You Too Can Buy a Congressman…

Ever wonder what the best investment you can make is?

I’m not in the business of giving financial advice - but I wanted to share with you this secret that every billionaire and large corporation in this country knows. The best investment you can make isn’t gold or some revolutionary technology.

The best investment you can make is to buy a politician!

Investing in a politician can yield more returns than any stock or other commodity ever could.

Take the case of what Montana’s fossil fuel companies invested in Representative Ryan Zinke. If the Obama administration closes a massive tax loophole that allows the companies to rip off the state - Montana’s coal companies would be looking at a 19 million dollar hit to their bottom line.

You see, for years, Montana’s coal producers have had to pay royalties to the state of Montana for coal mined on federal land. But Montana’s coal producers found a way get around paying the royalties for coal they took from public lands.

It’s been really easy so far. Take Peabody coal. All they’ve had to do is create shell subsidiaries to buy Peabody’s coal at a lower-than-market rate.

The state would only collect royalties on Peabody selling coal to its own subsidiary basically at cost, so there's no profit and no royalty payments. Then the subsidiary would simply turn around and sell the coal again to an actual coal user, like China or a power plant; this time at the much higher and very profitable market rate.

A rule proposed by Obama’s Department of the Interior would change that so that Peabody and the other coal companies would have to pay their royalties based exclusively on sales made to an independent, third-party buyer. No more tax-free insider trading.

A report last month from Headwaters Economics showed that the proposed rule could make up to 19 million dollars for the state of Montana every year. But last week Montana Representative at-large Ryan Zinke introduced a rider to the House budget bill that blocks the Obama administration's new rule on royalties. Which means Ryan Zinke is churning out big returns for his fossil fuel company investors.

And what did it cost them, you may ask?

Well, according to, oil, gas and coal companies donated at least 43,000 dollars to Zincke’s campaign. That’s more than 10% of Ryan Zincke’s total contributions from Political Action Committees.

And what are the companies getting in return? They’re avoiding paying 19 million dollars a year for taking that coal from you and me and the rest of America which owns the public lands.

So over the last two years they’ve made $38 million on a $43,000 investment. So Ryan Zincke’s investors are seeing a rate of return that’s over 86,000 percent.

That’s incredible! And it’s an investment tip you’re only going to learn about here. Because the big TV networks do the same thing with their lobbyists, so they're not going to talk about it!

So how do you get in on that kind of action? Well. That’s the real problem. Not every politician is so cheap. And most Americans just don’t have the disposable income to invest in a politician every two years anyway.

Therefore, most Americans today can’t invest in buying politicians the same way as corporations and billionaires. But we could harness the power of the stock market to fix that.

All we have to do is set up an exchange-traded fund for owning sellout politicians. That way, the average American can invest in politicians and reap the same benefits as our country’s lobbyists.

It makes sense in the context of the Supreme Court's ruling that buying politicians is the same thing as political speech and thus protected by the First Amendment.

We could set up the funds to be based on specific industries - things like fossil fuels, guns, agriculture, and medicine - and invest both in those industries and in the politicians who can change laws to make the industries richer. And when candidates declare that they’re running, they would choose which fund they’ll be exchanged on.

Instead of campaign contributions, voters would simply go on the market and invest in a particular candidate in a particular fund. Different offices would be priced differently. Representatives would be penny stocks and senators would be priced slightly higher. Senior senators would obviously trade for more than junior senators.

And once a piece of legislation starts generating profits for that fund, the profits can be distributed to the investors.

Another option would be take the politicians off the market and let the American people invest in legislation directly, but trading would work basically the same way. The richest Americans would still be able to invest more in the biggest ticket issues in either scenario, but at least normal Americans would also be able to invest and see their fair share of their politician’s profits.

So that’s one way to make the political market work for every American and not just the billionaires and corporate lobbyists. But we should probably just take our democracy off the market all together. Because our politicians should be representatives - not investments.

Really - it’s time to repeal Citizens United and pass a Constitutional amendment saying that corporations aren’t people and buying politicians is bribery, not "free speech."

Popular blog posts

No blog posts. You can add one!

ADHD: Hunter in a Farmer's World

Thom Hartmann has written a dozen books covering ADD / ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.

Join Thom for his new twice-weekly email newsletters on ADHD, whether it affects you or a member of your family.

Thom's Blog Is On the Move

Hello All

Thom's blog in this space and moving to a new home.

Please follow us across to - this will be the only place going forward to read Thom's blog posts and articles.