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Just because we're in a recession, it doesn't mean that special interests have cut back on trying to woo Washington lawmakers. Former Congressman Lee Hamilton says, "Even In An Economic Crisis, Follow The Money."
By the time Senator Stennis uttered those words, Washington was already changing; expressing that sentiment today would immediately get you written off as hopelessly naïve. The political process runs on people and organized interests with money: politicians need it in order to get elected; donors use it to try to get favorable legislation. And everyone knows how the game is played: legislators raise money from the industries that come under the purview of their committees, while donors contribute to those who wield the most influence over their interests and don't waste their resources on politicians who are irrelevant.
It is not at all clear what we can do about this. I don't fault politicians for raising money to run for re-election. How do you fund a multi-million dollar campaign without such contributions? Yet whether they want to admit it or not, accepting that money puts them under some obligation to donors.
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