First, I want to state some facts for you to ponder. I am sure that due to the very nature of your positions, you know more than I do, about how Campaign Funding works. These facts are mainly for the benefit of the citizens you are serving as members of Congress, who might not know exactly how much money we are talking about when we talk about "Campaign Funding". For Example:
The Presidential Campaign in 2004 was the most expensive Presidential Campaign in US history. The Republican Presidential Candidate, George W. Bush, spent almost $367,228801.00 on his campaign. That is Three Hundred Seventy Million Dollars. The Democrats spent $328,479,245.00. The other candidates on the ballot by Election Day spent $7,078,486.00. That is a total of $702,786,532.00. The total of all the money spent by all the candidates that ran for President was $1,155,419,378.00. That is 1.16 Billion Dollars. That is just counting the money that was donated to the individual candidates. That is just the "hard" money that was limited by the McCain-Fiengold Act. The "Soft" money contributions, the PAC's, the Special Interest groups, the 527's all put together is anyone's guess.
What kind of political system do we have here? The Center for Responsive Politics estimates that this mid-term election that we just had, grossed over 2.8 Billion dollars in campaign contributions. In 2006, the New York Senate race alone cost $54,781,826.00. Almost 56 Million dollars for a $165,200.00 a year job! In Florida, District 13 raised $8,114.464.00!
So who were the biggest industry donors? #1 was the Lawyers and the Law Firms, with a whopping $92,836,571.00 total contribution amount. Wow! 92.8 Million dollars! 70% went to the Democrats. #2 was AARP and the other retired organizations that donated $89,449,311.00. 44% to the Dems and 54% to the GOP #3 was Real Estate with $55,612,393.00. 43% to the Dems, 56% to the Republicans. #4 was Securities and Investment Companies with $48,203,763.00. 51% to the Dems, 47% to the GOP. #5 were the Health Professionals, with $38,580,624.00. 35% Dem, 65% GOP.
That's the top five. Oil and Gas was #14 with $14.2 Million; 83% going to the GOP of course. #8 was the Insurance Industry, with $23.8 Million. 66% going to the GOP. The Pharmaceuticals were #13 with $14.7 Million. 69% going to the GOP. I will be listing individual contributions to individual politicians in later articles. I will do this in this series of articles, and also whenever a Congressman or a Senator puts up, or stumps for a particular bill, or amendment. In other words, whenever I can catch them doing their handlers work for them.
So that's a start. What I'm asking for from Congress is that real campaign reform be passed. Things like putting a limit on the amount of money that corporations and special interest groups can donate to "grease" the wheels of the Federal Government. You don't need that kind of money. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. It's not like any of you had any earth-shattering message to deliver to the American people during this election. Constant nasty TV spots and radio spots and whole page newspaper ads plagued us everyday. A good debate would have served the public better than all of that shameless garbage advertising. How are people supposed to run for political office nationally if they don't have the blessing of the two major political parties? The truth is, they cant. It is almost impossible to be elected to any Federal office unless you are a Democrat or a Republican. Not unless you are very well known or a millionaire. It is almost impossible for politicians to be fair and impartial, when so many bills and amendments that come before you to vote on, directly affect the people or companies or institutions that are your biggest contributors. This is not right, nor is it moral.
The American people know this, and more and more are finding out and realizing it everyday. This state of affairs cannot be tolerated much longer. What kind of face are you putting on our Democracy when the citizens of the world can see that huge corporations and special interests control the Congress of the United States of America? How can you sit there with a straight face and say that you are working for the people of America? It has gotten to the point where Congress is working for their corporate benefactors, and are no longer working in the best interests of the citizenry of this nation. If you go to Internet political sites on the right or left, you will see that this is a constant theme in discussions. I can not go on the floor of the House or Senate and introduce a bill to stop donations to political parties by corporations and special interests. If I could, I would. I can however, unmask every bill or amendment that has a hint of special interest stench attached to it. Every time a member of congress votes for, or sponsors or co-sponsors a bill that would benefit his campaign contributors, it will be written about. This is the only option that is left open to me as a citizen. I have already written my elected officials, and now I am writing an open letter to Congress on this site that has millions of readers.
Thank you for the time it took for you to read this message, and I pray that some of you in Congress will find it in our nation's best interest to work on legislation that will stop corporate and special interest interference in government and return control of our Congress back to the people of the United States of America. Nothing could be more important.
Timothy V. Gatto
SSG US Army (Retired)