Many citizens would appreciate having elected officials whose personal wealth generally reflects the wealth of the voters who elect them. Big Money is a problem in our government. This phrase today, however, usually does not refer to the wealth of an elected official, but the vast resources of wealth which influence campaigns in exchange for legislative favors. In short, it is about the power of money to buy votes.
Billionaires, mega-corporations, and special interests behind Big Money demand results from legislators very different from results desired by average citizens. Witness today’s debate regarding health care and tax reform.
The personal wealth of one elected official compared with that of another is insignificant during campaigns. During the recent Alabama Republican primary the Washington Post reported that Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund super PAC spent over $733,000 on Sen. Luther Strange’s campaign and $2.5 million for negative ads against his opponent.
In June a writer to the Record reported that during the 2016 campaign only 30 percent of the $1.6 million Rep. Reichert raised for his campaign came from Washington state, and only 7.08 percent came from inside the 8th Congressional District. Clearly forces outside the jurisdictions of these two races hoped to influence outcomes.
Our founding fathers feared the domination of our democracy by private interests over the public good. Today we know that until we get Big Money out of our elections we the people will not solve the challenging issues of our day. Special interests backed by organized money will determine our future path.