Many of us have expectations for how our government should be run. It is, of course, “for the people and by the people.” However, is our government really set up to benefit the public? Or large corporations? Various companies financially support politicians and government organizations that align with their interests. The Supreme Court ruling in 2010 on the case: Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission granted individuals and organizations the ability to fund politicians’ campaigns.However, this precedent triggered a wave of “dark money” in exchange for favors: The individuals donating to politicians had their own expectations. For example, Biden plans to only ban new fracking to appeal to his supporters advocating for protecting the environment, but he also refuses to ban existing fracking companies to appeal to those who do not want to lose their jobs - or companies - due to cuts in various climate-harming industries.
According to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), oil and gas companies invest the most in legislators because they know that in order to improve the state of climate change, their industries need to be wiped out. Although they do not necessarily attempt to change the minds of politicians who are undecided as to which side to take (keeping environmentally harmful industries vs advocating for a better climate), these companies tend to donate to supporting legislators who have views that would help keep their corporations afloat.
Additionally, the Biopharmaceutical Industry provides around 75% of the FDA’s drug review budget. By doing so, Big Pharma can speed up or even skip by the FDA regulations for new drugs. Their ability to slide by regulations stems from the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) that congress passed in 1992. At the time, US drugs were being approved at a much slower rate than those in Europe. While the result of the Act did indeed expedite the drug approval process, the drugs became less safe. For example, earlier this year, the FDA approved a potential cure for COVID-19: Convalescent plasma. However, multiple scientists worried about its safety due to the lack of sufficient testing around it, resulting in a large debate between efficacy and efficiency of coronavirus medicine.
Of course, environmentally friendly organizations support and advocate for politicians as well. However, in addition to the limited funding power of nonprofits as compared to the incomprehensibly colossal power of decades-old monopoly corporations, the fact of the matter is that climate-friendly organizations are advocating for an improved future while environmentally hostile organizations only support legislators for their own self interest.
LaMattina, J. (2020, August 28). The Biopharmaceutical Industry Provides 75% Of The
FDA's Drug Review Budget. Is This A Problem? Retrieved October 31, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnlamattina/2018/06/28/the-biopharmaceutical-industry-provides-75-of-the-fdas-drug-review-budget-is-this-a-problem/?sh=a23820349ec8
David S. Hilzenrath (2016, December 01) David Hilzenrath is the Chief Investigative Reporter for the Project On Government Oversight. (n.d.). FDA Depends on Industry Funding; Money Comes with "Strings Attached". Retrieved October 31, 2020, from https://www.pogo.org/investigation/2016/12/fda-depends-on-industry-funding-money-comes-with-strings-attached/
Schwartz, Brian., Hirsch, Lauren. (2019, December 20). Presidential elections have turned into money wars - thanks to a Supreme Court decision in 2010. Retrieved October 31, 2020, from https://www.cnbc.com/2019/12/19/presidential-elections-are-now-money-battlesthanks-to-supreme-court.html
Goldberg, M., Marlon, J., Wang, X., Linden, S., & Leiserowitz, A. (2020, March 10). Oil and gas companies invest in legislators that vote against the environment. Retrieved October 31, 2020, from https://www.pnas.org/content/117/10/5111
Crespo, G. (2020, February 24). Oil and gas companies 'invest' money on members of Congress with anti-environment voting records, study says. Retrieved October 31, 2020, from https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/24/politics/campaign-contributions-congress-oil-and-gas/index.html
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