GOP set up Twitter "numbers stations" to get around Super PAC rules

Super PACs are allowed to raise unlimited funds to support election campaigns, but can't coordinate with those campaigns; this especially means that campaigns can't share expensive private poll data with PACs to help fine tune their campaigns -- which is exactly what Republicans did with their cryptic, unlabelled Twitter accounts that acted as dead-drops with messages like "CA-40/43-44/49-44/44-50/36-44/49-10/16/14-52-->49/476-10s" to let affiliated PACs know what the polls had shown.

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Cheap dates: the pitiful sums that Big Cable used to buy off the politicians who oversee it


Even when you factor in dark money, Super PACs and the rest of it, politicians are willing to sell out the nervous system of the 21st century to the worst companies in America for less than $100K.

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Senate races were won by dump-trucks full of "dark money"


Ever since the Supreme Court told us that money was speech and corporations are people, it's been permissible for big corporations and plutocrats to make anonymous unlimited donations to political races -- but you can bet that the Senators who owe their seats to the dark cash know exactly who they're beholden to.

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Plutocrats' visual guide to rigging elections


From the Mayday.US super PAC (which backs candidates who promise to abolish super PACs).

42 rich white people account for 1/3 of Super PAC spending


35 of them are old white men, the rest are women.

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Millions in dark money via U.S. Chamber of Commerce influencing midterm elections

USChamber

The Chamber has spent $32 million in dark money from undisclosed donors, 96% of which has gone to oppose Democratic congressional candidates, according to a new Public Citizen report. Average spending topped $900,000 per race.

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Mayday PAC will support indie for KS senate if supporters donate $200K by Monday

Brian writes, "The Mayday PAC is thinking of supporting the Independent candidate Greg Orman, who is running for Senate in Kansas against a lone Republican opponent. (The Democratic candidate withdrew); but we're only going to if we can raise $200k by midnight Monday."

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Hong Kong and America: two systems, one corruption


The massive, student led protests in Hong Kong were sparked by the fact that Beijing's political and economic elites get to choose the candidates in its elections ("I don't care who does the electing, so long as I get to do the nominating" -Boss Tweed) -- but is this really any different from America's big money primaries, where corporate elites can spend unlimited sums fixing the race?

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Not one Republican Senator voted for campaign finance reform


The entire GOP Senate caucus voted against Tom Udall's proposed Constitutional amendment that would have allowed states to set rules limiting campaign contributions, overturning the notorious Citizens United Supreme Court decision that found that money was a form of protected speech.

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Harry Reid on the Koch Brothers' agenda

Senate majority leader Harry Reid gave a hell of a speech in Congress about the agenda of the billionaire Koch brothers, carbon barons who are the prime beneficiaries of Citizens United, the Supreme Court case that ruled that corporate persons had the free speech right to engage in unlimited campaign finance spending.

The Facts About The Koch Brothers (via Hacker News)

Produce an anti-corruption photo and win a year's supply of Ben and Jerry's


I've posted before about Ben "Ben and Jerry's" Cohen's Stamp Stampede project: Cohen is calling on enemies of corruption to stamp messages opposing the Citizens United Supreme Court decision on dollar bills. Citizens United allows for unlimited political spending, on the grounds that money is speech and corporations are people.

Cohen's running a competition to produce the best Stamp Stampede promotional photo: grand prize is a year's supply (52 pints) of Ben and Jerry's ice-cream.

The 2nd Annual Stampede Photo Contest is currently underway and will end on January 18.

Stamping $1s to amend the Constitution & kill Citizens United

Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's is riding around the country in a rainbow colored van, stamping $1 bills with messages like "not to be used for bribing politicians," as a way of raising consciousness about the impact of money in politics in the wake of the Citizens United Supreme Court verdict, which opened the doors to infinite campaign financing by special interests.

He's seeking a constitutional amendment that overturns the verdict, and he's got 15 states onboard. You can sign a petition, buy a stamp and stamp your own money, and hold stamping parties with your friends. The full list of stamp messages is:

"Not to Be Used for Bribing Politicians".
"Stamp Money Out of Politics"
"Corporations are Not People"
“Not To Be Used for Buying Elections”

Stamp Stampede

Congressman boasts on Twitter about the money he got to support CISPA, then thinks better of it


CISPA is a bill before Congress that will radically increase the ease with which the government and police can spy on people without any particular suspicion. It is being rammed through by people like Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), who received a small fortune in funding from the companies that stand to get rich building the surveillance tech CISPA will make possible.

What's more, Rogers admits it, and even tweets about it! Nicko Margolies from the Sunlight Foundation writes,

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), a co-sponsor and major supporter of the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), deleted a retweet of an analysis of contributions to lawmakers from pro-CISPA companies. MapLight looked at the powerful House Intelligence Committee, where Rep. Rogers serves as Chairman, and followed campaign contributions to the members who are currently considering the bill that would allow companies to share more information on Internet traffic and users with the U.S. government.

Rep. Rogers, or possibly a member of his staff, retweeted the story that identified that members of the House Intelligence Committee "have received, on average, 15 times more money in campaign contributions from pro-CISPA organizations than from anti-CISPA organizations." He retweeted MapLight's tweet of this information from his iPhone and after 23 minutes thought better of it and removed it. Fortunately the Sunlight Foundation's Politwoops project caught it and archived this change of message and of heart. According to the MapLight piece, Rep. Rogers received $214,750 from interest groups that support CISPA.

The EFF has more info on CISPA, and ways you can help kill it.

Pro-CISPA Lawmaker Deletes Retweet about Money Received from Pro-CISPA Groups (Thanks, Nicko!)

Corporations are people, so the city of Seattle can't have an opt-out policy for spammy phonebooks no one wants


Jeff sez,

Seattle will spend $500,000 to settle a lawsuit it lost with phonebook companies over its sensible opt-out program for residents.

Beginning in May 2011, Seattle began allowing residents to opt out of unwanted phonebook deliveries. The program was so popular, the city reports that more than 2 million pounds of paper are saved annually as a result. The phonebook companies sued the city and lost, but won on appeal. The city has chosen not to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The phonebook companies alleged in their complaint that the phonebook ordinance, 'denies [their] rights guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.'(free speech and due process). If not for the legal concept of 'corporate personhood', the phonebook companies wouldn't be able to sue Seattle to assert Constitutional rights originally written only for people.

Rather than ask the question, 'are the phonebook companies people?'and 'do they have the right to free speech?'the courts have focused largely on whether the content in the phonebooks (advertisements and phone listings) represent free speech which can't be regulated or commercial speech, which can be.

The companies claim, 'The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits government from -- enforcing the desire of citizens to avoid communications [and] from prying into citizens' preferences regarding communications they seek to avoid.'

Corporate Personhood to Cost Seattle $500,000 to Settle Phone Book Lawsuit (Thanks, Jeff!)

(Image: Seattle Phone Book Spam, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from edkohler's photostream)