"citizens united"

A loophole in nonprofit law means that corporate lobbying is at least double the official figure

Officially, Americas total 2017 corporate lobbying group spending was $535m, but as much as $675m more was funneled from industry groups to politicians as part of influence campaigns. Read the rest

Grifty conservative PACs raised millions pushing racist Obama conspiracies to elderly, low-income supporters, then kept almost all of it

Propublica and Politico have teamed up for a long, beautifully reported expose on the Conservative Majority Fund and other PACs that senior Republican operators founded to solicit millions from donors (many of them elderly and on low, fixed incomes), allegedly to combat racist, far-fetched Obama plans they claimed were in the offing, but almost all of the money ended up in their own pockets. Read the rest

Presidential fundraising scorecard: who's raising the most and who is most beholden to the ultra-wealthy and corporations?

Propublica's 2020 Presidential Candidate Summaries breaks down the 2020 candidates' fundraising, Trump's massive war-chest and Bernie's pack-leading raise and his continued success with small-money donations. Read the rest

Microsoft employees want to starve its PAC, which keeps giving money to homophobic, racist, climate-denying Republicans

Microsoft's stated values are "diversity, inclusion, and growth mindset," but the six of the top ten politicians funded by MSPAC -- which derives funding from voluntary contributions from 4,000 of Microsoft's 140,000 employees -- are far-right Republican extremists, including Mitch McConnell, who reliably vote for homophobic, climate-denying and racist policies. Read the rest

An end-run around Citizens United: passing state laws that ban rewarding campaign donors with political favors

Ray Metcalfe ("two term Alaska state legislator, Alaska’s 2016 Democratic Party Nominee for U.S. Senate, and whistle-blower whose actions resulted in the indictment of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens") has published model legislation that builds on the 9-0 Supreme Court decision in the corruption case of Virginia Governor McDonnell, a precedent Metcalfe interprets to mean that "While Citizens United guaranteed corporations the right to exercise political speech through political spending, Citizens United did not guarantee corporations the right to receive political favors in return.." Read the rest

Offshore illegal GOP campaign megadonors receive record FEC fines after The Intercept reveals their crimes

Back in 2016, The Intercept ran a blockbuster series revealing how foreign businesspeople were illegally laundering massive campaign contributions to Jeb Bush and other GOP presidential hopefuls. Read the rest

The longest-serving Congressman in US history proposes a four fixes for American democracy

From 1955 to 2015, John D. Dingell served in the US House of Representatives, making him the longest-serving Congressman in the country's history: now, in the Atlantic, he warns that at the 2016 election "put the future of our country in mortal peril," and he proposes four measures to bring it back from the brink. Read the rest

Using information security to explain why disinformation makes autocracies stronger and democracies weaker

The same disinformation campaigns that epitomize the divisions in US society -- beliefs in voter fraud, vaccine conspiracies, and racist conspiracies about migrants, George Soros and Black Lives Matter, to name a few -- are a source of strength for autocracies like Russia, where the lack of a consensus on which groups and views are real and which are manufactured by the state strengthens the hand of Putin and his clutch of oligarchs. Read the rest

Congressional Democrats' first bill aims to end gerrymandering, increase voter registration and rein in campaign finance

HR1, the first bill that the new Democratic House of Representatives will vote on, is omnibus legislation that takes on some of the most pervasive scourges of representative democracy: vote suppression, oligarchic campaign financing and gerrymandering. Read the rest

America for sale: 38% of all election funding comes from 0.0001% of Americans (2,210 people account for 25% of the total)

0.5% of Americans given $200 or more in campaign contributions, accounting for 66% of all campaign funding, but that's nothing: only 0.0001% give $10,000 or more, and their donations are 38% of all the money sloshing around in US electoral campaign coffers. Read the rest

The dialysis industry just set a campaign spending record to fight California limits on pricing

At $111,000,000, the California dialysis industry's campaign spending against Prop 8 (which caps the price of outpatient dialysis) is now the most expensive in US history. Read the rest

Patagonia wants the outdoor industry to start a pro-public lands movement as powerful as the NRA

Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard has called on the outdoor industry to join him in backing politicians who believe in preserving public lands; his company has now backed Montana Democratic Senate incumbent Jon Tester (facing a Trumpian challenge from Republican Matt Rosendale, who espouses the cultlike belief that the Constitution bans the federal government from owning land, a belief that was spread by Cliven Bundy and a group of racist Mormon extremists) and Nevada Democratic Congressional incumbent Jacky Rosen with a 97 percent approval rating from the League of Conservation Voters. Read the rest

America, Compromised: Lawrence Lessig explains corruption in words small enough for the Supreme Court to understand

Lawrence Lessig was once best-known as the special master in the Microsoft Antitrust Case, then he was best known as the co-founder of Creative Commons, then as a fire-breathing corruption fighter: in America, Compromised, a long essay (or short nonfiction book), Lessig proposes as lucid and devastating a theory of corruption as you'll ever find, a theory whose explanatory power makes today's terrifying news cycle make sense -- and a theory that demands action.

Anaheim's living wage ballot measure pits big corporate donors against union money

Disney is Anaheim's largest employer and the city is something of a company town, with Disney exerting massive influence on the city government and engaging in strong-arm tactics to suppress media reports of the dirtiest of its deals, whereby the city financed much of the company's building projects and expansions while extending massive tax breaks. Read the rest

The documentary Dark Money exposes how corporations buy elections and lawmakers

PBS premieres Dark Money on Monday October 1. It's a sobering look at how the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC is trickling down to local politics. John S. Adams, a Montana-based reporter profiled in the film, says, "This is scary stuff, but I think this is the proving ground for the American experiment." Read the rest

Supreme Court decision will rip away Dark Money's veil of secrecy

A procedural ruling by the Supreme Court this week will mean that the Federal Election Commission will be required to regulate "dark money" ads, forcing disclosure of the source of the funds for the ad. Read the rest

Our political upheaval wasn't caused by mob rule, but by institutions designed to preserve elite oversight

Even before the election of Donald Trump, America's pearl-clutching class has been invoking James Madison and his fear of "impetuous majorities" and his desire for "majority rule based on reason rather than passion," worried that the "adults" in the political halls were losing their grip and being forced into "extremism" by mob rule. Read the rest

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