2016 US election was full of “lies & farces”, says China
Wall Street spent $2bn to influence US elections, says a report from US
A Journal of People report
The 2016 US presidential election was full of “lies and farces” and was driven by “power-for-money deals,” which in itself was sign of “hypocritical nature of US democracy,” said a report by a Chinese government agency. The China government report is on human rights in the United States.
The annual report released by the China’s State Council Information Office said:
“In 2016, money politics and power-for-money deals controlled the presidential election, which was full of lies and farces.”
The report has been circulated by China’s news agency Xinhua.
The report said:
There have been “no guarantees of political rights,” and the election itself, accompanied by large-scale protests, provided “full exposure of the hypocritical nature of US democracy”.
The report cited “continued deterioration in some key aspects of its existent human rights issues last year” in the US mentioning “the gunshots lingering in people’s ears behind the Statue of Liberty, worsening racial discrimination and the election farce dominated by money politics.” These instances once again saw Washington undermining “its human rights ‘myth’ with its own deeds.”
The human rights report chastised the US for continuing “to trample on human rights in other countries, causing tremendous civilian casualties” in countries such as Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.
The report by the China government was released just days after the US State Department published its annual report on human rights practices, which lashed out at aspects of China’s domestic policies, criticizing Beijing for neglecting civil and political rights.
Wall Street spending to influence US elections
Wall Street Money in Washington, 2015-2016, Campaign and Lobby Spending by the Financial Sector, a report from the US said:
“The financial sector is by far the largest source of campaign contributions to federal candidates and parties, and the third largest spender on lobbying. In the 2015-16 election cycle, Wall Street banks and financial interests reported spending over $2.0 billion to influence decision-making in Washington. That total of officially reported expenditures on campaign contributions and lobbying – comes to more than $2.7 million a day. It also works out to over $3.7 million per member of Congress. A total of 460 financial sector companies and trade associations spent at least $500,000 each during this period.”
The staggering sums made the financial sector by far the biggest business contributors; however, the real figure could be much higher.
The new report from Americans for Financial Reform has found that the total amount of money spent on campaign contributions for presidential, Senate, and House of Representatives candidates reached $1.1 billion, with another $898 million spent on lobbying.
The huge sums made the financial sector by far the largest source of campaign contributions. The total is more than $400 million more than was spent during the 2012 election cycle. The daily spend topped $2.7 million and more than $3.7 million was spent per member of congress.
The sector, including both institutions and their individual employees, chipped in nearly twice as much as any other business sector.
The report is based on data from officially reported expenditures which was collected by the Center for Responsive Politics. It details the spending of more than 400 financial companies and trade associations with at least $500,000 in declared lobbying expenditures and campaign contributions.
The report said:
Republicans garnered 55 percent of party-encoded contributions while 45 percent went to Democratic hopefuls.
The report showed that donors frequently donated to both parties in a given race.
A statement released with the report said:
“The numbers reflect the industry’s relentless efforts to roll back financial regulations put in place after the crisis, lobby Congress to weaken the rules, and to forestall deeper changes to the financial system.”
The list was topped by former presidential candidates Senator Marco Rubio, who raised $8.69 million, and Ted Cruz, who raised $5.48 million. Senator Chuck Schumer, who came in third, was the only Democrat to break into the top five.
The top spender was the National Association of Realtors who contributed a whopping $118,622,462. Three hedge funds – Renaissance Technologies ($53,479,983), Paloma Partners ($41,334,000) and Elliott Management ($28,020,354) – ranked among the top five individual spenders. The American Bankers Association completed the top five with $25,750,687 in donations.
The biggest spending banks were Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. However, they contributed comparatively modest sums of between $12 million and $15 million.
Despite the outrageously high figures, Americans for Financial Reform note that the actual sums spent by Wall Street are surely much higher as none of the totals include “dark money” from non-profit organizations. Non-profits do not have to disclose who their donors are and they have only to report part of their political spending to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
“The entire apparatus of government operates in an environment flooded with millions of dollars in Wall Street cash on a daily basis,” said Lisa Donner of Americans for Financial Reform. “If you want to understand why finance too often hurts consumers, investors and businesses far from Wall Street, take a look at these numbers.”
Donner told the Financial Times that much of the lobbying had succeeded in “slowing or weakening” proposed reforms. “That is really what the money story is about,” she said. “We end up with outcomes that are not what people voted for.”
Americans for Financial Reform receives funding from the Democracy Alliance, a network of donors including George Soros.