These Three Headlines Explain a Lot About Politics Today

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This post first appeared at Every Voice.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr CC 2.0))

Fox News, March 3, 2015: Rubio dines with Republican mega-donor Adelson

Washington Post, March 4, 2015: GOP challenge: Cut taxes for wealthy, show concern for middle class

Washington Post, March 5, 2015: Wealthy fans could lift Marco Rubio in 2016 campaign

Last week, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) had dinner with billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who was in town for a few days.

On Wednesday, Rubio and his colleague Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced a tax reform plan. Analysis of a previous, but similar, plan found “that more than half the plan’s benefits would go to the richest fifth of taxpayers, in terms of income. One-fifth of the benefits would flow to the top 1 percent of taxpayers, the analysis said. In percentage terms, it found, the average federal tax rate would fall by about the same amount for the top 1 percent as for the middle class.” (emphasis added)

On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that one Miami billionaire has pledged to give up to $10 million to a pro-Rubio super PAC to help him secure the Republican nomination for president in 2016 and “[a]mong Rubio’s supporters are a cadre of donors who participate in the political network organized by industrialists Charles and David Koch…”

It leaves voters with a depressing, real-life chicken or the egg riddle: which came first, the tax plan to benefit wealthy donors or the promise of cash from wealthy donors for a tax plan that benefits them?

These stories, as well as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s announcement that he will cap donations at a comically large $1 million, come as a House committee moves legislation to end the broken presidential public financing system. Instead of giving big donors more power, politicians should be working to fix that presidential system and pushing bills like the Government By the People Act that would give candidates for Congress the ability to run for office on a blend of small donations and matching funds.

Until then, voters won’t care what came first, they’ll just know it’s not them.

Adam Smith of Public Citizen
Adam Smith is the communications director at Every Voice. Adam has worked in money-in-politics advocacy since 2006, managing or advising communications efforts for policy and field campaigns in Congress and states across the country. As communications director, Adam manages media relations and oversees the research and digital teams. He tweets @asmith83.
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