The power of money

By EDITORIAL  |  February 18, 2010

Writing in the New Republic three years ago, Jonathan Chait noted the ease with which some right-wing interests were able to purchase special considerations. This was particularly true of the CBC's rock-ribbed opposition to campaign-finance reform, the strongest in the Democratic Party.

That should come as no surprise to anyone who read the powerful exposé in the Times. Among the CBC's active sugar daddies: Walmart, AT&T, General Motors, and Altria, the nation's largest tobacco company.

The Times found that, from 2004 to 2008, the CBC received at least $55 million in corporate and union contributions, only $1 million of which went to the CBC's political-action committee. Though the CBC says its nonprofits help disadvantaged African-Americans, the majority of its cash was spent on elaborate social events and conventions.

In other words, Washington's black elected elite partied with big bucks provided by corporate America. Meanwhile, their constituents — be they poor, working-class, or better off themselves — got the shaft.

Anyone who wonders why Americans hate Washington need look no further than the CBC. Its moral bankruptcy is repugnant, all the more so because it was supposed to be one of the good guys.

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