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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Campaign Donations Next Year

There is commentary from Law Professor Glenn Reynolds on political donations from Wall Street (and businessmen at large) to the flock of politicians on Capitol Hill. It is in Forbes. When you click on the link here there may be a short advert that pops up before the Column.

The first paragraph reads:
An honest politician, as an old saw has it, is one who stays bought. If this is true, then we have the most dishonest bunch of officeholders ever, and it may lead Wall Street to reconsider its donations in the future.
Then he lists some of the donations:
"Some of the AIG donations to lawmakers include Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., $103,100; then-Sen., now President Barack Obama, D-Ill., $101,332; then-Sen., now Vice President Joe Biden, D-Del., $19,975; Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., $59,499; former Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., $35,965; Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., $11,000; and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., $24,750."
Worse, Professor Reynolds notes that it appears Senator Dodd can not be bought, he can only be leased.

This doesn't even count Senator Chris Dodd's wife being on the board of directors of an AIG subsidiary for four years. She didn't make a fortune, but given Senator Dodd's position on the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, it is at least tacky.

Congress is about legislating and listening to constituencies. Working people are a constituency. A subset of that constituency is the businessmen (and women) who are key to making key resource allocation decisions that make the economy go. They too are a constituency. They have every right to petition Congress and make contributions. It seems Congress took the money and then abandoned those who contributed, but are not willing to give the money back.

Here is the end of the column:
Politicians are already gearing up for the 2010 election season. That means many of the same members of Congress who are currently running with the lynch mob will be back in search of more contributions soon enough.

Perhaps folks in the financial industry should tell them no and consider donating to candidates who believe in free markets--and who possess a bit of backbone--instead. If incumbents' offers of "protection" are illusory, you might as well support people who believe in what you do. A Congress with a sense of decency and a respect for markets would be better protection than the questionable gratitude of politicos anyway.
Regards  --  Cliff

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