By Jim Heffernan
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about money in politics. Each election, more money is spent on politics and now it has reached levels that I find truly shocking. Latest figures I find is that 13 Billion dollars will be spent on advertising and a further 4 Billion dollars will be spent on “lobbying”.
I’m not exactly sure what “lobbying” really is, but I have my suspicions it’s a “kinder, gentler” word for bribery.
I wouldn’t mind so much if I thought at least a portion of all that money was somehow benefitting me or my family, but I’m pretty sure it’s not people like me that benefit from the flood of money that washes over our elections these days.
I find it very suspicious that five of the seven richest counties in America border Washington, DC. They would have been the top five richest counties, but a couple of California counties took over positions 3 and 4. A lot of the money must drop off on its way to and from Washington.
I’ve taken to using money a guide to my voting. It’s kind of a hard call because all parties are spending a great deal of money.
We have a very interesting governor’s race this year. We have Christine Drazan, a Republican, Tina Kotek, a Democrat, and the newly-independent, nonaffiliated, Betsy Johnson running this year.
They’ve each had about $14 million in contributions. The range is from $13.9 million to $14.3 million. Tina with the least and Betsy with the most.
The source of the money makes a big difference in my thinking. I look at them all, and I feel the money compels me to choose Tina.
As far as I can tell, Tina and Christine get quite a lot of their money from their state and national parties. Tina supplements her haul with union and individual contributors. Christine seems to supplement her take mostly from companies, trade organizations, individuals and Phil Knight. Betsy doesn’t get any money from national parties, but more than makes up for it with open wallets from Phil Knight and Tim Boyle.
I’m struck by the fact that Phil Knight, Oregon’s richest man, contributed millions to Betsy Johnson and Christine Drazen. He really doesn’t want to see Tina Kotek to be governor.
Betsy and Christine would have us believe that Phil Knight’s largesse springs from “wanting the best for Oregon”. I don’t believe it. I believe it’s all about power and he knows he can’t buy power with Tina.
If Phil Knight cared so much about Oregon, why do my Nike shoes say “Made in Viet Nam”?
I’m always thinking and evolving. If you disagree with my conclusions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Perhaps we can find some common ground.
Below are links to campaign contribution to Betsy, Christine and Tina, in that order.