Filthy Lucre

Corporate campaign contributions are just a fact of Congressional life. Members of Congress in competitive seats just don't have the time to do the hands-on fundraising required to finance their campaigns. And corporations are very eager to stuff money into the pockets of Members who sit on the committees that regulate them.

So, in retrospect, it was a bit naive to think that Eric Massa would continue to finance his campaigns without corporate donations. As someone who's never believed that union PACs are any better than corporate PACs, I'm not that concerned with his decision. Moreover, the donations he accepted came from local companies that would have gotten his attention without donating a penny.

Unfortunately for Massa's 2010 Republican opponent, corporate funding is a cornerstone of every Republican Congressional campaign. There's little chance that this will become a campaign issue, and the only people who will be upset about it aren't going to vote for a Republican anyway.

That all said, Eric Massa's decision to take corporate funding is a classic example of chucking out a supposedly heartfelt principle when it is no longer politically expedient. This one seems to have escaped media notice, but a few more like this will constitute a troubling pattern.