Though it has a noble history and many smart, good-willed people among its ranks, the Republican party now suffers under leadership that has become utterly, irredeemably corrupt. Virtually no coherent public policy agenda remains; efforts to keep up the pretense of one have all but vanished. What’s left is pandering to the base with symbolism, terrifying the middle with terrorism, and — the linchpin around which the rest is organized — serving the interests of corporate America with lax regulation and enforcement, industry-authored legislation, and boatloads of subsidies and pork.

Corporate America knows this all too well. And with Republicans in real danger of losing one or both houses of Congress in November, it’s starting to sweat. A story in the Wall Street Journal (sub. only, I think) details the enormous amounts of corporate campaign cash flowing in to Republican campaign coffers. It focuses mainly on drug companies, but here are some other tidbits of interest:

Oil and gas interests worry about a Democratic Congress axing subsidies and have spent $13.6 million on the campaign so far, of which 83% has gone to Republicans. For all of 2002, they and their employees contributed $14.8 million in hard-money donations. … Electric utilities, fearing tougher environmental rules, have contributed $11.9 million, with 66% going to Republicans, compared with $12.8 million in 2002.

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Despite campaign-finance laws designed to limit the influence of big business and unions, the 2006 midterm elections are on track to be the most expensive ever, costing about $2.6 billion, according to a new study by CRP. That compares with about $2.2 billion in 2002. Business interests account for about three-quarters of this year’s contributions.

(via Ezra)