#1 By: Cory Doctorow, July 27th, 2013 20:50
#2 By: technogeek, July 27th, 2013 22:55
That isn't necessarily evidence of bribery, just of the defense industry preferentially donating to politicians who favor policies which are good for the defense industry. To make it bribery, you need to demonstrate that said politicians weren't already planning to vote that way... which is deuced hard to prove unless you have information from inside the transaction.
Without that, all you've demonstrated is that we have the best political system money can buy. Which ain't hardly news nohow.
#3 By: rocketpj, July 27th, 2013 23:18
It might not be the classic definition of bribery, but it is definitely in the same realm. And there is ZERO doubt that members of congress will tailor their voting to appeal to current and potential donors.
Yes, I call that bribery, mixed with a little threat (support our interests or we'll donate to the other candidate...)
It is also an indictment of your political system. The fact that it isn't new or news doesn't mean it isn't a problem and shouldn't be dealt with.
#4 By: Rhyolite, July 28th, 2013 01:32
This highlights one of the fundamental problems with the military-industrial complex. The NSA can't contribute money to congress but Booze-Allan, Snowden's employer, can. The heavily outsourced defense industry is in an excellent position to kick money back to congress in a way that the civil service never could.
#5 By: Benjamin Young, July 28th, 2013 01:46
This is bad data analysis, and "Bribery" is not the right conclusion here. It's more subtle than that.
I did my own data analysis. The article published the dataset, and I thought it was sloppy not to control for party affiliation. Also the average is TOTALLY the wrong statistic: the average is going to be dominated by a few politicians with massive contributions. The median, for instance, will capture a result that's more typical of the "bulk", rather than the outliers.
I mean, do your own data analysis and draw your own conclusions, but look. Here are the MEDIAN contributions by vote and affiliation, as far as I can see from 10 minutes with my spreadsheet:
D No: 10650
R No: 24300
D Yes: 11500
R Yes: 10500
#6 By: David Karger, July 28th, 2013 03:01
The previous posts correctly observe that you are violating a basic principle of statistics, confusing correlation with causation (xkcd). While I'm as unhappy as you are with the role of money in politics, I don't think it helps our case to toss out arguments that are so easily knocked down. It makes us look unreliable so we aren't trusted when we point out true problems.
#7 By: anon, July 28th, 2013 07:26
The NSA can't contribute money to congress but Booze-Allan, Snowden's employer, can.
With 1000% return on investment, it's almost an argument against privatisation. The ongoing feedback cycle of corruption makes government ultimately seem like a gaming system for transferring wealth. It is not just a feature of the military industrial complex. It's a feature of every sector of the economy.
#8 By: awjt, July 28th, 2013 07:29
Exactly. Does something need to be "illegal" for it to be wrong? LOL. Bribery and donations are the same thing. It is where we choose to draw the line that matters.
Our modern doublethink requires us to think, "Oh, if it isn't illegal and hasn't been officially branded bribery, then we should at least consider that it's a good thing."
Which is the diametric opposite of considering the facts as they stand in the bar chart. Half of the votes received much more money from the interest they were voting on. And read SpeedyMollusc's analysis: it's right on point. Pro-NSA Republicans received TWICE as much as anyone else.
#9 By: awjt, July 28th, 2013 07:30
This is super great. Nice work.
#10 By: Nathan Hornby, July 28th, 2013 08:12
Exactly. I tried to tell the policeman myself that just because I was receiving money and giving out sexy massages, who's to say I wasn't going to give out the sexy massages anyway?
I'm free to go, right?
#11 By: Acer Platanoides , July 28th, 2013 09:03
#12 By: Anthony I, July 28th, 2013 10:39
I don't think it's possible to get elected without taking bribes/contributions. Elections are costly. It's almost as if candidates are first pre-selected by deep pocketed donors before they are allowed to be showcased to the electorate.
#13 By: Acer Platanoides , July 28th, 2013 12:46
Ain't no party like a modern American political party.
#14 By: CLamb, July 28th, 2013 14:10
Nope, it is illegal for BAH, or any corporation, to contribute money to a Congresscritter's campaign.
#15 By: Melted_Crayons, July 28th, 2013 17:59
'Tis but a single example of how Corporations have the law (and governments) on their side.
#16 By: Cory Doctorow, August 1st, 2013 20:50
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