Archive for big money

Blistering Liberal Dissent to Wrong-Headed SCOTUS Decision

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The repost.us service is no longer available so we have removed that code from The Political Carnival.

Here is the original post on Liberaland

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Dems outraise GOP in March. Too bad about those SCOTUS rulings.

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money in politics citizens united corporations outraise

Democrats outraise Republicans! Big headline! Lots of thumbs up on Twitter in response to the headline! Boyoboy! We're rolling in dough, we're raking in the big bucks! We'll show those Republicans, yes we will! Go Dems! Outraise again! Keep it up! We did it! We beat our rivals!

To which I ask, so what?

After the appalling Supreme Court decision that favors billionaires, the decision that extends the influence of big money on elections... brought to us by SCOTUS's previous Citizens United ruling, this is only mildly good news. The truckloads of money shelled out by super PACS, the Koch brothers, and the Sheldon Adelsons on the right make these numbers look like lunch money.

Roll Call:

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee outraised its Republican counterpart in March, ending the month with more than $22 million in cash on hand for the competitive midterms.

Both the DSCC and the National Republican Senatorial Committee said they posted their best fundraising months of the cycle in March.

Democrats raised $8.1 million in March, which is $21 million more than the NRSC. Plus, the DSCC paid off its 2012 debt. Republicans hauled in $6.4 million and have $15.9 million available to them. They also paid off their debt from 2012.

But Republicans have a huge advantage now that the Supreme Court has French kissed Adelson and the Kochs.

You know the solution, though, right? Say it with me now:

vote  turnout  gotv

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The Supreme Thwart: SCOTUS "re-created legalized bribery"

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democracy gone, legalized bribery

Apparently "legalized bribery" is fine with the Roberts Supreme Court. As you can see by my previous post Billionaires and Supreme Court undermine our "1st Amendment right not to be drowned out", this appalling decision makes me furious and more than a little worried. In the post I wrote:

Think it was bad before? You ain't seen nothin' yet. You thought Sheldon Adelson and the ass-kissing at Jewish Mingle were obscene? Billionaires like him are just getting started. Super PACs are morphing into Super Duper PACs, Mingles will become orgies, and the kajillions of TV ads will turn into mini-series sponsored by Deep Pockets, Inc.

Despite the TV "news" media's skimpy reporting on this very important topic-- instead running wall-to-wall speculation about the horrific Fort Hood killer-- the Los Angeles Times gave ample coverage to the legalized bribery that is now law. Here are a few takes on what came down yesterday, or as I like to call it, The Supreme Thwart of democracy as we knew it.

First, excerpts from the L.A. Times front pager:

The decision, McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission, also shows again the impact of President George W. Bush's two appointees: Roberts and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

Or to put it another way, elections matter. Continuing...

Fred Wertheimer, a veteran champion of campaign finance reform, said the court was on a "march to destroy the nation's campaign finance laws enacted to prevent corruption."

The decision "re-created the system of legalized bribery today that existed during the Watergate days," said Wertheimer, president of the nonprofit group Democracy 21.

Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, said neither the Founding Fathers nor most Americans "want government beholden to narrow elite interests."

Republicans call that hand-wringing.

Moving on to an editorial titled, "Really, justices? Even more money in politics?"

The campaign reform group Democracy 21 notes that after Wednesday's decision, a presidential nominee could form a joint fundraising committee and solicit a contribution of as much as $1,199,600 from a single donor for the election cycle. Does anyone doubt that the person who signed that check would expect special consideration from the candidate who solicited it?

Roberts was untroubled by the idea that mega-donors would receive special treatment in exchange for their largesse.

How nice for Roberts that he can sleep well at night knowing that the imbalance of power in this country is causing democracy to go the way of Chris Christie's political career.

Finally, there was an op-ed written by Jessica A. Levinson, an associate clinical professor at Loyola Law School-Los Angeles and vice president of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission:

And how many people were handcuffed by these limits? Well, fewer than 600 donors, or 0.0000019% of Americans, gave the maximum amount under those oh-so-restrictive limits, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. [...]

Disclosure may be the only way we can regulate the political money trail in the near future. [...]

Where does McCutcheon leave us? It leaves people like me who believe it is both legal and good policy to limit the influence of money in politics in an existential crisis. [...]

Our current system essentially limits only direct contributions from donors to candidates and political committees. But independent organizations receive and dispense vast sums related to candidate campaigns, and many do not have to disclose the donors of this dark money.

The base contribution limits could be the next restriction on the chopping block.

And then she called for more transparency. And how about more justice... and different Justices?

money talks democracy has no voice

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Billionaires and Supreme Court undermine our "1st Amendment right not to be drowned out"

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citizens united check republic billionaires Koch brothers dark money

Today Michael Hiltzik gets a twofer at TPC, this time regarding the appalling Supreme Court decision that favors billionaires, the decision that extends the influence of big money on elections... brought to us by SCOTUS's previous Citizens United ruling.

