HIGHTOWER: Buying Congress Wholesale

"If you're shopping for legislation, folks, you can't beat the deal that we've got for you on Capitol Hill! Come on out this weekend to Washington, DC, where we've got a special two-for-one sale running on political parties. Why buy only Republicans when, for just a little bit more, you can pick up Democrats, too? When you buy the matched set, your legislation will slide through congress faster than a greased pig."The congressional sale-a-thon has been going on for years of course, but big corporate lobbyists that have traditionally spent the overwhelming portion of their political money buying Republicans have lately been crossing the aisle to buy more influence with Democrats. According to the watchdog, money-tracking group, Center for Responsive Politics, over 40 percent of corporate money now is spent on Democrats, with giants like Citigroup, Sprint, and Rite Aid putting more than half of their political funds into Democrats.Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, reports that this crossover shopping by big business has so alarmed the GOP that the top fundraising operative for congressional Republicans has sent two memos in recent weeks to corporate lobbyists, highlighting his party's allegiance to the legislative agenda of corporations and imploring them to stop giving so much to Democrats. But, as an executive with drug-maker Schering-Plough put it, "We are committed to bipartisan giving."Of course they are! That's because "giving" is receiving when it comes to congress -- give a little contribution, get back big legislative favors. And by putting money into both political parties, they minimize any pesky opposition from such other interests as consumers, workers, environmentalists, and taxpayers.This is Jim Hightower saying ... The only effective way to put the public interest over corporate interest is to get private money out of the election process entirely, eliminating the sale-a-thon. To learn how, contact Public Campaign: 202-293-0222.

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