No one has benefited more from wealthy donors seeking to influence the 2012 presidential race than Mitt Romney. As of last August, Romney received more lobbyist contributions than the rest of the GOP field combined. His largest single source of campaign revenue is Wall Street bankers, and a massive 10 percent of all American billionaires donated to Romney’s campaign. So it should come as little surprise that Romney is a big supporter of allowing the rich and the powerful to buy and sell democracy — Romney recently pledged to appoint more justices like the ones who joined the egregious Citizens United decision.
As with so many of Romney’s positions, however, he didn’t always feel the same way. Back in 1994, Romney delivered a speech — to a group of business leaders nonetheless — calling for much stricter campaign finance laws:
I am personally of the belief that money plays a much more important role in what is done in Washington than we believe. I personally believe that when campaigns spend the kind of money they’re now spending — this race, I understand, Ted Kennedy will spend about ten million dollars to be reelected. He’s been in 32 years. 10 million dollars — I think that’s wrong. And that’s not his own money, that’s all from other people, and to get that kind of money, as an incumbent you’ve got to cozy up to other people — all of the special interest groups that can go out there and raise money for you from their members — and that kind of relationship has an influence on the way that you’re going to vote. [...]
These kinds of associations between money and politics, in my view, are wrong. And, for that reason, I would like to have campaign spending limits. [...] I also would abolish PACs.
The Mitt Romney of 17 years ago was exactly right. When a candidate accepts millions of dollars from wealthy individuals and special interest groups, that kind of relationship does influence how they will govern when they are elected. Indeed, that’s exactly why Wall Street and one in 10 billionaires are planning to get exactly what they paid for if Mitt Romney is elected president.
(HT: Andrew Kaczynski)