those who raised at least $100,000.
·        In 2004, Mr. Bush added other tiers.
·        President Obama has had four tiers of bundlers for each of his campaigns.

The amount raised for winning presidential candidates has also grown:

·        In 2000, it was at least $55.8 million.
·        In 2004, at least $79 million.
·        In 2008, a minimum of $76.25 million.
·        In 2012, the floor was $186.5 million.

Hand-in-hand with the increasing sophistication of and reliance on bundlers is the heightened rate of personal reward or return for those who bundle (payback for their sweat and effort as it were, eh?).

George W. Bush during his eight years in office appointed about 200 bundlers to posts in his administration.
President Obama had already appointed 184 bundlers to his administration in his first term alone.

It is clear that bigger bundlers get more recognition, as nearly 80 percent of those collecting more than $500,000 for the Obama campaign took key administration posts as defined by the White House.
Thirty-five of Obama's ambassador-level appointments as former bundlers for his campaign. The ambassadorships to France, the United Kingdom, and the European Union all went to campaign bundlers.

The value of each member’s assets, that is their income and liabilities is reported in ranges, so it is impossible to pin down an exact figure. This oddity, which is not seen elsewhere in public filings, is actually a feature of the Ethics in Government Act of 1978, which requires the disclosures and is intended to sacrifice precision for the sake of lawmakers' privacy. The result is a complicated set of data that is difficult to analyze and compare. 

For example: Options for these ranges on the disclosure forms vary from between $1,000 and $15,000 to between $250,000 and $500,000, and even between $25 million and $50 million. However, the top range used for assets held by a filer's spouse is over $1 million, meaning that the worth of public officials married to billionaires is vastly understated. 

And, to be honest, spouses could have hundreds of millions invested in companies that lawmakers regulate, but we wouldn't know that from the disclosure statements. (Call it pillow talk politics).

I always remember this when talking about this issue and how it greatly (and negatively) impacts us. At least form my point of view, that is knowledge and enlightenment about our government and what we want, not what others tell us they want us to have: 

“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”  — James Madison (4th President)

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