Tag Archives: political spending

Democracy for sale? (cont.)

In a follow-up piece, the Times continues to follow the money in politics. Turns out, business interests were not able to buy the presidential election — this time.

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, for example, spent millions in this campaign, backing eight conservative candidates. His record:  0-for-8.

Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam.     Photo: Patrick Fallon / NYTimes

Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam. Photo: Patrick Fallon / NYTimes

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Politics: Bad for business?

By Christopher B. Daly 

If business executives and the titans of finance are so good at investing, why do they do so poorly in investing in politicians? Clearly, big business and Wall Street went all-in this time on Mitt Romney and other Republicans. Through direct donations and superPACs, they sank enormous amounts of money (which, by rights, should go to the stockholders) into the Romney campaign and now have nothing to show for it.

Actually, they may have less than nothing to show for it. Because in the process of investing in Romney, they also managed to antagonize the majority of Americans who prefer the other guy.

These thoughts were prompted by a timely piece in today’s Times Business Day section by columnist Eduardo Porter, who tries to follow the money in corporate political donations. Porter estimates that business interests spent about $2 billion and got nothing but ill will.

All of which reminds me of a remark attributed to former hoops wizard Michael Jordan. He became a wealthy businessman by getting into the sneaker business. Later, he was asked why he didn’t endorse Barack Obama. His answer: “Republicans buy shoes too.” (Just recently, Jordan had an apparent change of heart and endorsed Obama.)

For you activists: Some of the biggest donors to conservative candidates and causes are the Koch brothers. Here are some of the companies they own or products those companies make:


Brawny paper towels

Angel Soft toilet paper

Mardi Gras paper napkins

Vanity Fair paper products

Stainmaster carpets

Lycra fabric products.

And before you buy any oil pipelines, be sure to check the label.

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Is democracy for sale?

By Christopher B. Daly

A hat-tip to NPR. As a public service, NPR has compiled a list of the individuals and corporations who have donated $1 million or more to political campaigns or SuperPACs during this presidential election cycle.

Except for a handful of creative people and liberals, it is a conservative landslide. No surprise there. Wealthy people believe that they don’t need government and don’t deserve to be taxed. So, they tend to support the political party that supports their wishes.

I have not added up all the subtotals, but at a glance, here is a candidate for the biggest donor of them all: Sheldon Adelson. Here’s a guy who made a fortune off casino gambling — literally taking money from people who can almost never afford to lose it.

IN what way does all this spending help to strengthen our democracy or improve our society? What on earth gave the Supreme Court the idea that this kind of spending was protected by the Constitution? Do the individuals on the super-donor list love their country more than the rest of us? Do they have better ideas? Do they deserve the kind of giant megaphone that $30 million can buy?


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