Lawmakers give away citizens’ money, water, and air to the corporations and lobbyists who pay for them to get elected.
In a democracy laws are to be written by legislators elected into office not interest groups who bankroll their election campaigns.
In a special two-part report: "Sponsored Bills in Sacramento" published by the SJ Mercury News on Sunday, reporter Karen de Sá uncovered a disturbing lawmaking practice that is commonplace in Sacramento in her article, “How our laws are really made.”
“A Mercury News analysis found that in 2007-08, the most recent complete two-year legislative session, more than 1,800 bills — about 39 percent of the total — were sponsored by outside interests. And those sponsored bills made up 60 percent of the legislation that was passed into law.”
“Lawmakers should be required to wear NASCAR-style logos of the companies that fund their election campaigns and write their laws so voters know who is getting elected into office along with them," said Daniel Newman, executive director of Bay Area nonpartisan research group, MAPLight.org.
In California legislators raised almost four out of every five dollars in campaign funds from outside of where their constituents live, according to a MAPLight.org report titled, “Remote Control: California state lawmakers raise 79% of campaign funds from outside their districts.”
Funding of California lawmakers’ campaigns is dominated by business groups according to a recent MAPLight.org study titled, “Investing in Influence.” Researchers found that businesses and trade associations paid for 40 percent of California legislators’ campaigns over the last three years.
"Democracy will continue to be undermined if the voices of ordinary citizens cannot be heard above the roar of the interests of corporations and lobbyists who finance the election campaigns of our politicians," said Newman. "In its current state we have the best government money can buy."
Campaign finance data for the MAPLight.org reports published above was provided by National Institute on Money in State Politics.
Karen de Sá, July 11, 2010, “How our laws are really made,” San Jose Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com/top-stories/ci_15452125.
MAPLight.org, May 18, 2010, “Remote Control, California state lawmakers raise 79% of campaign funds from outside their districts.”
MAPLight.org, June 2, 2010, “Investing in Influence, Business Groups Pay for Forty Percent of California Lawmaker’s Campaigns.”