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Occupying Democracy

We the People, not We the Corporations

Photo: Matt Wuerker, License: N/A

Matt Wuerker

Photo: Matt Wuerker, License: N/A

Matt Wuerker

Every major presidential candidate has at least one of these things sacking up and spending money specifically on their behalf. Rick Perry, for example, has six of them. Technically, SuperPACs are independent entities that must not coordinate their spending with the candidates they’re supporting. This legal prohibition against coordination is absolute. And it’s absolutely a farce and a fraud.

Perry’s top SuperPAC, modestly named Make Us Great Again, intends to put $55 million behind the Texan’s effort to win the GOP presidential nomination. It was created and is headed by Mike Toomey, a top corporate lobbyist in Texas before sliding over in 2002 to be Perry’s gubernatorial chief of staff. In 2004, Toomey slid back into lobbying, using his tight ties to Perry to become Austin’s preeminent corporate influence peddler and a fundraiser for the governor.

This year, Toomey helped Perry set up his presidential campaign, serving as both advisor and fundraiser. Now he runs the Make Us Great Again outfit, insisting that it is entirely separate from Perry’s campaign. Helloooo! The PAC and the campaign don’t have to coordinate, because both are embodied in Toomey.

It’s up to us. We are it.

Do politicians think that people can’t see their cynical and deliberate scamming of our democratic process? If so, they might peek at some of the letters, emails and Facebook messages I get practically every day. Not only do folks see it clearly, they’re looking to join in some serious butt-kicking:

• “CEOs represent a clear and present danger to the overall well-being and security of our country. Big money has plucked our eagle.” – Larry

• “We need to get under one umbrella. How can we do it? I’m so angry at the state of things. Still, I’m trying to stay positive.” – Melody

• “I like the idea of petitioning to reverse the Citizens United decision. I would be pleased to help with the petition in Kansas if it gets going, or to start one. Where does one begin?” – Robert

• “The most effective campaign to launch is to get every org to focus lobbying, dollars and message on the one issue: End corporate influence and power.” – Christine

This is not just another issue. It is central to practically every one of our issues, for it amounts to surrendering our democratic authority to, in Jefferson’s words, “the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations.”

The Supreme Court and the political elites have forced you and me into another of those when-in-the-course-of-human-events moments that Jefferson wrote about in the Declaration of Independence. This is a time in which ordinary people are called forth by history to do what our leaders won’t: Assert the American people’s independence from authoritarian rule by corporate plutocrats.

Just say yes.

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