The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

August 3, 2012

Aug. 4, 2012 Letters to the editor: Lorna Westlake

Big money to beat Dems

Letters to the editor

— Last night as I was watching NCIS Los Angeles I had to sit through five political ads. Three were anti-Obama and two were anti Sherrod Brown. Three of the five were sponsored by Crossroads GPS. Crossroads GPS is a non-profit group founded by Karl Rove that supposedly exists to promote social welfare under  the IRS code 501(c)(4). Such groups are not to campaign on behalf of a candidate, but can engage in issue advocacy. Any review of Crossroad GPS ads shows that their ads are blatantly political and partisan. Donors to these groups can make unlimited contributions, remain anonymous and their contributions are tax deductible.

Anonymous, out of state money is pouring into Ohio to defeat Democrats in general and Sen. Sherrod Brown in particular. By my admittedly unscientific count, anti Brown ads are outnumbering pro Brown ads by a ratio of 8 to 1. Since last November $10.5 million has been spent against Sen. Brown. The ads are generally false and misleading to the point of outrageous. Petroleum interests in particular are intent on defeating Brown because he opposed unlimited drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and voted to end oil subsidies. An industry that is making record profits does not need to be subsidized by U.S. taxpayers. This vote to end oil subsidies is described as a vote to raise taxes on energy. Wouldn’t it be great to send these outside special interests groups packing with the message that Ohio voters will not allow them to buy the election?

It is the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizen United that has allowed this flood of unlimited, often secret, money into our political process. As a result, the billionaire Koch brothers are on track to raise $400 million to be spent in the 2012 election. In February wealthy donors converged on the Indian Wells resort in California. Security was tight as helicopters flew over head. The resort had been bought out so no outsiders would be present. Members of the press were expelled. At that meeting alone $150 million was raised to add to the approximate $100 million raised in 2011. These “masters of the universe” intend by their influence to rig the system in their favor. Their number one goal is to elect Mitt Romney who has promised to reduce the capital gains tax (the tax on investments and dividends), thereby reducing their taxes and his own, and maintain the carried interest provisions, which is a bonanza for rich equity and hedge fun managers.

Lorna Westlake