Study: Finance industry execs rule political spending
Over the last 30 years, political contributions made by financial industry executives increased by 700 percent, according to new analysis by the watchdog Sunlight Foundation. Roughly 5,500 members of the finance, insurance, real estate sector (FIRE) gave $178.2 million to political committees and candidates during the 2010 election cycle, up from $15.4 million in the 1990 cycle.
Giving was concentrated most among securities and investment executives and, although tilted slightly toward Republicans, the finance-industry greenback geyser gushes in both directions of the political spectrum. Although the finance sector gave 54 percent of its cash to Republicans in 2010, it gave 51 percent of its cash to Democrats in 2008.
“Though it’s very difficult to directly measure the influence that finance and other elite donors are having, it seems fair to say that, to the extent that candidates and parties are eager to court these donors, they will want to keep them relatively happy, since they know that without the support of these donors, raising the money needed to compete electorally is more difficult,” wrote Sunlight analyst Lee Drutman.
In recent months, the Sunlight Foundation has zeroed in what it calls the “1 percent of the 1 percent,” by which it means the very small number of people who participate at the highest level of the out-of-control political-spending arms race that has beset the United States and that has escalated exponentially over the last few years.
This elite class of spenders consists of people who give at least $10,000 per election cycle. In 2010, the average 1 percent of 1 percenter spent $28,913 on politics, which incidentally is more than the $26,364 median annual income earned in the country. Candidates have become dependent on these big spenders, Sunlight reports, often eschewing local fund-raising efforts to court the wealthy donors in the major urban neighborhoods where they live and at events where they gather, like the meeting organized by the oil-magnate Koch Brothers at the Bachelor Gulch Ritz Carlton in Colorado last year.
Diminishing local campaign-finance ties likely matter when it comes to setting a representative’s agenda. Do Manhattan securities traders and Los Angeles movie producers care about local water quality and Main Street business collapse? Probably less than do congressional district residents.
As Sunlight puts it, the result of the narrowly based outsized spending is “a political system that could be disproportionately influenced by donors in a handful of wealthy enclaves,” a fairly safe assessment that the group’s analysts ramp up by adding that their research also demonstrated that “some of the heaviest hitters in the 2010 cycle were ideological givers, suggesting that the influence… on federal elections may be one of the obstacles to compromise in Washington.”
“Unlike the other 99.99 percent of Americans who do not make these contributions, these elite donors have unique access,” writes Drutman. “In a world of increasingly expensive campaigns, the 1 percent of the 1 percent effectively play the role of political gatekeepers. Prospective candidates need to be able to tap into these networks if they want to be taken seriously. And party leaders on both sides are keenly aware that more than 80 percent of party committee money now comes from these elite donors.”
As the political-finance reform group Root Strikers notes, Wall Street has spent $700 million lobbying Washington in the past decade and the oil and gas industry gave $13 million to lawmakers in the last election cycle alone. The group calls for elections to be publicly funded, for all independent expenditures to be limited and open to public scrutiny, and for Americans to vote to restrict the right to spend on politics to citizens, barring the participation of corporations.
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Paid towards the card. For srveeal reasons:1) The fact that you are very high on yoru limit means it could be hurting your score unless you have lots of other available credit on other cards.2) did you read the fine print? A lot of the time, they have that 0% period but if you do not pay it in FULL by the time it expires, they add the interest from that moment all the way back to the original purchase date, for the fullpurchase amount!! Leaving just a penny on there could cost you hundreds.
His performance as President of the USA is pweasirorthy.He has inspired the World Leaders to create atmosphere for long wanted Peace.But recently his demand for billions of Dollars for finishing war in Afghanistan and Iraq continue to disturb the Asians @ Mid eastern Countries.Since he has been awarded the most prestigious Noble Peace Prize He should work more on dialogues and not much on confontation.The entire world is watching his activities eagerly.People expect from him global peace .His domestic programmes have been so far brought hope and for the people of his Country.It is hoped that he will remain as active as he was in his first year in office.He will work for downtrodden people of the world wherever they are from.Let him be active as ever.
Gives a new meaning to scream FIRE in a theater!
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If it is 48% failure, the world poerws of nations can take it that Obama stands true to his morals of charisma with which he came into Power to represent the most powerful democracy that is highly sensitively based where mind’s temporary imperfection stands to catch up with the change that was necessary for America and necessary for the world at large to reckon in human terms.One year of Obama’s role is insufficient to make an assessment because dilution of Presidential Charisma to match with public consumption is not a joke – I would therefore say 48% failure rating as projected is “transition”—and not a fact because it is related with the performance of relative time over which his (Obama’s) Charisma stands linked with the Infinite of Its unconscious state in him evolving and what is evolving as good can only indicate at present that (Obama) needs 4 years plus – to make things smooth for America and the world; reason – because he is a natural being blessed to receive inputs on his charisma to make mind’s temporary imperfections to move with his flexibility on them that are in the offing after the initial grounds appearing disturbing have been laid both for America as nation and the world tiding over the past governing history of this good earth.Well, this is a short and sweet comment on what stands reported.