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What Charles G. Koch Can Teach Us About Campaign Finance Data

timothy posted about 10 months ago | from the follow-the-oh-well-never-mind dept.

Government 238

Lasrick writes "Lee Drutman is a political scientist with the Sunlight Foundation who does terrific work. In this article, he attempts to trace campaign donations made by one of the Koch Brothers and discovers just how difficult it is to do: 'The case of Charles G. Koch is a nice lesson in just how hard it is to determine who is breaking and who is abiding by campaign finance limits. It's hard to make accurate tallies of individual aggregate campaign contributions when the Federal Elections Commission doesn't require donors to have a unique ID, and when campaigns don't always reliably report donor names. Given this, it is unclear how the FEC would even enforce its own aggregate limit rules. The FEC's spokesperson told me that while the FEC welcomes complaints, it does not typically take enforcement initiative."'

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238 comments

More support for a national ID (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43947583)

Your SSN should not be an ID#

Re:More support for a national ID (5, Informative)

xtronics (259660) | about 10 months ago | (#43948145)

Really strange - the lefts HATRED of brothers promoting freedom with their own money.

For the record - did you know that the Koch Brothers support:

Decriminalizing drugs,
Legalizing gay marriage,
Repealing the Patriot Act,
Ending the police state,
Cutting defense spending.

They call this being way right wing?

Re:More support for a national ID (-1, Troll)

pwizard2 (920421) | about 10 months ago | (#43948273)

Check back with me when the Kochs promote income equality, stop polluting the environment, and do something that indicates they give a shit about ordinary people. We still have to live on this rock and it would be nice to have an intact biosphere and be able to achieve a standard of living higher than corporate feudalism.

I'll probably be modded down for this but what do I expect when this site has moved so far right lately I have trouble recognizing it?

Re:More support for a national ID (0)

msauve (701917) | about 10 months ago | (#43948355)

"what do I expect when this site has moved so far right lately I have trouble recognizing it"

You're confused. The sun's not setting, the horizon is rising.

WTF is income equality? (4, Insightful)

KalvinB (205500) | about 10 months ago | (#43948593)

Should we all be paid the same per hour regardless of what we produce in that hour?

The Koch brothers employ 10's of thousands of people.

Obviously they're doing something for ordinary people.

Re:WTF is income equality? - Exaclty. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948745)

Should we all be paid the same per hour regardless of what we produce in that hour?

I don't think anyone has ever said that. The phrase "Income Equality" does have an air of grade school, though.

What does have most concerned is the disproportionate gains that the super rich are getting just because they are rich. Rent seeking is the economic term.

And what the Kochs and their ilk are doing is rigging the game.

You or I have pretty much no chance of entering their World unless we are very very very lucky - and meet the right people. Zuckerberg of Facebook is the only person who I can think of who joined their World from his humble moderately wealthy family beginning.

The Koch brothers employ 10's of thousands of people.

I'd like to find out if over the last few years, how much more their employees are paying for their healthcare insurance and how much their contributions have increased. Or what kind of cost of living increases they give their employees. We've all worked for companies that when raise time comes, there isn't any money and every year, our portion of the health insurance premium goes up - the company reduces our salary on the back end.

You see, back in the 19th century, many of the "Robber Barons" gave thousands of people jobs, who had to shop at the company store, rent their housing from the company, and so on so that even though folks had jobs, they ended borrowing from the company for their basic needs - don't forget, back then, they didn't have $200 cable bills, cells phones, Apple products, luxury cars, and every other piddly shit people waste their money on these days. Their pay couldn't cover housing and food that the company charged them via the company store.

tl;dr: The Kochs want the 19th century gilded age back when there wasn't income taxes and the rich got richer and the poor just died.

Re:WTF is income equality? - Exaclty. (5, Informative)

stenvar (2789879) | about 10 months ago | (#43948835)

What does have most concerned is the disproportionate gains that the super rich are getting just because they are rich. Rent seeking is the economic term. And what the Kochs and their ilk are doing is rigging the game.

Whatever gives you that idea? Opposition to rent seeking is probably the primary defining characteristic of libertarianism, and the Koch brothers support numerous causes and organizations that strongly oppose rent seeking.

You see, back in the 19th century, many of the "Robber Barons"

The 19th century robber barons weren't unfettered free marketeers, they were people who translated a high level of political influence and corruption into personal fortunes. This is exactly what libertarianism opposes.

The Kochs want the 19th century gilded age back when there wasn't income taxes and the rich got richer and the poor just died.

Do have even the slightest idea what you're saying? Do you really think anybody who is rich is affected by income taxes at all? Rich people don't have income, they mostly just own untaxable assets. Income tax is primarily a burden on the middle class and professionals, not "the rich".

Furthermore, the 19th century was a period of great improvement in the standard of living for everybody, not a period of economic and social decline the way you falsely portray it.

Re:WTF is income equality? (2, Insightful)

pwizard2 (920421) | about 10 months ago | (#43948847)

Everybody should be able to earn a living wage no matter what kind of job they have. I'm sick and tired of this race-to-the-bottom bullshit where executives make millions of dollars a year (or more) while rank-and-file workers are paid so little that they need food stamps to survive (and now the right-wingers want to cut that out of pure spite). And no, I don't envy the rich. Why does anybody need that much money? The rich have not done anything for me or for you without expecting much more in return. Let them be taxed at 90% like in the Eisenhower days. You want to talk about "takers" vs. "makers"? The rich are the takers because they live on other peoples' work. The people who go to work every day and get shit done are the real makers and the real job creators. When regular people have money to spend, everybody does well. When the rich suck up all the money, the economy craters. Do we really have to relive the gilded age and let the modern batch of robber barons take us for everything we have before we come to our senses?

Do the fact the Kochs employ people mean they deserve praise? Those people only have jobs there because they make more money for the Kochs. Can you even list one good thing the Kochs have done for this world that hasn't been tainted by self interest?

