Free and Equal: Rawls' Theory of Justice and Political Reform

By Joseph Grcic | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11. REDUCE PRIVATE MONEY IN ELECTION CAM-
PAIGNS

“There are two things that are important in politics. The first is
money and I can’t remember what the second one is.”

— Mark Hanna

They say money talks and if it does, what does it say? One thing it says is that free speech is not necessarily free, especially if it is to count. Leon Panetta, who served in the Clinton administration and later became President’s Obama’s Director of the CIA (now Defense Secretary) has called campaign contributions “legalized bribery.”337 Panetta goes on to say that members of the House and Senate “rarely legislate; they basically follow the money…They’re spending more and more time dialing for dollars…The only place they have to turn is the lobbyists…It has become an addiction they can’t break.”

Although several campaign reform laws have been enacted, because of loopholes and other limitations in the law, the role of money still being contributed overwhelmingly by the affluent to political campaigns is a concern to many. As Senator Bob Dole remarked, “Poor people don’t make campaign contributions. You might get a different result if there were a ‘Poor PAC’ [Political Action Committee] up here.”338 Research shows that in overwhelming number of cases, the

337. Kaiser, Robert G., So Damn Much Money, New York: Vintage, 2010, p. 19.

338. Ibid., p. 148.

-157-

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