In Congress, money talks

This is an archived article that was published on in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The most astounding thing revealed by Congress' consideration of gun control laws is how unrepresentative our representatives are. With a whopping 92 percent of the public favoring universal background checks, such a bill should be a no-brainer when it comes to representative government.

Not so. It's been questionable whether 60 percent of senators would even allow debate on the bill, let alone vote for it.

Why? Senators are more afraid of the gun lobby, which donates to their campaigns and viciously opposes politicians who cross it, than they are of voters.

Representatives should be beholden to the people, not to campaign-donating special interests. And they would be if the need for a campaign chest weren't so essential in this age of nonstop fund raising.

If ever there were a compelling reason for publicly funded congressional campaigns, this is it. Money is warping our democracy to the extent that it is no longer representative of the people.

It's not just the gun lobby. It's the pharmaceutical, health insurance and defense industries, plus Wall Street and Big Oil.

We'd have much more rational lawmaking, where lobbyists persuade by argument rather than the checkbook, if money weren't part of the equation.

Scott Baldwin

Salt Lake City