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March 6, 2001
7:25 AM   Subscribe

'Industry pumped in a record 696 million dollars to elect George W. Bush and a GOP Congress. The Mother Jones 400 reveals the nation's top contributors -- and what they expect in return.'

The donors complain in this article about how much they have to shell out. Are their complaints legitimate? Is this simply the cost of doing business? Is this the way campaigns should be funded?
posted by Sean Meade (14 comments total)


 

TomPaine.com: "Women and Children Step Aside! Make Room for the Credit Card Lenders!"



Putting the squeeze on American Families


As for the WSJ question, is their site setup so that the same user can't be logged in more than once simultaneously? I would think so, but does anyone know for certain?
posted by carte at 7:50 AM on March 6, 2001


Excuse me, but i'm going to go cry.It just seems like corporations are only tightening their hold over the political system at the expense of the american public. Screw it, from here on out I'm voting green.
posted by bshort at 8:08 AM on March 6, 2001


carte, I know of some *shared* WSJ accounts. It does not seem to track multiple logins, at least it did not as of three months ago.


posted by vanderwal2 at 8:21 AM on March 6, 2001


I am a bit suspictious that voting Green will suddenly make the corporations go away. Were Nader, for example, to get elected as president, what could he do to banish big bucks from corporations? It is still legal and changing the system requires legislation from congress, which means just about all in congress will have to be Green or convinced to change things. Thus far, no indications whatsoever of such changes in the offing. For every hole covered a loophole created or found.
posted by Postroad at 8:36 AM on March 6, 2001


On this issue, Nader would have no trouble working with congress. He would have made McCain's proposed campaign finance reform a reality. To be fair, Gore claims that he would have done the same, but Gore's track record is too shaky to take him seriously here.
posted by snakey at 12:59 PM on March 6, 2001


Spin, spin, spin.

"a record $3 billion poured into federal campaigns during the last election. An estimated 55 percent went to Bush and GOP candidates for Congress -- and $696 million of that came from corporations and wealthy executives eager to underwrite the Republicans' hands-off approach to business. "


Another way to put this is:
-Republicans were hardly the beneficiaries of all this cash, garnering only 5% more money than the Dems.


-Instead of saying that 695$ came from "corporations and wealty executives" why not say that only 700$ million came from that group, and the rest from individual contributors?


And that's just 1 paragraph. This is hardly a fair account.
posted by Witold at 1:06 PM on March 6, 2001



"Only 700 million" hehe...right on, Witold. What pithy and insightful commentary.

Also, you can tell you're a republican, cause the first thing you do is try to counter-attack democrats. In no way is this article saying that democrats are doing the right thing. The GOP just won the election. I'm sorry, BOUGHT.
posted by Doug at 3:02 PM on March 6, 2001


The hypothetical conservative journal Father Smith (named after Adam Smith, natch) reported it this way: "A record $3 billion poured into federal campaigns during the last election. An estimated 55 percent went to Bush and GOP candidates for Congress -- and more than half of that came from individual contributors, rather than from corporations and wealthy executives."

Same fact, different spin. Which is Witold's point: the article seeps liberal bias merely by the facts it chooses to emphasize. MoJo reports the portion of Republican funding that came from corporations as $696 million, a large number that impresses with its sheer magnitude, while omitting the actual percentage of funding this number represents. (It turns out to be about 42%.) A publication could, as I just illustrated, do the reverse and put the emphasis on the individual contributors, if their goal was to minimize the appearance of corporate influence.

But then Mother Jones has never pretended to be anything but a liberal/progressive publication. Obviously corporate influence is one of the issues they focus on and just as obviously they will report facts in such a way as to support their position. Every publication does this. To their credit, they did not round up and report the amount as "nearly $700 million," which would have been a fair rhetorical tactic.
posted by kindall at 4:25 PM on March 6, 2001


But Kindall, the article is about how much corporations gave to Bush's campaign. It's not "spin" in the sense of a fact being taken out of context, because there is a context here that is being missed...corporations don't give 700 million dollars to a candidate and not want something in return. And while this might be the case with individual contributers as well, the huge amounts of money a single corporation can donate afford them a lot more influence. Even though individuals may have actually donated a higher percentage of money.
posted by Doug at 6:22 PM on March 6, 2001


Nader, a ;oster suggested, would have no trouble working with congress? Congress the very guys that are getting the benefits from corporations and have shown great relucantce to end it. And Mr Nader would convince them when McCain and Feingold are unable to? Nader, whatever else he may be, is no great charmer.
posted by Postroad at 6:57 PM on March 6, 2001


Republicans were hardly the beneficiaries of all this cash, garnering only 5% more money than the Dems.

55 - 45 is 10 percent. I think the fact that Republicans received $300 million more than Democrats in a single election is worth pointing out, though I'll certainly concede that the Democrats are no slouches at whoring for money.

posted by rcade at 7:37 PM on March 6, 2001


Doug: Oh, I agree. I was going off on a slight tangent, that is, the subtle ways the press can signal their biases even when the facts are in context.
posted by kindall at 9:36 PM on March 6, 2001


This is a party-agnostic issue. The money is there in both parties. Within a margin of a few percentage points, they are both equally corrupt. Okay? So let's talk about the real issue:

How do we get rid of this rampant legalized bribery, assuming that's possible or desirable?
posted by Potsy at 2:46 AM on March 7, 2001


How do we get rid of this rampant legalized bribery, assuming that's possible or desirable?

Supporting McCain-Feingold is a good start.
posted by rcade at 7:01 AM on March 7, 2001


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