Steve Benen remarks today that:
It took a surprisingly long time, but Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) yesterday finally agreed to forgo a donation from disgraced former House Speaker Dennis Hastert. The Missouri Republican gave the contribution he received from Hastert to a local charity.
Benen may be surprised by Blunt’s reluctance to return Hastert’s money, but I’m not. Actually, I agree with Blunt’s earlier position. If politicians felt they had to give back tainted money, they’d all be broke.
Money from Wall Street? Fossil fuels? Real estate developers? Communications? You name it, and if you look carefully enough, you’ll find lots of dirty deeds behind the dough – and, even worse, there’s usually an intent to influence the politician who is the recipient. Do you really think that money cajoled from ruthless corporate favor seekers is somehow nastier because the person who extracted it sexually abused children? Nobody says Blunt should give back his Montsanto money although it reeks of corruption.
Occasionally you find folks like the Bernie bros (and sisters) who say they won’t vote for a politician, in this case Clinton, because she took Goldman Sachs money or some such. While the desire for purity is understandable, sane folks know that unilateral disarmament is suicide. (And why is it usually the left that is determined to jump off a cliff?) Until the system changes, and the Blunts of the political world are barred from receiving, say, AT&T’s nearly unlimited financial blessings, politics will operate on tainted money.We just have to vote for politicians whom we trust to try to work for change in the way we finance our politicians.
In the meantime, can we call Blunt’s change of heart the Kander effect? You can’t blame him for not wanting to let his unexpectedly strong Democratic challenger use his name in the same sentence as the words “convicted sex offender.”