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Posts Tagged ‘elections’

Stunning Statistics of the Week:

  • 308: The number of outside groups, excluding party committees, that reported spending money on this year’s elections
  • 166: The number of those groups that provided any information about the sources of their funding
  • $266.4 million: The total amount spent by all outside groups in 2010 to influence this year’s elections
  • 27.1: Percentage of disclosed campaign expenditures from outside groups

Wanted: Nightlight to show voters in the dark just who was funding those attack ads
The U.S. Senate should pass a version of the DISCLOSE Act following the onslaught of undisclosed corporate campaign contributions in the 2010 elections, six good government groups said at a press conference this week at the steps of the U.S. Capitol. A version that strips some of the more controversial items from the legislation and focuses on disclosure is a vital first step to protecting the integrity of American elections, said Public Citizen President Robert Weissman. Such a measure would require the funders of broadcast ads to own up to their political expenditures. At the press conference, Public Citizen also released a report showing that the amount of information available to voters about who was behind midterm attack ads was dramatically less than in previous years.

Anti-gay organizations spent nearly $1 million to oust three Iowa justices
Three Iowa Supreme Court justices lost their jobs in the midterms after five out-of-state organizations spent $948,355 to boot them from office. The groups’ gripe? They didn’t like a 2009 ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.  (more…)

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Public Citizen joined Democracy 21, The League of Women Voters, the Campaign Legal Center, People for the American Way and Common Cause this week in calling for the U.S. Senate to pass a pared-down version of the DISCLOSE Act. This past election, which saw a flood of anonymous corporate donations pay for a record amount of political advertising, underscores the need for disclosure, the groups said. Above is Public Citizen President Robert Weissman. After the jump is a video featuring Common Cause President Bob Edgar. (more…)

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Today’s Flickr photo

Scroll with signatures collected by the Monahan brothers who walked across the country to protest the Citizens United ruling. Flickr photo by M.V. Jantzen

If you read one thing today . . .

It’s pretty clear that Tea Party matriarch Sarah Palin  is no lover of Big Government or big bailouts. Except, she was for the bailouts before she was against them. David Corn in Mother Jones has an interesting look at the old Sarah’s defense of bailouts and the new Sarah’s displeasure.

Palin went further this summer, when she contended that Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s support for the bailout was grounds for voting against her. Palin was backing Joe Miller in the GOP primary against Murkowski. In an endorsement message for Miller posted on her Facebook page in August, Palin, bashing Murkowski as a faux Republican, declared,

Alaska deserves a senator who will not talk one way in the Last Frontier and then vote the opposite way in the Beltway. It’s time for Alaskans who are concerned about endless bailouts, ever increasing debt and deficits, and the government take-over of health care (all planks Lisa Murkowski has walked) to get behind Joe Miller.

Palin added, “We know Joe won’t support more bailouts, but we know Lisa already has.”

In less than two years, Palin had gone from endorsing the bailout to using it as ammo to slam a fellow Republican who had also supported TARP.

Overheard

That nervous rattling you hear is coming from the U.S. Capitol where those up for election in 2012 who must feel like they have targets painted on their chest after watching so many incumbents and party favorites bite the dust during the midterm primaries and general election. Call it the Tea Party effect. Politico’s Manu Raju writes that several veteran Republicans and Democrats are worried. Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill, who faces the prospect of running in a solid red state, is stressing her independence:

“I don’t think you have to be disloyal to President [Barack] Obama, to be independent,” said McCaskill, who is facing reelection in a state that Obama lost in 2008. “And I think that’s the message that I got to make sure that Missourians understand: that I haven’t been afraid to differ from Harry Reid; I have not been afraid to take on Nancy Pelosi; I have not been afraid to tell the president he is wrong. And that I have been the independent that I think most Missourians want.”

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Today’s Flickr photo

Flickr photo by WarmSleepy.

If you read one thing today . . .

