As a Mormon, Mitt Romney may not indulge in alcohol or caffeine, but he has clearly succumb to society’s most addictive substance; money, and for a politician, there is no bigger pusher than Charles and David Koch, the Koch brothers. If the Koch brothers have their way, they will be the first men in history (thanks to 2010′s Citizens United) to buy an American president and a lot of people see that as a problem. Not Romney. To a $50k a head Republican crowd, he said the was proud of his “Koch problem.”
From the New York Post:
A plane flew over the Hamptons with a banner from protestors reading, “Mitt Romney has a Koch problem,” as he stopped for three major fund-raisers Sunday — first at the East Hampton home of billionaire Ronald Perelman, followed by events at the home of Clifford Sobel, the former US ambassador to Brazil, then for dinner at David and Julia Koch’s home on Meadow Lane in Southampton.
Romney quipped to the crowd at Koch’s event, “I understand there is a plane out there saying Mitt Romney has ‘a Koch problem.’ I don’t look at it as a problem; I look at it as an asset.”
Before the event, which raised $3 million for the candidate, Romney and his wife Ann had a private meeting with the Koch brothers.
The protesters included several groups, including MoveOn.org, who created this video:
The right, who are particularly adept at false equivalencies, rather than admit that this type of political spending is anti-democratic, argues that the playing field is in fact level because there are Democratic billionaires. The Koch brothers are worth $25 billion each. Together, their wealth dwarfs even Warren Buffett at “just” $39 billion. The favorite bogeyman of the right, George Soros, has less than half the wealth of the Koch brothers, $22 billion.
More importantly, who is spending the money and where? The Koch brothers have pledged $60 million in the defeat of just Barack Obama. They’ll spend countless more money on defeating other Democrats. Soros has pledged about $2 million. Buffett has pledged nothing because he doesn’t like the direction that our democracy is headed.
Of course, no campaign finance article would be complete without the mention of unions and corporations. Open Secrets reports that businesses out fundraise unions by a margin of three to one. However, businesses aren’t transparent in their giving, whereas unions are. If you take soft money into account, businesses outspend unions by a margin of 17 to 1.
This should be a non-partisan issue. No one, regardless of wealth, should have the ability to have that much influence over a political office holder. If Romney were to win, he would be a fully owned subsidiary of Koch Industries whose first priority is to the profitability of Koch Industries. You don’t have to be a progressive or a Democrat to recognize that there is something wrong with our electoral system. Dead presidents shouldn’t be allowed to vote.