Save America Super PAC is still fundraising over Trump’s electoral losses, even though that’s a futile endeavor. It is simply a business venture. Donald Trump can be accused of many things, but he is canny when he puts a pencil to the numbers and looks at the money. Since mid-October, he has raised $495 million in what the Washington Post calls a "blizzard of misleading appeals about the integrity of the vote." Thirteen million dollars a day is a pretty penny for the Trump Make America Great Again Committee; $207.5 million was raised since election day.

This is how Trump’s fundraiser works: Only if one were to donate more than $8,000 would any dollars actually go to election litigation. What happens to the first $7,999? The Hill reports that those first $7,900 dollars can be used to pay family members and finance travel, hotel stays, and costly events in fancy venues. Some of those funds go to the Republican National Committee for the Georgia runoff, which will determine which party will control the U.S. Senate. These two Georgia races are the most expensive Senate races in history, shattering previous fundraising and spending for any senate race. For the two months ending Dec. 16, the figures are: In the Loeffler-Warnock race, Democrat Warnock has raised $103.4 million, and Republican incumbent Loeffler has raised $64 million. In the other race, Democrat Ossoff has raised $106.8 million while Republican incumbent Perdue has raised $68 million.

Do these seem like big numbers for a job that pays $174,000 annually, and just over a million dollars for the whole six-year tenure? Donors are giving over a hundred times more than the job pays so as to pick which person does the voting. Conclusion: Private interests and party loyalty are determining who does the voting. We now have lawmakers who owe their jobs and their loyalty not to the voters but to big (and mostly dark) money interests.

These are squeaker races, in which a tiny percentage point of votes will determine control of the Senate and therefore how effective President-elect Biden can be in carrying out his agenda. If Republicans continue to control the Senate, Mitch McConnell will block everything Biden wants to do. The stakes are enormous.

The outcome of the Jan. 5 Georgia runoff will simply come down to voter turnout. Early voting is already in progress.

Republicans in Congress don’t care to rein in Donald Trump on his wildly successful profiting from gullible supporters. Trump’s new leadership PAC, Save America Super PAC (not to be confused with Save America Fund), reported to the Federal Election Commission that it only spent $14,500 to support Republican elections, according to the campaign finance reform watchdog OpenSecrets at the Center for Responsive Politics. These super PACs operate virtually unfettered by spending restrictions. The money Trump fleeces from his donors cannot be used to directly finance his 2024 presidential bid. Donors don’t even get a frameable certificate from Trump University.

Brennan Center reports that the 2020 federal elections cost $14 billion, and state races neared $1.9 billion. Voters revolted against big money in politics in Oregon by passing caps on contributions to candidates. Baltimore County in Maryland passed public financing for candidates. Alaska voters will be going to ranked-choice voting, thus saving on run-offs. My hope is that campaign finance reform will be enacted. It is a daunting quest to get money out of politics, since every elected owes her congressional seat to donors. Ending exorbitant spending would involve rethinking the role of lawmakers.

Corporate involvement in elections is through money PACs, and it dilutes government for the people. Corporations have to answer to stockholders who expect a "return on investment." Does that sound like a quid pro quo?

Kathy Tibbits is a Cherokee citizen, attorney, and artist living at Lake Tenkiller.

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