Claiming that politicians are corrupted by money is a time-honored practice. But this article from the Intercept, which lays out in excruciating detail, how success at raising campaign donations translates into House chairmanships and other positions, is stunning even for the most jaded observer. It’s not the amounts or the primacy that campaign contributions confer which shocks. Nor is it the ridiculous rules, such as raising money online for another candidate doesn’t ‘count’, but raising the same amount by pressing the flesh with lobbyists.
What is shocking is the banality of it all. It is highly scheduled and organized. There are concrete, defined amounts one needs to raise and provide to the DCCC in order to become a committee chair–and these are staggering amounts (e.g., $600,000 per year). Yet it is so sanitized. To be clear, Republicans do this too and were doing it first; arguably, Republicans are worse.
But even more shocking than the practice itself is the utter lack of press coverage. If this were sports–which is to say, entertainment–one could understand the temptation (and commercial need) to downplay this corruption. People really don’t want to watch the seamy side of professional sports, they just want to watch the game.
There is no better example of how our political press corps treats politics like sports than the unwillingness to cover this. I’m sure somewhere in the distant past, one or more major news outlets have covered this–though obviously not in banner headlines (or even on the front page). But this staggering corruption should be front and center. Any decent person who could comprehend its ‘natural history’ would be radicalized (or despondent). Yet this isn’t covered, except by vague allusion. If voters knew how their representatives essentially purchase committee chairs–or at the very least, once they lead committees, are expected to convert their power into the ability to convince wealthy people and lobbyists to give them money–it would change many things.
Anyway, you should read the article.