Infographic: What's the Cost of Getting Into Congress?

It costs a lot to get into Congress, and our candidates get that money from a tiny slice of the American public.

In May of last year, telecommunication companies lobbied aggressively in North Carolina to prevent local communities from building their own broadband networks. Corporate cable providers such as Time Warner Cable and CenturyLink argued that competition with local networks would be unfair, and paid out significant money to lawmakers in North Carolina to ensure passage of a bill that would restrict municipal broadband projects. Local broadband networks are cheaper and faster, and at least six cities in North Carolina fought against the bill. Unfortunately, it passed – with the help of North Carolina lawmakers who received significant campaign contributions from telecommunication lobbyists. In fact, the four primary sponsors of the bill received a total of $37,750 from telecommunication donors. (One of the cities that opposed the legislation, Raleigh, was partially represented by the bill's sponsor, Marilyn Avila (R). Representative Avila explained her decision to part ways with her constituency as an effort to protect businesses from "predatory" local governments.)

There are different opinions on what we should do about the campaign finance system, but almost everyone agrees that lobbyists and other wealthy donors exert a troubling influence over political outcomes in the United States. When the Supreme Court handed down its Citizens United decision, the political heft of lobbying power gained a bit more strength. Why? Because elections cost money—a lot of money—and most of that money comes from a very tiny sector of the American public, comprised mostly of corporations and wealthy individuals.

GOOD is partnering with Lawrence Lessig and Rootstrikers to shine a light on the corrupt relationship between political fundraising and lobbyist power in this country. Through a series of infographics and articles titled Capital in the Capital, we’ll be evaluating the campaign finance system, PACs, and how money influences certain political results in this country—which, in turn, affects all of us.

Take a look at our first infographic, which shares some surprising facts about how much it costs to run for office and where political representatives get that money. Stay tuned for additional infographics as we look at Super PACs and the effect of lobbying by industry.

Lessig is also mobilizing an anti-corruption movement to force Congress to address campaign finance reform. The goal of Capital in the Capital is to connect and inspire one million citizens to fight for a more transparent, representative political playing field. If you want to fight the corrupting influence of money over our political representatives, sign the anti-corruption pledge and encourage your representatives to do the same.

via David Leavitt / Twitter and RealTargetTori / Twitter

Last Friday, GOOD reported on an infuriating incident that went down at a Massachusetts Target.

A Target manager who's come to be known as "Target Tori," was harassed by Twitter troll David Leavitt for not selling him an $89 Oral-B Pro 5000 toothbrush for a penny.

He describes himself as a "multimedia journalist who has worked for CBS, AXS, Yahoo, and others."

Keep Reading
via David Leavitt / Twitter

Anyone who has ever worked in retail knows that the worst thing about the job, right after the pay, are the unreasonable cheapskates who "want to talk to your manager" to get some money off an item.

They think that throwing a tantrum will save them a few bucks and don't care if they completely embarrass themselves in the process. Sometimes that involves belittling the poor employee who's just trying to get through their day with an ounce of dignity.

Twitter is rallying around a gal named Tori who works at a Target in Massachusetts after she was tweet-shamed by irate chapekate, journalist, and Twitter troll, David Leavitt.

Keep Reading
via Haldean Brown / Flickr

In a typical work day, people who smoke take more breaks than those who do not. Every few hours they pop outside to have a smoke and usually take a coworker with them.

Don Bryden, Managing director at KCJ Training and Employment Solutions in Swindon, England, thinks that nonsmokers and smokers should be treated equally, so he's giving those who refrain from smoking four extra days to compensate.

Funny enough, Bryden is a smoker himself.

Keep Reading