With more than a year to go before the presidential election, campaign finance records are already indicating that a small group of wealthy donors is dominating fundraising in the Republican contest — a bad sign for the country, The Washington Post said
In an article by the editorial board, the paper notes research from The New York Times
analyzing campaign finance records. It found that roughly 130 families and their businesses have provided more than half the hundreds of millions of dollars raised through June for Republicans in the 2016 campaign.
Reforms in the aftermath of the Watergate era were intended to limit the influence of money in politics, increase transparency, and motivate candidates to raise money from a wide range of sources, the Post said.
But there are new organizations available do the opposite, encouraging wealthy donors to make unlimited donations thereby "concentrating the power of the plutocracy."
The Post identified super PACs as the primary culprit, the result of the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision. Compared to the same time in the 2012 election cycle, super PACs in the first half of 2015 around have raised nearly 10 times more money — $258 million vs. $26 million — and have trumped the fundraising of campaign organizations ($130 million) by nearly double.
Social welfare organizations are a second type of group accepting unlimited donations.
"What's wrong with this concentration of wealth and power? The nation has often been ruled by elites, and rued it. But the potential to warp the political system is ever-present when such large sums are poured into politics."
The Post said that some of the biggest donors are those who would be affected by government policy under a new president, such as tycoons that have made their fortunes in private equity, hydraulic fracturing, oil field services, and technology.
"Now they want to add king-maker to their names," the Post concluded.
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