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Money & Democracy Update: Nationwide organizing parties, Koch database, Newt's a "historian"? & more

Stunning Statistics of the Week:

  • $3.2 billion: The amount one media analyst predicts will be spent on political television ads during the 2012 election cycle
  • $2.1 billion: The amount spent on TV ads in the 2008 election cycle

At house parties around the country, people launched plans to reverse Citizens United"Public Citizen Money and Democracy"

This week, more than 200 groups of Americans gathered in living rooms, university classrooms, interfaith centers, cafes and more than a dozen Occupy sites to join U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Public Citizen and a coalition of organizations working toward a constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. That’s the decision that unleashed a torrent of corporate money into elections. But they did more than just listen; they began planning how to organize for a nationwide day of action on Jan. 21, 2012, the two-year anniversary of Citizens United.

Outside groups now trying to influence redistricting efforts

Outside groups with no fundraising limits or disclosure requirements are now trying to sway redistricting battles. In Nevada, The Fund for Nevada’s Future is pushing the GOP view while the National Democratic Redistricting Trust is fighting for the Dems.

Amendment to be introduced in California Legislature to overturn Citizens United

California Assembly member Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont, is introducing a joint resolution in the California Legislature calling upon Congress to send a constitutional amendment to states for ratification that would overturn the Citizens United ruling. Wieckowski and Public Citizen President Robert Weissman explain why.

Money was not enough, apparently; Kochs creating database to help GOP

David and Charles Koch, the conservative billionaire brothers who have poured millions into elections to help pro-corporate candidates, have devised another way to get the election outcomes they want. They are creating a database of conservative think tanks, activist groups and organizations – complete with email addresses, phone numbers, income levels and more– to help the GOP raise money.

What’s in a name?

Good government groups got a chuckle this week when Newt Gingrich said in the Republican presidential debate that he was not a lobbyist for Freddie Mac, but had been hired as a “historian.” Regardless of the terminology, Gingrich “was hired as a lobbyist for his rolodex built while being a public servant,” Public Citizen’s Craig Holman told TalkingPoints Memo. Added Public Citizen’s Lisa Gilbert, “Newt Gingrich claiming that he was a ‘historian’ for housing is a clear example of the inherent weakness of our current definition of lobbyist.”

Dollars and Cents (even more news bites):

Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS is planning to spend $2.6 million to buy two weeks of anti-Obama ads in the swing states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado and North Carolina;

The latest Super PAC to be formed to support a single candidate is Valley-Israel Alliance, for U.S. Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.);

Comedian Stephen Colbert has sent another letter to the Federal Election Commission, this time ostensibly to call attention to another loophole;

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has upheld North Carolina’s limits on political contributions by lobbyists.