Represent.Us puts the spotlight on five especially bad things in the government funding bill that Congress just passed.
So, by now you’ve probably noticed a theme developing here. Everything on this list is a direct result of money pouring into our political system. That brings us to our #1: the huge political money loophole that Congress snuck into the budget deal.
In a provision conveniently located on page 1,599 of a 1,603 page document, Congress lays out donation rules that would allow individuals to give more than $300,000 directly to political parties every year. According to the Washington Post’s Matea Gold, under the new rules, one couple could legally funnel nearly $1.3 million to a party’s various account. Check out this great breakdown from Jay Riestenberg for the full ins and outs of the new rule.
As the public debate over the budget bill devolves into partisan finger-pointing, it’s especially important that we don’t lose site of this critical fact: Both major parties had a chance to stop this new political money loophole, and neither of them did. NPR’s Peter Overby reports that ‘the changes in campaign finance law surfaced without fanfare during negotiations when either Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid or Minority Leader Mitch McConnell could have vetoed them.’
When we say that money has corrupted American government, this is exactly what we’re talking about. Special interests pour money into our political system, and our government doles out favors in return, will of the people be damned. Until we put an end to this kind of corruption, all of us will continue to get screwed over by budget deals exactly like this one.
Now here’s the good news: There’s a plan to tackle this corruption head-on, and it’s already falling into place. Citizens of all political stripes — conservatives, liberals, and everyone in between — are already working together to pass a wave to tough new anti-corruption laws in cities, states, and eventually Washington D.C. The first city-wide Anti-Corruption Act in the US passed on election day 2014, and more cities and states are on the way in 2015 and 2016.
So by all means, get furious about the cronyism and special interest carve-outs in the coming budget deal. As long as you also get busy fighting back against the root cause.