Re:WTF is income equality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948957)

>Obviously they're doing something for ordinary people.

Yes they exploit them for their own personal profit.

Re:WTF is income equality? (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 10 months ago | (#43949169)

Business people allow you to stand there making arm motions and get a house, car, and TV out of it, when, left to your own in a field, those motions would quickly get you starved to death.

The true comparison for the "common man" is that, not some warmed-over 1920s Workers of the World Unite pamplet.

Capitalism, having brouught cheap food, leading to the poor in the US being literally the fattest segment of society, the left has to shift goalposts.

Note they push health care or Obama phones or Intertubes-for-all now, 99% of which didn't even exist 40 years ago, and only exists because of a vibrant capitalist economy, the vast bulk of which is private, with a decent assist by government science, which can only be paid for by taxes on a vibrant, capitalist economy.

Re: WTF is income equality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43949439)

It's not about per hour it's about ability to influence the world. The top 5% richest people in the USA own 80%+ of the countries wealth and resources. It's higher now than during the height of the "Robber Baron" era of Wall Street Excesses.

Guys like Koch can donate the MAX amount to EVERY Congresscritter (hell, they can donate to BOTH side) and not even blink. What chance do the other 99% have trying to have bake sales and fundraisers and passing out fliers?

Re:More support for a national ID (0)

stenvar (2789879) | about 10 months ago | (#43948751)

I'll probably be modded down for this but what do I expect when this site has moved so far right lately I have trouble recognizing it?

Perhaps people are coming to their senses. As a former liberal, I certainly have.

Re:More support for a national ID (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about 10 months ago | (#43948759)

Income equality for the Neolith Bantus?  Income equality for the wetback border-jumpers ??  History teaches an iron bootheel  mightl help you to recognize  the modern /.!  GOTO ArsTek  for your slobbering agenda ... here,  simpering lib.coms need not apply.

Re:More support for a national ID (3, Insightful)

atriusofbricia (686672) | about 10 months ago | (#43948409)

Really strange - the lefts HATRED of brothers promoting freedom with their own money.

For the record - did you know that the Koch Brothers support:

Decriminalizing drugs,
Legalizing gay marriage,
Repealing the Patriot Act,
Ending the police state,
Cutting defense spending.

They call this being way right wing?

The problem is that even though they support Freedom and Liberty they don't support Liberalism. They're against big government, heavy taxes and heavy regulation. They tend to be individualists and not collectivists, ergo they are right wing extremists (or something).

Who cares who donates and how much? (1)

trout007 (975317) | about 10 months ago | (#43947633)

You don't have to track political donations just look at how the politicians vote. If you vote for bank bailouts I am going to assume you or someone you know is getting rich off it. If you vote for a hunded billion dollar Air Force fighter contract I wil assume the same.

Re:Who cares who donates and how much? (0)

macraig (621737) | about 10 months ago | (#43947811)

Could you put that dogmatism on a leash, buddy? It's crapping all over my electoral process.

Re:Who cares who donates and how much? (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 10 months ago | (#43947825)

If you know who donates to which parties, politicians, and organizations, it can highlight what things you might want to give extra scrutiny to.

You don't have to use the information, but I would like it to be available for analysis.

Re: Who cares who donates and how much? (1)

drfred79 (2936643) | about 10 months ago | (#43948139)

You don't have to worry about that. The IRS is already taking care of it. Constitutional right to privacy for individuals? Let me reiterate this article is about an individual American citizen not a corporation.

Re: Who cares who donates and how much? (1, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 10 months ago | (#43948161)

Where in the Constitution is there a right to privacy for individuals?

Re: Who cares who donates and how much? (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 10 months ago | (#43948213)

Where in the Constitution is there a right to privacy for individuals?

The Supremes have repeatedly ruled that the enumerated rights in the constitution add up to an implied right to privacy, since you can't realistically have several of them (including the right to freedom of speech) without it. It is ignorant at best to utilize this argument. It is also highly disingenuous to ask this question in any case because the constitution was never intended to exhaustively enumerate the Human Rights of The People. Your one-liner amounts to nothing more than tired prevarication.

Re: Who cares who donates and how much? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948383)

Jesus. Thank you drinkypoo. Things have gotten so out of hand as a way to defend the government and administration that they're starting to turn on the Bill of Rights to defend the position. All Americans should be angered about the attacks on the AP, other news agencies, and private Americans that have transpired since 2010.

Re: Who cares who donates and how much? (5, Insightful)

atriusofbricia (686672) | about 10 months ago | (#43948433)

Where in the Constitution is there a right to privacy for individuals?

4th Amendment prohibition against unreasonable search and seizure, and the 9th Amendment which clearly says that just because a set of rights are enumerated doesn't mean those are the only ones you have, and the 10th Amendment which says that the only powers the Federal government has are those delegated to it, and that all others are reserved to the States (where not prohibited) or the People.

So, the real question which you should have asked is where in the Constitution was the government given the power to snoop through all your crap in the first place.

Re: Who cares who donates and how much? (1)

faffod (905810) | about 10 months ago | (#43948565)

How is trying to find out how our elected officials are beholden to wealthy contributors the same thing as our government snooping through all our crap?

Asinine Article of the Year Award Goes to... (5, Insightful)

KalvinB (205500) | about 10 months ago | (#43947695)

Obama is spying on every American with blanket data grabs and still fails to stop terrorist attacks
Obama has the IRS pry into the personal lives of anyone (and high school kids) who is trying to start a conservative non-profit

And you want to bitch about money from people supporting a candidate that DIDN'T WIN the election.

Step 1: Get the tyrant in power
Step 2: Keep the tyrant in power

Posting an article about people who are harassing conservatives for who they dare to support with their money... That's just special. I guess the IRS isn't doing a good enough job, we need to find other avenues to ensure Conservative/Republicans politicians don't get financial contributions to their campaign.

