Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.

Tag Archives: Money in Politics

Quotation

We could face a bloodbath. I think that we have a potential of seeing a Watergate-level blowout.

— Ted Cruz, telling donors at the Koch-aligned Seminar Network’s 2018 strategy session that Republicans are in huge trouble in the 2018 midterm elections if they don’t ram their agenda through Congress.

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Can Ben Ray Lujan lead House Democrats to a majority?

The Los Angeles Times profiles New Mexico Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

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Wild west: How B.C. lobbyists are breaking one of the province’s few political donation rules

Via The Globe and Mail: “With no limits on political donations in B.C., the provincial Liberals [who are actually conservatives] raised an astonishing $12-million last year. One alarming source: Lobbyists are giving tens of thousands of dollars in their own name – and some power brokers are breaking one of the few rules the province has in place. Kathy Tomlinson reports.”

Video Clip

In a Senate floor speech on the sixth anniversary of Citizens United, Senator Elizabeth Warren laid out steps that Congress and the Administration can take to root out the influence of money in politics.

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Ted Cruz failed to disclose loan from Goldman Sachs for his first Senate campaign

Four years ago, when radical right wing demagogue Ted Cruz was running for U.S. Senate, he financed his campaign with a large loan from Goldman Sachs — coincidentally his wife’s employer and one of the big Wall Street banks he likes to rail against as being too influential in the nation’s capital. Cruz conveniently failed to disclose the loan at the time he was seeking to replace Kay Bailey Hutchison. The New York Times has more.

Quotation

I am running for president. I am running with the purpose of restoring this democracy. I will make that objective primary. I will do everything possible to make it happen first, by working with Congress to pass fundamental reform first.

— Law professor and Democratic presidential candidate Larry Lessig, explaining that he’s pushing forward with his campaign. Lessig had previously pledged to resign from office, if elected, as soon as substantive anti-corruption legislation was enacted by Congress. He has now renounced that pledge after realizing it made his campaign look like a stunt (via The Atlantic).

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The one hundred and fifty-eight families funding the 2016 presidential election

Required weekend reading: “Just 158 families, along with companies they own or control, contributed $176 million in the first phase of the campaign, a New York Times investigation found. Not since before Watergate have so few people and businesses provided so much early money in a campaign, most of it through channels legalized by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision five years ago.”

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Tim Eyman’s financial machinations all too familiar

“For the sake of argument, let’s presume that [Tim Eyman sidekick Mike] Fagan – Spokane’s champion of vaccine denial and conservative critic of library story time – was completely, totally unaware of these creative maneuvers. He shouldn’t have been,” writes Spokesman-Review columnist Shawn Vestal.

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Time to widen Eyman finance probe

“The state needs to get to the bottom of this, and a wider look at other initiative campaigns Eyman has orchestrated is clearly in order. The AG should go for gusto,” writes The Olympian‘s Brad Shannon.

 

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Tim Eyman’s lucrative initiative game

Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat ponders the answer to the question, “Is Tim Eyman the problem, or a symptom of the problem?”

Quotation

You can call them crazy dreamers, or naive. But I’m rooting for them. It’d be great to call something a “citizens’ initiative” again that doesn’t completely sell out the meaning of the words.

— Seattke Times columnist Danny Westneat: Initiative 735 volunteers working to make sure ‘the small potatoes matter’.

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Democrats who voted for the CRomnibus have received twice as much money from the finance industry as the ‘no’ voters

In politics, money talks. The Washington Post checked to see whether there was any correlation between the Democrats who voted for the CRomnibus bill laden with gifts for Wall Street and K Street. And it turns out that the fifty-seven Democrats who voted “aye” have received twice as much money from Wall Street as the Democrats who voted no on principle.

Video Clip

Lincoln didn’t fight the civil war to free the corporations: Thom Hartmann on the origin of “corporate personhood” and the need for Move to Amend (Video from TEDx ConcordiaUPortland, published May 9th, 2014).

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Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity plans to spend $125 million to influence 2014 elections

Politico’s Ken Vogel reports on an internal memo leaked from within the Koch Brothers’ primary front group, Americans For Prosperity, which reveals that the Kochs plan to spend a staggering sum of money ($125 million) to influence the outcome of the 2014 midterm elections.

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Left and right agree: Supreme Court too political

Americans of all political stripes are fed up with the Roberts Court, a new survey conducted by Democracy Corps has found. A large majority believes the Court’s decisions are being driven more by personal beliefs and ideology than true legal analysis, with nearly two-thirds of respondents rating the Court’s performance as
“fair” or “poor”. Particularly unpopular are the Court’s Corporations United and McCutcheon rulings allowing huge sums to be spent to influence elections.

Quotation

Corruption breaks the constitution­ally necessary “chain of communication” between the people and their representatives. It derails the essential speech-to-government-action tie. Where enough money calls the tune, the general public will not be heard. Inso­far as corruption cuts the link between political thought and political action, a free marketplace of political ideas loses its point. That is one reason why the Court has stressed the constitutional importance of Congress’ con­cern that a few large donation snot drown out the voices of the many.

— Excerpt from the dissent in McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission, authored by Justice Breyer and signed by Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Ginsburg.

Photo
Senator Bernie Sanders on the McCutcheon decision

Senator Bernie Sanders: “The Supreme Court is paving the way toward an oligarchic form of society in which a handful of billionaires like the Kock brothers and Sheldon Adelson will control our political process.” (Graphic courtesy of Senator Sanders’ office).

Quotation

Taken together with Citizens United, today’s decision eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.

— Excerpt from the dissent in McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission, authored by Justice Breyer and signed by Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Ginsburg.

Aside

Addicted to Koch: A limerick for the occasion

Today’s right-wing Republican Party is addicted to Koch
Those brothers want us to think our government’s broke
They’re spending big to spread lots of FUD
They’ve got paid actors slinging their mud
The truth? Money in politics makes democracy a joke

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Where have all the lobbyists gone? Into the shadows, that’s where

The Nation’s Lee Fang: “On paper, the influence-peddling business is drying up. But lobbying money is flooding Washington, D.C. like never before. What’s going on?”