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could create a set of campaign finance laws that didn’t have loopholes you could drive a truck through? Alas, we’ll just have to keep dreaming. The New York Times’ Michael Luo writes about 2012 GOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty and how they’ve been avoiding federal rules by raising money — contributions many times bigger than what federal law allows — through state-regulated political action committees.

The money, which has gone to the politicians’ “leadership PACs,” is not allowed to be used to fuel a presidential run, but it often acts as seed money to help raise a potential candidate’s national profile and provide financing to other politicians who can help him later. The contributions can also build an infrastructure of staff, offices and donors that can be later transformed into a full-fledged campaign, but this kind of spending also carries the potential of tripping over campaign finance laws.

The outsize contributions are possible because while donations to federal PACs are limited to $5,000, many state-based entities have no such limits. Some can also take donations from corporations and unions, which federal PACs cannot directly do.

Overheard:

Some Democratic fundraisers are meeting this week in Washington, D.C. where they are playing Monday morning quarterback on this year’s midterm elections. Among the things they’ll debate, according to Andy Kroll in Mother Jones, is whether they should fight fire with fire. That is, whether they should do what the conservatives and the GOP did so successfully this past year, which was to raise massive amounts of money through outside groups, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove’s Crossroads. Democratic fundraiser and former Clinton staffer Harold Ickes says Democrats have to pull out all the stops:

“Is small money better? You bet,” Ickes says. “But we’re in a f*cking fight. And if you’re in a fistfight, then you’re in a fistfight, and you use all legal means available.”

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Citizens UnitedStunning Statistics of the Week:

  • $97: The amount per vote spent by Nevada Republican Sharron Angle and Connecticut Republican Linda McMahon – a record
  • $69: The amount per vote spent by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
  • $33: The average cost of a vote in the midterms

October saw record number of political ads on TV
A record number of political ads ran on TV in October – even more than during the same month in 2008, when the presidential contest was in its final month. An estimated 1.48 million political ads aired on TV last month, compared to 1.41 million in October 2008. Hot spots for ads were Cleveland, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento, Calif. and Seattle, Wash. Wow. Can’t wait for 2012.

Counting noses: How to get the DISCLOSE Act passed
Time is running out for advocates of disclosure to get the DISCLOSE Act passed – a measure designed to make public the funders of political ads and introduced in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which gave corporations (more…)

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Today’s Flickr photo

From a Veterans Day ceremony in Virginia. Flickr photo by Virginia Guard Public Affairs.

If you read one thing today . . .

So do the elections results bolster the GOP claim that they have a mandate to undo the reforms of the last two years? An AP poll says that the Republican-led House might want to tread carefully when it comes to dumping Obama’s health care reforms, which while an incremental improvement fell far short of the single-payer health care plan that Public Citizen had backed. The AP’s Alan Fram writes:

When it comes to the health care law Obama signed in March, just 39 percent back the GOP effort to repeal it or scale it back. Fifty-eight percent would rather make even more changes in the health care system or leave the measure alone

Overheard:

While President Obama held out an olive branch to Republicans after the “shellacking” they gave Democrats last week, many progressives  say that’s exactly what he shouldn’t be doing. Perry Bacon Jr. writes in the WaPo that Obama’s liberal base will be pushing the president to stand firm to the principles he embraced during the 2008 campaign.

“Democrats are not going to be a rubber stamp for deals [Obama] cuts with the Republicans in the House or the Senate,” said Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), a co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “Part of the battering we got [on Election Day] was about not being able to show our base we had done enough.”

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Today’s Flickr photo

Oil platform off Newport Beach, Ca. Flickr photo by KrisFricke.

 

If you read one thing today . . .

The midterm elections might over but the GOP battle for the Senate is still going on strong. Remember Senator-elect Joe Manchin’s campaign commercial — the one where he’s shooting holes into Obama’s cap-and-trade legislation? Well, the GOP figures a guy who can handle a gun like that is on the wrong side of the aisle. According to a Fox News report, Republican leadership is offering Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, a choice committee position and support of a coal-to-diesel project in his home state.

