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Dark Money

In: Social Issues

Submitted By Sak1979
Words 1790
Pages 8
Dark Money and its Influence on US Politics

Dark Money and its Influence on US Politics
Abstract
The influence of voters is overcast by lobbyists who funnel channels of dividends toward the candidate or party of their choosing. With our self-galvanized democracy, this is becoming all too common as our voices in collusion begin to fade. To placate reign, we acknowledge fault as the American public pleads with the top justices to limit lobbyist inequity through entitled equity only to be dismayed by the brittleness of our justice system as it concedes to an ambiguous constitutional amendment that endures free speech equates to filled pockets. Dark money’s malignant strike is designed to silence the many who toil for the sake of the few who take. Conservatives protest anonymity for protection from public outrage which could lead to dwindling sales and lost revenues from faithful lobbyists and big businesses. The American public demands disclosure to ensure greater confidence and voter turnout and prosperous turn in gracious candidacy. In a political climate built on attack ads, clarity is essential for due process not matter how high the stakes are for candidate. Association will either lead to adequate support or an inevitable defeat.
Introduction
A 5-4 vote was need for the Supreme Court to dislodge the necessary caps to plug lucrative high-profile tycoons and corporate conglomerate from wielding their financial swords in the wind against a moral climate that uphold voter confidence while adhering to the need of the public. The Supreme Court struck down limitations on the total amount of money an individual or acting contributor can donate to campaign, political parties. PACs (Political Action Committees). From a monetary standpoint, this obliterates the 123,000 dollar limited for the years 2013 and 2014. By law, those contributions are still subject to disclosure. Huge donors are now free to splurge on attacks ads and fund unlimited touring of swing states instead of being capped but the federal movement during a candidate’s tenure. The Supreme Court seethingly modest rebuttal held steady at $2,600; the amount that individual contributors can send to each presidential candidate or Congressional nominee who holds the interest of a parties concrete interests (Sherman 2014).
Republican and conservative activists have protested the need for anonymity for protection sighting unfortunate treatment of the tea party by radical groups due to the IRS’s protocol in the delaying their applications for nonprofit tax exemption. Their gripes don’t measure up to the percent of dissent that American voters face when they feeling they’ve deceived by their party candidates. Disclosure during a campaign would lead to less cynicism and promote voter involvement.
History
On April 5, 1972 Bill Liedtke, tycoon turned president of Pennzoil, funneled $100,000 through a Mexican subsidiary for the Nixon campaign bringing their total to an adjusted $700,000. The campaign needed to meet the deadline of a new law that would have directed Federal Campaigns to disclose donors. The committee for the Re-Election of the President (Creep), finance chair, Maurice Stans encouraged them to beat the deadline while businessman Jose Diaz de Leon arrived that day with a weekender sack $89,000 in check and 11,000 in cash onto Liedtke’ s desk (Kroll, 2012).
Liedtke, like other tycoons of his era, hit the tail end of a two month sprint to the deadline. CREEP collected $20 million before the new disclosure law went into effect. These would have gone unnoticed if CIA operative Bernard Barker hadn’t stolen Democratic National Committee funds from their headquarters and deposited it into his primary bank account. Barker’s actions lead back to Nixon’s indiscretions thus igniting one of the largest political scandal’s in our nation’s history. Jump ahead 40 years and the anger continues. Groups like Occupy have revolutionized the term fiscal responsibility while the Tea Party groups preach about financial freedom from federal governance. “We’re back to the Nixon Era,” claims Norman Ornstein of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, “the era of undisclosed money, of big cash amounts and huge interest that are small in number dominating American Politics”(2012). Nothing could be further from the truth. Political finance watcher has expressed that money within politics moves like water. It’s always looking for an entrance or portal through an opening, and operatives are only too eager to taint those very same waters with anonymous, ubiquitous, donations. “It’s like holes in a dike: You block one hole, it’s going to find its way out another was,” said Democratic attorney Neil Reif(2012).
Today, a law that was designed to curb such suspicious activity is the McCain-Feingold act enacted in February of 2002 by John McCain (R-AR) and Russell Feingold (D-WI). Although it’s known as the McCain-Feingold act, it’s legislative companion is H.R. 2356 and was courtesy of one Rep. Christopher Shayes (D-CT) was the actual law that was passed. This law focuses on soft campaigning, prohibits controversial campaign practices and increasing political contribution limits for private individuals (Gill, 2002).
Why we should remove money from politics (Arguments) The money that is flooding our political system at a furious rate is enough to cause landslide victories from in both parties. Take Arizona’s Congressional Aide Sean Noble for instance. Noble was hired by Charles and David Koch and was assigned to a task designed to distribute a plethora of funds raised by the Koch network through what Barker and Meyer of ProPublica dubbed a “complex web of non-profits nicknamed Kochtopus, into conservative accounts in both the 2010 and 2012 election years. Noble’s hard work paid off as he boast almost $137 million in 2012 all from a pseudo group called the Center to Protect Patient Rights that operated out of an Arizona P.O. Box”( 2014). The majority of Noble performance remained discreet until the Center and other Koch trusted Non-profits released their tax information returns and expenditures the previous year which revealed that the tax returns and court records and filings from the Center to Protect Patient rights bent state laws in order to advance on loopholes created by throughout the ambiguity of federal state tax laws. The methods that Noble spearheaded at the Center set the template for outside groups that could play a leading role and have a vast effect on this year’s congressional, national and statewide contest, but there are those who feel that this is all hyperbolic talk. A study by the Washington Post and the Center for responsive Politics, analyzed tax return of 17 conservative organizations that were spearheaded by the Koch brothers. These 17 groups alone raised an amount that the left leaning union movement almost matched to during one political cycle. The majority of the money was spent on attack ads.
Why some believe concerns about dark money are overblown(Counterarguments)
The notion that a small number of individuals will now be readily available to contribute a substantial amount should be the least of the federal problems as Charles H. Bell (2014) eludes, “Such donations remain fully subject to strict limits to each recipient and are fully disclosed by the recipients on campaign reports”. Since the Supreme Court’s ruling, there has been this conservative mindset that many observers will consider the option of coordinated political spending on behalf of the party or candidate in question. This, conservatives belief, Shifts away from the current imbalance that yields only to those third party independent spenders. Still, there is no existing cap for these third tier parties or for those Political parties that will continuously donate to various candidates through the election cycle. A progressive group call the Alliance for Justice, proposed that changing the rules regarding dark money would” create a danger to citizen participation in our democracy” and that the activities for such a move in public interest would include, “candidate –related political activity”. (Lach, 2013)
In the end, is that what the American public wants? More involvement fosters smarter well informed voters worthy of making clear and concise decision about the political landscape the surrounds them. Disclosure removes the element of speculation that would otherwise prevent a suitable candidate from being admitted into the house or senate.
Also, raising speculation regarding joint fundraising efforts could all but stall millions from a single donor while the candidate checks with local legislative practices before going forward. Conservatives will believe that the total amount of such additional donation remain a small fraction of the total amount funded throughout the year prior to deadline. What they’re forgetting is that the wealthiest donors, in a well-coordinated effort, can still produce a generous out pouring of financial stability for a candidate on much larger scale than that of an individual donor.
Conclusion
Political dysfunction aside, there are remedies for such a financial oversight which will impart reduce the amount of criticism and speculation that surrounds Dark Money. One way is through revising a constitutional amendment. If it worked for the recall of the Equal Rights Amendment which garnered a landslide victory in 1972 with a 354 to 24/House, 84 to 8/Senate victory that was endorsed by Nixon (Bauerlein&Jeffrey 2012), then it should go without saying that this no brainer was just one stepping stone away from passing an amendment for one simple clarification: corporations should not be treated as people and that money is not quite the same as free speech.

