Kent Sorenson is a small player in a small state in the political game. Before he became a suspect in a bribery scheme there were probably only a few even in his own district who could tell you much about Sorenson, let alone outside his district.
I have found it really curious that a man who is so little known such as Sorenson could command a bribe equal to two years wages for many Iowans. This goes to show how a small player in a small state can loom large in an election system that skewered to small states early in the election cycle. This also helps illustrate how paltry $75,000 is in the world of big-time politics post Citizens United.
If you recall the 2012 Republican circus of a presidential primary process you remember that there were a bus full (many say a clown car full) of contenders. The winner in Iowa, even with a small percentage of caucus attenders and a small plurality, would be anointed with the mantle of leader. With that comes more serious scrutiny by the press and thus much more free publicity.
If a candidate can roll that into another win and another win, even a fringe candidate like Ron Paul – or his son Rand in 2016 – becomes a power to be reckoned with. If the candidate is able to rack up enough delegates to pull off the the nomination of the Republican Party, then he is one of only two people in this country that has a real chance to become president.
When it comes down to only two people, then happenings in day-to-day could have a major impact on who is eventually chosen. Thus even a long shot dark horse fringe player like Ron Paul, given a favorable set of circumstances and events, could become the president of the United States and the person who has some say and much input on how government money is spent and the direction of the country.
With rewards so huge and with so much money sloshing around in campaigns these days, a person like Kent Sorenson can suddenly become a key player despite being only lightly known. So $75,000 invested in a person who may be able to sway a few votes may be a really cheap cost in relation to the access it may lead to.
If $75,000 can buy a person’s integrity think what $250,000, $500,000 or millions can buy. While we like to believe that most people would not sell their souls for a bribe, when you start talking money that could equal a lifetime of earnings or could pay some major debts it is hard to tell what a person will decide in reality.
Money in politics is without a doubt one of the worst problems this country has. With the opening of the floodgates of money caused by the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United it has only gotten worse. The wealthy are pretty well assured they can buy politicians and get enough of them elected to stop any meaningful legislation, so the chances of this problem ever being addressed is low.
In a development that is not an out and out bribe, Eric Cantor left his congressional seat early following his defeat by an ultra right wing candidate in the Republican primary. Cantor’s new job will pay him $3.4 million this year lobbying for a Wall Street firm. Cantor is probably not worth that as a lobbyist, but there is probably some payments in there for services rendered as a congress person.