big money in politics

The Trust deficit that is plaguing America

I recently posted in a Facebook group dedicated to politics about the judge's decision to open up the churches, and one of the commenters asked where all the attacks on Governor Cooper's pandemic restrictions were coming from. I explained about the upcoming election, including Dan Forest's dismal poll numbers, and that has definitely played a role in the visible pushback. Forest is connected to both the ReopenNC people and the Return America group that filed the lawsuit.

But in order to really understand why these (and many other) people are primed to defy common-sense government actions, we need to delve into the trust deficit that has been building for decades. Follow me below the fold if you can trust me to not mislead you:

Quid pro tobacco

e-cigarettes are booming. States are trying to determine how this new product should be taxed, especially as it relates to tobacco products.

The NC GOP had this debate last year, and to no one's surprise, it was all about pay to play.

Months after state lawmakers agreed to apply a favorable tax rate to their e-cigarette products, Reynolds American Inc, the parent company of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., gave $50,000 to a nonprofit group affiliated with state House Republicans.

McCrory's meltdown

Pat McCrory really doesn't like anyone shattering his delusions. Where Pat lives, in Alternate Realityville, he is always right, he has high ethical standards and everyone loves him.

When the Associated Press pointed out that Pat got a nice payoff from the Lending Tree folks, and that he hadn't actually earned that payoff according to the standard rules, and that the didn't fully report the payoff on his ethics forms, and that he didn't actually resign fro the Lending Tree board until after he became governor, and that there were several irregularities associated with this transaction; and then reminded readers that all this was reminiscent of Pat's previous highly questionable behavior surrounding his Duke Energy stock holdings, Pat melted down. [And not just because attempts to describe all of Pat's vagaries result in an extreme run-on sentence :-) ].

The day after a wire service reported that North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory received a six-figure stock payout from an online mortgage broker that is regulated by the state, the governor’s emphatic reaction to the story nearly eclipsed the news itself.

Congress set to open the floodgates on campaign cash

But hey, it's just the Free Market at work:

Beyond that, some see this as a way for the parties to wrest back some of the influence they've lost to Super PACs since the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United ruling.

When independent political organizations can collect unlimited amounts of money from billionaires, and spend it to elect favorite politicians, who are the pols beholden to? Why should the parties have to live with restrictions and lose their pull? This wouldn't do away with limits, but it would open the gates for millions of dollars more.

And (once again) vastly increase the gap between the haves and the have-nots, when it comes to influencing the direction of public policy. A phrase which frankly is beginning to sound more and more ludicrous as time goes by. We may as well just start calling it what it is, the "corporate agenda" enactments of subsidized misrepresentatives.

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