True, the likes of Apple
founder Steve Jobs (#128) or
Barbra Streisand (#369)
appear to have contributed out of charity or vanity. But
big donors are
more often motivated by the need for a legislative or regulatory
Take David H. Koch (#10), an oil
magnate who spread around scads of cash to
block tougher EPA regulations
of a type of air pollution that may cause 40,000
premature deaths each
year. Or investment banker and fundamentalist Foster Friess (#14),
pursues favorable treatment of mutual funds when he's not helping run
cabal that shapes GOP policy.
On the opposite curb of this shakedown
stand fundraisers like Terry McAuliffe. He likes to stress that he
President Clinton rather than the troubled DNC. But our
profile of him (see
"Big Game Hunter") reveals
otherwise and demonstrates the blurry moral
character of the status quo.
That both parties play the big-money game offers no
voters. An unacceptable corrosion occurs when the influence of
clearly trumps that of average citizens. But reform is possible: The
proposals in "Reform School" would increase
both transparency and accountability. Crisis
breeds opportunity, and
rather than being enervated by the current scandals, we
should seize this
rare chance to shift power from the bigwigs to the electorate.
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Big Game Hunter
Meet Terry McAuliffe, the man who created Clinton's
sugar magnate José Fanjul can't vote, but he -- and his family --
sure can donate!
This donor's oil business is fighting
EPA clean air regulations by
paying others to do its dirty work.
Meet two senators who voted on
legislation that affected special
interests -- their own.
we all need to know about campaign finance reform.