“Billion-dollar presidential race, are you kidding me? In 2016 that’ll be for starters. The country’s going to the highest bidder, I believe. Or it’s perceived to be going to the highest bidder. You’re going to have a few people who are able to play the game and that’ll be it.”—
- U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on his support for a constitutional amendment to regulate campaign spending (Public News Service)
As governor of West Virginia, Manchin helped enact a public financing program for state Supreme Court races that allows candidates to run campaigns for office without having to rely on big donations from interests that might come before the Court.
"Today’s the day a little-known rule by the Federal Communications Commission takes effect for every TV station in the country. In a nutshell, it requires broadcasters that run political ads to disclose who paid for them.
"It may sound like a simple idea. But it could have tremendous effects on the way campaigns compete and spend money — not to mention for third-party groups and members of the general public who are interested in campaign finance, too."
“The American political system is overrun by money. Economic inequality translates into political inequality, and political inequality yields increasing economic inequality.”— Economist Joseph Stiglitz (New York Times)
Fun photo essay on money in politics editorial cartoons through history, including this from the 1870s:
Down through the Gilded Ages and all the boom-to-bust bubbles, one icon of American cartoonography has proven unshakable. There’s something about the symbol of big money in politics that always bends toward the pinstriped cigar-chomping fat cat and the voracious vampire squid.
“Schlepping from here to New York to L.A. to Chicago to New Orleans to Miami to, my God, I don’t know where. Ten thousand here, 20,000 there, 15,000 there. Boy. I don’t miss that.”— Retiring U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), explaining that the constant chase for campaign cash is one reason Congress is so dysfunctional. (Los Angeles Times)
“In lobbying, the name of the game is fundraising, that’s all they care about with us. Sure, we can give them advice, but if we aren’t contributing, what are we doing? If we’re not contributing, we don’t deserve a seat at the table.”— A Republican lobbyist on K Street befriending new House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. (The Hill)
“"We can’t let frustration and cynicism turn to hopelessness and apathy. It’s time to fight for our democracy. If we build a new system that makes everyday Americans just as powerful as the big money crowd, we can ensure that the priorities and concerns of the people will once again fin"d expression in the public policy that comes out of Washington.”— Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) on why Congress should pass his Government By the People Act (via Capital Gazette)
“The more money you’re responsible for putting into a candidate’s coffer, the more likely that you’ll get an audience.”—American Bar Association lobbyist Tom Susman on bundling money for members of Congress. What happens if you can’t put money “into a candidate’s coffer” then? (Center for Public Integrity)
Rep. Michael Grimm's Legal Fees Cost More Than He Raised in the Past Two Months
Embattled Rep. Michael Grimm raised just $47,200 in the past two months, according to his pre-primary report released Thursday, proof that his indictment on tax evasion charges has slowed fundraising for his re-election:
That amount just about equals what he spent on legal fees during the same period:
“You’re entertaining donors that expect to be treated like royalty. It’s another symbol that the big money fundraising system creates an out of touch Congress.”— Public Campaign President Nick Nyhart on all the fancy restaurants and resorts members of Congress spend their time raising money (Politico).
“They are mostly funded by people outside Kentucky. Only 13 percent of [Mitch] McConnell’s money ($2.85 million) comes from the state he represents in the Senate. [Alison Lundergan] Grimes scores higher at 25 percent ($1.5 million).”—Lexington Herald Leader
A study from the Annenberg Public Policy Center at theUniversity of Pennsylvania found viewers who watched Colbert set up a super PAC and a 501 (c)(4) organization during the previous presidential election were better informed about campaign finance and money in politics than viewers of other news shows and channels.
“You now have the potential of 200 people deciding who ends up being elected president every single time.”— President Barack Obama on the power of a few wealthy donors in our political system (Politico Magazine)