If No One is Around When Democracy Dies, Does it Make a Sound? Part 2

The fox passes acts to watch the hen house…

The Tillman Act of 1907 was the first legislation in the United States prohibiting contributions from corporations  and unions to national political campaigns. More regulations were added in 1910, with subsequent amendments in 1925, with the Federal Corrupt Practices Act. This was followed in 1943 with the Smith-Connally Act and again in 1947 with the Taft-Hartley Act. All were focused on regulating union and corporate spending in federal campaigns and public disclosure of donors. While all these Acts were on the books, there was never a government agency tasked with enforcement (similar to having a speed limit sign on a desert highway with no cops).  

In 1971, Congress consolidated its earlier reform efforts in the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), instituting more stringent disclosure requirements for federal candidates, political parties and Political action committees (PACs). This was later amended in 1974 to set limits on contributions by PACs, individuals, political parties, and also established the Federal Election Commission (FEC) – the first independent agency that would be tasked to enforce campaign finance Acts.

In 2002, Congress made major revisions to the FECA in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, more commonly referred to as “McCain-Feingold.” However, major portions of McCain-Feingold were later struck down by the Supreme Court on constitutional grounds.  In June 2008, the “millionaire’s amendment,” a section of the act that attempted to provide a fairness through increasing campaign contributions for candidates who were being substantially outspent by opponents using their own personal wealth, was overturned by the Supreme Court in Davis v. Federal Election Commission. Senator McCain consistently voiced concern over campaign practices and their funding.

“Questions of honor are raised as much by appearances as by reality in politics, and because they incite public distrust, they need to be addressed no less directly than we would address evidence of expressly illegal corruption…By the time I became a leading advocate of campaign finance reform, I had come to appreciate that the public’s suspicions were not always mistaken. Money does buy access in Washington, and access increases influence that often results in benefiting the few at the expense of the many.” Senator John McCain, 2002.

B-I-N-G-O! And 18 years later it’s only gotten worse.

This is part 2 of the “Democracy Dies” series, covering the corruption surrounding PACS, SuperPACs, and how candidates pay for votes. To read part 1, go to https://altraged.com/2020/10/23/if-no-one-is-around-does-democracy-make-a-sound-when-it-dies-part-1/

If No One is Around, Does Democracy Make a Sound When it Dies? Part 1

(Part 1 of the Democracy Dies Series)

By Alan J. Yeck, Founder of AltRaged

Show me the money!

For many years I took American democracy completely for granted like the sun rising every morning. I viewed it as impenetrable from outside influence, unbreakable from internal conflicts and impervious to the passage of time. I believed, unwavering, that we were a system of government by the whole population. That my voice, your voice, their voice, all mattered in how we would govern, be governed, and the future of our country. That the words Abraham Lincoln spoke at Gettysburg, “…that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth,” explained and justified how so many could sacrifice their lives for this idea of democracy. I love my country and the ideals of justice, and equality and freedom that I believed we were about. All of this is so tightly woven through my very existence as veteran, father, son, and American that to try and separate it from the rest of myself would cause me to break into a thousand pieces. Well, more like a thousand shingles falling from my eyes – and they did.

Communism, fascism, terrorist, extremists, racists, war, depression…none of these can destroy our democracy. The greater the threats the stronger we become – when we see them, when we understand them, we fight them and have never, ever lost. Only democracy, specifically when its citizens are manipulated by its government, can destroy democracy and that’s exactly what is happening. Those we elect to represent us have not only failed to uphold their vows to our Constitution but they have perverted it against us.

Let’s start with the individual – you, me, aunt Fran. There’s an issue that you feel strongly about; immigration, firearm ownership, racial justice, planned parenthood, the arts, taxes, veterans, student loans, healthcare, affordable housing…(insert issue here). We take our thoughts, values, concerns, and needs to the people that we voted to represent us. We receive the automated response to our email, thanking us for contacting them. Sometimes we even receive a letter thanking us for contacting them and that they are working on our behalf for (insert issue here). Thank God we have Senator Shayla and Congressman Cal working hard on our behalf. But  it’s all a lie, a TV show, a bad game that we can never win. After we vote, we fall to the back of the line. There are only three things that matter in Congress; 1) money, 2) time in front of the TV cameras, and 3) money. If you’re not coming with a bag of cash, don’t waste your time. Unless it’s something that will embarrass them; if it’s something that would risk losing their power or money. Otherwise, we don’t matter.

Today’s Congress is probably the most corrupt in U.S. history with all those we elected, red and blue, actively participating in one way or the other (not fighting against corruption is participating in the corruption). This didn’t just happen, or happen with the last administration or the one before that, or the one before that…This series is a brief summary of campaign reform attempts and political action committees. There is much more, both depth and breadth, to be known about these but for our purposes now we will only be focusing on how they have facilitated, and accelerated bribery and corruption while hiding behind our current laws. I do urge you to do more research yourself. They are numerous, and sometimes complicated with plentiful law suits, court cases including the Supreme Court (questionable rulings).

Looking forward to sharing with all of you in the coming days and weeks. As always, should you want to share, please click on the “Submissions” page above and learn how you can contribute to AltRaged.