Archive for campaign money

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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Amusing Scott Walker news items

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scott walker dumb look

So this happened: State appeals court rejects challenges to WI John Doe probe targeting conservatives.

And now, this happened, courtesy of Wisconsin Public Radio:

Gov. Scott Walker won't say whether the $86,000 his campaign recently paid attorneys was connected with the latest John Doe investigation. [...]

The previous John Doe investigation, which concluded last year, resulted in the arrest of several former Walker aides who worked for him before he was elected Governor.

That should go over well when he announces his 2016 presidential run. Or maybe, if we're lucky, he'll entertain the nation with his best Chris Christie/Sergeant Schultz impression: "I see nothing! know nothing!"

Then there was this amusing headline from htrnews.com: Walker says he senses no gay marriage 'movement.' What?

First, where does Scott Walker get off suggesting he has any sense? About anything? Oh, but I kid, that was just a play on words that popped into my noggin.

But that doesn't change the fact that he is as in-sense-itive (read: tone deaf) as the rest of his GOP buddies. Did it slip Walker's little pea brain that marriage equality is here to stay, and that he and his fellow GOPers are relics of some black and white TV, Wonder Bread, the-little-woman-baking-cookies-in-high-heels-and-an-apron, real men don't date other real men past? Relics with very little national voter appeal?

Psst! Scottie! Take a gander at this:

Polling shows increased support for legalizing gay marriage in Wisconsin and dozens of lawsuits have been filed across the country challenging similar laws.

walker world

Speaking of attorneys, should you ever need one, Barry Scheck is one of the best. He tops a list that we provide, found at the very bottom of the right sidebar.

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Bad news for Mitch McConnell: His infatuation with money in politics puts Dem. Alison Lundergan Grimes 6 points up

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Mitch McConnell2

campaign finance chart changes

The Public Campaign Action Fund has a new poll out, and Mitch McConnell won't be happy (but Alison Lundergan Grimes, his Democratic opponent, will). And that's because voters aren't happy with his opposition to sensible campaign finance restrictions. Yes, his infatuation with big money and affection for eliminating campaign limits is doing him in, so he'll have to find solace in the very special interests who, with any luck, will be his downfall.

money talks democracy has no voice

Kudos to the people of Kentucky who seem to be losing patience with the disregard for democracy that Citizens United and Senator Turtle McChinle$$ hath wroughteth eth eth.

Via the Washington Post:

The majority of Kentucky voters view Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell unfavorably and have deep concern about his support for unlimited campaign contributions, according to a poll released Wednesday by Public Campaign Action Fund, a group that seeks to limit the influence of big money on politics.[...]

Voters were particularly receptive to the argument that McConnell backs increasing the role of big money in politics, with 53 percent saying they had “very serious doubts” about his support for allowing “wealthy CEOs, lobbyists and special interest PACS to give unlimited amounts of money to politicians, including himself.”

ouch smaller

I got a copy of the poll itself (sorry, no link, it's one of those pesky pdf. docs). Here are some grabs:

poll mcconnell v grimes

poll mcconnell v grimes 2

buh bye 2

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Michele Bachmann Breaks Fundraising Record

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Who are these people? Via Taegan.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) "eclipsed her record-setting 2010 fundraising total to win a fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, despite a strong challenge from local hotel magnate Jim Graves (D)," KARE-TV reports.

New filings show Bachmann "raked in $14.4 million for her 2012 race, almost $1 million more than what she raised during the previous two-year campaign cycle."

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Video- Citizens United Obama film to air on TV

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How do you fight against this shit, all propped up by more money than most of us will see ever? Hopefully the only people it will reach will be those who already believe this crap. Via Politico. THIS is why Supreme Court Justices matter.

Citizens United has struck a deal with a dozen television stations to run its hour-long film featuring voters disaffected with President Barack Obama, sending the Republican critique of the incumbent into tens of millions of homes in the lead-up to Election Day, the group’s officials told POLITICO.

The Hope and the Change” directed by Stephen Bannon, who made the Sarah Palin movie “The Undefeated,” was first unveiled last month and it aired during the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

The movie’s wide release — backed by a large advertising campaign behind it — was part of the goal of the Citizens United court case that was decided in 2010 by the U.S. Supreme Court and helped to dramatically alter the landscape for political donations by allowing the unfettered flow of corporate cash into campaigns.

“This (the court case) is why I did ‘Citizens United,’” David Bossie, the group’s president said. “This would have been a criminal act under McCain-Feingold before my court case.”

 
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