Aug 1, 2015
So far in the 2016 presidential race,
fewer than 400 oligarchs and their families are responsible for almost half the money raised (according to reports filed by midnight last night). This is a record-shattering concentration of political money. They are not contributing out of a sense of patriotism or national duty. They regard these payments as investments, just like their other business dealings, which they hope will pay off in public policies generate a high return on their considerable wealth -- lower taxes, more tax loopholes, fewer regulatory constraints, more government subsidies. Not since the late 19th century robber barons plunked down sacks of money on the desks of pliant legislators has American democracy been so shamefully for sale to the highest bidders -- the logical and inevitable consequence of the "Citizens United" and "McCutcheon" rulings by the five Republican appointees to the Supreme Court.
Be outraged, but please don't let your outrage tip over into cynicism and passivity. Turn your outrage into even greater determination to fix this. Organize and mobilize. There are only 400 of them. They have billions, but we have our voices and our vigor and our votes. And we can beat them.
Robert Reich FB Page
by Paul Blumenthal
...A review of campaign finance records by The Huffington Post identified 49 individuals who donated more than $150,000 in the last election cycle, far in excess of the biennial contribution limits. Of the 49 donors, 48 exceeded the PAC and party limit and 32 exceeded the candidate limit. Most of them gave the lion's share of their contributions to Republican candidates and party committees... There are likely more who exceeded the contribution limits, but were not readily identifiable because of multiple problems with the way campaign finance data are collected.
The Federal Election Commission, which is responsible for enforcing campaign finance laws, does not have an efficient system for tracking donor contributions. read article
Supreme Court Strikes Down Overall Political Donation Cap
By ADAM LIPTA April 2, 2014
New York Times
The Supreme Court on Wednesday continued its consistent and methodical deregulation of election spending by striking down aggregate limits on federal campaign contributions. The ruling, issued near the start of a campaign season, will change and very likely increase the already large role money plays in American politics.
The 5-to-4 decision, with the court’s more conservative members in the majority, echoed Citizens United... The court’s 88-page decision reflected sharply different visions of the meaning of the First Amendment and the role of government in regulating elections, with the majority deeply skeptical of government efforts to control participation in politics, and the minority saying that such oversight was needed to ensure a functioning democracy. read article
Posted on February 7, 2013 by Connor Gibson
The North Carolina legislature is taking the unprecedented step of firing 131 officials from several policy and regulatory boards, including the Utilities Commission overseeing Duke Energy, the Environmental Management Commission, and two bodies overseeing policies for the N.C. Coastal Management Program. The bill, SB 10, has already passed in the state Senate and is expected to make its way through the House before winding up on Gov. Pat McCrory’s desk. read article
From: Daily Kos
The Citizens United vs. FEC Supreme Court decision overturned over a century of precedent and opened the floodgates for unlimited amounts of corporate money to flow into our political system.
Shockingly, the court came to this decision based on the notion that a corporation is legally a "person" entitled to First Amendment rights, and by equating a corporation's right to spend unlimited amounts of money influencing an election with our right to free speech. This has led to enormous campaign expenditures that are corrupting our political system. We must overturn this decision with a constitutional amendment.
Please, stand with Daily Kos and CREDO by signing our petition urging your members of Congress to pass a constitutional amendment overturning the Citizens United decision and ending corporate personhood.
February 1st, 2013
The movement against Citizens United is gaining strength. Already, 12 cities across North Carolina have passed resolutions opposing Citizens United. Now, the movement has a new voice in Congress. On January 22, U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) introduced two Constitutional Amendments to overturn Citizens United —see the video below. In his words: “Three years have passed since the Supreme Court’s dreadful Citizens United decision and we have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of corporate money flowing into our elections, drowning out the voices of ordinary American citizens eager to participate in the political process.” The first of McGovern’s two Amendments would empower Congress to regulate political spending. read post
Robert Reich Explains America's Koch Problem
By Nick Berning. June 26 2014
The Koch brothers are using their tremendous wealth in an anti-democratic bid to impose their views on the rest of us. Robert Reich explains: watch video
Rethinking Campaign Finance
MAY 16, 2014 Joe Nocera
New York Times
...For decades, the answer for those in the campaign finance reform movement had always been to try to limit the amount of money any one person could contribute. Although individual contribution limits per candidate are still on the books, that general approach is clearly not viable in the age of the Roberts court. So [John Sarbanes, D-Maryland] and other reformers began to come at the problem from the opposite direction: magnifying the role of the small donor, rather than trying to diminish the role of the large donor. In February, Sarbanes sponsored a bill that tries to do just that, at least for congressional races...
