Rich Republicans sell a woe-is-me story seeking to hide big-dollar campaign contributions

Rich Republicans sell a woe-is-me story seeking to hide big-dollar campaign contributions
Royalty-free stock photo ID: 180961316 NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - MARCH 6, 2014: Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).

Days after one of its star reporters jumped on the Republican faux-outrage bandwagon over a Democratic congressman’s use of publicly available campaign finance information, The New York Times offers up a furrowed brow of a story about whether it might be a good idea to hide the names of political donors—after all, people who’ve donated the legal maximum to Donald Trump don’t like the response.

“Calling out the people who fund campaigns is not a new tactic in politics,” Katie Rogers and Annie Karni write, “but the question of how much should be publicly disclosed about those donors has been an issue that Republicans, led by the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, have repeatedly raised in recent years.” In other words, Republicans want all dark money, all the time. No accountability, no sunlight.

Because otherwise, people who can afford to write $2,800 checks—and more—to Donald Trump might get calls saying things like, “Hey, we were going to use you for business, but we found out you’re a racist,” and we can’t have that!

In an article about public disclosure and Republican opposition to such disclosure, nowhere does the Times say in so many words that information on people who give more than $200 to a campaign is publicly available on a government website. Probably the closest is this: “While the Supreme Court ruled in the 2010 Citizens United case to uphold public disclosure—with Justice Antonin Scalia, the court’s conservative stalwart, arguing later that without such revelations ‘democracy is doomed’—Republicans and wealthy allies like the Koch brothers have argued that it results in donor harassment and has a chilling effect on free speech.” So the Supreme Court, including its leading right-wing voice, was for disclosure … BUT!

This is The New York Times dedicating 1,400 words to the wish of rich Republicans to change the law to provide less transparency and accountability, only it’s not reporting on that campaign, on the fact that this is what rich Republicans want to do and why that might be and how they’re going about it. Instead, it’s dutifully reporting their cover story as if it has merit and substance. It’s stenography on the “woe is me” of rich people who got some angry—but apparently not threatening, since heaven knows, if anyone had been threatening, we would have heard about it—phone calls because they gave thousands of dollars to a racist.

When we talk about the rules being written for rich people, this is a perfect example of how it happens.


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