American political parties today are dominated by political action committees. Democrats and Republicans both have PACs who make large contributions to support their various causes. It may come as a surprise to you but the limit for giving, individually, is $35,000. There is, as there always seems to be, a catch.
Let us say, for example, that I am Charles and David Koch with more money than I know what to do with. And I decide I want Joseph Stumblebum to be president of the United States. I start by giving my $35,000 directly to Joe’s campaign. Then another $35k from my wife, another $35k from each of my kids but his kids are all grown. But there is no limit to how much I can give to a national PAC which is not directly supporting a particular candidate. That is the loophole.
As of February 9, 2016 (www.opensecrets.org) there exist in America today 2,197 groups which are classified as Super PACs! There is no limit on how much money I can give a Super PAC. And of the top 20 Super PACs you have to go all the way down to number 20 to find the first one which supports liberal candidates. But to be fair, of those 20 top Super PACs, one claims no political persuation.
The number 1 Super PAC, which happens to support Bush (Right to Rise USA), has raised a whopping $118,300,000!
According to Forbes Magazine (October 2, 2015) Super PACs have raised over ½ billion dollars for this election cycle. The Forbes 400 estimates the contribution by those 400 to be approximately $66.5 million. But there is a problem with these figures. Like dark matter which is undetectable, Forbes has deemed this sort of giving to be “Dark Money.” It effectively challenges anyone to figure out how much it is and who exactly is giving it.
The original political action committees were formed in the 19th Century to lobby Congress for their various projects and desires. And for all of the 19th Century and a good part of the 20th Century these groups stayed away from political campaigns. It was deemed dishonorable but as soon as campaign finance reform became an idea, certain large industrial groups fearing heavier regulation, transparency of operation and being held accountable, brought the Super PAC into existence.
I am not a supporter of Bernie Sanders but God bless Bernie Sanders because he has done something no one else has had the courage to do. He has flatly refused all PAC money and is at this point running a very successful campaign for president. Bernie has flatly stated that if we want our government back we have to turn away the PACs.
Without regard to party, our Congress has abdicated its obligation to the citizens of the United States favoring the opinion of the PACs and the corporations behind those PACs. Every candidate will make the claim that he, or she, promises to do the will of the people. A multitude of polls have shown the will of the people includes, legalized abortion, tougher gun laws and controls, a higher minimum wage, a better health system (we are 37th in the world just ahead of Slovenia and behind Morocco and Colombia to name a few). Americans want a curb put on jobs being sent overseas, want their roads fixed, their water systems made safe, and their voice heard!
Sadly, America is run by about 1000 people total and not a single one is an elected official. How can I say that? The phrase Political Action Committee is merely a euphemism for political control. The majority of the most power PACs are conservative in nature but there are many liberal PACs as well.
Well, why don’t we just outlaw PACs? Seems like a reasonable solution however it would unconstitutional. It comes under protected speech of the 1st Amendment.
I believe the most reasonable solution is the enacting of term limits for members of Congress limiting any member of Congress to a total of 20 years. That would mean 3 terms for senators and 5 for representatives.
There is no simple solution to the afore-mentioned problems but Americans are going to have to come to terms with these problems if they care to regain control of their government. But until that day, regardless of your political persuasion, the person you put in office will do the bidding of the PACs they are beholding to.