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Colin Riebe
Mrs. DeBock
English 4 Honors
3 March, 2016
How Money Corrupts American Politics
Money is a driving force behind many people’s actions, and it holds a lot of power in
itself. This is why politicians such as senators, presidential candidates, congress, and others use it
to bribe other politicians into having certain beliefs. In politics, it isn’t about how good of a
candidate you are, it is about how much money you have. Money corrupts the political system by
bribing people to vote a certain way, buying campaign commercials, and getting money from
sponsors to be able to talk bad about their competitors.
Bribing is a way candidates get votes. This, for the most part, is done using money. One
such incident is Edwin Edwards extorting bribes to reward riverboat casino licenses in 1998. In
his article, Juan Cole says the politicians “don’t represent ‘the people.’… they represent the 1%”
(Cole). The politicians may say that they are for the people, but what is mainly on their agenda is
whatever the people who give them money wants done. Most of the people bribing the
politicians are the heads of corporations who are looking for someone to pass laws in their favor.
All briberies are done by the rich. Cole says, “The rich are well placed to bribe our politicians to
reduce taxes on the rich” (Cole). The people who are able to give money to the politicians hold
most of the power.

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With the money that politicians get from the briberies, they use it in buying campaign
ads. In 2010, the Supreme Court had gotten rid of the regulations that prohibited corporations
from buying campaign ads that help with the election of one candidate or the defeat of another.
According to David Kirkpatrick, the Democratic Party said the ruling was “a threat to
democracy” (Kirkpatrick). This lift on the ban could increase the corruption going on using
money, as companies buying campaign ads will buy them for candidates for their own gain.
Bernie Sanders wishes to overturn the decision with a new amendment. According to Rodrigue
Tremblay, the rule is " violating two basic human rights” (Tremblay). Candidates often use these
ads in order to talk bad about their competition. They spin the truth around in order to make their
competitors look worse. Due to the lift on the ban, more of these commercials are rising, and
tricking the voters into thinking wrongful things about certain candidates.
Money is essential to any campaign. This is a big reason why candidates take the bribes
that are given to them. Without money, they might as well just drop out of the race. Benjamin
Page says that most congressional districts are “gerrymandered” (Page). The districts are easily
manipulated by money. They want to make sure they have the advantage over the other political
party. The money that candidates get goes towards their campaigns. With the money, they are
able to get air time on the news. This helps the candidates become easier to recognize, giving
them a better chance at getting votes. Senator Mark Hanna once said “There are two things that
are important in politics. The first is money and I can’t remember what the second one is.”
(Hanna). For a senator to say that shows that money has a huge influence.
Giving money to the candidates is making American similar to an oligarchy. According to
former president Jimmy Carter, large amounts of money in politics “violates the essence of what
made America a great country in its political system” (Carter). Bernie Sanders says that this is an

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“American issue” rather than a conservative issue (Sanders). Due to money, America is losing
the basis of what it was founded on. The majority of Americans who are unable to give large
sums of money to candidates believe that their votes don’t matter. And this give the donators a
larger say in who is being elected. Congress has become more corrupted due to its members’
need for money, so much so that people aren’t even interested in voting anymore due to the fact
they don’t believe their vote matters.
Money is corrupting American politics because of the high influence that it has. Large
corporations bribe candidates in order to get them to get what they want done. The candidates
use the money from bribes to get ads that companies pay for. Money corrupts the political system
by bribing people to vote a certain way, buying campaign commercials, and getting money from
sponsors to be able to talk bad about their competitors.

Works Cited
Cole, Juan. "Top 10 Ways the US Is the Most Corrupt Country in the World."Informed
Comment. Informed Comment3, 03 Dec. 2013. Web. 03 Mar. 2016.
Kirkpatrick, David. "Does Corporate Money Lead to Political Corruption?" The New York
Times. The New York Times, 23 Jan. 2010. Web. 03 Mar. 2016.

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Appelbaum, Binyamin. "Who Wants to Buy a Politician?" The New York Times. The New
York Times, 06 Dec. 2014. Web. 03 Mar. 2016.
Tremblay, Rodrigue. "The Corrupt Influence of Money in the American Political
System." Global Research. N.p., 08 Mar. 2012. Web. 03 Mar. 2016.
Palko, Chris. "Why Money in Politics Is so Important." Why Money in Politics Is so
Important. N.p., 26 July 2012. Web. 03 Mar. 2016.
Charnock, Emily. "Money and the Financing of Campaigns | Educating the Public on
Evidence-based Methods for Improving Inter-group Civility. |" CivilPoliticsorg. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2016.
Sanders, Bernie. "Get Big Money Out of Politics and Restore Democracy - Bernie
Sanders." Bernie Sanders RSS. Bernie Sanders, 2016. Web. 03 Mar. 2016.
Shaw, Johnathan. "A Radical Fix for the Republic." Harvard Magazine. N.p., 15 June 2012.
Web. 03 Mar. 2016.