The Price of Politics

In the last federal campaign cycle, approximately 6 billion dollars was contributed to candidates or political committees by individuals.  This number does not include the dollars contributed to outside organizations, such as Political Action Committees (PACs) and Super PACs.  According to this article from the Washington Post, there is another astonishing number that must be addressed.  Of that 6 billion dollars, 28% of it was contributed by 31,385 people.  This means that 1% (one-tenth) of 1% of all Americans contribute 28% of the money to federal political campaigns and committees.

What are your thoughts after reading the article?  Should anything be done to limit contributions in political campaigns?  After all, there are limits in place.  The OpenSecrets website helps address that aspect.

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12 responses to “The Price of Politics

  1. April Medinger

    Reading this article only confirmed my belief in how appalling this statistic is. For one tenth of one percent to basically shape the agenda in politics is both ridiculous and disgusting at the same time. In my opinion, the limits for funding that are set do not even scratch the surface of addressing this problem. Politicians are bought and sold by these individuals that mainly represent corporations (inadvertently) that stand to make HUGE PROFITS from backing the politicians that will move their agenda forward. I believe that we should ultimately remove money from the equation completely, so that leaders are judged by solely on their merit, and not by how much money their campaign ‘coffers’ hold.

  2. I’m not sure regulating or limiting political contributions would really do much, unless you made a flat across the board law that said you can only donate $XXXX.XX amount of money. Even if that was the case, People would just find ways around the law. When Campaign Financing Reform took place it was supposed to limit where money came from and it failed in the last election considering it was the most money brought in and spent in an election year. It failed in a sense that PACs and SuperPACs were formed by the very people that gave money to campaigns like Carl Rove and Michael Bloomberg. They just now hide behind an “organization” name rather than it stating it came directly from them. Look how Bloomberg influenced the election or Robin Kelly (Jessie Jackson’s old seat) and he is the New York mayor. Now he’s throwing support around Bill Daley for governor.

    I just don’t think that limiting the contributions makes a difference there will always be a way around how things are done. I think these laws are written with built in loopholes from the beginning.

  3. Theresa Gergits

    After reading this article, I was astonished, upset and sad. If there are limits in place, I think the limit needs to be addressed and significantly lowered. 6 billion dollars is too much money for political campaigns, and I am sure not all of that money was used only for campaigns. If money of that magnitude can be raised, it should be put forth for a much better purpose in America, such as, employment opportunities or to non-profit organizations to help our nation’s hunger and homelessness issues. To think of how many lives that could be changed in positive ways by that amount of money is staggering.

  4. After reading the WP article, I also clicked over to the original SunLight article and took a look at the breakdown of the donators. It turns out the 8th most common employer of the 1% of the 1% is Harvard University with 33 donators for a total of $1,049,667 and an average $37,466 per donation. I was shocked to see a world-renown and perennially top college in the United States listed amongst the likes of Akin Group, Patton Boggs, and Skadden Arps, all law firms.

    But with the tremendous amount of lawyers making up our political system, many graduating from Harvard Law School, a connection does exist between the two entities. It is amazing, however, that those alumni were able to convince the school to give money to their cause. Maybe I should give my alma mater a call and see if they would be willing to give me $37,000.

  5. Kyle Lieberman

    It’s a sad truth but after reading this article it confirmed it more for me that big businesses and the ultra-wealthy run the political system. You can’t deny that these large corporations or the ultra-wealthy individuals that own these companies aren’t making these extremely large political donations without hopes of getting a favor in return or at least putting someone in office who shares very similar interests to your own personal political beliefs. But I don’t think that lowering the limit on the amount of money that can be donated would affect anything because their are always ways around limits like that and people will still find ways to contribute large amounts of money to who they want to win.

  6. This does not surprise me one bit. It just goes to prove that the ultra wealthy and big businesses pretty much control politics. In order to get noticed in campaigns you need money and most of the money will go to who has the most pull. Even with laws in place people will find ways around it, just like everything else in politics.

  7. Martin Maggio

    This does not surprise me one bit. It just goes to prove that the ultra wealthy and big businesses pretty much control politics. In order to get noticed in campaigns you need money and most of the money will go to who has the most pull. Even with laws in place people will find ways around it, just like everything else in politics

  8. My thoughts are simple, political pull and power. It’s not everyday a person gives up $27,000 to a person they don’t know. But someone would if they want them to like them and would like to have the person running for office know them personally. Money has an interesting effect in the world of politics and reading the article about how ‘1% of the 1%’ would barely half-fill FedEx Field (home of the Washington Redskins for those of you don’t know) and those that would donate donated “the median salary” of the entire U.S. population, this baffles my mind.

  9. After reading this article I was amazed at how much money comes from such a small group of Americans. It shows that these people with all this money are manipulating politics and using money to get in with politics. Something should be done to limit the amount of money one can give so that they can not just buy them self political say. I would never have guessed that so much of political donations only come from 1% of the 1%.

  10. I agree with many of the preceding posts. It is an utter travesty that the top 1% of the 1% have so much influence and control in U.S. politics. While this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed, it is difficult to say how it can be fixed. The average American doesn’t have as much money to just give away to political campaigns. I must admit that I have never donated to political campaigns as I just don’t see what good it will do. I would rather donate to a charity in need than campaigns which I know will get large donations from PACs.

  11. My thoughts after reading this article is what I expected. The wealthy contribute the most and have the most influence because of it. There already are limits on donations to political candidates and there should be limits to PAC’s as well. So few people donating that high amount of money has to have some influence on candidates, as you can’t get anywhere in politics without having money and making friends out of those donors. People will always find a way around limits but having them in place will at least show some transparency in campaign finances.

  12. Mary Hastings

    Being around politics this article does not shock me at all. I often think of politics as a business. In order to win you have to work hard and net work with wealthy. Unfortunately, in today’s society in order to send out your message money is essential. I agree with the majority that there are ways around limits. But personally, I think there are much bigger issues in our government, and campaign finances should be the least of our worries.

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