Re:Asinine Article of the Year Award Goes to... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43947763)

Just curious, anyone know which media outlet is pushing this narrative that dumbass is parrotting? Seems too direct and provably false for Fox News, they're more subtle with propaganda. So that leaves AM radio. Rush Limbaugh maybe?

Re:Asinine Article of the Year Award Goes to... (-1, Troll)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 10 months ago | (#43947809)

Obama is spying on every American with blanket data grabs and still fails to stop terrorist attacks

An irrational statement. It's kind of like blaming police of not stopping all crime in a very low crime area. Despite the fact that the record shows them preventing crimes and arresting criminals.

Obama has the IRS pry into the personal lives of anyone (and high school kids) who is trying to start a conservative non-profit

Another irrational statement. Obama is not micromanaging the IRS. There is indication Obama did any such thing. The IRS certainly seemed to go more for conservative groups. Though it's unclear if that was for personal political reasons of individuals within the IRS, or simply because they correctly profiled anti-tax activists as more likely to be evading tax.

Unfortunately your chance at the moral high-ground was killed when conservatives profiled black-people as being more likely to have invalid voter-registration, and thus did mass suppression of voting in black areas.

Re:Asinine Article of the Year Award Goes to... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43947877)

Despite the fact that the record shows them preventing crimes and arresting criminals.

Tell that to Boston. You know, where the FBI was flat-out told by Russia "this man is a radical Muslim and is going to commit terrorist attacks" and the FBI responded by asking him if it were true and then ignoring him. (But apparently my phone calls are needed to "stop the terrorists!")

Actually, maybe don't tell Boston that, because apparently the city was trying to get the attack classified as "not a terrorist attack" in order to not offend Muslims or something.

But the point stands: if the FBI can't catch a terrorist when they're flat-out told "he's a terrorist" by Russia, why the hell should we believe that they'd do any better when it's the NSA telling them? We already know the FBI can't stop even the most inept and incompetent terrorist attacks like the one in Boston, why would they do any better with the aid of nation-wide spying? That was, you know, was ALREADY HAPPENING WHEN THEY MISSED THAT ATTACK IN ANY CASE. So it's not like this is theoretical or anything: PRISM didn't help stop the Boston attack. Which isn't surprising since being handed a report saying "this man is a terrorist" didn't help prevent them.

Another irrational statement. Obama is not micromanaging the IRS. There is indication Obama did any such thing.

Wrong: the IRS manager had nearly 200 meetings at the White House. There's very good evidence Obama knew exactly what was happening and didn't care.

Unfortunately your chance at the moral high-ground was killed when conservatives profiled black-people as being more likely to have invalid voter-registration, and thus did mass suppression of voting in black areas.

Uh, also wrong: the simple answer is that we have no idea how bad voter fraud is in the United States because WE DON'T BOTHER CHECKING FOR IT. Voter ID laws are NOT targeting "blacks" they're targeting voter fraud PERIOD, plain and simple. No racial bias since it covers everyone, no economic bias since the IDs are free for people who can't afford them.

Re:Asinine Article of the Year Award Goes to... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43947931)

Barack Obama named and attacked big money Romney/Republican donors in his campaign speeches. Called them un-American, etc. A couple days later the IRS and other government agencies starts auditing them.

Mafia bosses don't micro manage all their thugs on the street either.

Re:Asinine Article of the Year Award Goes to... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43947885)

Citizen, you may only rant about GOP politicians here.
Remember the /. rules of political discourse:
1. Article about GOP politics = rant about GOP politics/politicians
2. Article about Democratic politics = rant about politics/politicians in general

Re:Asinine Article of the Year Award Goes to... (1)

fermion (181285) | about 10 months ago | (#43948901)

If obama was dictator this might make sense. But he isn't. There are many legislators, governors, and local officials who together take bribes to implement policies that may not be in the best interest of the country as a whole.

The IRS situation is particularly appropriate here as what the IRS was doing was trying to prevent the money laundering going on in this article. Such money laundering does not only provide US political power to legitimate US corportations and firms, but also to terrorists and foreign nations. The IRS was only targeting a specific group of 501(c)(4) applicants with political sounding names. A 501(c)(4) group is not supposed to be political, it is supposed to serve a community purpose. The only thing a 501(c)(4) status does is protect donors, whose name do not have to be divulged. It does not provide any tax benefits. If the IRS let a 501(c)(4) group engage in political activity, then Al Qaeda could secretly form such a group, fund it, and destabilize the US government. The same is true for the drug cartels, and of course Koch.

The number of 501(c)(4) doubled after the tea party victories of 2010, and most approved were conservative, and yes liberal groups were denied for being too political. What is clear from the current discussions is the conservatives have no problems with the US government being corrupted by terrorists. Otherwise they would demand that the IRS was given such extra scrutineer to all 501(c)(4) groups, or get rid of the law altogether.

If you donate to leftists (0, Troll)

Kohath (38547) | about 10 months ago | (#43947697)

your contributions are tax deductible.

Any other contributions get you audited by the IRS. Those are the only rules that matter these days.

Re:If you donate to leftists (-1, Troll)

Trepidity (597) | about 10 months ago | (#43947837)

Where can I make a tax-deductible contribution to a leftist? Did the Anarchist Black Cross get 501(c)(3) status or something?

Re:If you donate to leftists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43947907)

If we can group center-right with Nazis and fascists, can't we group the center-left in with their lefty extreme counterparts?

Re:If you donate to leftists (2, Interesting)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 10 months ago | (#43948071)

Since you ask? Media Matters for America, which isn't just a 501(c)(4) but a 501(c)(3) and routinely engages in blasting the American right wing.

501(c)(4) organizations are for promoting social causes; donations are nondeductible but operations tax-exempt, aka "if we performed these activities as individuals we wouldn't get taxed again so why should we be taxed as a group?" -- they can engage in cause-oriented political spending. 501(c)(3) are charitable organizations and the donations are tax-deductible and the organization isn't supposed to do partisan political spending at all. Then of course there are 501(c)(5)'s, aka labor unions, a left-wing favorite who are given very broad discretion to engage in very overt political spending to the tune of billions of dollars... but that's its own rabbit hole, and I digress.

