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Money talks

We all know that money talks to lawmakers and helps gets things done for those who fork over the cash to bolster congressional campaigns.

But this quote in today’s Washington Post really drove it home. It came from from a donor attending a chicken cordon bleu dinner with Sen. Max Baucus to benefit the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

“Most people there had an agenda; they wanted the ear of a senator, and they got it. Money gets you in the door. The only thing the other side can do is march around and protest outside.”  – Aaron Roland, San Francisco health care activist

Ouch. Roland, by the way, paid half the $10,000 price to sit at the table with Baucus, who is spearheading the Senate health care reform effort.

Baucus is now the leading recipient of Senate campaign contributions from hospitals, insurers and other medical interest groups who want to protect their financial interests in whatever finally gets passed, the Post says.

But ordinary citizens who can’t afford to cough up ten grand or more (actually, as fundraisers go, $10,000 is pretty cheap), get left in the cold. On the outside, as Roland said.

Our own Craig Holman told the Post, “He’s doing all this fundraising right in the middle of this effort to mark up a bill. When you put these events close to matters concerning these lobbyists, clearly it’s a signal. You are expected to show up with a check.”

Can anyone say “public financing of elections”?