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Reason To Worry About Large Cash Donations To Political Campaigns

July 30, 2015

There is no way to dismiss the dangers to our political process from the huge amounts of cash that is allowed to flow to candidates and various forms of campaign committees.   The lack of ability to investigate fully these concerns when it came to Scott Walker’s recall election through a John Doe Probe met with rightful scorn from good government types.  Ample evidence abounds as to why our election process is being harmed by those with the financial means to buy candidates and then also undermine the mechanics of investigations into how those funds were accumulated and used.  (As we saw in Wisconsin with the court proceedings regarding the probe.)

In today’s Wall Street Journal the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, the one the majority of GOP respondents in poll after poll declare as their first place choice, spoke freely about the money he has given to candidates and what he then expected in return.

The Republicans choice for president in the summer of 2015, billionaire Donald Trump, proves what is wrong with our campaign process.   Large fat cats are not interested in good government, but their bottom lines. 

“As a businessman and a very substantial donor to very important people, when you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do,” Mr. Trump said. “As a businessman, I need that.”

He has given to more Republicans than Democrats over time, but some checks are eye-catching, such as nearly $10,000 to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and $5,000 to the late Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Less than 10 days after donating $2,000 to President George W. Bush in 2003, he gave the same amount to John Kerry, his eventual Democratic opponent in the general election.

Looking back at his prior praise of Mrs. Clinton, he reiterated that he needed to be on good terms with the Clintons as he pursued his business interests and couldn’t risk an unflattering comment. Beyond campaign cash, the real-estate developer and TV personality also donated between $100,000 and $250,000 to the family’s philanthropy, the Clinton Foundation.

Mr. Trump said that he gave generously to candidates across the spectrum in keeping with what he saw as his obligations as a businessman.

“As a businessperson, I’ve given to almost everybody. I’ve given to Democrats; I’ve given to Republicans; I’ve given to independents,” he said.

Records show he has given to the federal political committees of at least three other 2016 presidential contenders. In 2014, he donated $2,600—the maximum allowed at the time—to South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s re-election campaign and gave $5,000 to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s leadership PAC. He also gave $2,500 in 2012 to the leadership PAC affiliated with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who wasn’t running for president at the time.

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