22 February 2010

Government Bought And Paid For By Toyota

Washington Post: Toyota heads to Capitol Hill with team of lobbyists, history of political giving

More than 40 percent of the 125 members of Congress serving on the three committees investigating Toyota have received campaign donations over the past 10 years, a total of $135,673 from the Toyota dealers' PAC, from dealership owners and employees, and from staff at Toyota's U.S. operation, a Washington Post analysis shows. Members of Congress received an additional $1 million for their campaigns through giving to state parties and PACs.

Toyota Motor North America also has backed charities and other nonprofit groups with strong ties to members of Congress, giving $1 million in 2008 and 2009. Some of that money financed events honoring or entertaining the members.

Other auto companies -- both domestic and foreign -- also have employees and PACs that direct large sums of money to political campaigns and lobbying. General Motors nearly doubled its annual lobbying budget of $7.5 million as it sought a government bailout in 2007 and 2008. Its employees and dealerships have given campaigns more than $1 million over the past decade.

Members of Congress with some of the deepest financial ties to Toyota include some with important roles in the ongoing investigation. These members' districts also have the greatest number of jobs tied to the automaker.

State governors groups also have received funding from Toyota Motor North America in recent months. The Democratic Governors Association received $50,400 in November and December, and the Republican Governors Association received $25,000 in November.

Governors from the four states that host Toyota plants or have other company interests have provided the highest-profile support so far.

Oh, I'm sure that all of that money won't influence the decisions being made.

Now, with this in mind, do you think it more likely that that interests of the public will be served, or the interests of the Toyota Corporation? Regular voters don't stand a chance in the face of all of this money. And this is just one company in one industry. Imagine what is going on, all the time, that you and I don't know about.

This is the kind of accepted corruption that should make us all sick.

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