See Scott Run, See Scott Beg: Without Public Financing, Candidates Need to Please the Rich

Think Progress caught something you rarely see on tape, but it is prevalent in our political culture–it is a politician directly begging a billionaire one-on-one for money.  Here is Sen. Scott Brown telling David Koch how helpful the thousands he funneled into his last race were and how he would like some more this time.

Running a campaign for Congress is very expensive, so you either need to be an ultra-rich, self-financed person, or you need to spend a lot of time asking a lot of ultra-rich people, like David Koch, to give your campaign money.

The problem, of course, is that members of Congress spend much of their time only talking with rich people and hearing about the concerns of rich, as the Gov. Walker prank call showed. Knowing they are going to spend a large part of their day asking rich people to give them money, they often end up spending a lot of time thinking about what would make very rich people happy. For example, how happy it would make billionaire hedge fund managers to keep in place the carried interest loophole that allows them to pay lower taxes than teachers.

Of course, if we at least had a voluntary public campaign finance system, like most other democracies, we could have some people running–viably running–for Congress who spend most of their time taking with regular voters instead of trying to make rich people like them enough to give them money.

But until that happens, members of Congress are going to continue to be like Scott Brown. They will spend a lot of time listening to the weird ideas of a handful of billionaires who spend millions on elections, and they will make sure to vote the right way, so these billionaires will continue to show them financial love in the next election.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at

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