Dec 28, 2010

The thin line between "campaign contributions" and corruption

This headline in the Washington Post caught my eye on Sunday: "Lawmakers seek cash during key votes."  Using data from the Center for Responsive Politics and the Sunlight Foundation, a couple of journalists at the Post ran some numbers about the timing of legislative action and fundraising, concluding that, "Numerous times this year, members of Congress have held fundraisers and collected big checks while they are taking critical steps to write new laws....The campaign donations often came from contributors with major stakes riding on the lawmakers' actions."

Somehow this doesn't shock me. Apparently it surprised some members of congress and theirs staffs, like Senator Max Baucus' spokeswoman Kate Downen, who insisted to the Post that, "Money has no influence on how Senator Baucus makes his decisions."

But the thing that makes this issue clear for me is this question: would corporations be spending millions upon millions of dollars on campaign contributions if that money weren't getting them anything?

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