Editor's note: CNN's "AC 360" begins a yearlong series of reports this week about an enormous surge in political donations to candidates of both parties. Longtime corporate executives tell CNN that the incessant push for money amounts to "legalized extortion" but the cash buildup shows no signs of stopping.
(CNN) – The former president of Shell Oil USA didn't candy-coat it: America's political fund-raising system, he said, amounts to legalized extortion.
"I feel extorted," John Hofmeister told CNN's Drew Griffin. "Every time I wrote a check I felt that it was a form of extortion, the price of entry, because of the reception that you got when you contributed versus the reception when you did not contribute."