Staffing up for corruption


Campaigns are hiring “donor maintenance managers” as personal concierges to millionaire supporters.

Oh, great — just what America’s Big Money politics needed: more campaign consultants.

Already, candidates are walled off from people, reality, and any honesty about themselves by a battalion of highly specialized consultants controlling everything from issues to hairstyle. But now comes a whole new category of staff to add to the menagerie: “donor maintenance manager.”

We can thank the Supreme Court for this. Its malevolent Citizens United decision produced an insidious platinum class of mega-donors and corporate super PACs, each pumping $500,000, $5 million, $50 million — or even more — into campaigns.

These elites aren’t silent donors. They’re boisterous, very special interests playing in this court-created political money game for their own gain.

Having paid to play, they feel entitled to tell candidates what to say and do, what to support and oppose. A Jeb Bush insider confirms that mega-donors bluntly tell the candidate: “I just invested in you. Now I need to have my say; you need to answer to me.”

Thus, campaigns are hiring donor maintenance managers as personal concierges to meet every need and whim of these special ones. This subservience institutionalizes the plutocratic corruption of our democratic elections, allowing a handful of uber-rich interests to buy positions of overbearing influence directly inside campaigns.

Donors at the million-dollar-and-up level are expecting much more than a tote bag for their “generous gifts.”

Of course, candidates piously proclaim, “I’m not for sale.” But politicians are just the delivery service. The actual products being bought through the Supreme Court’s political bazaar are our government’s policies, tax breaks, and other goodies — as well as the integrity of America’s democratic process.

By Jim Hightower

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also the editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown, and a member of the Public Citizen board. www.

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