I need to say up front that I have no idea how to clean up the money in politics. In cases where a political action group had to list their donors, those donors were vulnerable to economic or physical attacks, so that is a problem. Yet we need more transparency regarding the money in politics. Opensecrets.org is a good source of information, but no one is telling us who is paying for trips, lunches, and dinners in Washington. It is interesting to see how much money is being spent on various elections. That information provides some insight into what political parties think is at stake.
The Daily Caller posted an article today stating that according to federal campaign finance data, environmentalists have outspent the oil and gas industry more than 2-to-1 so far this election cycle. Wow. The obvious question is, “Where is their money coming from?”
The article explains:
About $14 million of environmentalist spending this cycle came from organizations, while around $29 million came from individuals affiliated with eco-groups and causes, according to CRP data.
Spending from individuals, however, almost exactly match spending by San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer, who founded the environmental group NextGen Climate Action. Steyer’s given NextGen more than $29 million this election cycle, CRP figures show.
Steyer was the single largest donor in the 2016 election cycle, spending more than $89.7 million, and bundled donations for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. Steyer made his name among liberal activists opposing the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
All but $250,000 of Steyer’s outside spending this election cycle went to NextGen Climate Action. The money Steyer didn’t give the environmental group went to his multi-million dollar “Need to Impeach” campaign.
We know that money does not buy elections. If it did, we would have either President Jeb Bush or President Hillary Clinton. Both candidates outspent President Trump by large amounts. The American people (I think and hope) are smart enough not to be bought by money, although money pays for campaign ads which do have an impact.