Sunday, August 24, 2014

Corruption In NY

Zephyr Teachout’s Anti-Corruption Campaign:

...The entrance into the electorate of men who owned little or no property democratized American politics. The fear that they would sell their votes—a fear that was not unfounded—was chiefly addressed, in the eighteen-eighties, by the adoption of the secret ballot. In the eighteen-nineties, reformers who had fought against machine politics turned their attention to a new source of corruption: big business. In 1894, Elihu Root proposed an amendment to New York’s constitution, banning “great aggregations of wealth”—corporations—“from using their corporate funds, directly or indirectly to send members of the legislature to these halls, in order to vote for their protection and the advancement of their interests as against those of the public.” The amendment failed, but Root kept the issue on the agenda when he helped Theodore Roosevelt campaign for mayor of New York, in 1886, and for governor, in 1898. In 1905, when Roosevelt was President (Root served as his Secretary of State), he told Congress, “All contributions by corporations to any political committee or for any political purpose should be forbidden by law...”

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