In Case You Missed It
Boulderganic Fall 2009
Student Guide 2009
Boulder Weekly Sweet 16 Anniversary
Summer Scene 2009
Best of Boulder 2009
Annual Manual 2009
Newspaper of the Future
Kids Camp Guide 2009
Wedding Marketplace 09
Student Guide 2008
Best of Boulder 2008
Annual Manual 2008
Join Our Mailing List
|May 22-28, 2008
Back to Letters
The toxic corruption of our political system
by Jim Hightower
EnergySolutions Inc. That name has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? But whose energy problems is this company trying to solve?
Italy’s, for one. That country has 20,000 tons of nuclear waste that it wants to dump somewhere, so this Salt Lake City corporation says that, for several million dollars, it will gladly import Italy’s waste and bury it in Western Utah. Great. Our country can’t figure out what to do with our own nuclear nasties, yet this corporate huckster would throw open our borders to everyone’s trash. Send us your tired, your poor — your nuclear waste!
Not wanting America to be turned into a global Dumpster, some lawmakers are trying to ban the importation of radioactive foreign waste. EnergySolutions has responded by applying the handy, dandy solution used for wiping away all corporate problems in Washington: money. In the past four years, company executives and investors have upped their political giving tenfold, dumping nearly $400,000 into congressional campaign coffers. They’ve also ramped up the corporation’s spending on Washington lobbyists, topping a million bucks last year.
When confronted with the obvious charge that they are trying to buy votes, EnergySolutions asserted that it is merely buying “access” to lawmakers. As a corporate spokesman explained, campaign cash “gives us the opportunity to participate with elected officials.”
In other words, “the opportunity to participate with elected officials” requires a major cash transaction — a corruption that shuts out ordinary citizens, perverts the public interest and mocks our democracy. This is a bigger, more toxic problem than nuclear waste and one solution is to take the corrupt money out of the system with public financing of congressional elections.
Learn more at www.publiccampaign.org.
For more information on Jim Hightower's work — and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown — visit www.jimhightower.com.
back to top