Tag Archives | Lobbyists

President Obama Has Raised More Money From Wall Street Than Any Politician in American History

CasablancaThis opinion piece from Joe Scarborough in the Politico is worth a read:

One of the most famous scenes in movie history comes from “Casablanca,” when a corrupt official shuts down Humphrey Bogart’s cafe. Bogart asks the French captain — who also happens to be a gambling aficionado — why he’s closing the joint down. His response is a classic.

“I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here.”

Political commentators have referred to Capt. Renault’s uproarious line for years when calling out hypocritical politicians. But few political narratives ever fit that scene as tightly as President Barack Obama’s bipolar approach to Wall Street. To fully understand the extent of Obama’s double-speak, it helps to let the “Casablanca” scene play out a bit, because after the corrupt captain makes his self-righteous declaration, a croupier hands him cash and says, “Your winnings, sir.”

Capt. Renault quietly thanks the croupier and then quickly returns to the role of reformer by shouting, “Everybody out at once!” Like that old movie character, Obama seems capable of effortlessly floating between demonizing Wall Street gambling one day and profiting from it the next.

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Where in the World are Obama’s Blunders (That is, Bundlers)?

Suitcase Of MoneySeth Cline writes on Open Secrets:

Nearly lost in the troves of campaign finance data recently released by presidential candidates was an updated list of bundlers for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. These 359 well-connected supporters have raised at least $56 million for Obama and the Democratic National Committee so far this year, according to research by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Obama’s campaign, the sole presidential campaign to disclose information about its bundlers, only gives broad ranges for the amounts these elite fund-raisers have raised, so the exact amount they’ve raised is unknown.

But because the campaign releases a figure for the minimum amount bundled, it’s safe to say that bundlers constitute a sizable portion of the fund-raising for Obama and the DNC.

In fact, more than $1 of every $3 donated to Obama and the DNC so far this year has come from bundlers, according to the Center’s research.

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Who Lobbies In Washington?

OpenSecrets has a wealth of information concerning private lobbying of federal and state government in the United States. However, it may be best to begin by looking at where the lobbying money is coming from. The FIRE (finance, insurance, and real estate) sector leads the field in terms of lobbying funds spent from 1998-2011. Also notable is how far down the list the Republican bogeyman of “Big Labor” is:

lobby

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It’s Time to Get Money Out of Politics

Boss TweedVia GetMoneyOut.com:

Bailouts. War. Unemployment. Our government is bought, and we’re angry. Now, we’re turning our anger into positive action. By signing this petition, you are joining our campaign to get money out of politics. Our politicians won’t do this. But we will. We will become an unrelenting, organized wave advocating a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics.

As the petition grows, we can use on The Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC as a platform to force this issue to the center of the 2012 elections. From our former Washington lobbyist, Jimmy Williams, here is a DRAFT of our constitutional amendment:

“No person, corporation or business entity of any type, domestic or foreign, shall be allowed to contribute money, directly or indirectly, to any candidate for federal office or to contribute money on behalf of or opposed to any type of campaign for federal office. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, campaign contributions to candidates for Federal office shall not constitute speech of any kind as guaranteed by the U.S.

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The Political War Will Continue

partyfightAs The Dog Days Of Summer Approach, Politicians Rest Before Returning To The Fray

Now that the debt drama is over for the moment, we can all safely retreat in what was once called the “Dog Days Of Summer” and chill out if the volatile weather allows us to. We can think back to that old song, “Summer time and the living is easy.” Even as we all know that for millions “the living” is anything but.

The House and Senate have become ghost-like chambers because all its members, so filled with strident indignation and inflexible talking points just a week ago, are now off on their paid vacations hyping their political war stories to grandchildren.

Imbued with a sense of triumph, the Tea Party is huddling to come up with ongoing tactics to hold the system hostage while the party leaders plan the new “super committee” with 12 chosen acolytes (how Biblical, that number 12!) to map the next round of fiscal blood-lettering.… Read the rest

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How The Top 10 Military Contractors Lobby In Tandem

Irregular Times discovers the beautiful geometry of evil cronyism:

Tightly connected. Massively funded. Working for war. This is what the peace movements are up against. Together, the top ten federal contractors, all working for the military, received $138.4 Billion in taxpayer funds through federal contracts during fiscal year 2010. In the first three months of 2011 alone, these ten corporations paid for the services of no fewer than 109 different lobbying firms, deployed to Capitol Hill along with their own in-house corporate lobbyists. A line is drawn between any two military contractors if they both hired the services of at least one lobbying firm in common; the number indicates the number of lobbying firms hired in common:

LobbyistOverlapforMilitaryContractors2010

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FCC Commissioner, Meredith Attwell Baker, Who Approved Comcast-NBC Universal Merger, Leaving to Join Comcast

Meredith Attwell BakerEdward Wyatt writes in the NY Times Media Decoder:
Four months after the Federal Communications Commission approved a hotly contested merger of Comcast and NBC Universal, one of the commissioners who voted for the deal said on Wednesday that she would soon join Comcast’s Washington lobbying office. Meredith Attwell Baker, a former Commerce Department official who worked on telecommunications issues in George W. Bush’s administration, announced that she would leave the F.C.C. when her term expires at the end of June. At Comcast, she will serve as senior vice president for government affairs for NBC Universal, which Comcast acquired in January. The announcement drew immediate criticism from some groups that had opposed the Comcast-NBC merger. They said the move was indicative of an ethically questionable revolving door between regulatory agencies and the companies they oversee.
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Stephen Colbert: I Don’t Want To Be The ‘Chump’ Without Unlimited Corporate Cash (Video)

StephenColbertSuperPACThis is brilliant. Looking forward to seeing how far Colbert can go with this. Ryan J. Reilly writes on Talking Points Memo:
Stephen Colbert doesn't "want to be the one chump" without any unlimited corporate money going to his political action committee. That's why he showed up the the Federal Election Commission building in D.C. to formally request an advisory opinion on behalf of "Colbert Super PAC," a proposed independent expenditure only committee able to accept unlimited corporate, individual, political committee and labor contributions. Accepting unlimited funding is "a right as described by the Citizens United case," Colbert said in response to a question from Politico's Ken Vogel. "I believe the Citizens United decision was the right one, there should be unlimited corporate money, and I want some of it. I don't want to be the one chump who doesn't have any." Colbert said he expected the FEC to take his request seriously.
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So You’ve Angered The Hive

Stop US Chamber of CommerceKevin Zeese is an attorney and former candidate for U.S. Senate with a law degree from George Washington University. He contributes to a website attacking the agenda of the national Chamber of Commerce (StopTheChamber.com) and ran for office within the Green Party.

Zeese is concerned that malevolent business interests will have undue influence on elections, due to those interests’ expanding ability to influence elections anonymously. On the phone, he took great pains to differentiate the national hub from your local, garden variety chamber of commerce, which Zeese insists can very well represent the interests of local businesses. The local chambers, he said, had attempted to distance themselves from the national hub, the distinction for him lying in his instinct that the national was undermining decentralization of interests.

I asked him, “So I guess I’d just like to start off by asking you to describe in your own words why you think the Chamber of Commerce apparently has a problem with you or doesn’t want you to speak your mind?”

With this, Zeese laughed with glee, and, catching his breath, said, “Well, that’s a good way of putting it.”

“Well, we have a project called StopTheChamber.com, and it’s been for about a year now heavily focused on the Chamber of Commerce and their activities in both elections and lobbying.… Read the rest

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