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Monday, October 13, 2003

This article from the Philadelphia Inquirer starts painting a picture of what its like for politicians to raise money, but really only tells part of the story. It talks about how US Senator John Corzine is taking time from his busy day to make fundraising calls. The article suggests that some of the big donors get access to Senators and that this may have impacted a recent bill that allows financial institutions to create spending profiles of their customers. That may well be, but the reporter glosses over the reason why Senator Corzine is raising the money in the first place -- to buy elections and positions of power. This is a guy who shattered all previous records by spending $60 million to buy himself a seat in the Senate. He's not even up for re-election yet, but he's raising money for his party so that he can move up in Senate leadership. What this means is that folks with money, and who are backed by those with money, are the ones who wind up in the US Senate. Those who don't, wind up unemployed. Just ask Bob Franks, the guy who was outspent by nearly 10 to 1 by Jon Corzine in the 2000 race in New Jersey, according to FEC records posted here.

I'm not trying to unfairly single out Corzine. He's just trying to work on the issues he believes in and doing so under the current rules of the game. But, when we think about changing the rules, lets worry more about how politicians use money to buy themselves seats than wringing our hands over how much time they're spending on the phone with fat cats.

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