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$130 Million Dollars Raises Suspicions in TN

April 12, 2007

Corporate takeovers usually make the top story for business news, but Tennesseans gathering this week are scrutinizing what they see as another kind of corporate takeover –- the takeover of government. They see a link between government rules and decisions and big campaign donations. Author David Sirota says there’s good reason to be suspicious of big campaign donations.

"It doesn’t go in just because the people giving it think that the candidates are nice people or good people. That is the level of money that goes in in order to buy something."

He considers the huge amounts of money coming from corporations as a “corporate takeover” of government. Those who make the contributions say it’s a free speech right. Sirota urges the public to take back government, and it won’t be easy as long as big campaign donations play a role in elections.

"So, what we have to do is give people a way to run for office where they don’t have to rely on campaign contributions from special, big money interests that want legislative favors on the other end."

Sirota says publicly-financed elections would allow people to run for office without obligations. Maine and Arizona already have such systems. Sirota is speaking at the Compass IV conference Saturday in Nashville.

Deborah Smith/Eric Mack, Public News Service - TN