May 30, 2012

Corporations Close Ranks Around Lamar Smith And Successfully Protect Him From Tea Party Challenge

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) was protected by Corporate America in his primary election.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) is one of Congress’s most loyal allies of Big Money. Earlier this year, he championed the “anti-piracy” legislation that would give the government huge internet censorship powers on behalf powerful entertainment and media corporations.

As a result, Smith faced a primary challenge from a former local Sherrif, Richard Mack. Mack is a national Tea Party leader who made opposition to internet censorship legislation a top-line issue in his campaign.

But Big Money soon closed ranks around Smith, working to kill off the Tea Party challenge. Smith raised $1.3 million for his reelection bid, while Mack only had $50,000 on hand. At least half of Smith’s campaign war chest came from Political Action Committees (PACs), which are specifically set up to allow special interests to influence our politics. The incumbent congressman received a dozen times as campaign cash much from PACs as Mack had in his entire campaign.

According to campaign finance disclosures, 97 percent of these PAC donations were from corporations. Smith won his primary last night with 79 percent of the vote.

Running for Congress takes money. A lot of money. Until we fix our broken campaign finance system, it’ll be very difficult to unseat Members of Congress like Smith who do Big Money’s bidding.