References
Bauerlein, M & Jeffrey, C. (August, 2012) How to Sweep Dark Money Out of Politics Mother Jones
Retrieved from: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/06/undoing-citizens-united-dark-money

Bell, C. (April, 2014) Another View: McCutcheon Ruling Will Not Open Money Floodgates The Sacramento Bee
Retrieved from: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/09/6311175/another-view-mccutcheon-ruling.html

Barker, K. & Meyer, T. (Feb. 2014) The Dark Money Man: Sean Noble, Koch cash and politics Propublica
Retrieved from: http://www.propublica.org/article/the-dark-money-man-how-sean-noble- moved-the-kochs-cash-into-politics-and-ma

Kroll, A. (August, 2012) Follow the Dark Money Mother Jones
Retrieved from: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/06/history-money-american-elections

Lach, E. (Dec., 2013) Voter Group Says Concerns About Dark Money Changes are ‘Overblown’ Talking Points Memo
Retrieved from: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/voter-group-comes-out-in-favor-of-proposed-dark-money-changes

Sherman, M (April, 2014) Supreme Court Overall Campaign Donor Limits The Tampa Tribune
Retrieved from: http://tbo.com/news/politics/supreme-court-voids-overall-campaign-donor-limits-20140402/

The Washington Post Editorial Board (Jan. 2014) A rising tide of dark money The Washington Post
Retrieved from: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-rising-tide-of-dark-money/2014/01/12/cb7e0e04-77e2-11e3-8963-b4b654bcc9b2_story.html

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