Anyway. Media Matters would make an okay 501(c)(4), as they clearly have some idea of a social cause, but they go above and beyond that to get outright all-contributions-deductible 501(c)(3) status while their political enemies were denied any tax exemptions at all.

Re:If you donate to leftists (0)

Trepidity (597) | about 10 months ago | (#43948125)

Media Matters for America aren't leftists though, just partisan Democrats. They may be very fervent in their support for one of the America's two boring capitalist parties, but I can't find any evidence of them supporting actual leftist causes.

Re:If you donate to leftists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43949017)

Media Matters for America aren't leftists....

WHAT? Do you have *any* idea who Media Matters are? They were literally paid directly by George Soros to harass Fox News Producers, and to dig up details about their personal lives, hoping they would all quit to scape the harassment. Media Matters is a far, far, far, FAR-left progressive propaganda machine. Anyone who thinks otherwise is probably so brainwashed that they probably also voted to re-elect the epic failure called Obama.

Re:If you donate to leftists (3, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 10 months ago | (#43949287)

What does any of that have to do with being far-left? Harassing Fox News is just political partisanship, not leftism. Abolishing capitalism and private property and promoting communism: now that would be a far-left organization. Media Matters are just Democratic partisans who don't appear to have any interest in actual leftism, just in attacking Republicans.

That's more about how fervent you are in approaching politics as team sports, than about position on the left/right spectrum. You can be a hardcore partisan and be anywhere on the spectrum; even some very centrist politicos in terms of their actual political ideology are hardcore partisans, in both parties.

Re:If you donate to leftists (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about 10 months ago | (#43947999)

Parent comment deserves +5, Troll. :)

But don't worry! The US left has already proposed a way to resolve these abuses targeting right-wing political activity! Nancy Pelosi would have us take action to ban these vehicles for right-wing political activity altogether. We can also pretend Citizens United never happened. :P (Whatever else, that lady's got some chutzpah.)

Why Koch and not Soros? (4, Interesting)

JDAustin (468180) | about 10 months ago | (#43947705)

Is it because the Koch is considered evil by the left while Soros is a saint?

Yet the irony is that the Koch brothers actually make something in the United States and their workforce is 80% unionized while Soros is a banker who makes money on devaluing countries currency.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43947739)

Yeah, real stand up guys. Like how they've been trying to re-implement segregation, erm, sorry... "Neighborhood Schools" in the RDU/Triangle area. Couldn't possibly be that they are legitimately regressive ass hats. Nope... just more of that liberal agenda.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43947805)

San Francisco already implements segregation, but I had to read Supreme Court amicus curiae filings to find out about it since the media doesn't report on such things.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (1)

Intropy (2009018) | about 10 months ago | (#43948081)

Which is more racist, choosing a kid's school based on geographic proximity or choosing a kid's school based on race? Hint: the latter is the literal definition of racial discrimination.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43947757)

Lee Drutman is a senior fellow and the managing editor for the Progressive Policy Institute

Ellen S. Miller was senior fellow at The American Prospect

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43947793)

In a decent country, those Koch bastards would have been strung up years ago.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948259)

In a decent country little shits like you would be taken to the Ministry of Love.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43947841)

It's much more likely because the Koch brothers quite literally astroturfed the Tea Party into existence. It doesn't take a genius to realize that the agenda being pushed by the Tea Party is obviously pro-corporation and anti-liberty.

If people could detach emotional bias from politics, the Tea Party would disappear overnight when everyone realized how hoodwinked they had been by corporate interests.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (2, Insightful)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about 10 months ago | (#43947859)

If you think that free markets and deregulation are pro-corporate policies, you're not paying enough attention. The whole point of corporatism is to use "consumer protection" as an excuse to prevent new entrants into the marketplace.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43947917)

Deregulation has caused us nothing but trouble. Remember that Enron crisis a decade or so ago in CA? That was caused by deregulation. The 2008 economic meltdown was caused by deregulation. Deregulation only works in some imaginary libertarian fantasy world where greedy sociopath douchebags don't exist.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (4, Informative)

khallow (566160) | about 10 months ago | (#43948101)

Deregulation has caused us nothing but trouble. Remember that Enron crisis a decade or so ago in CA?

I take it you don't realize that the state of California deliberately broke the electricity market in question? Electricity utilities were required to buy a portion of their electricity at any price on the spot market. It didn't take the so-called "smartest people in the room" (Enron) to see that was going to cause lucrative trouble.

And once this flaw was revealed in the summer of 2000, the then governor, Gray Davis let this flaw run on for about six to seven months, bankrupting one utility and almost nailing a second (there were three such businesses in addition to utilities on the public or non profit side).

Yes, Enron and other players manipulated the market. But we need to remember that the market was designed to reward such market manipulation.

Another group of markets with similar behavior are the carbon credit exchanges in Europe. Because of the hard cap on the credits allotted for emissions, there either are more credits than emissions or less. In the former case, emission credits are low value. In the latter case, the high inelasticity of supply drives up prices and encourages market manipulation.

After all, if you can buy a lot of credits early in the year for cheap and then sell them to desperate coal power generators and other industries near the end of the year, then you can make a bit of coin, even if you can't get rid of all the credits you bought.

Anyway, when that market melts down, you'll know why.

It's tiresome to see all these accusations against deregulation by the painfully ignorant. Deregulation can be done poorly, such as the California energy crisis or the firesale of Russian gas properties to Yeltsin cronies. Or it can be done well. One doesn't see such drama in telecommunications or passenger air travel, for example.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (1)

Intropy (2009018) | about 10 months ago | (#43948135)

Or it can be done well. One doesn't see such drama in telecommunications or passenger air travel, for example.

