How many U.S. Senators can you buy for $125 million?That’s the question the Koch Brothers, the right-wing billionaires, are finding out. Courtesy of Citizens United and the deregulation of campaign finance, they’ve poured at least $125 million and about 44,000 advertisements into their effort to buy the U.S. Senate. According to the Center for Public Integrity,
And that’s just through August; if you’ve dared turn on your television the last two months, you know the blitz has only increased. It’s not even an honest bribe. The money is contributed through a network of Koch-controlled entities with benign sounding names: Americans for Prosperity, the American Energy Alliance, Concerned Veterans for America, the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, Generation Opportunity and the 60 Plus Association. What they all have in common is that they don’t reveal their donors – so-called “dark money” – and the Koch Brothers, directly or indirectly control each of them.
Chris Cillizza, writing in the Washington Post, created a chart trying to piece together what WC chooses to call the Kochtopus:
Through August 31, the Center for Public Integrity reports the Kochtopus had run 3,575 television ads backing Dan “the Carpetbagger” Sullivan, the Kochtopus puppet intended for Alaska.
This is what the U.S. Supreme Court under Citizens United has unleashed on the United States. This is what Citizens United has done to Alaska. Two billionaires get a chance to buy themselves Legislative branch of the United States government.
Remember when the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission climbed all over the late Nelson Bunker Hunt, fined him $10 million and banned from trading in the commodity markets because he conspired to manipulate the silver market? Pikers, mere pikers. The Hunt boys just didn’t think big enough. If you want to buy the U.S. Senate, the SCOTUS itself will bless your effort.
More than twenty years ago, one of the first callers to former California Governor Jerry Brown’s radio show, “We the People,” asked whether campaign money had influenced him as governor in the 1970s and ’80s.
“You bet I was influenced,” he said. “You think you can collect $10 million or $20 million and not let it affect your judgment? Your behavior is influenced, and that is the vice that is destroying us.”
“People who work in a fish factory,” he added tartly, “don’t realize they stink.”
The only thing that smells worse than a Kochtopus puppet like the Carpetbagger is the Kochtopus itself. And it is threatening to destroy us.