Follow the money — and be disgusted with our government

To the Editor:

In crime books, TV shows and movies, the detective tells his cohorts to follow the money. This action often helps solve the crime.

Today, following the money in politics often explains the actions of the U.S. Senate and House which rarely benefit the taxpayer, voter or the country, but do fund expensive campaigns.

Case in point, the recent Associated Press article by Julie Carr Smyth titled: “Drug Companies in opioid crisis donated $27K to Ohio’s Ryan” (Sentinel-Tribune, Oct. 6). The article states that U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D) has a record of receiving campaign contributions from pharmaceutical companies and has a mixed voting record in legislative support and nonsupport of these trillion-dollar industries.

Both parties are guilty of receiving large dollar contributions to fund million dollar-plus campaigns. For example, a recent Democrat bill to provide healthcare funding for veterans suffering from pit-fire gas poisoning and other cancer-causing illnesses related to toxin exposure on the battlefield, was at first unanimously defeated by the Republican Senate favoring the trillion-dollar insurance industry.

Only after public outcry and a peaceful demonstration passionately led by political activist Jon Stewart and well covered in the news media, did the Republican Senate change its vote.

Both parties heavily depend on financing from big business lobbyists to fund expensive campaigns to get elected or reelected. Also, the philosophy that the party must win at all cost leaves little room for serious and ethical deliberation on many important issues.

Those issues are gun control, drug and healthcare expense, childcare financing, energy costs and government support of religious dogma. These issues all favor big business, but rarely favor or help the American taxpayer who elected their candidate and pay for her/his salaries, health and retirement benefits and elite lifestyles.

At present, this situation is legally criminal. To save our democracy we must change election law and congressional behavior. Change will be controversial and difficult with all the high-stake players and political parties not willing to give up lucrative current policies and money. Many European countries have banned lobbying in the election process and limited campaign spending to offset political corruption with stiff penalties if the laws are not followed. Unfortunately, following the money in American politics is eroding our long-held beliefs that we embrace freedom and are a great country.

Joy Potthoff

Bowling Green