Isn't it about time to admit political bribing?

Published January 11, 2021

By Joe Mavretic

Bribing is described as, "Persuading someone to act in one’s favor by a gift of money."   Contributing is described as, "Payment to a common fund."
A political question is, "What amount of money changes a contribution into a bribe?"
We often turn our heads away from escalating evil until something happens that is so egregious we must address it. I believe North Carolina’s U.S. Senate campaign between Tom Tillis and Cal Cunningham is that compelling! 
The latest estimates are that Tillis and Cunningham spent a total of at least $300,000,000.00 (300 million) advertising their campaigns. Given the total votes cast for these two, these campaigns spent at least $40.00 for each vote cast for them. Where did all this money come from?
It would be comforting to believe that the Tillis/Cunningham voters each contributed $40.00 to their favorites’ campaigns, but, sadly, that didn’t happen. Money, BIG MONEY, poured into these two campaigns from outside North Carolina. WHY?
One reason is that the US Senate’s "Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee," and the US Senate’s "National Republican Senatorial Committee" re-election campaigns sent huge amounts to their favorite.  We won’t know how much until long after the election. Isn’t it interesting that the US Senate is trying to influence us? Where did all that money come from and why did it pass through some senator’s hands?
Another reason is that special interest groups (often referred to as independent expenditures) know that significant campaign contributions open Senate doors, provide inside information, and add favorable language to bills. I believe C.J.Kalish wrote that, "In America, they call it 'lobbying.' Everywhere else in the world, they call it 'Bribery & Corruption'."
Forty years ago, our North Carolina political cliché was,"If you can’t eat their food, drink their whiskey, take their money and then vote against them the next day-you’re in the wrong business!" That may have been the attitude in 1980 when a US Senate campaign cost only about a million  dollars but not when a campaign costs over one hundred fifty million!
Thank goodness that our US senators are elected for six year terms. That means they only have to raise a little over twenty-five million dollars each year-to keep a job that pays $174,000.00 annually.
What can be done to reduce our "Bought and Paid For US Senate?" A first step is to forget any initiative to impose term limits. That idea has run out of steam. What will work is for the actual five percent of registered Unaffiliated (Independent) voters to vote against any US Senate candidate who is seeking a third term. If we can limit our president to eight years, surely we can use the ballot box to limit US Senators to twelve years!
Until then, whenever you are disgusted with the shenanigans of the US Senate, remember what comedian Robin Williams said, "Politicians should wear sponsor jackets like Nascar drivers, then we know who owns them."