Let’s say you’re a Democrat. How do you feel about thousands of your tax dollars going to the political campaigns of, say, Eric Cantor (R-VA) or even to Sarah Palin’s PAC? Or, if you’re a Republican, how about a boatload of cash headed over to Nancy Pelosi or MoveOn.org? I’m going to guess you’d not be too pleased but that’s exactly what could be happening right now.
Companies that avoided going the way of Pan Am or WorldComm on the backs of taxpayer-funded bailouts are spending millions of dollars on political causes and campaigns. Believe it:
Several companies that escaped financial failure two years ago through massive taxpayer-funded bailouts are spending millions of dollars to make donations to political causes and even some candidates’ campaigns.
General Motors, Chrysler and Citigroup are just three of the biggest bailout recipients who have continued to remain politically active, through their political action committees, federal lobbying or direct donations to the pet projects of lawmakers.
The potential public relations disaster for firms spending big dollars on political causes and federal lobbying after being extended a taxpayer lifeline has led some, such as AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to suspend their political activities until they pay the government back in full.
Other companies, however, defend their political engagement by saying their political action committees are voluntary groups that employees use to support political causes, that their federal lobbying is necessary to keep Congress informed of their mission, and that donations to pet projects are going to a good cause.
Lobbying is necessary to keep Congress informed? Bullshit. Utter crap. Lobbying is the practice of applying persuasion to government officials in order to achieve a desired outcome. Persuasion is not informing, folks, it’s persuasion. Want to keep Congress informed? Start up a Wiki for members of Congress to use. Hell, give ’em your Facebook page or write them a good, old-fashioned letter if you need to. Spending millions on political issues when the money you’re using to keep your operations alive is coming from taxpayers who didn’t get a say in whether or not Company X got to live while Company Y bites the dust isn’t ethical in any way, shape or form. It’s yet another sign of the arrogance of these companies who first managed to convince Congress that they needed to stay alive badly enough that they were owed taxpayer funding and now must be allowed to spend their cash giving back to the same Congress that voted to let them have the money to begin with.
Ridiculous. No company that accepted any bailout money of any kind should be permitted to spend that money on any campaign or political cause until that money is repaid – and I mean really repaid, GM. And don’t try telling me that it’s coming from a different pool of money. The only reason they even have money at all is because the taxpayer bailouts allowed them to keep breathing. When all of the bailout money is repaid – in full – then they can say they’re spending only the money they’ve earned. Not until.
This practice should cease immediately. It has certainly solidified my stance that I won’t be buying any of their products until they’ve paid everything off and until the government has divested themselves entirely of any ownership. I’ll just spend my money at Ford, Toyota, Honda, or some other company that kept going on their own work.