If you want change- first thing is we have to close the store where you buy a Congressman

Remember when John McCain used to be associated with campaign finance reform instead of “Joe the plumber”? Well, if we want change, it’s not through term limits, but by placing restrictions that limit political donations to people in their districts.

I always knew we had the best politicians money could buy, but this report should make it crystal clear:

Even though Congressional approval ratings are at rock bottom, incumbents are enjoying their usual advantage. A massive cash advantage. According to a study from the nonprofit campaign watchdog maplight.org, over the past three years House members have raised more than $700 million dollars for their reelection campaigns. More than 70 percent ($500 million) of it from people who can’t even vote for them. From Washington, Marketplace’s Steve Henn reports.

Steve Henn: The typical congressman raises almost 80 percent of his campaign money from people who live outside his district, according to Dan Newman at Maplight.

Dan Newman: Politicians will tell you that they represent you–but if the money that fuels their campaign comes overwhelmingly from elsewhere, that raises real democratic questions about who is really running the show.

James Thurber is a campaign finance expert at American University. He’s been tracking political giving for years.

James Thurber: If members follow the money, in terms of talking to people or even voting a particular way, that really undermines what the constituents want in their district.

Members who represent low-income districts say they have to raise money from outsiders to survive. And no one’s surprised that powerful members who sit on key committees raise money this way.

Thurber: Money goes to people who have power.

But Thurber was surprised so much outside money flowed to even junior lawmakers. In fact, just 13 House members raised more than half their cash from their own constituents.

Marketplace: Outsiders pay most to House campaigns.

Does this bother you as much as it bothers me? Read the whole story to hear about the congressman who gets 99% of his money from outside his district, and thinks it’s rude to ask his constituents for money, when his pockets have already been stuffed.

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6 Responses

  1. J.R. Locke October 31, 2008 / 7:43 am
    I heard that report on the radio the other day. I couldn’t believe it. Doesn’t this completely squash the whole donating money to a campaign is a free speech issue? You really are not supporting your candidate, just the current power structure.
  2. Teri L October 31, 2008 / 3:47 pm
    >Does this bother you as much as it bothers me?

    Very likely more. :-)
    Offensive, it’s horribly offensive to constituents to play us like a violin.

    >Money goes to people who have power.

    It’s not only campaign finance, incumbents enjoy other advantages. Have you renewed your license lately? Who are you writing that check to? It’s no longer “Ohio BMV” it’s the actual name of someone who is running for AG. It absolutely galls me. We know it’s unethical. How is this legal?

    I look for a candidate with integrity. Just because something is legal, doesn’t make it right. If a candidate cannot tell the difference, or surrounds himself with people who don’t know the difference, then they don’t get the honor of representing me. Ever.

  3. Jeff November 1, 2008 / 10:44 am
    Its interesting to see how dear old Mike Turner plays in this, since his metro area crosses into Greene County, which isn’t represented by him. Yet he gets a lot of contributions from defense contractors based in Greene.
  4. pizzabill November 1, 2008 / 4:55 pm
    David,

    What is the address to this store? I’ve looked and looked but can’t find it. I’d like to do some window shopping.

  5. Greg Hunter November 3, 2008 / 8:33 am
    Turner’s seat was bought by defense contractors and he “plays” to the base. Raj Soin an IIT grad, purveyor of the “minority” set aside system ponied up and Mikey lapped it up. No matter that GM is gone, NCR is gone, National City is gone, Lexis Nexis on the way and his school system (DPS) in the dump. Turner is a classic example of the Military Industrial Complex that is a cancer on society. (PS – John McCain was reared in the most socialist organization in the US – The US Military, while OBAMA was tested by the survival of the fittest regime known as “free market capitalism”) It is funny that America will probably have to rely on a Military coup to change this dynamic. The military is only place where history and the constitution are still taught. Maybe someday the military will understand what “protect and defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and DOMESTIC”

    PS Tony Hall gets no better from me as he focused on food instead of DAYTON OHIO – The DDN a corporate tool, does not do its job.

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