Monday, April 16, 2012

Donors, Lobbyists, and Politicians

                A new review by the New York Times sheds light on a startling trend of the Obama White House.  The analysis showed that among donors who gave $30,000 or less, about 20 percent visited the White House, and that those who donated $100,000 or more, the figure then rises to about 75% of those who visited the white house.  The review also finds that 2/3 of the president’s top fund raisers in 2008 have also visited the White House, some of them on countless occasions. And the problem is, as the article highlights that these donors either brought lobbyists with them or essentially acted as lobbyists in meeting with the White House. 

                This article reflects the network of politicians and lobbyists that as we have discussed continue to perpetuate political gridlock in Washington.  A smaller minority of wealthy and connected individuals are given the opportunity to directly affect public policy, while the larger majority of Americans are continuously left out on the debate.  When, as Jake’s post points out, that a policy such as the “Buffet rule” has 60 % approval rating, but cannot make into any form of legislation, it’s a problem.  Yet, if an individual has enough money to donate to a political campaign, he will get a face to face meeting with white house officials to discuss his policy opinions and sometimes even pitching his own personal projects. As one donor is quoted in the article, ““If you want to call it ‘quid pro quo,’ fine. At the end of the day, I want to make sure I do my part.”  I feel this system is not constructive towards fostering a political environment that truly reacts to the needs of its electorate. I hope that whoever holds the office in 2013 starts to take some real measures to break up this revolving door culture in Washington. It will be a critical factor in helping Washington become more responsive and productive for the average American.

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