Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Secretly Buying Access to a Governor

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD, NYT
OCT. 7, 2014

Addicted to each other’s power and money, the political parties and their corporate donors are constantly trying to enlarge their relationship out of sight of the American public. An accidental Internet disclosure last month showed that the stealthy form of political corruption known as “dark money” now fully permeates governor’s offices around the country, allowing corporations to push past legal barriers and gather enormous influence.

This has been going on nationally for several years, of course, after wealthy interests claimed that a series of legal decisions allowed them to give unlimited and undisclosed amounts to “social welfare” groups that pretended not to engage in politics. (The tax code prohibits these groups from having politics as a primary purpose.) Now it turns out that both the Republican and Democratic governors’ associations have also set up social welfare groups — known in the tax code as 501(c)(4) associations — with the purpose of raising secret political money.

Thanks to the computer slip, discovered by the liberal group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, we now know some of the people and corporations that secretly contributed to the Republican organization, known as the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee. The names are familiar and include executives of the Southern Company, the big utility; the Edison Electric Institute, which represents power companies; Aetna, WellPoint and several Blue Cross affiliates, all large health insurers; Amplify, Rupert Murdoch’s education sales division; and multiple lobbyists.

(More here.)

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