Or electricity. In Texas.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948265)

The problem is that using the courts or California national guard to stabilize the energy supply would have been viewed as a left-wing assault on corporate freedom. Nevermind the fact that shutting down power plants to reduce the supply of electricity is illegal; sadly, people had more support for the crooked out of state energy companies than our own leadership.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948545)

... electricity at any price on the spot market ...

A 'market' for a natural monopoly. Who approved that FUD?

... when that market melts down ...

A lot of markets have a limited supply: Diamonds which are quite plentiful, rare metals. A functioning market needs 2 things: A lot of sellers and, a means of valuing the capital of the sellers. When Enron was allowed to add future sales to the balance sheet without adding future expenses, a demand bubble was created. Similarly the banks could add future debtors without actually spending their own money.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 10 months ago | (#43949423)

A 'market' for a natural monopoly.

Delivery of power to a particular wall socket may be a natural monopoly, but power generation is not.

A lot of markets have a limited supply

All markets do. And that's the point of markets pretty much - to match that limited supply with the buyers that want the goods or services the most.

When Enron was allowed to add future sales to the balance sheet without adding future expenses, a demand bubble was created.

Nonsense. A "demand bubble" was created because the end customers in a large portion of California were completely insulated from the cost of the electricity they were purchasing.

In normal markets where the consumer pays most of the price of the good in question, price fixing can still work (the monopoly price is generally higher than the competitive price except in rare situations, such as having only one customer, the monopsopy), but demand goes down as a result of the increase in price. Not so, when the customer pays the same amount no matter what's happening on the market.

The problem of "melting down" is not that goods are scarce, but that certain market participants are under sufficient obligation that they can be forced to pay a lot for the market good. A portion of the demand is very inelastic in the cases above. If you can reduce supply to below that illelastic demand, then you will see a substantial rise in the cost of the good.

For example, European coal power generators can't renege on years-long power production contracts just because the next couple of months of power generation have unusually costly carbon credits attached. They can purchase and redistribute alternative supply (such as renewable power or nuclear), but that only becomes attractive, if the price of carbon credits go up a lot.

It's a lot of temporary turmoil that happens only because the markets sell a fixed number of carbon credits.

The accounting games you refer to have caused a lot of trouble in their own right, but they aren't responsible for the deregulation messes.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (2, Insightful)

JDAustin (468180) | about 10 months ago | (#43948115)

Remember that Enron crisis a decade or so ago in CA?

I live in California. When they deregulated the energy market, they only did a partial deregulation. In this case, partial dereg made things much worse.

The 2008 economic meltdown was caused by deregulation

No, the meltdown was caused by the government interferring in the market and forcing lenders to loan money to people who had no chance of paying it back.

Socialism only works in some imaginary liberal fantasy world where greedy douchebags can't game the system to their own benefit. Under every economic system you will always have people who are able to game the system for their own benefit. Under free-market capitalism w/ minimal necessary regulation (not the corporatism we have now), the playing field is the most level.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948171)

No, the meltdown was caused by the government interferring in the market and forcing lenders to loan money to people who had no chance of paying it back.

The only thing "forcing" people to loan money was citibank and others making "money" hand over fist (as long as you count outstanding debt as "money"). Are you going to claim it was CRA? Bush canceled his "Blueprint for the American Dream" and ended enforcement of the CRA. Maybe it was Fannie and Freddie? Funny thing about "subprime" is that it's defined as "loans fannie and freddie won't touch".

So go on ahead. Tell us exactly what forced banks to invent "ninja loans" and "alt-a" subprime loans and CDOs. We're waiting.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (1)

sixoh1 (996418) | about 10 months ago | (#43949387)

The only thing "forcing" people to loan money ...

... was "disparate impact" lawsuits.

Fixed that for you.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about 10 months ago | (#43948625)

I live in California. When they deregulated the energy market, they only did a partial deregulation. In this case, partial dereg made things much worse.

Indeed, but the problem began much sooner, when they chased most of the power producers out of the state to begin with.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948459)

I guess you've never done an economic study of Chile. I.e. "The Miracle of Chile." Again, economic in-case you get on a tangent.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (1, Troll)

kwbauer (1677400) | about 10 months ago | (#43947863)

And Soros astroturfed MoveOn, etc. into existence. The question posed was why does one direction seem to be legally sactioned but not the other. If Koch brothers are wrong and Soros is not, then we are making legal rulings based on political ideology and that is definitely not something to support... unless you are a leftist.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948263)

The difference is that MoveOn has no pretenses in what it's about. What exactly is the tea party these days? All I hear from its mouthpieces right now is how gay marriage is a sign of the end times and moral decay causes deficits but we should totally spend trillions more dollars on war. And tax us less or something maybe.

I guess meanwhile you can sit around apologizing to Bush. [teaparty.org] Thats what you do these days, right? Tell everyone how shit Bush did was awesome then but stopped being awesome when Obama does the exact same thing?

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948443)

It's much more likely because the Koch brothers quite literally astroturfed the Tea Party into existence. It doesn't take a genius to realize that the agenda being pushed by the Tea Party is obviously pro-corporation and anti-liberty.

If people could detach emotional bias from politics, the Tea Party would disappear overnight when everyone realized how hoodwinked they had been by corporate interests.

Oh don't worry AC. You and I can both gloat in the fact that people in the IRS detached themselves from emotional bias and logically suppressed the astroturf political dissent of these corporate shills. Since the Tea Party movement won big in the 2010 election it was necessary for the government to save us from ourselves and squelch dissent against our non-corporate pro-liberty government.

why don't we identify all these characters? (1)

swschrad (312009) | about 10 months ago | (#43947913)

the real question, if you are going to have wild-ass money to surf down the halls of Congress on in the first place, is why we don't have something as reliable as DNA tagging to allow following the cash?

oh, wait... ahh, now I get it. how silly of me. so, where's my check for shutting up?

