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December 20, 2014

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Letter to the editor:

What was the end game for donors?

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Quite interesting was the article in Sunday’s edition by Anjeanette Damon on the super PACs (thank you, Chief Justice John Roberts) and some of their major donors. However, the unanswered question is: Just what did they want for their tens of millions of dollars? Ever lower tax rates with more loopholes? A direct line to the president, along with one to Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and John Boehner? To implement more risky financial schemes? Around 150 years ago, the railroad “robber barons” worked to have the best Congress money can buy. A new generation of “barons” seems to be trying to reinvent that.

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  1. It's easy to suspect an ulterior motive behind some of the super-PACs (no matter what candidate they support) but the ad by Thomas Peterffy seems to be a different breed of cat. His ad is most likely the basic reason that people can argue that money is speech.

    That said, Peterffy's ad was a completely private endeavor, not part of a PAC, and well identified to the funding source, which was his own personal funds.

    I think if we want to have any type of campaign funding reform we must start by having the law (read Constitution) specifically say that only a person that is entitled to vote may contribute to a campaign or engage in the political process.

    Free speech is one of the most precious rights we have, which means we must protect it from any form of abuse that gives government the wedge to chip away at it. This might sound like a paradox, but it isn't.

    Corporations (both for-profit and non-profit) and other organizations that are otherwise considered to have "corporate personhood" can not enter the voting booth. A simple, minimal amendment should be proposed that defines this difference between legal constructs and a natural person.

    And before someone says that corporations (of all types) are people and are entitled to the same free speech as a natural person, I submit that commercial speech is not protected speech as witnessed to by various truth in advertising and labeling laws.

    A precedent is there. Now we need some very smart people and braver still members of Congress to make it happen.

  2. The 'end' game of all donors, big or small is to influence the government to take actions that benefit them.

    If we really want to allow our elected representatives to be free to do what benefits the country as a whole instead of what benefits groups, unions, individuals and businesses, we need public financing, term limits and lobbying reform.

    Mr. Corrick seems to believe that since Romney didn't win, the 'special' interests failed in their goals. Sorry, Mr. Corrick, but EVERY DAY, the same individuals, Unions, Businesses and Groups, along with their lobbyists use money to make sure our elected representatives represent their interests and not ours.

    Public financing is the ONLY way to stop that from happening.

    Michael

  3. The answer to the letter writer's question is simple. On one end, the donors wanted the best and most hopeful 4 years for their country. On the other, they wanted to secure a link to political power had their candidate won. And there are hundreds of reasons in bewteen all of which are mutually inclusive.

    CarmineD

  4. Michael,

    I understand your position and desire to reduce the potential for corruption in our politics. (It is understood that it can not be eliminated.) But I don't think public funding of campaigns is the way to do this.

    The idea of public funding goes against the grain of two of our most precious rights, free speech and freedom of assembly. Public funding (such as the checkbox on the 1040 form) implies that every citizen is going to contribute to the support of every candidate, *whether that citizen supports that candidate or not*.

    No, the real solution is for We The People (no pun intended) to either elect leaders or take the steps needed to enact laws or an amendment that restrict or eliminate the ability of non-voting entities from having an influence over our election process.

  5. What did they want for their tens of millions of dollars? Hundreds of millions of dollars!

  6. PISCES41,

    Agreed, but I think you are off by at least an order of magnitude.

    Looking at opensecrets.org, both sides spent roughly the same amount when looking at campaign committees and PACs combined. Given that the job of President pays an insignificant amount in relation to what was spent on obtaining the job, one has to wonder what the real payoff is (or to who.)

  7. Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn are good examples of big money being donated to a National campaign.

    What were they expecting in return for all the donations? What were they buying? What were they promised, if anything?

    It looks as if they became suckers for the Republican Party by giving all that money to a flawed campaign, when much of America knew the real deal.

    Money went to Super Pacs controlled by Karl Rove, then to the Republican Party, then to Republican candidates like Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. Then to Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. And then money was given to House member Eric Cantor.

    They gave to so much willingly to flawed candidates. What were they buying? What did they expect in return for the huge donations to a flawed and failed campaign?

    Whatever it is, they were determine to get it by using "anyone" from the Republican party.

  8. Longtimevegan,

    You can ask the very same question of Bill Gates supporting President Obama. According to OpenSecrets.org ( http://www.opensecrets.org/pres12/index.... ) Microsoft was the second largest contributor to Obama. It is well known that Gates want an increased (preferably unlimited) number of H1B visas. What did he expect?

    Although this letter appears to be picking on only one side, BOTH should answer some serious questions about their ethics (or lack thereof.)

  9. Boftx,

    You are correct, Bill Gates supported President Obama in a big way. What was he after?

    Well, lets look at what Bill Gates is doing in comparison to what Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson are doing. All three are businessman. The key is what are they doing to give back to society? On the face, Bill Gates activities are totally different from our two job creators in Las Vegas. I guess the comparison could be the sort of desperate coming from Wynn and Adelson in backing some many flawed Republican candidates. Doing the homework on the election numbers, President Obama chances of losing re-election were very slim. Either the turn-out had to be low, or voter fraud had to be in play. The numbers were telling for months. Why back a candidate or candidates that would lose based on the numbers? The final numbers were worse.

    Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson are people who understand numbers. Why did these guys reject the numbers two months before the election? If Bill Gates had the same numbers, I think Bill would have backed off and played both sides. We have no way of knowing if at the end Wynn and Adelson made contact with the Obama campaign to hedge their bets. It just seem like a dumb move on the part of two very good casino operators to back a losing proposition. Why?