Politicians taking dirty money get to sling more mud

There is a rumor going around that Brendan Kelly is distantly related to the Flying Wallendas, up on that tight wire ā€” one side's ice and one is fire.

He doesn't like the money in politics. He won't be in politics without the money.

He takes political action committee money, but he doesn't like it. When he gets to Congress the first thing he will do is change the constitution to get the money out of politics, a corrupting influence that is a top threat to democracy.

Unlikely. Kelly is just playing to his audience. So far the audience has given him $672,000.

Did you know Kelly has an opponent in the March 20 primary? If not, that may be because David Bequette, of Columbia, only raised $9,700.

There are two Republicans running: incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Bost and Preston Nelson, of Benton. Benton has no money reported.

Bost has $961,000. He has big bucks from big PACs. He isn't apologizing or equivocating.

He expects as much as $3 million to be spent on the race.

"(When) receiving political action money, usually those political action groups are tied somewhere to your district. As a member of Congress, yes, I listen and get information from them. But if anything ever is bad for my district, Iā€™ll vote against them as quick as ever."

It's easy to find people to decry the corrupting influence of money in politics. It's harder to find someone to decry its influence and then live the ideal. It's harder yet to find someone who decried its influence, lived the ideal and made it to Congress.

At least Bost is being straight about walking that money tight wire: One side's access and one is influence.

-Originally published by Belleville News-Democrat Editorial board on February 27, 2018 at 9:20 am

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