Reprinted from The Guardian
Democrats have a decision to make: do they think money in politics is a corrupting force that influences the decisions made by elected officials, or not? After years railing against the Citizens United decision, which opened the floodgates to outside spending in elections, some of them appear to have done a complete reversal.
The Clinton campaign has spent the last few weeks furiously pushing back at the criticism that she is influenced by the vast donations her campaign receives from backers in the oil and financial industries. Her supporters have been vigorously arguing there's no evidence of a quid pro quo.
How quickly they forget. As journalist David Sirota reported earlier this week, in the 2008 Democratic primary campaign, Clinton harshly criticized then senator Obama for accepting donations from oil and gas executives -- and even cut a campaign commercial about it. The kicker? It was less money than Clinton has accepted from people working for fossil fuel companies so far this campaign season.
While Clinton called the suggestion that she might be influenced by the wealthy bankers who raise money for her campaign an "artful smear" in 2016, she also had no problem hurling even stronger accusations about Obama in 2008: "Senator Obama has some questions to answer about his dealings with one of his largest contributors -- Exelon, a big nuclear power company," she said. "Apparently he cut some deals behind closed doors to protect them from full disclosure of the nuclear industry."
So which is it? Are politicians corrupt (or susceptible to corruption) if they are giving highly paid speeches behind closed doors to financial institutions, or not? It doesn't work both ways.