Max Baucus Couldn’t Possibly Be Influenced By Campaign Donations


Today’s Washington Post offers a rundown of the huge amounts of lobbyist and industry cash Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has raised recently by virtue of his key role in drafting health care legislation. Baucus raised some $3 million from the health and insurance sectors between 2003 and 2008, according to the Post. The Senator refused to comment for the article, but his spokesman, Tyler Matsdorf, offered up this gem:

[Sen. Baucus is] only driven by one thing: what is right for Montana and the country. And he will continue his open process of working together with the president, his colleagues in Congress, and groups and individuals from across the nation to get this legislation passed.

If members of Congress don’t like the public questioning what drives them, they could always set up a robust public financing system for elections and stop taking corporate and lobbyist money. Until then, people are going to wonder about what motivates them when they take millions of dollars from the industries that are most affected by their legislation.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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