Monday, May 03, 2004

Senator Corzine’s New Friends

Senator John Corzine knows the value of a dollar. But, then again, he should. In 2000, he spent sixty-three million of them to get himself elected to the U.S. Senate from New Jersey, all coming from the personal fortune he amassed while at Goldman Sachs, the large New York-based investment bank. So it's not much of a surprise to TheRestofUs.org that Corzine was picked last year to head the fundraising efforts for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) - - who better to talk to rich folks about giving money than a rich guy?

Don’t worry. It's unlikely Senator Corzine will be heading to your neighborhood with his hand held out anytime soon. Corzine prefers a better-heeled environment than most of us can afford in which to do his asking, like Buckhead, Atlanta’s swankest neighborhood. As The New York Times reported here, Corzine met with a wealthy Republican real estate developer and his pals at a cocktail party amidst the waterfalls and pristine gardens of a seven-acre Buckhead estate to discuss, you know, money. As the Senator informed his listeners: “business and Democrats don't need to be enemies.”

True enough. There's nothing wrong with business interests having a fair voice in Congress. It's tough not to get the sense that the Senator is referring almost exclusively to big business though, especially when you know that he left the soiree with $40,000 in his pocket for the DSCC. I don't know too many small business owners who can afford to part with that kind of money, even if the party conversation is particularly sparkling.

What about Senator Corzine's itinerary in the future? Well, you need not rearrange your schedule to accommodate the Senator or his colleagues as long as campaign finance laws allow rich folks to give $25,000 a year to national political party committees like the DSCC. Until we lower the limits on political contributions to a level nearly all Americans can afford, the rest of us will be on the sidelines watching rich folks and politicians play the game that used to be our democracy.

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Ned Joins The Rest of Us
So far, I have been the sole blogger for our Daily Posts, but today I am pleased to welcome Ned Wigglesworth as another contributor. Ned Wigglesworth began working for TheRestofUs.org in April 2004 after a brief career doing membership outreach in Chicago for a non-profit children’s organization. Prior to that, he had been a bartender in Manhattan, Kansas, a lawyer in Chicago, an entirely unsuccessful creative writer (his words, not mine). From these experiences and his time spent growing up on a sheep farm in Kansas, Ned hopes to bring some common-sense perspective to the problem of big money in politics and some practical solutions to restore the average American’s faith and power and voice in our political system. TheRestofUs.org is the place to do just that.

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