Why do politicians make so much money?

Graph courtesy of the Wall Street Journal. http://www.wsj.com/articles/some-candidates-super-pacs-draw-closer-1445809990

By Hope Su

The Supreme Court made the decision to limit the amount of money political action committees (PACs) could accept on a presidential candidate’s behalf to $5,200 in 2010, according to the Washington Post. Super PACs, however, are different from regular political action committees in that they are able to accept donations of any amount as long as the money is not given to a candidate directly. Through this loophole, millions of dollars have gone towards television ads advocating for or against certain candidates. According to the Washington Post, the Supreme Court lifted the ban on how many candidates a person can support monetarily in one election cycle in 2014 which further increased the power of Super PACs.

The U.S. government requires that Super PACs release the names of the people who donate towards a particular presidential candidate, but the names can be withheld from the public for months. This often leaves the general public unaware of how much money goes into political campaigns until after the election.

Among other seemingly unsolvable issues like foreign policy and gun control, one can only wonder how the Super PACs use the millions of dollars they receive in donations.

Senator Hillary Clinton’s Super PAC, Ready for Hillary, raised a startling $1.25 million in 2013 before it was even announced she was going to be a candidate, according to the Washington Post.

Donald Trump was originally a self-funded candidate but as of June 2016, he also has his own Super PAC. According to Forbes Magazine, Trump’s Super PAC, Rebuilding America Now, has already garnered the support of  billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson.

The amount of money going into Super PACs and indirectly towards politicians brings to light the issue of the widening gap between the rich and the poor. The money given to these Super PACs could be used to help alleviate poverty and support education, which are far more important than television ads that merely portray our nation’s future leaders in a good light.

Author: Plaid Press

Granada Hills Charter High School newspaper

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