Monday, May 17, 2010

Legislators and corporate donations

Was reading the Wikipedia article about a senator with some disturbing views on homosexuality (his office said he "does not hire openly gay staffers due to the possibility of a conflict of agenda"), Israel (that America should base its Israel policy on the text of the Bible, WTF!) and the rights of prisoners (saying he was "outraged by the outrage" over relevations of abuse in Abu Ghraib, and one of nine senators to vote against an act prohibiting "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment of individuals in U.S. Government custody).

Then I saw this part. Inhofe is highly sceptical of the climate change, an issue which I'm somewhat undecided about. Fair enough, but surely receiving a $429,950 "donation" from the petroleum industry is a serious conflict of interest?

U.S. senators make huge decisions on bills and treaties, as well as appoint high level government officials and judges. Surely if they can receive donations from any source, then effectively it means the richest corporations and industries can unfairly influence government policy?

Would it not be better (democratically speaking) if there were no such donations and politicians received some fixed amount for their campaigns from government coffers?

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