chapter  14
Money and Politics
Pages 13

As the old saying goes, money is the mother’s milk of politics. Although a bit graphic, money can indeed be linked to that which nourishes and sustains politics and politicians. Without huge infusions of money, American election campaigns would not be able to support an army of organizational workers, numerous specialized consultants, constant polling, endless media advertising, coast-to-coast travel and all those necessary miscellaneous costs from funny hats and t-shirts to envelopes and stamps. In the 2000 election for the presidency the bill for capturing the White House was, according to Federal Election Commission data, approximately $450 million; in 2004 the amount increased to $650 million and the 2008 bill surpassed the $2 billion mark. These figures do not include races for the House of Representatives and the Senate or the money spent by ancillary organizations that seek to assist the candidate of either party by running their own advertising

campaigns. In 2004 and 2006 the cost of all Congressional races reached $4 billion, with the average cost of winning a House seat over $1 million and a Senate seat around $8 million. Remember that members of the House and Senate receive an annual base salary that increased to $174,000 in 2009. By any measure this is a great deal of money to spend to win a job that pays a substantial, but not exorbitant salary.1