Buys Political Power 3
few members of congress opposed to these blatant abuses and
undue influence that corporations put on their colleagues are under the
same influences. Although Senator Feingold’s statements against
presidents and the
house’s Economic Stimulus Plan should be commended, it must be noted
that none of the corporations that stood to gain donated to his
campaign. His largest contributions came from lawyers and law
firms, the retired, and the education sector (University of Wisconsin,
for example). So long as campaign financing plays a major role in
shaping legislation, one must wonder whether these representatives ever
act according to their own personal convictions, or in the best interest
of the population that they represent.
When Schakowsky, Olver, and Gilchrest stood out
against the president’s energy plan, claiming that the
outrageous gasoline prices across the Midwest were the result of price
gouging by the oil industry, it seemed as though they were simply being
sensible. However, after looking at their main contributors, we
must wonder if they were working for their constituents or their donors.
Olver received the vast majority of his money from various unions, such
as the United Auto Workers, the Teamsters Union, the Intl. Brotherhood
of Electrical Workers, and the United Transportation Union.
Combined, Olver had a large portion of his campaign financed by
industrial and transportation unions. The steel workers of
America, on congressional record S11284, stated their opposition to
Bush’s plan to open up the Arctic wildlife refuge for drilling.
Olver was, in fact, saying exactly what his donors wanted him to say.
Ms. Schakowsky had similar donors, with
the United Auto Workers at the top of her list. In
addition, she received almost $17,000 from liberal one-issue and
non-profits groups , which included environmental and human rights
organizations. Once again, her stance is based those who funded
her election as much as those who voted for her.
Mr. Gilchrest received most of his
money from the retired community and another sizable percentage from
Baltimore Gas & Electric Company. Again, these are groups that
would be effected negatively by the president’s energy plan.
Despite the environmentally conscious position taken by these
politicians, the data shows that they may have been more concerned about
who paid for their campaigns, and less concerned about the actual issues
When considering almost any issue, the
solution advocated by either congress or the president will not
necessarily be in the best interest of the people who these elected
officials are supposed to serve. Essentially, everybody will find
a solution that is in the best interest of their financial supporters.
politicians who were funded by the airlines, energy companies, and
environmental groups would say that the key to dropping greenhouse gas
emissions would be doing the following: forcing car makers to be more
efficient, making SUV's conform to the same emissions standards as cars,
or forcing designers to employ new technologies such as the emission
recycling engines in the large truck engines made by Caterpillar and
Those who received money from the automakers
would blame the problem on industrial emissions, or on the
transportation sector. Who will come out ahead in the
congressional struggles? I would like to believe that those who
had the best ideas, the most well-thought-out proposals, would come out
ahead. I would like to say that the best leaders, that those who
took a stand based on their beliefs - rather than based on the desires
of those who finance their campaigns - would emerge on top.
PRINTABLE PAGE | BACK
| TOP |