Soft money and special interest money influence public officials and minipulate elections. Special interests prevent campaign finance reform.

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Soft Money - Special Interest Money


Contributed to the Party for '98 Campaign
Democratic
Party

$101,000,000

Republicans and Democrats rejoice over Soft Money Contributions
Republican
Party

$140,500,000

Reform
Party

$ 0

They Pledge Allegiance to
Special Interest Money

We probably all know the Pledge of Allegiance. Some have said it every day in grade school (if you are old enough).


I pledge allegiance to the flag
Of the United States of America
And to the Republic for which it stands
One nation under God
Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

But, in Congress, there is another pledge of allegiance. It's not to the flag, but rather to the companies that provide soft money and PAC money for reelection campaigns. And election campaigns for Congress often run millions of dollars for each candidate. That's a lot of money to raise every two years. That money doesn't come from companies just for good government, but for proper votes on issues critical to the profits of those companies.

Soft Money and PAC Money for ALL! Corporate Political Action Committees (PACs) can donate money directly to candidates (for both primary as well as the general election) and to national election committees. Laws place limits for contributions to individual candidates and political parties.

However, a Federal Election Commission ruling in 1978 created loopholes that allowed large contributions of (so called "soft") money to the national parties, not to support political candidates, but for party building activities. The first soft money contributions began with the 1988 presidential campaign and grew rapidly ever since.

A new corporate pledge of allegiance could go something like this:


I pledge allegiance to the companies
Of the United States and the World
And to the profits they shall make;
PAC money for my campaign means
Subsidies and tax breaks for all.

Lobbyists in Washington D.C. seek laws favorable to the profits of the companies or organizations they represent.

Sen. Russell Feingold

Today, we are still faced with wealthy special interests that carry far too much clout in Washington, largely because the Tillman Act and other campaign-finance laws have been rendered meaningless by the growth of soft money.

Today, corporations, unions and wealthy individuals give unlimited contributions of soft money to the political parities. Soft money has given these interests the kind of influence over Congress that La Follette once railed against so passionately and effectively.

Soft money, Special interest money

It's the American Way

It's not just for good government that the founders of Amway give loads of money to the Republican Party. Giving a cool million dollars in 1997 was good business for Amway. The Republican congress quickly passed Provision C, Section XI of the budget that gave Amway a $280 million tax windfall.

Sugar in the Morning, Sugar in the Evening
Sugar in the Fuel Tank

The Archer Daniels Midland Corporation (ADM) has been the most prominent recipient of corporate welfare in recent U.S. history. Thanks to federal protection of the domestic sugar industry, ethanol subsidies, subsidized grain exports, and various other programs, ADM has cost the American economy billions of dollars since 1980 and has indirectly cost Americans tens of billions of dollars in higher prices and higher taxes over that same period. At least 43 percent of ADM's annual profits are from products heavily subsidized or protected by the American government. Moreover, every $1 of profits earned by ADM's corn sweetener operation costs consumers $10, and every $1 of profits earned by its ethanol operation costs taxpayers $30. Is it merely for good government that Archer Daniels and its owner, Dwayne Andreas, give liberally to the Republican and Democratic parties and politicians?

What's $50 Million a Year Worth?

Pharmaceutical manufacturers, drug companies, typically make $50 million a year from sales of each drug. Now, more than 100 million Americans take medicines that were not intended for their ailments. Congress recently passed legislation to reduce the amount of testing required before drugs can be recommended for uses not approved by the regulators; drug companies can promote untested drug uses first, then test later. Congress also extended the patents on drugs from 17 years to 20 years. This enabled Glaxo Wellcome to exclusively market the formulation of Zantac to ulcer suffers another three years--while making nearly $6 million a day. Was the $41 million the drug industry funneled to lawmakers in a 1998 a wise investment? You bet it was!

What's Good for Business is Good for America

What about Rupert Murdoch and his sale of his television stations to the Chicago Tribune? Rupert Murdoch is a big supporter of the Republican party and its Congressional candidates. Congress gleefully inserted a neat clause into the tax code: "For purposes of clause 1, material terms of a contract shall not be treated as contingent on the issuance of an FCC tax certificate solely because such terms provide that the sale price would, if such certificate were not issued, be increased by an amount not greater than 10 percent of the sales price otherwise provided in the contract." This little clause saved Mr. Murdoch somewhere between $30 and $63 million. Another good deal? You bet!

Turn on Your TV and Watch
Congress' $70 Billion Give Away

The broadcast industry has always supported career politicians. Between 1987 and 1966 broadcasters contributed $60.6 million to Congressional campaigns from Political Action Committees directly to candidates. They also made a $3.1 million contribution to the major parties. Broadcast executives contributed another $400,000. (See Common Cause.) Is there a reason why the National Association of Broadcasters and nearly every company that owns a broadcast network are so interested in ensuring good government?

Perhaps one reason is that Congress gave broadcasters free digital TV licenses worth up to $70 Billion in 1996. And changes to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule governing the return of old analog TV licenses now make it likely that broadcasters will get to keep their analog licenses indefinitely.

Another reason could be that Congress removed an FCC regulation that prevented a media company from dominating a particular market. The new language opens the door for media companies to eventually own two TV stations, or one newspaper and one TV station in markets with a population of at least 400,000.

Yet another reason for huge political contributions might be the defeat by members of Congress of a provision that would have imposed fees on broadcasters for "renting" their access to broadcast spectrum. This revenue loss caused Congress to scramble to find an extra $3 billion from elsewhere in the budget, and ended up tapping a fund established to subsidize rural phone service.

These are some of the good reasons for broadcasters to contribute to friendly career politicians.

Money for the taking

Favorable laws can be extremely lucrative for corporations and their stockholders. No one knows this better than your distinguished Congressional representatives. And they take full advantage of this knowledge.

For example, many influential Congressman own big blocks of communication company stock. Senators John Kerry, Judd Gregg, and Porter Goss held $50,000 or more of Motorola stock. Representatives Norman Sisisky and Martin Hoke owned more than $50,000 of Walt Disney stock. Representative Nita Lowey and Senator John Warner owned $50,000 or more of Time Warner stock. Other distinguished Congressional representatives owned large blocks of US West Communications, Bell Atlantic, and AT&T. All prospered from new laws making communication companies more profitable.

Enough is Enough!

American is the land of milk and honey. Unfortunately, it is ruled by those with a lust for money. Fortunately for the career politicians, there are rich people with special interests who will gladly trade a little money to get a lot more in return.

As a result, the working people of America are often left out in the cold. We wonder how some of the laws and regulations could possibly be good for the country. And, the sad fact is that many laws are not good for the country. Rather, they are very lucrative for those who support the career politicians.

It's important that you help elect and send a citizen representative to Congress to ensure that the laws are made of, for, and by the people. I want to return political power to the people. That's why I am running for Congress.


Help Reform America

Help elect a representative who wants to hear your views, not those of big money contributors.

Help Congress represent the interests of individual citizens, not big business interests.

Vote for a representative who will serve 3 terms and return to his job, not for another career politician.

Elect Bob Sherman, citizen statesman, from Michigan's 12th Congressional District.

Reform Party Candidate


Interesting References

Soft Money Laundromat: Common Cause
Why Congress Can't Ban Soft Money: The Heritage Foundation


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