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43947915)

ok, so we're at a special moment in US history. both the right and the left agree that the
government is dysfunctional, highly corrupt, and borderline totalitarian.

appropriate next move... anyone?

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (3, Insightful)

chihowa (366380) | about 10 months ago | (#43947993)

ok, so we're at a special moment in US history. both the right and the left agree that the government is dysfunctional, highly corrupt, and borderline totalitarian.

appropriate next move... anyone?

Whine and bitch about the other guy and the lesser of two evils. In other words, exactly the same move that got us into this mess.

Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you were asking what was actually going to happen.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43947927)

Is it because the Koch is considered evil by the left while Soros is a saint?

No, it's a directive. This is part of the larger campaign to instruct left-wing career bureaucrats to abuse their power, of which the IRS abuses are only the beginning. Rather than using "dog whistles" or "code words," they're using goddamned bullhorns to coordinate this, out in the open.

The top leaders of the left, including Obama, deliberately claimed that conservative and libertarian organizations were cheating on their taxes, and groups like Sunlight and Media Matters made similar claims. It was basically an instruction, directly from leading Democrats and liberal activists, to do precisely what we've seen happen. Hell, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid falsely claimed on the Senate floor that Mitt Romney, then a private citizen, had not paid taxes for 10 years.

Sure enough, IRS agents did precisely what they were instructed to do.

Obama has also repeatedly decried Fox as an illegitimate news organization. Sure enough, the Justice department has charged Rosen for passing on data that had been leaked to him. Passing on leaked data is normally considered to be okay by people who don't have a clearance, but the Justice department is claiming that Rosen, a private citizen, is an enemy of the state under the Espionage Act.

Claiming that conservative and libertarian (Koch being libertarian) organizations are not abiding by the byzantine campaign finance regulations are another way to instruct bureaucrats to harass and silence them. We should expect to see these organizations hounded and harassed by FEC and others.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43947941)

The IRS was just doing its job. The corporate-backed teabagger movement is not a charity and should not have been registered as one.

The top leaders of the left, including Obama, deliberately claimed that conservative and libertarian organizations were cheating on their taxes, and groups like Sunlight and Media Matters made similar claims. It was basically an instruction, directly from leading Democrats and liberal activists, to do precisely what we've seen happen. Hell, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid falsely claimed on the Senate floor that Mitt Romney, then a private citizen, had not paid taxes for 10 years.

Citation needed.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43947951)

But when Soros buys elections, he is doing it for the right side. That is the difference between him and these libertarian moron brothers.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (1)

thelowedown (2368436) | about 10 months ago | (#43948541)

Why Koch? Maybe read the source article to find out! Koch Industries contacted the Sunlight Foundation about a previous article and this one is a followup.

Re:Why Koch and not Soros? (5, Informative)

Odin's Raven (145278) | about 10 months ago | (#43948571)

Is it because the Koch is considered evil by the left while Soros is a saint?

Seriously, did you even read the article? (I know, I know, this is /., what on earth am I thinking.) That's a rhetorical question, of course - you wouldn't ask the question you asked if you'd read the article. Then again, that seems to also be true of quite a few people who replied to you, so you're hardly alone.

Koch is the subject because an earlier article, by the same author, had listed Koch as one of nearly 600 people who appeared to have exceeded campaign contribution limits. Turns out this was incorrect - an error due in large part to the disasterously poor state of data on contributions by major donors. The whole damned article is both exonerating Koch and explaining where the original analyis went wrong. It's about Koch because Koch's company took the time to contact the author, work with him to identify where and how some of the erroneous data came about, and help set the record straight. If one of the other nearly 600 donors listed had done the same, this follow-up article might easily have been about someone other than Koch.

It's got nothing to do with "evil", "good", "bad", etc, except inasmuch as the FEC data is manifestly "bad", and woefully inadequate for even the FEC themselves to determine who may be breaking campaign finance laws. If you want to get upset about the article, get upset about the real point - that nobody has sufficient information to tell whether major contributors on either side of the political aisle are breaking the law. (And there were plenty of Dem donors in the original article if you take the time to read it. I apologize in advance to you that Soros wasn't on the list. Well, that's not true - there's two Soroses (Sori?) on the lists - just that <Jedi>these are not the Soroses you're looking for</Jedi>)

So untwist your knickers, grab a beer, chill out, then try actually reading the article.

Of course it is difficult. (3, Insightful)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 10 months ago | (#43947771)

Why would politicians that got elected enact laws to make it harder for them to be bribed? They specifically make the campaign finances difficult to track in order to hide the bribery.

Not only that, but we let the people being elected set their own paychecks as well.

Re:Of course it is difficult. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43947881)

The pay! The people being elected don't care about the pay, they're nearly all extremely wealth individuals already. The pay is nothing to them.

Re:Of course it is difficult. (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 10 months ago | (#43948001)

Everyone cares about the pay. Maybe the pay is sex, or land development rights, or granting licences, or even just the ability to have people shot on a whim, but there's always something to attract the sociopaths.

Re:Of course it is difficult. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948123)

Everyone cares about the pay. Maybe the pay is sex, or land development rights, or granting licences,...

Paying for sex, on the other hand, will destroy the moral and cultural fiber of the world as we know
At least based on the amount of laws and resources poured into enforcing these laws...

Re:Of course it is difficult. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948219)

Many people that aren't wealthy are elected. Just look at Obama. While he and his wife are very successful lawyers, they only had a net worth of $200,000 when he ran for the senate. For a Harvard Law School graduate, he was relatively poor. That shows just how honest and hard-working he is. If politics didn't pay enough money to cover the cost of two residents, including one in very expensive DC, then hard working people like him could have never afforded to run for national office. What your really demanding is that poor people like Obama not be allowed to run for office.

Government. Is there ANYTHING it can't screw up? (0, Troll)

roman_mir (125474) | about 10 months ago | (#43947773)

There shouldn't be any 'campaign finance' laws in the first place. Any individual and company should be able to dump as much money as they want into any campaign and do it secretly if they wish so.

