New York Times: What the Secret Donors Want

Written by admin on November 24th, 2010

The New York Times opines on the motives and aspirations of the secret donors to the election campaigns this year.

New York Times

This year, the chamber raised nearly $33 million in secret donations for political ads in the midterm elections, almost all of which was used to elect Republicans who have vowed to repeal the health care law. Did some of that money come, once again, from health insurance companies that were unwilling to attach their names to their contributions? It’s a logical assumption, but only the donors and the chamber know for sure.

And that’s the problem with secret political donations, which played such a large role in the elections earlier this month. They cast a shadow of doubt and distrust over a huge field, raising questions about who is covertly pushing which bill and supporting which candidate, and for which self-serving purposes. Lobbying and political contributions can be perfectly legitimate practices, but only when the public can see who is pulling the strings.

Secret donors spent at least $138 million on the midterm elections, according to the latest figures, and 80 percent of that secret money supported Republican candidates. What will those donors get for their money, and who will they get it from?

Certainly the chamber, which lobbies Congress hard on behalf of big business, will make its demands known — health care repeal, no tax increases, reduced regulation and oversight. The other groups, including Crossroads GPS, founded by Karl Rove, may be more subtle in pressing the interests of their backers — conversations at golf courses, at steakhouses, at cocktail parties; the usual Washington transactions, but cocooned in greater secrecy thanks to an inert Federal Election Commission and a determined Supreme Court.


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