So far, the bill has been popular with Democratic legislators — 149 have signed on as co-sponsors, compared with a lone Republican, Walter Jones of North Carolina — but recent polls by Stan Greenberg, the Democratic pollster, suggest that Republican voters like the idea nearly as much as Democratic voters. “Every time there is another court decision like McCutcheon or Citizens United, the news causes people to say we have to do something about this,” said Nick Nyhart of Public Campaign. But it’s also important, he added, that people be able to see that there is a viable policy solution. That’s what the Sarbanes bill represents. It is not going to become law today, or even next year, but it stands as a beacon of hope for a frustrated electorate. read article
Who Are the Koch Brothers and What Do They Want?
by Sen. Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator from Vermont 04/17/2014 Huffington Post
As a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, billionaires and large corporations can now spend an unlimited amount of money to influence the political process. The results of that decision are clear. In the coming months and years the Koch brothers...will spend billions of dollars to elect right-wing candidates to the Senate, the House, governors' mansions and the presidency of the United States.
...Here is what every American should be deeply concerned about. The Koch brothers, through the expenditure of billions of dollars and the creation and support of dozens of extreme right organizations, have taken fringe extremist ideas and made them mainstream within the Republican Party...
And let's be very clear. Their goal is not only to defund Obamacare, cut Social Security, oppose an increase in the minimum wage or cut federal funding for education. Their world view and eventual goal is much greater than all of that. They want to repeal every major piece of legislation that has been signed into law over the past 80 years that has protected the middle class, the elderly, the children, the sick and the most vulnerable in this country. Every piece of legislation!
The truth is that the agenda of the Koch brothers is to move this country from a democratic society with a strong middle class to an oligarchic form of society in which the economic and political life of the nation are controlled by a handful of billionaire families.
Our great nation must not be hijacked by right-wing billionaires like the Koch brothers. For the sake of our children and our grandchildren, we must fight back. read column
TUESDAY, MAR 5, 2013
BY MARK SCHMITT
All is not lost with the SCOTUS decision. Small-donor public financing can still give candidates a fair chance...Almost all Republicans, the Supreme Court, and a powerful faction of the Democratic Party now fall somewhere on the spectrum between skepticism and vehement opposition to limits on contributions. The flimsy remains of the post-Watergate system of campaign finance regulation are on the verge of collapse.
... But there are other reforms currently being tested on the ground that hold out hope for changing the power of money in politics. read article
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2013
A progressive backlash against concentrated wealth and power occurred a century ago in America. In the 1880s and 1890s such a movement seemed improbable if not impossible. Only idealists and dreamers thought the nation had the political will to reform itself, let alone enact a constitutional amendment of such importance--analogous, today, to an amendment reversing “Citizens United v. FEC” and limiting the flow of big money into politics.
But it did happen. And it will happen again.
read whole post
JANUARY 17, 2013
Washington, DC It took just 32 billionaires and corporations giving Super PACs an average of $9.9 million apiece to match every single dollar given by small donors to Romney and Obama in the 2012 election cycle, according to “Billion-Dollar Democracy,” a new report by U.S. PIRG and Demos. Those small donations amounted to over $313 million from more than 3.7 million individuals. More
The American Prospect
Jan. 28, 2013
When Tea Party Republicans swept into power in 26 states in the 2010 midterms, voting restrictions suddenly became an urgent legislative priority.
This was nowhere more obvious than in North Carolina read article