Friday, December 17, 2004

The Empire Strikes Back - Ohio's Legislature Sells Out Its Citizens

Today, the Ohio Legislature passed a bill that drastically increases the role of wealthy special interests in political campaigns . Under the law, individuals can now give $10,000 to a candidate for office, four times the current amount. For the first time since the trust-busting days of Teddy Roosevelt, corporations can now give money to political parties' operating accounts. County party accounts, long a route for candidates to bypass the state's contribution limits, remain in existence.

Senator Randy Gardner, the legislation's sponsor, called the bill "positive, significant and progressive legislation." Positive for whom, Senator Gardner? Seeing as how most Ohioans can't afford to give even $2,500 to a candidate, seems like the bill only stands to help your sugar daddies and your sweet tooth get a bigger piece of the pie.

There's a scene in the Mel Brooks movie History of the World Part I where Mel's character is on the run and looking for a way to blend in with the crowd outside the Roman Senate. Just then, a group of ten or twelve Senators walk out of the building talking amongst themselves. As Mel falls in with the group, he speaks the Senators' language in an effort to go unnoticed: "Bull---t bull---t bull---t bull---t". He gets away scot-free.

In 1865, Ohio adopted the state motto "Imperium in Imperior", Latin for "Empire within an Empire". They dropped it two years later, because it sounded too pretentious. Today's law, proposed and passed by a bunch of self-interested politicos, will make the capitol building in Columbus a lot more like Caesar's palace than the head of Ohio government. If you wanna know what I think of that, just ask Mel Brooks. I think he's got a word for it.

this is an audio post - click to play
Update: On December 31, 2004 Ohio Governer Taft signed this bill into law. Happy New Year to all the Fat Cats in Ohio!

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