Tag Archives | Campaign Finance

Activist Comics: Disclosure

If someone was talking shit about you, wouldn’t you want to know who it was? And if it was $145 million worth of shit you were buried under, wouldn’t you be outraged and demand to know who was dumping all this excrement on top of you, and why?

Well, here we are: After $145 million of anonymous spending in the midterm elections, the American public remains none the wiser as to who not only wanted to spend fortunes influencing politics, but needed to do it without exposing their identities and their motives. Insomuch as political spending is largely an investment made by eager pay-to-players looking to get a massive return in the form of tax breaks, contracts, or legislative deference, how much worse must these interests be if they need to keep their motives secret?

There are some — such as Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Thomas, and fulminating lawyer James Bopp — who believe there should no disclosure on spending in elections at all, because that might expose a particular donor to criticism from others, which then would make them hesitant to give large sums to unpopular causes, and that is JUST LIKE restricting their First Amendment right to free speech.… Read the rest

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The Wool Over Our Eyes

P2PStills51

No one likes having the wool pulled over their eyes. Now imagine wealthy CEOs hiring millions of knitters to blanket your entire city with a massive wool sweater, soaked in gasoline. That’s what dark money is. It’s rich interests that already have millions to burn, but would rather spend that money on polluting our election process and muffling the public’s voice. And they are going through ever-greater hoops to hide the source of the money in this election cycle, precisely because people seeing the truth is bad for their cause.

What our founding fathers and mothers set forth in America was an experiment in democracy, one that seemed daring at first independent of a monarch, but soon needed to enfranchise the rest of its citizens. To those that came before us, who sought to build a better life for their children, the right to participate in our democratic process was paramount to what it meant to be free.… Read the rest

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Citizens United 2.0: Major Supreme Court Ruling Will Further Expand Reach Of Money In U.S. Elections

supreme courtThe Supreme Court’s conservative majority feels that any limit on the flow of money into political campaigns is a violation of free speech, the New York Times reports:

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

The decision, by a 5-to-4 vote along ideological lines, with the court’s more conservative justices in the majority, was a sequel of sorts to Citizens United, the 2010 decision that struck down limits on independent campaign spending by corporations and unions. But that ruling did nothing to affect the other main form of campaign finance regulation: caps on direct contributions to candidates and political parties.

Dissenting from the bench, Justice Stephen G. Breyer called the decision a blow to the First Amendment and American democracy.

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Gary Johnson Quiet on Campaign Cash Questions

Gary Johnson, 2012’s Libertarian Party presidential candidate and former New Mexico Governor, recently hosted a post-election AMA

(Ask Me Anything) on Reddit and things didn’t go, perhaps, quite as planned. His top question (receiving 180 “up votes” … 117 more than the second most popular question) was ignored by the former candidate:

“I’ve read your campaign manager used $2.3 million of the $2.5 million you raised to pay his own company. If I donated money to your campaign, where do I write for a refund?”

Parapolitical reported on the situation:

“Johnson’s campaign ended 2012  $1,134,602 in debt of which $1,051,637 is owed to the consulting company owned by the campaign manager presumably responsible for accruing that debt … the debt is on top of millions already paid to the firm. Of roughly $2.5 million raised and spent by Johnson prior to the election, more than $2.3 million of his supporters donations and federal matching funds were disbursed to campaign manager Nielson’s company.”

There’s also the matter of a lawsuit filed by a former Ron Paul fundraiser who went to work for the campaign and since claims he was stiffed on his invoices while the campaign manager’s company was paid “first and in full.” Still, Johnson appears unfazed by the clamor for information about the opaque millions.

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The Real Loss in the Midterm Elections

Citizens UnitedAaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Now that the polls have closed and American voters are either flaunting their victories or crying in their post electoral concession beers, voters can rest easy that they helped facilitate some change or did their civic duty.

Major corporations, “super” PAC’s and the candidates they backed can run at least one victory lap though, even if their horse actually lost the race. Meanwhile, once the balloons shrink and the cocktails go flat, expect more Americans to feel marginalized. Partially thanks to the Citizens United decision, this mid-term election season saw record spending on campaigns nationwide. Between party spending and independent interest groups it’s possible campaign spending will top $4 billion.

Nearly half a billion dollars (over 12%) of that money came from private interests, many of which did not disclose their political interests thanks to the GOP blocking legislation that would’ve required disclosure.… Read the rest

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Supreme Court Ends Democracy With Single Decision

Frequent disinformation commenter 5by5 wrote to us with thoughts on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision regarding campaign financing:

Just when you thought they couldn’t do anything stupider…..

Critics: ‘Destructive’ Supreme Court decision ‘empowers corruption’

I never thought I’d say this, but man, Roger Ebert of all people, NAILED this one with a single sentence:

“Supreme Court relaxes limits on Satan’s campaign donations.”

Why would Candidate X listen to the people in his district when they can only give $200 each (if that), but the corporation who’s major shareholder is a Saudi billionaire can give the candidate $2,000,000 in order to say…..”encourage” him to remove women’s rights? Or abolish the minimum wage? Or limit religious speech? Or end child labor laws? Or allow toxic waste dumping in the district?

Those corporatist hacks Alito, Scalia, Roberts, Kennedy, and the ever incurious Thomas (who has yet to even bother to ask a single question — EVER) basically ruled that money equals speech.

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