From the Albany (N.Y.) Times Union — Originally published Tuesday, Jan. 6

... We realize that it takes money to get elected in America. A lot more than it used to, and the price tag seems to grow every year.

But ... one can't help but wonder if money is not just helping get candidates elected, but buying their influence at public expense.

... As part of his wife's vetting process [to become President-elect Obama’s secretary of State], former President Bill Clinton agreed to lift the veil of secrecy surrounding the donors to his foundation. Among them was Syracuse ... mall developer Robert Congel, who gave $100,000 in 2004, around the same time that Mrs. Clinton was helping to secure millions of dollars in federal support for Mr. Congel's Destiny USA project. The help for the project, supported by many New York politicians, included tax-exempt bonds for the complex, and $5 million in a highway bill for road construction.

We can only wonder: Why would politicians, or their spouses for that matter, knowing they are so much under the microscope, accept money from a company or other rich donor when it is almost certain to raise ethical questions? ...

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