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Money & Democracy Update: James Bopp Jr. is public enemy #1 for fair elections, supercommittee members rake in cash and Missoula ballot measure

"Public Citizen Money and Democracy"Stunning Statistics of the Week:

$70 million: Amount Obama campaign raised in the third quarter

$50.1 million: Amount President George W. Bush had raised at this point in the 2004 campaign

$14 million: The amount that GOP candidate Mitt Romney is likely to report raising in the third quarter

Source: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-1014-campaign-finance-20111014,0,4966791.story

Broadcast ads open new frontier

It seems as though there is no end to many ways that the campaign finance rules are stretched. The Democratic Party is paying for broadcast ads starring U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.). Rules prohibit politicians coordinating ads with outside groups. But in this case, the ad’s backers say they are running issue ads and that the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is an independent organization. If correct, the committee could spend close to a quarter-million dollars coordinating with Nelson’s campaign. The ads have prompted the conservative group American Crossroads to ask the Federal Election Commission if it can do the same thing.

Bopp challenges New Mexico donation limit

James Bopp Jr., the man who brought the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case and has been barnstorming the country challenging state campaign finance laws in court, is suing New Mexico over its $5,000 contribution limit to and by political parties.

Money flows both ways: Perry jobs fund gave to companies that gave to Perry

About half the companies that received money from the Texas Enterprise Fund, used by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to lure companies to set up shop in the state, have donated to Perry or the Republican Governors Association, which Perry chaired until recently. Meanwhile, it’s questionable how many jobs that fund really created.

A glimpse at the fundraising of a supercommittee member

U.S. Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) has raked in more than $85,000 from chief executive officers, chairmen, chief operating officers or chief financial officers, according to his quarterly fundraising report. Less than half of one percent of his third-quarter donations were less than $200. Camp says he’s not fundraising while on the supercommittee, but that doesn’t stop people from giving.

Super PAC forms to expand GOP majority in House

Another week, another new Super PAC. This one, called the Congressional Leadership Fund, is designed to keep and expand the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. It is scheduled to launch Nov. 2 and will be headed by former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.)

Not all Super PACs are super money makers

The Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters have formed Super PACs, but their fundraising pales in comparison to that of the Super PACs set up to bolster corporate agendas.

Missoula voters to consider corporate personhood ballot measure

The next time they go to the polls, Missoula residents will vote on a measure calling for a constitutional amendment “to clearly state that corporations are not human beings and do not have the same rights as citizens.”

Corporate reform coalition in the news

A coalition of 75 good government, environmental and even investment groups, got a nice profile in Roll Call this week. The coalition is working to give shareholders more of a voice in political spending decisions made through companies. The aim of the Corporate Reform Coalition is to limit the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling by exposing corporate influence in elections, holding management accountable and ensuring that political spending decisions are transparent and that shareholders have a say in them.

The Hill names top association, grassroots lobbyists

The Hill newspaper has released its list of top association lobbyists. It is long and includes the usual suspects: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Bankers Association, American Petroleum Institute, the Motion Picture Association of America, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the Business Roundtable and many others. The newspaper also tipped its hat to top grassroots advocates – those who press lawmakers and their staffs for cleaner air and water, a more ethical government, better controls over the volatile financial markets and other consumer protections. These are the people who fight the good fight against tremendous odds. For yet another year, Public Citizen’s Craig Holman is on the list.

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