Thursday, June 27, 2013

The 1% or the 1%

American politics has changed dramatically since the Supreme Court of United States (SCOTUS) ruled in the Citizens United case. Dramatic political power now resides in the hands of a very small minority and elected officials don’t have to feel compelled to stay tuned-in to the majority.
by Charlie Leck

This is really a blog about a blog. This is an attempt to get you to go to another blog that can introduce you to the one percent of the one percent of Americans who have enormous control over the machinery of politics. The Sunlight Foundation Blog is one of the most important sources of information in America for those of us who want government to be open and transparent. In the link above I’m sending you to a particular and intriguing blog

The opening statement of the blog (the hook) really grabbed me…

“In the 2012 election, 28 percent of all disclosed political contributions came from just 31,385 people. In a nation of 313.85 million, these donors represent the 1% of the 1%, an elite class that increasingly serves as the gatekeepers of public office in the United States."

And, then, this remarkable statement of fact…

“One sign of the reach of this elite “1% of the 1%: Not a single member of the House or Senate elected last year won without financial assistance from this group. Money from the nation’s 31,385 biggest givers found its way into the coffers of every successful congressional candidate. And 84 percent of those elected in 2012 took more money from the 1% of the 1% donors than they did from all their other small donors (individuals who gave $200 or less) combined.”

Do read this important blog! Don’t let it enrage you! Allow it to stimulate you – to cause you to think and wonder about the whys and the therefores of this extraordinary fact.

The Characteristics of the 1% of the 1%
This uncommon group lives predominantly in big cities (New York, Washington, etc.). They generally work for blue chip companies. A fifth of them work for blue-chip companies and a fifth of them work in finance or for financial institutions, real estate or insurance. A tenth works in law or lobbying.

The smallest political contribution required
to make it into this elite and tiny group? You would have had to give at least $12,950 to get into this 1% of the 1% club in 2012. This little, elite club gave $1.68 billion dollars in the 2012 election cycle. Of that, $500.4 million came through super PACs (given such instant popularity by the SCOTUS decision in Citizens United).

One couple gave nearly $100 million!
Sheldon and Miriam Adelson gave nearly $100 million to that election campaign. Harold Simmons gave $25 million. Bob Perry, Texas, gave over $23 million. Michael Bloomberg, NY Mayor, gave over $10 million. Though it is possible to look at the very long list of all 31,385 donors, which will take some time to open on your computer, by
clicking here, I do not recommend it.

The overwhelming majority of the club gave directly to campaigns and not to Super PACS. There were 1,635 individuals who contributed more than $10,000 to Super PACS.

So what?
If you raise the question: What difference does it all make? So what? Well then, I really suggest you go to the blog and read it carefully in order to find out.

Believe me, the above is only a tiny summary of Sunlight’s very extensive and valuable report. I’ve become a fan of the organization and I am very pleased to receive regular, personal alert emails and notes from Zubedah Nanfuka.

By video…
If you prefer, you can also look at a video version of this extensive report. It’s extremely well done.

We still count!
Politics in America has changed dramatically. We must fight the inclination that we don’t count. In fact, these developments call for us to be more involved and informed than ever.

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link. I didn't realize it was this bad. It looks like our democracy has been hijacked. It also accounts for the disappearance of Congress as far as effective legislation is concerned.