About That ‘Foreign Money’

I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has his knickers in a twist over "foreign money" influencing US elections. Okay, okay, not really. Hypocrisy is one of McCain’s most prominent character traits, so it doesn’t surprise me at all.

"Foreign" money from the terrorist "Kosovo Liberation Army" (funneled through US front groups) didn’t bother him when it was flowing into his senatorial and presidential campaign coffers as payback for his support of "foreign" (US) meddling in the former Yugoslavia.

Nor has he hesitated for even a moment over the years to accept more than $750,000 (as of 2010) in "foreign" senatorial campaign contributions from PACs backed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, of which he was the second-largest US Senate beneficiary, after Joe Lieberman (Solipsist-CT).

And he certainly has never had a problem with "foreign" money influencing the politics of every country on the face of the planet when that "foreign" money is US money he’s backing legislation to spend. He’s been consistent in that philosophy at least — before becoming a politician, he made his living delivering that money to North Vietnam in the form of 500-pound bombs.

McCain’s vaunted "campaign finance reform" schemes are really just attempts at regulatory capture. He wants campaign finances regulated for two purposes: To boost the advantages of incumbency, and to reserve influential spots at the policy lobbying/bribery table for his own preferred "foreign" influences.

The political class is transnational, but it is not unified. American politicians in particular curry the favor of various "foreign" constituencies, usually through nominally US-based front groups.

That favor-seeking plays out in campaign contributions and votes at one end and actual US government policy at the other. The competition for both is fierce — and politicians can’t resist the temptation to rig the "market" in their own favor any more than they can keep their grimy hands off the real markets that produce the tax revenues they count on to keep their little games going.

Does Sheldon Adelson expect something for the $30 million he’s dumped into this year’s US presidential election? You’re damn right he does (he’s admitted that, so he’s a fairly honest guy as far as it goes). The obvious conclusion most will jump to based on his ethnicity and his publicly expressed sentiments is that he wants to keep US foreign policy squarely in the corner of Israel’s political class, but if I had to guess I’d guess he also wants US gambling laws to serve the interests of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, the casino and resort company he operates.

The state and those who operate it are always for sale to the highest bidder. That’s not a corrupting influence; rather it is evidence of the corruption that’s built into the system from the ground up. And McCain’s demagoguery aside, he’s never had any problem with that. His "reform" proposals are aimed not at ending the practice, but at further obscuring who’s buying whom and for which reasons. Those proposals, and the theater he gussies them up with, serve the interests of the political class, not of "the 99%."

The interests of that 99% don’t lie in fake "reforms" of the state. They lie in its abolition.

originally published at the Center for a Stateless Society | licensed for reprint under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Author: Thomas Knapp

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism, publisher of Rational Review News Digest, and moderator of Antiwar.com’s commenting/discussion community.