Policies

Lobbying with money equals bribery.

Andy
Written by Andy

The lobbyist with deep pockets has more power than all the voters put together.

The whole financial sector (encompassing finance, insurance, and real estate companies) spent $7.4 billion on lobbying in the period that ran from 1998 to 2016. [1]

Bank Lobbying – International Monetary Fund https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Publications/WP/2019/wpiea2019171-print-pdf.ashx

They would not be spending this sort of money if it caused no influence. So we must assume that decisions are made to favour the financial sector, possibly to the detriment of the people.

Yet even greater contributions are made to election support:

These lobbying activities dwarf campaign contributions. [2]

Bank Lobbying – International Monetary Fund https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Publications/WP/2019/wpiea2019171-print-pdf.ashx

[1] Based on data compiled by the CRP. Between 1998 and 2016, the whole financial sector contributed $675 million to PAC contributions, making the financial sector a top contributor along with other regulated sectors (e.g., utilities) and sectors that tend to be government-dependent (e.g., healthcare). By comparison, the utilities sector (encompassing communications, energy, and natural resources) contributed $521 million while the healthcare sector contributed $465 million. The financial sector has also been the biggest spender in individual contributions and soft money. In total (counting individual contributions and soft money), the financial sector outspent all others by pouring $4.6 billion to elections. Utilities and healthcare have been distant runners-up at $2.3 billion and $1.5 billion, respectively.

[2] In the U.S. campaign finance system, electoral campaigns can gather funding from various sources including public funds, political party and candidate’s own funds, and private contributions from individuals and businesses. Political action committees (PACs) solicit money from employees or members and make contributions in the name of the PAC to candidates and political parties. Individuals contributing to a PAC may also contribute directly to candidates and political parties. PAC and individual contributions are “hard money” and are subject to limits: a PAC can give $5,000 to a candidate per election and up to $15,000 annually to a national political party. PACs may receive up to $5,000 each from individuals, other PACs and party committees per year while individuals may contribute $2,700 per election to candidates, $5,000 per year to a PAC, and $33,400 per year to a political party (as of 2016). Contributions made outside these limits are labeled “soft money” and, while unlimited in amount, are subject to rules under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) on how they can be used. Note however that, in the years that followed, federal court decisions, including Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, have eroded parts of the BCRA, giving rise to super PACs and “dark money” organizations—politically active nonprofits that do not have to disclose their donors. We refer the interested reader to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP, www.opensecrets.org) for more on campaign finance basics and definitions.

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Andy

Andy

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