Via a New York Times email alert:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a major campaign finance decision, striking down limits on federal campaign contributions for the first time. The ruling, issued near the start of a campaign season, will change and probably increase the role money plays in American politics.

The decision, by a 5-to-4 votes along ideological lines, was a sort of sequel to Citizens United, the 2010 decision that struck down limits on independent campaign spending by corporations and unions. But that ruling did nothing to disturb the other main form of campaign finance regulation: caps on direct contributions to candidates and political parties.

I'm beyond furious, way past frustrated, and drowning in worry over turning on enormous spigots of money that will drown out the majority of ordinary (aka 99% of us) political donors. Our voices will no longer be heard (are they now?) over the deafening ka-chings and the triumphant stomping all over our rights and campaign finance reform efforts.

We are being silenced by five Supreme Court Justices and the powerful entities with gigantic bank accounts to which they genuflect. Money talks, we're just audience members. But we are not applauding.

booo

Think it was bad before? You ain't seen nothin' yet. You thought Sheldon Adelson and the ass-kissing at Jewish Mingle were obscene? Billionaires like him are just getting started. Super PACs are morphing into Super Duper PACs, Mingles will become orgies, and the kajillions of TV ads will turn into mini-series sponsored by Deep Pockets, Inc.

Anyone still wondering why the GOP is trying to kill labor unions? If so, here's why: They tend to support Democrats, and those very few union sources for campaign cash are dwindling:

chart maddow unions v corps campaign spending smaller

Hiltzik:

The notion that an unrelenting torrent of money can suborn the entire political process doesn't seem to occur to Chief Roberts.

Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the minority, didn't accept this charade. [...]

It's not only the 1st Amendment right to be heard, but also the 1st Amendment right not to be drowned out that are at issue, he wrote:

"The First Amendment advances not only the individual’s right to engage in political speech, but also the public’s interest in preserving a democratic order in which collective speech matters.... Where enough money calls the tune, the general public will not be heard."

For proof, he needed to go no further than the majority opinion.

So what do we do? Vote in droves. It's time to stop the endless obstruction by the GOP: Obstruction to voting rights, civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, and constitutional rights. Get. Out. The. Vote. We can do this.

Please read the entire piece by Hiltzik here.

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Cartoons of the Day- The Real Emperor

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Via.

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"How the 1% live". And by 1% we mean Mitt Romney & his $10 million lakefront New Hampshire getaway

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Thank you for the most excellent link and tweet, John Dean:

In addition to the main house, which boasts seven bedrooms and a view of Lake Winnipesaukee, the property also features a stable “with living quarters,” a boat house, a beach volleyball court, and a giant trampoline -- every grandchild’s dream, and the Romneys have 16 to keep happy. According to Town of Wolfeboro records, the stable house, which was valued at $250,000 when the Romneys purchased the property in 1997, is now worth $2.1 million. The lot where the stable is located alone is valued at $1.3 million, according to local tax records.

But hey, he's "unemployed" just like us! A real 99%er! Not.

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Rick Perry's Insurance Commissioner raised campaign money from... Big Insurance... for her BFF Nikki Haley

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Meet Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman:

The Texas Observer: Kitzman, a 54-year-old Houston native, is a close friend of [South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley]. Kitzman formerly directed the South Carolina Department of Insurance, but former Gov. Mark Sanford forced her out of that post. She ran for lieutenant governor in 2010, raising the majority of her campaign cash from the insurance industry, but lost the race. When Haley entered the governor's office this year, she appointed Kitzman to a coveted position leading South Carolina’s budget board. Kitzman held the $173,000 post for six months before bolting for Texas this summer to regulate the insurance industry under Perry.

Looky here! Kitzman has had that job for about three months, and she's already good at the pay-for-play game. In September, she headlined a political fundraising event where she had her hand out and Big Insurance filled it... for her BFF Nikki.

This would be the very same Big Insurance that she's paid by Rick Perry to regulate.

When asked to comment, Kitzman's assistant said she was out of state and when asked where out of state, her assistant's witty retort was, “I’d rather not say.”

So much for that.

So why would Kitzman go to Texas to raise insurance money?

South Carolina voters have accurately predicted the eventual GOP presidential nominee since 1980; and a recent Winthrop University poll found that 70 percent of Republicans in the state approve of the job Haley is doing.

Meanwhile, the fresh-faced Tea Party governor has been sharpening her national profile and spending much time on FOX News, ramping up talk that she's angling for a  placement on 2012 vice presidential shortlists.

Kitzman’s Texas fundraising for Haley could be aimed at currying favor for Perry with the governor of a state with a January primary that could make or break Perry’s presidential run.

Both Perry and Haley have had their fair share of criticism for their pay-to-play antics. Here are two posts that go into Perry's donors and their mutual love fests.

Alex Winslow, director of Texas Watch, a consumer protection watchdog group that has advocated for tighter regulation on the insurance industry in Texas, sums it up:

There’s all kinds of speculation that Perry made this decision as a way to court Haley.”

What a handsome couple.

H/t: @PaigeCoop and @CoreyHutchins wrote the piece in the Observer.

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