- 69: Number of preliminary reviews conducted by the Office of Congressional Ethics over the past two years
- 11: Number of disciplinary actions meted out by the House ethics committee during that time
- 10: Number of disciplinary actions meted out by the House ethics committee between 1997 and 2008, before the Office of Congressional Ethics was created
U.S. Supreme Court takes aim at Arizona clean elections law
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case challenging Arizona’s clean elections law. Under the system, if candidates forgo private fundraising and adhere to spending limits, they can receive public money after raising a set number of $5 donations. The law permits candidates to receive extra money if their opponent spends more than a certain amount. Good government advocates worry that the Supreme Court is gearing up to once again erode laws designed to curb corporate influence of elections.
U.S. Chamber’s election spending raises eyebrows among shareholders
Investors in four corporations that sit on the board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – IBM, Pfizer, Pepsi and Accenture – are raising concerns about the Chamber’s political spending and agenda. Through the shareholder resolutions, investors challenged their corporate boards to review their policies relating to political expenditures. One of the resolution’s filers said in a press release that “[t]he Chamber of Commerce is an aggressively partisan organization that is standing in the way of solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems, from health care to climate change. We are asking why these companies would lend their good names — and their implicit endorsement — to the Chamber’s agenda.”
Rove groups were “undisputed leaders” of outside spending in Nov. elections
The latest filings to the Federal Election Commission show that two conservative groups co-founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove raised more than $70 million for the November elections. The Washington Post calls American Crossroads (which amassed almost $28 million) and Crossroads GPS ($43 million) “the undisputed leaders of an onslaught of outside spending on 2010 House and Senate races.” The groups were created after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last January in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which the court gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections.
As Rangel is censured, groups call for GOP to keep ethics office
The same day that the U.S. House of Representatives voted to censure one if its most senior members over ethics violations, it also heard entreaties from 10 reform groups, including Public Citizen, to maintain an important ethics safeguard in the House: the independent Office of Congressional Ethics.
Axelrod won’t disclose charity’s donors
A charity co-founded by White House senior advisor David Axelrod raised more than $1.6 million last year from corporate and individual donors, as well as foundations, but Axelrod is mum on who gave the money. Axelrod isn’t legally obligated to name the funders, but a precedent has been set previously. The Obama administration insisted on donors to former President Bill Clinton’s foundation being revealed before Hillary Clinton could become secretary of state, the idea being to ensure that corporations and individuals couldn’t secretly peddle influence with top White House officials. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell and his wife disclosed donors to their charity as well. The White House response: Axelrod is following the law.
DeLay jurors got an earful
Wining. Dining. Corporate jets. Resorts. All were elements of the sordid tale of how former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay conspired to evade campaign finance laws. Texas jurors, who found him guilty of conspiracy and money-laundering, were disgusted by what they heard. DeLay successfully plotted to manipulate the state’s redistricting so that more Republicans would be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. That involved drumming up a lot of corporate money for DeLay’s political action committee.
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