Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Big Catch

As we warned several years ago before the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling - and many more times since - the 2012 election is proving to be everything ugly we thought it would be.

Both money and lies are flooding the airwaves, with an astoundingly small number of wealthy donors having far more control than they should. At both the national level in the Presidential race, and at state levels around the country, those with the most money have been displaying their prizes when they win, like anglers display their prized catches on the pier.

As we've also said for a long time, just because some idiot somewhere has a ton of money, doesn't make them an expert on anything. Sadly, on both sides of the left-right political divide, that lack of expertise with a major surplus of money has reared it's head like a sea monster lately.

We focused on the Romney welfare lie on Wednesday, and the ad that displays the truly gutless and craven nature of the Romney campaign. Meanwhile, a major outside big money group aligned with the Obama campaign made its own ugly gaffe this week.

Priorities USA, the SuperPAC that supports President Obama's campaign, released an ad that features a victim of Mitt Romney's vulture corporatist days with Bain Capital. The ad is sad and disheartening; While it does not outright say that Romney’s Bain Capital layoffs led to the death of a former employee’s wife after the worker lost his health care, the ad definitely makes it clear that those who run the SuperPAC believe Romney is responsible.

The Priorities USA SuperPAC, however, is not the Obama campaign - and the President's campaign has definitely distanced themselves from that ad.

On the Romney side, his campaign's money trouble isn't bringing in the dollars - it's accounting for where they came from.

Stories in both the Wall Street Journal and L.A. Times pointed out Romney's money problem this week. Sheldon Adelson, one of Mitt Romney's largest donors, through the Sands Corporation that he owns, is now under investigation from the U.S. Department of Justice, for the possible violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Long and short, it appears possible that Mr. Adelson may have been funneling and laundering money from China into political campaigns across the U.S. That money has gone almost exclusively to Republican candidates.

Ever wonder why a multi-billionaire like Sheldon Adelson has been pouring millions and millions of dollars of his own money into these political campaigns? Adelson's reason for doing so may now be coming very clear.

First of all, much of Mr. Adelson's money that he's giving to Republican candidates may not have come from his own pockets. Secondly, we'd be willing to bet that Mr. Adelson would very much like to stay out of prison. That task that would likely be much easier in an administration led by Mitt Romney - a candidate that Mr. Adelson has heavily financed - than one led by Barack Obama.

We'd like to say there's a great ending to this story, a whopper of an ending, a hook that leaves you more hopeful in our American electoral system.

Right now though, the only thing that seems to be hooked is our politicians, on all sides, on the unlimited funds of the super rich, and highly unethical.

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