The right-wing Supreme Court opened the campaign funding “flood gates” when they allowed Citizens United to stand. Following that glorious Republican moment, the GOP has conducted themselves like kids in a candy store. Millions of dollars were laundered through Political Action Committees, known as PACs. Contributors like the Koch brothers and Texas billionaire Harold Simmons make Republicans believe that the GOP could actually buy an election.
Fundraising is a politician’s business. They spend most of their waking hours pulling those greenbacks into their campaign coffers and they don’t care where it comes from. Republicans’ ethical standards seem to be hidden behind some gray cloud of trust that screens the lies they tell their constituency.
The Republican members wreak havoc on America’s financial system while accumulating untold wealth of their own. When they get caught with their grubby fingers in the till, these greedy politicians cry ignorance and walk away.
Mindless Republicans like Speaker John Boehner are finding themselves being scrutinized for ethics violations that stem from unexplained campaign fund withdrawals: “The FEC has announced that they are investigating Speaker of the House John Boehner for accepting dozens of illegal donations from the coal, energy, and gambling industries.” The Federal Election Commission that Boehner’s contributions exceeded limits by more than $150,000. John Boehner raised over $22 million last year to win his re-election.
The next Republican on the campaign funding larceny list is non other than Michele Bachmann: “The House Ethics Committee announced Wednesday that it is extending its investigation into alleged campaign finance irregularities by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).” The Committee believes that Bachmann used money from her PAC to pay staff and then used campaign resources on her book tour.
The greedy saga continues when, “The House Ethics Committee announced Monday that Rep. Michael Grimm, a former FBI agent, is under investigation for possible campaign finance violations, but said it is deferring the inquiry because of a separate Justice Department probe. The New York Republican may have violated campaign finance laws by soliciting and accepting prohibited contributions, actions that may have caused false information to be included in campaign finance reports.”
Two years later, Boehner claimed House Republicans will hold themselves to the highest ethical standard. “House Republicans will demonstrate our commitment to reform by holding ourselves to the highest possible ethical standard,” said Boehner.
The hypocrisy of Boehner and Cantor saying they have a zero-tolerance policy concerning campaign fundraising is intolerable. Republicans run the House Ethics Committee. Instead of punishing these super PAC embezzlers, the GOP gives them more money in gifts and promotions.
The culprits hide behind the House leadership and go about the business of collecting funds for their next election as if all was correct and proper. Regulations need to be enforced. The people breaking the rules can’t be the ones enforcing those rules. Maybe Citizens United needs another look.
Richard Andrew is a guest blogger for Ring of Fire.