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Money and Democracy update: FEC chair loves disclosure, Target CEO embattled, more

Stunning Statistics of the Week:

$36: The amount that former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold’s political action committee asked people to donate to help candidates running in recall elections in Wisconsin

$130,000: The amount Feingold raised in less than a week

2,400: The approximate number of people who donated

Source:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/08/russ-feingold-wisconsin-democratic-recall_n_873377.html

FEC chair likes disclosure

Cynthia Bauerly, chair of the Federal Election Commission, came to speak to a packed house at Public Citizen this week. She stuck pretty close to her talking points but did let slip a couple of interesting details, like her passion for disclosure.

Target CEO “embattled and annoyed” by shareholder questions

Opponents of corporate money’s corrupting influence in politics made their presence known loud and clear during Target Corporation’s annual shareholder meeting this week in Pittsburgh. Read a first-person account by a Public Citizen online organizer who was there and spoke out.

Don’t let the door hit you Sen. Bayh …

Former U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) appears to be benefiting from the revolving door that makes people cynical about the motivations of officeholders. Bayh has been hired by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to go on a media tour with former White House chief of staff Andy Card and call for measures that would hamstring our regulatory system – the agencies and rules that ensure we have clear air, safe toys, a stable financial system and so forth.

Judge decides he was right after all

A federal judge in Virginia who reconsidered his own ruling in a closely watched campaign finance case has concluded he was right after all. Judge James C. Cacheris of the Eastern District of Virginia had ruled that the existing corporate ban on direct contributions to candidates is unconstitutional, despite the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld that ban. Look for an appeal soon.

Right-wing group backed by Koch brothers scares Detroit residents with fake eviction notices

Well, here’s a way to win people over (not). Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group backed by industrial billionaires David and Charles Koch, recently posted fliers that looked like eviction notices on the doors of homes in a Detroit neighborhood. The fliers were supposed to persuade residents to oppose a bridge project. Who paid for these? We likely will never know, because Americans for Prosperity isn’t telling. And because disclosure requirements aren’t up to snuff, the group doesn’t have to.

Hawaii lieutenant governor cleared of wrongdoing

Hawaii’s Campaign Spending Commission has dismissed a complaint alleging that Lt. Gov. James “Duke” Aiona and the Republican Governors Association coordinated advertising when Aiona ran for governor last year. Aiona acknowledged sharing polling data with the GOP association but the commission found that the association got its information from the pollster, not the campaign.


Another Nevada campaign finance bill lands on the governor’s desk

We told you last week about measures before the governor that would require candidates to file campaign finance reports electronically and earlier. Another bill is headed to the governor’s desk. This one would restrict the ability of people to form political action committees to circumvent contribution limits. This stemmed from an issue when Rory Reid ran for governor. The measure also would boost fines when third-party groups fail to adequately disclose information.

Former Delaware beer distributor pleads guilty to campaign violations

A former Delaware beer distributor pleaded guilty this week to violating federal election laws by illegally funneling at least $219,000 in campaign contributions to political campaigns, including that of then-Sen. Joe Biden. Christopher J. Tigani sent the donations via employees, family members and friends, then reimbursed them. He faces jail time.

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