The Inevitability of Money in Politics

Aug 26, 2016

This week, controversy swirled around allegations that special access was given to Clinton Foundation donors when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. 

Donna Hoffman, department head and associate professor of Political Science at the University of Northern Iowa, explains the emails show communication between the aides of the Clinton Foundation and Clinton as Secretary.

"There's no evidence that, 'Hey, I've given a donation so I must therefore be able to meet with Secretary Clinton,' but that's kind of the implication here, that there's the appearance of corruption."

Hoffman says that while voters must look at the allegations and draw their own conclusions, money in politics is here to stay.

"Members of Congress have people who want to see them all the time: there is this notion of donations getting you in the door. That doesn't mean that a member of Congress or Secretary Clinton or anybody else is going to then automatically do what you say just because you are a donor. But there is a long standing notion in American politics that money plays a role here; and interest groups, lobbyists, for example, will give money to get access to policymakers."

In this hour of River to River, Ben Kieffer speaks with Hoffman and with Hans Hassell, assistant professor of political science at Cornell College, about the politics of the week.