1. Pinning the $ on the politicians:
Much of the press covering the testimony of Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan’s CEO, before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs last week about his bank’s $3 billion trading loss said Dimon got off easy. Some accounts, like this one in Politico cited a money connection: Dimon, Politico reported, “fielded mostly softball questions from a panel of senators who’ve taken thousands of dollars in contributions from his firm.”
Pointing out the money connection makes sense, but I wish the press would take the trouble to give us more. Why not put a parenthetical next to any senator who is mentioned in an article like this, detailing how much money he or she got from Dimon or JPMorgan-associated PACs in the last five years?
As in “said Tennessee Republican Bob Corker ($64,000)”?
Or: “explained Democrat and committee chair Tim Johnson of South Dakota ($38,995).”
There are several sources, such as Open Secrets.org, run by the Center for Responsive Politics, where this information can be gathered quickly, and from which I gathered these real Corker and Johnson JPMorgan-linked dollar tallies in about two minutes.
In fact, at a time when most Americans are appalled at the role money plays in politics, why not take advantage of these databases and post the dollar tallies whenever any politician is written about as taking one position or another on an issue? As a standard form, just have a parenthetical that reports the amount of contributions received from interests on one side or the other of the issue the senator or congressman (or maybe even a state legislator) is depicted in the article as addressing.