Republicans believe Manchin is particularly susceptible to the overture because he is up for reelection in 2012 and will have to be on the ticket with President Obama, who is direly unpopular in West Virginia. Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Independent Joe Lieberman are the other two prime targets of Republican advances.

If Manchin, Nelson and Lieberman switched, it would leave the Senate in a 50-50 deadlock.

But Team Manchin, so far, is sticking with the campaign line that the two-term conservative governor is heading to Washington to change the way his party operates and to look for chances to work on bipartisan projects.

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Stunning Statistics of the Week:

  • $73 million: Amount of his own money that Rick Scott spent on his successful bid for governor of Florida
  • 62%: Percentage of Florida voters who say they have reservations about Scott

Winning candidates rode a wave of spending by outside groups
Outside groups put their money behind the winners in 58 of the 74 races in which power changed hands Tuesday, according to a new Public Citizen analysis. In only 14 contests did the loser benefit more from spending by outside groups.

Spend more, win more…
Republican-leaning political organizations spent $167 million on the midterm elections and won almost twice as many races as they lost. In particular, two groups co-launched by Republican strategist Karl Rove—American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS—backed the victor in 23 of the 36 House of Representatives and Senate races where a winner was declared.

…But money doesn’t always guarantee success
Not everyone who broke open the bank account prevailed this week. Several wealthy candidates lost despite spending eye-popping sums. Meg Whitman, former eBay CEO, spent $142 million to become California’s next governor, but she still lost to Democrat Jerry Brown. And in Connecticut, former wrestling (more…)

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Look, if you thought making the world a better place was going to be easy, you got a rude wake-up call Wednesday morning. Now, you can either whine or you can roll up your sleeves and join the fight. Michael Kieshnick, president of CREDO Mobile, has some suggestions in HuffPo on what you can do to help push back against the Tea Party and its handpicked members of Congress. Here are his top three  suggestions:

1. Commit to Taking Down FOX News. So long as FOX News has any credibility within the Beltway, it will be a pipeline for malicious material that will poison our political culture. Join our friends at Color of Change.

2.Tell the Senate to pass the DISCLOSE Act during the lame duck session. We were able to defeat the Texas Oil Initiative, Prop 23 in California, in part because we knew who the enemy was — having disclosure of corporate contributions brings the enemy out in the open for us to take on and fight. The DISCLOSE Act passed the House and came within a single vote of passing the Senate. One vote. You can join this fight by taking action with Public Citizen at http://citizen.org/disclose-act-action.

3. Keep fighting to end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. This issue will get resolved during the lame duck session. Take action here.

To see the rest of his top 10 list, click here. And we would add another to this list: Join Public Citizen and help us fight corporate power in Congress, in the courts and in the executive branch.  Join Public Citizen for as little as $20 a year.

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Today’s Flickr photo

Republican leaders Eric Cantor and John Boehner. Flickr photo by TalkMediaNews.

If you read one thing today  . . .

Roll Call’s Matthew Murray would like to introduce you to the men and women behind the man — the K Street crew that likes to refer to itself as “Boehner-land.” This is the group of lobbyists who are in tight with the presumptive Speaker of the House John Boehner. Most of the denziens of Boehner-land are former members of Boehner’s legislative staff.

A prodigious fundraiser, Boehner has long nurtured his relationships on K Street, where the Ohio Republican’s pro-business, small-government platform was a natural fit with large corporations and small-business groups alike . . .

Republican sources interviewed for this story also described his K Street inner circle as chummy, with conversations more about politics than policy and a healthy dash of good-natured ribbing.

“It’s loyalty. It’s friendship. It’s alumni,” a Republican source said. “He can count on us.”

Overheard:

Apparently, any chance we had at catching our breaths after these midterms elections was just wishful thinking. As the WashPo points out, there’s a whole lot of political jockeying taking place with everyone positioning themselves for 2012.

“Right now, you have empirical and anecdotal evidence that President Obama is vulnerable. What you’ve seen over the last two years is a dismantling of the coalition he used to get elected in 2008,” said GOP strategist Kevin Madden, who is an adviser to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, a probable 2012 contender.

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