Monday, December 22, 2008

The Naughty and Nice of Campaign Cash


By Damon Circosta

As the election fades and the holiday season is upon us, our collective attention shifts away from campaigns and towards more festive matters. But before we put a bow around this past campaign season, let us take a look back at some of the issues surrounding money and politics in 2008.

I don’t know if Santa takes into account campaign finance reports when he makes his list of who has been naughty and who has been nice, but maybe he should. If he did, he might not be climbing down as many chimneys. Sure, the folks who got elected have the opportunity to bring good tidings of great joy when they take office, but the process by which money enters the political system is still more pernicious than stale fruitcake.

Political fundraising broke records this year. Some of this can be attributed to the influx of small donors and the rise of Internet-driven fundraising appeals. And while small donations from everyday citizens is generally a good sign of a healthy democracy, the specter of elected offices being bought and paid for by large contributors still blankets our democracy not unlike a winter blizzard.