Blown To Bits

Alert: Political Contributions Buy Votes

Friday, June 27th, 2008 by Harry Lewis

Now that’s a dog-bites-man headline, but the votes in question are the votes that validated the unconstitutional government wiretapping under FISA discussed in earlier posts (here, here, and here). Now it turns out, thanks to excellent research by, that House members who favored immunity for the telcos received on average more than twice as much in telco contributions than those who voted no. Democrats who switched their votes in order to relieve the telcos of responsibility for the wiretaps received 68% more than those who voted against immunity twice.

One of the themes of Chapter 8 of Blown to Bits is the importance of the political contributions by entrenched interests, major communications corporations in particular, on freedom of information as the technology makes an open society more feasible. These numbers dramatically show the extent to which Congresspeople will act against the public interest broadly and the civil rights of individuals in order to raise the money needed for their re-election campaigns. It must be pretty demoralizing for the honorable ones among our elected representatives.

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