Thursday, August 03, 2006

State 29 Highlights "Money in State Politics"

Thanks again to State 29 for . . .

1. Bringing the "Institute on Money in State Politics" to our attention in an August 2 blog entry.

In the current context (the Riverside casino and possible rain forest location) it's useful for tracking down the influence of gaming industry money on Iowa's politicians.

For example, select "Iowa," "2004," "Gambling & Casinos," click, and you find that roughly $180,000 was given to Iowa legislators by those publically identified in official records as being from the gaming industry. Put in "Iowa," "2004," and "Christopher Rants" and you discover he was given $407,769 (by all contributors combined, not just gaming industry) that year. Nor was Mike Gronstal's haul all that shabby for a Democrat: $406,211 -- virtually the same as Rants'. Gaming industry contributions constituted at least $16,500 of what Gronstal received, and $11,500 for Rants. ("At least" because these are the totals from "top contributors.")

(Both would argue, presumably, that (a) they always vote their conscience and their constituents' interests, that their votes are in no way influenced by contributions, that all the money gets for the contributor is an opportunity to make a pitch, and (b) that most of this money is given to them as party leaders, and that they give it away to their respective political parties or other candidates directly, rather than benefitting from it themselves.)

And for . . .

2. Another kindly reference to FromDC2Iowa in the "Iowa Blog Roundup," August 1.

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