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1998-12-23
North Pole. Santa's Softer Side.

Every year our nation's political parties receive the most wonderful gift of all: soft money. Those unregulated contributions from corporations and wealthy individuals which are totally exempt from federal election law contribution limits. These donations, made directly to political parties by donors, are the closest thing to Santa Claus you get in politics. According to the Campaign Reform Project analysis of the Federal Elections Committee reports on soft money, there are some familiar names from the retail world among the list of the largest Soft Money Santas. For example, of the top 500 Soft Santas, the Rite Aid corporation came in at number 92 with their 1997-98 soft money donations totaling $225,000. Rite Aid showed no political bias, for example, giving $20,000 to the Republican National Committee on June 18, 1998, and one month earlier on May 4, 1998, lavishing $25,000 on the Democratic National Committee. Rite Aid's pals at the National Association of Chain Drug Stores came up with $183,900 in soft money during the same period, ranking them 128th on the list. Home Depot managed to nail down $100,000 in soft donations, to rank 284. Kmart tossed in $90,000 to the Republicans to rank 324. The International Council of Shopping Centers came in right behind them with an $83,240 soft contribution. JC Penny was on the list at $81,000, and Sears showed they have a softer side as well. But our favorite softy is Jim Walton, son of Sam Walton, who contributed $150,000 in soft money to Republican causes all on the same day: March 20,1998. Walton's soft gifts placed him 171 on the list of 500 soft-serve donors.

What you can do: For a complete list of soft money donors, see the Campaign Reform Project website. Needless to say, superstore retailers are high on the list of soft money donors, just another way that corporate America invests in perpetuating its own future at the expense of small town America.










 
 
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