That's not the problem, and if you think that by setting some silly limits you can actually prevent problems in politics, you are deluded.

The problem is WHY people want to dump insane amounts of money into political campaigns in the first place, the root cause of this behaviour is that it makes sense to get your own guy into power because it's an investment given the fact that the system is set up TO DISCRIMINATE AND STEAL.

You can't possibly expect people not to try and get their guy into power given the fact that power is used to discriminate and go after individuals and after companies. Power is used to discriminate and steal, it is also used to murder, but that's just a logical extension of the first problem, theft and discrimination.

The real problem is that the government in USA is no longer limited to what it is able to do and to what it does by any laws, by the Constitution and even by the desire of any majority but that specific problem is not related to money itself.

Money is not power, money can be used for power but power in itself is something else. Confusing the two is so dangerous and lacking in understanding. Power is ability to use the system to discriminate and steal and government provides that level of power to individuals and the majority of people actually cheer when governments do that on daily basis.

That's right, majority of people cheer when power in government is used to discriminate and steal. The majority of people gave the government the power by either tacit or explicit approval of such actions. How can any rational individual expect to use this type of power over other individuals and not get a defensive response is beyond me.

If you want to solve the problem of corruption in government you have to APPLY THE LAW. You have to use the law and force the government to live within the chains that the law, the Constitution puts upon the government. You can't remove the chains of the law from the hands of the government (politicians, executives, officials) and not expect massive corruption.

You give them the power and you remove the bounds.
You give them the power and you remove the chains.
You give them the power and you remove the constraints.

The people have to fight back, we would be dead if we didn't have it built into us to fight back against our attackers and the mob uses the power of the government to attack individuals and companies.

Somehow this amazing duplicity, maybe the cognitive dissonance, this thing that Orwell called blackwhite, this lives within the modern day voters and just people. They want a government big enough to give them what they personally want by using the power to steal and discriminate but they don't want the government to get enough power that they themselves would be the subject of discrimination because the government would sell its power to whoever is successful enough to fight back against the initial discrimination.

You will have to grow up eventually because no amount of patches and laws on top of a broken system will solve the problem, you will have to actually solve the root cause of this problem or you will perish as a nation.

Re:Government. Is there ANYTHING it can't screw up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43947875)

There shouldn't be any 'campaign finance' laws in the first place. Any individual and company should be able to dump as much money as they want into any campaign and do it secretly if they wish so.

What. The. Fuck. You're seriously saying there's nothing wrong with the 1% buying elections outright in this age of Super-PACS? Money is the problem in politics... it has become impossible to win without prostituting yourself to some absolutely vile people.

Despite what you said, money is power. Money is used by the rich to take influence away from regular people because they simply outspend us to get their guy elected. The only reason why it didn't work last year is because people got their shit together and realized that Romney would have made a god-awful president. The amount spent on an election by each candidate should be closely regulated and capped. Candidates should have the same amount to work with, and not a penny over.

Re:Government. Is there ANYTHING it can't screw up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948003)

People with money generally know more about how the world works than people without money. Why shouldn't they have more of a say than the dregs of society? Want a voice? EARN IT.

Re:Government. Is there ANYTHING it can't screw up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948067)

You're kidding me, right? The rich "earned" their money the old fashioned way--they inherited it and then exploited a system that is stacked 100% in their favor to get even more. With those kinds of resources, the biggest idiot who ever lived could be wildly successful, no talent required. Where did that money come from? It came from driving the rest of us into poverty. Why else would the rich be richer than they've ever been at this very moment while the rest of the country is barely scraping by? 121% of the benefits of the recovery went to the 1%. Everything the rich have is something they inherited or stole.

You know who the dregs are? It's right-wing asshats like you who act as apologists for the very same people who are fucking you over on a daily basis. You're defending them in exchange for nothing. Do you think resources are limitless? They aren't. Let me make it really simple for your little teabagging brain: If they have more, it means you have less! I hope your ideology keeps you warm when you're starving under a bridge. Maybe your rich masters will throw you some crumbs.

Re:Government. Is there ANYTHING it can't screw up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948103)

People with money generally know more about how the world works than people without money. Why shouldn't they have more of a say than the dregs of society? Want a voice? EARN IT.

Congratulations sir, you are the Slashdot moron of the day.

Re: Government. Is there ANYTHING it can't screw u (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948043)

Not sure that I completely agree with him, but I think his point was that the government shouldn't have enough power to make it worth buying.

Re: Government. Is there ANYTHING it can't screw u (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948221)

If the government has no power, the corporations will take over. That is a nightmare scenario because corporations have no interest whatsoever in maintaining society and ensuring quality of life (the very purpose of government). The corporation's only purpose for existence is to make as much money as possible, how do you think that is going to play out for everyone? Corporations need to be hobbled by taxes and regulation at all times to prevent them from becoming too powerful.

gummint IS corporation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948675)

DELAWARE CORPORATION ring a bell?

Where the "bylaws" are limited by "the government" so that the actual owners, the stockholders, are effectively neutered to the advantage of ... who exactly?

On "the other hand", I guess all those government employee pension plans invested in "the corporations" are the TRUE source of all evil since THEY are the ones demanding a payback on their "investments" above and beyond what is "reasonable and customary" (for lack of a better term).

You have something really backwards in your statement when you refuse to acknowledge that "the government" CREATED the legal fiction of "the corporation" through bribery. "The government" IS the source of the problem, and who "elects" "the government". ... silence reigns ...

Re:Government. Is there ANYTHING it can't screw up (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 10 months ago | (#43948727)

Hmm, one of your more lucid moments, but the law, including the constitution, isn't written to protect the individual. It is there to protect the authority of the government and the corporations that put it into place. Concentration of government power is merely a reflection of concentration of private wealth which controls that government.

