Money in politics has often been described as “like water flowing downhill’ (or “like water running downhill")—in other words, an inevitable force of nature’s gravity. The political adage has been cited in print since at least 1997.
A similar saying is “Money in politics is like squeezing a balloon”—that is, the air/water in the balloon simply gets displaced elsewhere within the balloon.
10 March 1997, Newsweek, “Keeping it in the bedroom” by Jonathan Alter:
Money in politics is like water running downhill: it will always find its way, even with a constitutional amendment.
Frontline: The Fixers (PBS)
Original Air Date: April 15, 1997
Money and Politics: A Primer
By Robert Schlesinger”
Indeed, campaign scandals did not begin with Watergate, and will not end with the current congressional hearings. If anything, the current situation has proven the adage that stopping money in politics is like trying to stop water from flowing down hill. You can’t do it. Given enough time, special interests will find and exploit loopholes, quickly making small pinpricks in the law loopholes large enough to drive a billion Chinese contributors through.
Google News Archives
3 October 1999, Nevada (MO) Daily Mail, “Campaign contributions limits to go before the U.S. Supreme Court” by Paul Sloca (Associated Press), pg. 3A, col. 3:
“Campaign money is very much like water flowing downhill on the side of a mountaintop,” said Larry J. Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia and an author of three books on campaign finance reform. “It is going to find its way to the valley, and you’re not going to be able to build enough dams o keep the water from getting into the valley.”
13 December 1999, Logansport (IN) Pharos-Tribune, pg. A4, col. 5:
Nicholson (Republican National Chairman Jim Nicholson --ed.) added one more key supposition: “Let me share with you a little secret. It’s like water flowing downhill. It costs money to campaign and always will. In a modern society such as ours, communicating ideas to large numbers of citizens requires huge sums of money.”
New York (NY) Daily News
MCCAIN’S CRUSADE MAY HIT PAYDIRT
BY MICHAEL KRAMER
Wednesday, March 28th 2001, 2:20AM
Money in politics is like water flowing downhill: It will always find a way.
The Harvard Crimson
Putting the Money Back into Politics
A progressive manifesto
By Sasha Post,
Published: Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Money in politics is like water streaming down a hill—no matter how many obstacles you throw in its path, it still manages to get where it’s going.
Campaign Finance Reform – a Pig in a Poke
Author: Drew McKissick — Published: Aug 29, 2005 at 1:00 pm
Money in politics is like water flowing downhill. Erect barriers if you wish – only to slightly alter its course as it flows to its ultimate destination.
Should candidates get tax funds to campaign?
This entry was posted on Friday, November 30th, 2007 at 11:45 am and is filed under Politics
The political proverb holds that stopping money in politics is like damming a downhill stream. The water always finds a way down the hill. Question is who gets the water?
By Jay Cost
April 30, 2009
Is Arlen Specter Safe Now?
Money in politics is like water flowing downhill. Good luck stopping it.
Campaign finance ruling—good or bad?
Saturday January 23, 2010
I’m divided over the Supreme Court’s ruling the other day striking down campaign finance laws restricting corporate contributions to political campaigns.
On the one hand, McCain-Feingold not only seems like exactly what its opponents say it is—an onerous suppression of free speech rights—but also doesn’t seem to have been particularly effective. Money in politics is like water going downhill: it’s going to find its way there no matter what.
New York City • Government/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Monday, March 22, 2010 • Permalink