General Question

tinyfaery's avatar

What is the problem with candidates taking money from millionaires/billionaires?

Asked by tinyfaery (43090points) February 14th, 2020

Everyone, no matter who you are or how much money you make, can only donate $2,800, as an individual. Here are the other maximums. What makes anyone think that because Bill Gates, for instance, donates $2800 to a certain candidate, that said candidate is thus beholden to him.?

There are also charts like these that indicate how much employees from a certain industry gave to the Democratic candidates. This would include donation from a CEO all the way down to a tech nurse, but no more than $2,800.

Most, if not all, Democratic candidates do not take PAC money, and many have agreed to not take any money from certain industries, like fossil fuels.

So what is the problem? Just because Bill Gates donates $2,800 to Klobuchar does not mean that she is going to do his bidding. I paid a decent sum of money to meet, greet, and eat with a candidate and I was not promised an ambassadorship or given a promise about addressing my individual concerns.

What am I not understanding?

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25 Answers

Patty_Melt's avatar

It is a smoke screen.
By criticizing the identity of donors, opponents hope to associate bad thoughts and feelings for the donor to the recipient.

janbb's avatar

I agree with you @tinyfaery. I really think the bigger problem is with Citizens United where corporate entities can donate seemingly unlimited amounts of money through PACs. And of course there are those billionaires who can spend unlimited amounts of their own money. But campaign finance reform is a dead issue, at least among everyone not a Democratic candidate, and I am willing to table it in the interests of winning this election.

RocketGuy's avatar

@janbb – Trump and Repubs not meeting your needs? (They are opposite of what I need, and what I see average Americans needing.)

janbb's avatar

@RocketGuy Ah, not so much.

Zaku's avatar

$2800 is still 100 times what a typical contribution from an ordinary person tends to be like.

But as @janbb wrote, there are other ways campaigns get money, such as PACs, and in someone like Bloomberg or Trump’s case, using their “own” money.

And of course, money coming in from the two corrupt corporate-beholden mega-parties.

Also money stored up by politicians constantly raising funds with most of their time rather than actually doing their job in government, and funds stored up from previous campaigns.

Since campaigns are supposedly about equal democracy, all of these things tend to be seen as issues by people who agree with that.

tinyfaery's avatar

$2800 might be more than typical, but it’s still not much money when considering how much a campaign needs. Is a candidate going to “sell their soul” for $2800?

Using your own money is not relevant to my question.

If you are part of the party you are going to get $ from them, right? If you think that party is corrupt then don’t belong to that party.

Money that is stored up only applies to certain candidates, including those that love to talk about how others accept money from billionaires, and who are themselves millionaires.

Only incumbents need to worry about funds as opposed to doing their jobs.

Nothing will ever be equal until campaigns are publicly funded in entirety and everyone gets the same amount but even then, being an incumbent alone gives you an unequal chance of being elected.

I still see no problem with accepting money from millionaires and billionaires as individuals.

mazingerz88's avatar

Especially if it’s from billionaires and multi-millionaires who don’t mind getting taxed more. They do exist don’t they? I seemed to have read something about Buffet indicating so. No idea about Soros’ take on taxes.

Not sure about the exact agenda of the Koch Bros and that other old guy billionaire who gives a lot of money to the GOP.

That billionaire lady who is a big GOP donor became Secretary of Education. Might be a good example of why politicians or parties shouldn’t “sell” government positions like that?

Caravanfan's avatar

Absolutely nothing.

Zaku's avatar

@tinyfaery Yes, a politician isn’t going to be beholden to one $2800 donation. But billionaires have rich friends and influence, and they can each give $2800 to each candidate in each election, and that is not the only way that they can spend their money to influence elections. In addition to giving to candidates, then and all their friends can each give $10,000 per year to State/District/Local Party Committees, plus $35,500 to national party committees, plus $106,500 per year per account to Additional National Party Committee Accounts. They can also put money into private foundations, PACs and other groups. And they can buy/control/influence the news media. The political parties themselves have both become highly beholden to the sponsorship of the ultra-rich and their corporations, media and other organizations, strategic groups working the system which aren’t limited to an official organization, and other patterns of thinking along those lines.

Michael Bloomberg recently said that he is planning to spend $80,000,000 to flip the House of Representatives (not to mention what he’s spending on his own campaign. Unlike you and me, he can hire a staff of analysts and lawyers to recommend the most effective ways to buy politicians and help them into office.

And those are just some of the legal ways they can influence candidates.

And it’s also just considering money for the campaign. Politicians who sell out to the establishment are making a long-term investment/deal that can end up making them and people they know very wealthy… IF they play along. And that’s money/benefits/etc they and the people they know can actually have for themselves, not just their election campaign. Not to mention that the opposite is also true. Imagine earning a group of enemies that are power-crazed multi-billionaires . . .

Is anyone ready to acknowledge some problems yet?

kritiper's avatar

Nothing at all, really. We are capitalists after all…

Zaku's avatar

Speak for yourself.

filmfann's avatar

I like the idea of the rich contributing to political campaigns. I like that they are spreading money to newspapers, advertising, television and such.
I don’t like that they think they can buy influence.

Caravanfan's avatar

@Zaku “Speak for yourself.” What did you type that on, and how did you get it?

zenvelo's avatar

Sheldon Adelson has told the RNC that he will spend $100 million dollars to re-elect Trump and Republicans this year. About ten percent will go to getting Trump re elected. That is a lot more than $2,800.

He does it by independent expenditure. And Trump consults with Adelson on policy, especially with regard to Israel and tax policy.

mazingerz88's avatar

^^That’s the other old billionaire I was referring to in my post. Looks like trump’s doing what The Money wants.

Jonsblond's avatar

”When you have the heads of large pharmaceutical companies contributing to your campaign, you are not going to aggressively take on the collusion and the corruption of the drug companies who are ripping us off every single day. When it comes to this election, the question is: whose side are you on? I am proud that we have zero billionaires donating to our campaign and will always be on the side of the working class.”- Bernie Sanders

Zaku's avatar

@Caravanfan I typed it on a keyboard given to me by friends.

hmmmmmm's avatar

^ You were supposed to say that you typed it on an iPhone, and @Caravanfan was going to pull the socialism version of Pascal’s Wager (an embarrassing beginner mistake) to prove that you live in a society or some shit. I still can’t believe he typed that. Don’t even need to point out that every aspect of that technology was developed by public-funded research. It’s a self-own, and it’s still there.

@Caravanfan: “What did you type that on, and how did you get it?”

ouch, that is embarrassing.

Zaku's avatar

@hmmmmmm Mhmm.

If extreme capitalist thinking weren’t leading to ever-increasing extinctions and other ways of destroying the planet and causing ever-increasing suffering, I wonder what we might be doing rather than typing to responses to capitalist fanatics, or worrying about ever-increasing political divisions?

LostInParadise's avatar

The Citizens United Supreme Court decision allows outside organizations to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns. @zenvelo showed one of the consequences of this decision.

Zaku's avatar

And since billionaires can afford to create and fund many organizations… the rule ends up only strongly limiting non-billionaires.

And yet it provides room for the confusion (or misdirection) as seen in the discussion in this thread.

tinyfaery's avatar


”Bernie dark money”:

How do you know there are no billionaires supporting Bernie. His org doesn’t require disclosure.

Caravanfan's avatar

@hmmmmmm Not at all. The keyboard was still purchased at a store with money.

hmmmmmm's avatar

^ yep

“to prove that you live in a society or some shit”

Caravanfan's avatar

@hmmmmmm I love you too Tom.

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