Enforcement (1, Interesting)

memnock (466995) | about 10 months ago | (#43947957)

"... The FEC's spokesperson told me that while the FEC welcomes complaints, it does not typically take enforcement initiative."

The FBI has the means to track laundered money in the banking system. I myself don't know all the ins and outs of laundering, but I'm sure it can get complicated as it takes the Bureau manpower and time to do so. But it can be done.

It seems that the example of Koch and his pay-offs is akin to laundering. Especially if it's breaking laws. If the FEC hasn't been outfitted with means to track laundering, then they should be properly facilitated to do so. That or they should be more easily empowered to request assistance from an agency, such as the FBI, that is capable of tracking the money.

Maybe the FEC has the capability, but the quote doesn't lead me to think so. If it does and its not initiating enforcement, then why act like the Commission is anything of value to anyone?

OTOH, giving the FEC the mandate to monitor pay-offs while not giving them the capability to follow the payola is indicative of a self-serving group of whores playing dress-up as patriotic politicians.

Re:Enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948117)

It seems that the example of Koch and his pay-offs is akin to laundering.

So, by "akin" you mean "not remotely related." For starters, the money is legitimately earned. For seconds, they're carefully following the letter of the law. Which is pretty much the opposite of what illegal operations do.

People Don't Have Unique IDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948025)

I actually write campaign finance software. The problem is, people don't have unique IDs. All I can ask for is name and address. Is William Gates of Medina and William Gates of Seattle, both who gave maximum contributions, the same people? What about William Gates of Medina and Bill Gates of Medina?

This is not an easy problem to solve without requiring a national ID card.

Re:People Don't Have Unique IDs (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 10 months ago | (#43948467)

The social-security number is fairly close to a unique ID. It's already used as such in a number of contexts; e.g. banks, police departments, the IRS, and hospitals all use it as a unique identifying number.

However, it's not asked for in all contexts, sometimes for social reasons (people are rightfully wary about giving it out everywhere), and sometimes because of laws restricting its use.

Genius! (1)

drfred79 (2936643) | about 10 months ago | (#43948113)

In the same month that we find out the government is surveilling on Americans without warrants and the government is auditing Americans based on their political donations this scientist was paid to release a study that the government needs more! authority to uniquely identify and track Americans. The blindness of partisanship.

Re: Genius! (1)

drfred79 (2936643) | about 10 months ago | (#43948297)

My instant reaction was anger because I thought the sunlight foundation weren't just partisan hacks. The government should be brought into the light. Is it unreasonable to ask for a list of everyone who visits every politician and the White House? On the other hand individual Americans practicing their First Amendment right to political expression through political donations should have a reasonable expectation that they won't be hunted by political scientists.

Here comes the liberal propaganda... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948515)

Oh good Lord. Liberal / progressives have *always* been the shadiest purveyors of campaign finance trickery, but all the liberal press writes about is the *much* smaller Conservative PACs.

For Christ's sake - George Soros has been pumping hundreds of millions into shady socialist activist groups and the press says nothing. George Soros funded the 'Secretary of State Project' which funded the campaigns of radical progressives for ofices of SoS so that they would have power over election results in 2008 and 2012. (Communist Mark Ritchie of Minnesota who oversaw radical progrressive Al Franken's highly controversial election recount results was a result of Soros' project).

One thing liberals are very good at it deflecting attention away from their own crimes - because they are the ones with the barrels of ink.

Re:Here comes the liberal propaganda... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948837)

I wish I had mod points. parent is a retard. I'm from MN and I was in the recount process which was already codified in MN law before Richie got in. The guy is not a communist and did an extremely good job, he got together with former secretaries for their advice on recounts and where the problems were - and he did not do that for a photo op. The recount process had plenty of cameras and people on both sides involved and court cases dragged out forever because the republicans wanted to keep frankin out of his seat for as long as possible because they knew they were going to lose. The judges ruled against the republicans most the time and were 2/3 were Republican judges. Soros also isn't behind Richie either, Ritche is a result of Senators Wellstone's death and the camp wellstone that was created to train grassroots candidates from outside the party system - Ritche was a student at that camp, I know somebody who went there at the same time as him. It was there he decided to run and the others to help him run; I frankly am surprised the party didn't have some prepped person that was put before him - it was probably those other volunteers that got him the party endorsement. Of all people to slam,... the retard picked somebody I know a lot about in my state.

The focus on the Koch brothers influence when the pair of them together are the 2nd richest in the nation is not unreasonable. Their influence and spending was arguably unmatched in the last few election cycles. The biggest spender maybe should have been the primary focus; except he was more direct, the Koch brothers are so diversified they resemble a corporation - they make a good example to check into. As far as I know, Soros continues with his non profits like he always did and hasn't changed much despite corporate personhood etc.

Stop wasting my time chasing a Libertarian (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43948521)

Go chase a fuck head socialist like Soros.

If campaign finance influences your vote (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 10 months ago | (#43948647)

Then the terrorist have already won.

Look for and vote for the guy with no money. The guy that doesn't want the job is the most qualified. The guy that does want the job, put him in a straitjacket and lock him up in the rubber room. The same goes for anybody who re-ups in the military.

I had an idea back before the election (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 months ago | (#43949071)

Basically spinning up EC2 instances with dynamic system profiles to defeat profiling, routed through Tor to auto-click on website election ads funded by the Kochs and other asshole billionaires and increase their PPC marketing costs to stealthily drain their funds spent on buying our elections. Basically a transfer of wealth from non-productive sectors to, despite their own ethical problems, Google. I figured the transfer of wealth would be ethical as at least Google is employing smart people doing some innovative things (well, other than their ad network anti privacy shit). It was even economically viable with a great ROI for me to fund it all personally (somewhere in the range of 1,000 to one dollar spent by me at the most expensive PPC terms in aggregate)

I never pursued it due to some potential ethical considerations (is it constructive or destructive to our democracy?) But maybe someone out there doesn't share those considerations and is already doing it. cheers.

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