The Buck Stops Here

Follow the money is probably the most famous line associated with the Watergate scandal—even though it was never uttered by any of the key players in the story and is best credited to All the President’s Men screenwriter William Goldman. Wherever the line came from, it’s proven to be good advice over the decades. Sometimes, following the money leads you to criminal wrongdoing by politicians. Other times, when you follow the money, you realize that it’s not actually going anywhere. “Since 2014, the five groups have pulled in $89 million from small-dollar donors who were pitched on building political support for police officers, veterans and firefighters … About 90 percent of the money the groups raised was simply sent back to their fund-raising contractors, to feed a self-consuming loop where donations went to find more donors to give money to find more donors. They had no significant operations other than fund-raising, and along the way became one of America’s biggest sources of robocalls.” NYT (Gift Article): How to Raise $89 Million in Small Donations, and Make It Disappear. “The campaign-finance system is built to police who puts money into politics, legal experts say. These groups embodied a flaw: The system is poorly prepared to stop those who raise money and channel it somewhere other than candidates and causes.”

Copied to Clipboard