Money & Morality in Politics

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

Boulder – This just arrived in my Inbox: “I believe you are sending out false information about the sources of campaign contributions for your opponent. Law firms who represent the oil and gas interests also represent a variety of non-profit and other clients. Shame on you.” This message gave me pause. It made me think long and hard about money and morality in politics. I’m dedicated to running an honest campaign that speaks the truth. If I find the facts are being misrepresented, I’ll apologize and correct the story, as I’ve done once.

 

The Facts from the Center for Responsive Politics

Am I sending out false information? All my data is sourced from the Center for Responsive Politics, a group beyond reproach in campaign reporting. According to the group, my opponent’s contributors do include partners and attorneys of law firms familiar to communities sued by the Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA). The most well-known of these firms represented COGA against communities in Lafayette, Longmont and Fort Collins who passed local fracking controls.

So what is the basis of the complaint? Apparently, what gives umbrage is guilt by association. “Yes, I’m a lawyer at this firm. But I DO NOT work with the oil and gas industry. Therefore, my contributions should not be counted as such.”

 

I’m Done with Business as Usual Politics

For me, this brings to mind the “divestment movement” around socially responsible investing. Which is the practice of refusing to invest in companies that are deemed “unethical,” like tobacco, firearms or fossil fuels. Law firms that choose not to divest from clients that perpetuate harm and injustice in our country and community are fair game to be called out if they enter the political sphere. You can take the money, but you can’t run.

The same goes for politicians. I call BS if you take donations from law firms that lobbied against the high-capacity magazine ban in Colorado and claim to stand strong on gun control. I call BS if you have donors from law firms that fight for oil and gas and against the well-being of our community and claim to be an environmentalist. And I call BS if you have donors from law firms that lobby Congress for arms sales to Saudi Arabia so they can continue bombing civilians in Yemen. It’s time to put values ahead of donors.

For those who say, “It’s not personal, it’s business.” I say: I’m done with business as usual politics. When a business tears apart my country and community, it is personal. And for those who say, “Stop the negative campaigning.” I say: speaking the hard truths about money and morality in politics is a MUST for a country threatened by a President with no ethics at all.

 

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