At last night's Republican presidential debate, Rep. Michele Bachmann went after Rick Perry for taking money from Merck, a pharmaceutical giant, and then issuing an executive order that required Texas schoolgirls to receive vaccinations that Merck produces. While this is certainly troubling, and her noting of the influence of wealthy corporate and special interests is correct, her own record makes it clear that those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
Bachmann has received $1.6 million from the Financial, Insurance, and Real Estate (FIRE) sector during her time in Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and she has made repealing the Dodd-Frank financial regulations law a top priority. She has received $490,254 from the health care industry and made repealing the health care law another one of her great causes. It’s not much different than Rick Perry’s deal with Merck.
If she is so concerned with corporate and special interest influence, perhaps in her role as a member of Congress she could do something about it by co-sponsoring and advocating for the Fair Elections Now Act (S. 750, H.R. 1404). Fair Elections allows candidates seeking office the option to run their campaigns without any large, potentially policy-influencing, donations. Instead, Fair Elections candidates collect small donations from their home state, allowing them, when elected, to legislate with their constituents interests in mind, not offer up legislative paybacks to their high dollar campaign donors.
Bachmann is right to call people out for favors politicians do for their donors, but until she does something to fix our broken system, this is just more politics as usual.