Right now, the media is intrigued by the fact that people who made donations to the Clinton Foundation subsequently received access to certain government officials including then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The suggestion is that this is “pay for play”. In other words, they paid to get access and during that access they asked for special favors. Whether they received any special favors has not been proven. Regardless, the process seems questionable.
However, when Sheldon Adelson, the Koch Brothers, George Soros, Saban Capital, the Auto Workers Union or the Israel Lobby have multiple meetings with political candidates to make their requests before they make a contribution, no one considers this behavior inappropriate. Why?
Furthermore, if any person or group makes a sizable contribution to a politician is it reasonable to expect that once that politician gets elected, the politician will take a call or meeting with that person or group? Of course.
The offense is not taking a meeting or granting people or lobbyists access to government officials. The offense occurs when you can connect the dots between the donation and a government policy that then favors that person or group. And by that standard, every lobby in America that has successfully advocated for their cause should be fined trillions of dollars.
So let’s be consistent in how we apply these standards.