The information this post contains months old, but remains timely. So let’s begin with question. Do you participate in politics? Do you even vote? Well, not voting is just plain stupid, and just voting is not enough.
Consider that perennial complaint about money in politics. What is the real problem? Only a small percentage of the population bothers to participate. Moreover, if they contribute less than $200 bucks, we do not even know who these people might be.
Look at this chart from OpenSecrets.Org.
Click here for more information.
Should we disdain that tiny elite for providing campaign contributions? Not necessarily. These people have every right to contribute. We have no reason to assume they all have nefarious motives. The real problem is the lack of participation.When such a small group contains all the people who actively participate, those people who want to buy a politician can too easily do so. When we sit on the sidelines, doing nothing, then we let ourselves be robbed without lifting a finger.
What are some other interesting reads? Here are a few.
- Forbes Magazine’s ‘Richest Americans’ Influence State Politics
The top 20 richest Americans (identified in Forbes magazine), and their companies, contributed an impressive $22.6 million to state-level candidates and political committees from 2005 through 2008. As a group, they gave nearly half ($11.2 million) of all contributions to Republican candidates and committees, with ballot measure committees gaining an impressive 35 percent of the total.
- Meet government worker unions’ 10 best friends in Congress
Public sector unions are among Washington’s heavyweight political contributors. The American Society of County, State and Municipal Employees, for example, was the largest single campaign donor in 2010, spending $87.5 million. Nearly all of AFSCME’s money, along with the tens of millions spent by other public sector unions, went to Democrats.
When we sit on the sidelines, pay taxes, and do nothing, taxes we pay go straight into somebody else’s pocket. That includes both the rich and public employee union members. So take a second look at the candidates who don’t have much campaign money to spend. At least you have some assurance they have not been bought.
Want to know who Virginia politics has money and where it came from? Check out the Virginia Public Access Project.