Monday, October 03, 2011

The $9.2 Million Dollar Rubber Stamp

The Schauer people ought to take comfort in the fact that he was so threatening to the Republican agenda that they had to spend the most "independent" money in the country to buy back that seat for the utterly worthless Tim Walberg in 2010. If it weren't so tragic for the citizens of the 7th and the state of democracy, it would be laughable.

$9.2 million? For do-nothing Timmeh? Talk about your underwater investment. But don't miss the important lesson here: Special interest groups own Congressman Walberg, and they don't have to tell you who they are.

Independent spenders were similarly dominant in Michigan’s most contested congressional campaigns in 2010. In total, the major-party candidates raised $12.5 million in the races for the 1st, 7th and 9th Congressional Districts. Independent spenders weighed in with $18 million. The $9.2 million spent by non-candidate committees in the 7th District, where Tim Walberg defeated Mark Schauer, was the most independent spending in any U.S. House race in the country in 2010.

Now, do you think that Tim serves the people of his district, or the millions of dollars that bought his seat? The Michigan Campaign Finance Network's Rich Robinson gives us a clue about the answer to that question.

“We’ve entered an era when a small group of undisclosed financial backers can drive an election outcome without leaving any fingerprints,” said Rich Robinson of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. “That is absolutely poisonous for democracy. And anyone who believes that kind of financial support is given for selfless reasons is delusional. Top-tier political donors are investors, and they get a return on their investment.”

The Citizens United decision was unambiguous in establishing the constitutional permissibility of requiring disclosure of contributors for all electioneering activity, including “issue” advocacy. However, state and federal lawmakers have failed to enact meaningful campaign finance disclosure, so far.

Not seeing it on the agenda anytime soon, either. We've got extremely important issues like non-exsistent incandescent light bulb manufacturing to address first. Bet Tim would get right on-board with that one.

If you have the stomach for it, check out the breakdown on spending for your current batch of "representatives" in the 2010 Citizen's Guide to Michigan Campaign Finance.

And just think, it was a mid-term. Wait until 2012. These figures are going to seem like lunch money after that. Will Tim still be the prettiest belle at the ball? With redistricting taking out the competition, chances are, no.

Who will win the prize next year?