George Graham

Money Talks – and Talks and Talks – in U.S. Election

I cannot imagine changing my mind about voting for a candidate because of something I heard in a TV commercial. I didn’t believe it when the hucksters said Ivory soap is 99.4 percent pure. I didn’t believe it when they said Mr. Clean would clean my whole house and everything that’s in it. And I certainly don’t believe it when they tell me one candidate is so great and another is such a crook.

But obviously some people do.

Obviously, those TV commercials must work – or why would “independent groups” be spending half a billion dollars on political ads this election season?

And according to a study released Monday by the Center for Public Integrity, that’s how much special interests are spending to elect candidates sympathetic to their causes.

Naturally, most of the money is going to Republicans.

While the big unions are digging deep to finance Democratic campaigns, Big Business is digging deeper – much deeper – to defeat Obama allies who have been trying to reign in the most egregious abuses in the marketplace.

“Some companies in sectors hit hard by new regulations — including financial, energy and health care interests — are grabbing for their checkbooks,” the study says, “and they are actively seeking the anonymity provided by new and older independent groups in the post-Citizens United world.”

McClatchy Newspapers reporter David Lightman explains in a syndicated article today that the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in January…

removed curbs on independent expenditures by corporations and unions, freeing them to spend without limit from their own treasuries on campaign ads and advocacy efforts so long as they’re not coordinated with candidate campaigns.

And under tax and campaign-finance laws, “most of these independent groups aren’t required to disclose their donors until after the elections.”

Previous elections were waged under rules that limited how much a donor could give, Lightman says. The rules changed this year.

Taking advantage of the new rules are groups like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, a nonprofit, Republican-friendly organization that plans to spend $52 million this year, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is expected to spend about $75 million.

The conservative Americans for Prosperity, linked to billionaire David Koch, is likely to spend $45 million, while the Commission on Hope, Growth and Opportunity, run by veteran GOP strategist Scott Reed, is expected to spend about $25 million.

I am tempted to say that if American voters are so gullible – after all these years of listening to advertising BS – as to be swayed by special-interest ads, they deserve a government run by special interests.

But there’s more to it than that.

There’s evidence that global corporations, and even foreign governments, are secretly funding Republican campaigns. Their objective? To ensure that the U.S. keeps on sending American jobs overseas.

And nobody, however gullible, deserves that kind of government.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for