With the New York Times piece on Walmart’s cover up of bribery and corruption in Mexico earlier this year came the public awareness that large multi-national corporations had developed a pattern of courting government officials for favor. With $200,000 from both Jim and Alice Walton already in the Mitt Romney SuperPAC “Restore our Future,” we must ask what the line is between campaign contributions and bribery? What makes this money a contribution, and the money given by former Wal-Mart exec Eduardo Castro-Wright to various politicians throughout Mexico be called bribes? Both were to gain access, to gain influence.
This extends far beyond just the Bully of Bentonville. Sheldon Adelson, of Las Vegas Sands Inc., is right now under three separate investigations, for things ranging from direct payments to a government official to partnering with a known crime boss for their operations in Macau. Mr Adelson has donated over $30 million to the GOP presidential campaign to date, with $10 million directly going to former Governor Romney’s SuperPAC and another $5 million to a fund for GOP House Leaders such as John Boehner and Eric Cantor. A man who would do business with Cheung Chi-tai, leader of a Hong Kong Triad, is certainly making sure his money is well positioned.
But the biggest donors of all, with over $100 million pledged in this election season alone, remains the Koch family. Their company, Koch Industries, has been under investigation by the Department of Justice for several multi-million dollar payments to various officials throughout the middle east, Asia and Africa, from trading with Iran, to running a bribery ring in France as well as other allegations. The family has been the funding backbone for a host of right-wing groups, ranging from the John Birch Society to the Heritage Foundation, for close to a century.
This is not the end of it. From computer giant Hewlett-Packard to financial giant Morgan Stanley, lists of large donors and those tied to bribery and corruption seem to go hand in hand for the Republicans. With the increase of bribery investigations preformed under the Obama administration, these groups are likely feeling the pressure and are attempting to find a more sympathetic ear to replace the President.
What does such vast wealth buy? Access, and with access you gain influence. The Republicans’ One And Only Jobs Plan – Bad For Jobs, Energy Independence, Environment How long will we let those with money influence our elected officials?