Posted Thursday, July 2, 2009
Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora breaks a year-long silence on the federal corruption probe. He claims he's the victim of joint GOP-Plain Dealer conspiracy. His calls for a federal investigation into that conspiracy appear to have fallen on deaf ears. Thursday morning at 9, join the reporters roundtable for analysis of this new development, the state budget standoff, and the four candidates vying to unseat Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson.
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Toward the end of today’s program host Dan Moulthrop asked an excellent question about whether there is cause for concern in the fact that candidates for the U.S. Senate seat that will be up for election next year are already spending so much time and energy raising so much money for their campaigns. Dan’s question was not really answered by the panel. I will offer an answer: a resounding “YES.” There is much cause for concern, not only in the fact that the ability to raise money - not ideas or stands on important issues - seems to be the main qualification that political parties look at in choosing candidates, but there is also the pernicious effect of money on our politics. Take for example, the recent vote on whether the bankruptcy code should be amended to allow mortgages on primary residences to be modified by bankruptcy judges. While this seemed to be a no-brainer when introduced since it would be the most immediate, effective way of stemming the tide of foreclosures devastating the economy and communities nationwide, the moneyed lobbyists for the banking industry, which has contributed heavily to many key Congressman, managed to defeat the measure.
While the scandals involving local politicians that have garnered so much coverage are newsworthy, a trip to Vegas or home improvements provided by a contractor in exchange for government business is small potatoes in comparison to the billions at stake in such areas as reform of financial practices, the health care insurance industry, etc. The potential influence of campaign contributions on the decisions made by politicians on such issues deserves at least as much attention as the nickel-and-dime scandals of Cuyahoga County politicians.