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Money and Democracy Update: $3 billion in ads, taking it to the SEC


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

$3 billion: The estimated amount that media companies and their local stations will receive for running political ads this year

It’s not too late to launch a drive for a resolution in your town!

Activists across the country are hosting organizing parties next week to spearhead efforts in their cities and towns to pass local resolutions calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, which gave the green light for corporations to spend unlimited sums to influence elections. Join the campaign! Sign up now to find an organizing party in your area. Or, if there is no organizing party in your area, host one yourself.

Taking it to the SEC

It’s not often that you see a rally outside the Securities and Exchange Commission, but it happened this week. Representatives from Public Citizen, Common Cause and the Coalition for Accountability in Political Spending joined New York City’s public advocate Bill de Blasio in gathering outside the agency to demand that it require publicly traded companies to disclose their political spending. More than 75,000 people have submitted comments to the SEC on the matter.

Amendment resolutions advance in New York, Alaska and Santa Monica

A resolution supporting a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United is advancing through the New York Legislature. The New York Assembly’s Election Law Committee this week gave its seal of approval. In addition, the Alaska Senate recently approved a similar resolution. The city of Santa Monica has approved a resolution as well.

Financial sector rewards lawmakers who aim to weaken the Volcker Rule

Members of Congress who submitted comments asking federal agencies to weaken the proposed regulations for the Volcker Rule have each received, on average, more than four times as much in campaign contributions from the financial sector as those who asked agencies to strengthen the rule, a new Public Citizen report shows. In the aggregate, lawmakers asking for a weaker rule have received more than 35 times as much ($66.7 million) from the sector as those seeking a stronger rule ($1.9 million).

A new (and unwelcome) job duty for judges: campaigning

Florida Supreme Court justices are doing something that feels alien to them and that they really don’t like much: They are campaigning. Thanks to Citizens United and the rise of Super PACs, they are worried that a few wealthy individuals could come along and launch an attack campaign that could make them lose their jobs.


Obama rewards top donors with White House visits

More than 60 of President Barack Obama’s top donors have visited the White House to meet with top staffers, or attend parties or state dinners, the Associated Press has discovered. The news service compared a list of more than 470 top Obama donors to visitor logs since mid-2009. At least 250 of Obama’s major fundraisers had visited the White House at least once, AP found.


Two companies revealed: Chevron, Merck gave money to groups that bought attack ads

Chevron and Merck are among the companies that gave money during the 2010 midterms to groups that paid for political attack ads directly or indirectly, Bloomberg News reports. The companies, whose spending was revealed via IRS or corporate filings, say they were just giving money for advocacy, not for ads.

Dollars and Cents

U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), co-sponsor of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, predicts “huge scandals” now that the Supreme Court has essentially upended his law …

… Senate lawmakers held a hearing on the DISCLOSE Act this week …

… But getting approval for increased disclosure of political spending is an uphill battle in the House of Representatives …

… GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich may lose his big financial backer …

… A new Super PAC has launched: Animal Lovers Against Romney plans to run Internet ads in 10 states …

A pact between U.S. Senate candidates Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown, designed to keep negative third-party ads out of the Massachusetts race, appears to be working …

… Ben & Jerry’s created a 65-scoop sundae to represent the 65 Vermont towns that supported resolutions for an amendment to overturn Citizens United

Visit DemocracyIsForPeople.org to learn more!

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