Gambling interests leave nothing to chance Groups and individuals with an interest in securing a state license for a slot machine casino in Pittsburgh have pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the campaigns of key state and local politicians during the past four years, with $137,550 coming after the gambling law was passed in 2004.
Gov. Ed Rendell has received $147,688 since 2002 from members of the development family that owns Station Square, a potential casino site. Since the gambling law was passed, he also has returned $15,000 from a license candidate.
He and other politicians who have received contributions from potential applicants say the donations will have no impact on who gets the lucrative license, which will be awarded by a state board appointed by Rendell and top legislative leaders.
The soft money is another major concern of mine. Untold millions have been put into various lobby interests and party interests too.
The state legislature has its own slush funds for the control of state-money, but there are other funds controlled by party that are for election efforts too. Real power comes as the various funds form a combination 1-2-3 punch. And on the bench sits a pipeline of addtional players who poised and perhaps poisoned with ambitions more giving to insure their sweetheart deals.
Some candidates have money. Some candidates have little. A great majority of candidates that have money did NOT get that money from the "support" of regular people who want "good government." Don't fool yourself. Most of the money came from people who want to buy off part of the system for their own benefit.
I am proud to say that I ran a campaign for state senate and was out spent 500-to-one by EACH of my opponents. Those guys spent money because the GAMBLING INTERESTS had given them money.
Goofy example: Gov. Rendell's money went to candidate Fontana, D, to be used to broadcast the message that candidate Diven, once a D now a R, voted for Gov Rendell's (D) budgets in the past.
The system doesn't make sense. And the scorecard used by the media to judge if a candidate is viable is not only worthless, it's harmful.
In 2005, I got 2,542 votes and raised $3,400. That means each vote cost about $1.33. In 2001 as a GOP candidate for Mayor, I got votes at $.60 each.
Meanwhile, in 2001 the big-boy Dems who ran for mayor got votes for $30 each. And in 2005, both of my state senate opponents raised nearly $1-million and got less than 20,000 votes for the victor and some 35,000 combined. They are in the range of $60 spent per vote, on average.
Reporters with newspapers and media should tell the public how much money the candidates need to spend to score a vote. What I'm talking about here is all election data that needs to be reported with different benchmarks. These numbers are easy to find and calculate.
Consider the other sums of cash that are spent in other ways from the operations of our governmental entities. Proclamations are given. Corporate welfare is given. Contracts are let without bids. So on and so forth.
Candidates who need to raise more than $10 a vote are not worthy to serve in public office.