The NY Times recently wrote a compelling article on the growing fundraising influence and corporatization of the Congressional Black Caucus. The article is eye opening on a number of levels... First, it outlines some of the ways money exchanges hands in Washington which is something we should always be informed about.
This article outlines all the ways that Washington is disfunctional in terms of how policies and laws are literally brought and paid for, and with the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money and resources in elections this is likely to get worse…
The fact that the Congressional Black Caucus has always described itself as the conscience of the Congress, makes this story even more troubling… As you read this story pay close attention to the main people sponsoring them and look at the end result. What's most glaring to me are the telecoms, AT&T and Verizon who successfully got 3/4th of the CBC to vote to get rid of Net Neutrality which levels the playing field on the Internet. Bobby Rush was at the center of this... Currently those same telecom firms have pushed even harder and expanded their lobbying efforts to a handful Civil Rights groups and leaders who have jumped on board to end Net Neutrality... I urge folks to pay close attention to this alignment because it will have dire effects if left unchallenged and unchecked.
At the same time, one has to question why did the NY Times do a story on the CBC? Was it to expose their influence and the increasing potential for corruption? Was it to undermine Black lawmakers exercising increasing influence in Washington? Will CBC become the poster boy for corruption while others skate? Are there other caucuses in Congress that play a similar game? This does not excuse the CBC for any wrong doing, but these are questions we should ask... In short is this just the tip of the iceberg? Lastly as I mentioned earlier is this a precursor to the way business will be done because of the Supreme Court ruling?
It’s hard not to take into account the current backlash that has been spawned around the country now that Barack Obama is in the White House. Along with the anger and discontent expressed at his policies has come increasing expressions of racial hatred. With an article like this I can easily see racism barring its fangs and folks circling the wagon to the point we overlook any wrong doing by CBC. Protecting one from racial attacks trumps ethics questions especially when we know this country has a sordid history of lynching and burning down cities and making life miserable for Blacks who have accumulated wealth. We saw that during the Obama campaign when we would hear remarks about Obama being ‘uppity’ and needing to be put in his place...
Before you read this article one may want to take a look at this 6 minute video clip of long time journalist and pundit Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report.
Ford and his news outlet have issued out report cards every year critiquing members of the CBC and making sure they do right by the communities that they represent. Over the past couple of years they've been highly critical of the CBC as well as the progressive Left for abandoning their core values and beliefs both in electing President Obama who they feel has been too cozy with Wall Street, as well as not holding Congress more accountable for policies they feel act against the interest of the American people. Ford's remarks may lend some keener insight into the NY Times article...
WASHINGTON — When the Congressional Black Caucus wanted to pay off the mortgage on its foundation’s stately 1930s redbrick headquarters on Embassy Row, it turned to a familiar roster of friends: corporate backers like Wal-Mart, AT&T, General Motors, Coca-Cola and Altria, the nation’s largest tobacco company.Soon enough, in 2008, a jazz band was playing at what amounted to a mortgage-burning party for the $4 million town house.
Soon enough, in 2008, a jazz band was playing at what amounted to a mortgage-burning party for the $4 million town house.
Most political groups in Washington would have been barred by law from accepting that kind of direct aid from corporations. But by taking advantage of political finance laws, the caucus has built a fund-raising juggernaut unlike anything else in town.
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