That’s what the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) is likely thinking after a coding error on its website revealed the association’s corporate donors and the size of their checks.
Leaked documents show how some of America’s largest corporations – Wal-Mart, Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil, Coca-Cola, Microsoft and more – literally bought access to Republican governors and their staffs.
The Supreme Court’s landmark “Citizens United” decision in 2010 allows corporations to give unlimited amounts of tax-exempt money to 501(c)(4) organizations, like the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee, without having to reveal their identity to the American public.
The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, discovered the documents.
“It’s not that you don’t suspect this, but here you see these companies paying the governors for access,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan in an interview with The New York Times. “Americans all think it’s pay-to-play politics. This is what confirms it.”
Details from the documents show that corporate donations, often in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, gave companies exclusive access to governors through meals, skiing trips, late-night parties and other “intimate gatherings.”
It’s the second time in less than a month that the Republican Party has been embarrassed by something that wasn’t supposed to go public. During a private speech to donors hosted by the Koch brothers, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was caught on tape saying he intends to pass spending bills that “have a lot of restrictions on the activities of the [federal] bureaucracy” if Republicans gain a majority in the Senate this November.
“We’re going to go after them on healthcare, on financial services, on the Environmental Protection Agency, across the board,” said McConnell, who faces a heated re-election bid against Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes. “All across the federal government, we’re going to go after it.”