A year ago I began getting phone calls and emails about Gov. Eric Greitens, who resigned in disgrace for various categories of corruption – some of which have been hidden from us to this day.
The correspondence was about the immorality, crooked cash transactions and lack of transparency of those phony Republicans. How could the voters not see through this GOP hack Greitens?
Just about a week ago, I began getting phone calls and emails about County Executive Steve Stenger, who was resigning over crooked pay-to-play cash schemes. His shenanigans may not be so hidden from us, as with Greitens, thanks to an indictment open to the public.
In any case, my most recent correspondence was all about the “crooked pay-to-play Democrats.” How could the voters not see through this guy Stenger?
Some day we will stop the partisan yelling and realize we are all to blame for this. We tolerate a pay-to-play system. From the White House, to Congress, to our local governments, we often get the best politicians money can buy – to paraphrase Missouri sage Mark Twain.
Is anybody really surprised that Steve Stenger did lots of favors for campaign cash? That’s the great American system. In my time as a reporter, I’ve been with Congressmen who took phone calls from donors, even as I interviewed them for stories. The calls were from donors seeking favors – you can’t put the benefactors on hold, if they have the cash.
Our U.S. Supreme Court has aided and abetted our “pay for play” system. Judges were appointed to make decisions like “Citizens United” that keep the campaign cash spigot flowing, because “money equals free speech.”
Their decisions enable “dark money” tactics using anonymous donations to non-profit entities. The billionaire Koch Brothers have been using this system for years to procure favors. Close to home, we recently learned about the Joseph Wingate Folk Society, a non-profit cash operation whose president tried to strong arm our towns to shut up about opposition to the Better Together plan.
Non-profits like the Wingate Society funnel money to other PACs that help a politician consider favoring things like privatizing an urban airport. Such a PAC exists right here in Webster Groves.
The PAC at 347 Hazel Ave. in Webster is deceptively titled: “Voters Organized Through Education STL.” It took in $100,000 in one week in February from the Joseph Wingate Folk Society. What’s it doing with all that money? I visited the address recently and there were no educated voters being organized there.
Concerned citizens are demanding that Attorney General Eric Schmitt get to the bottom of all this. These citizens, and groups like Common Cause and the League of Women Voters, want an end to pay-to-play politics. They are acting against political corruption. If you are not taking action, then you might just be an accomplice in pay-to-play politics.