Knee-deep in corporate cash and the river is just starting to rise this election year
Stunning Statistic of the Week:
Amount likely to be spent on issue ads this election season: $3 billion
Most groups don’t disclose funders of broadcast ads despite rules
It’s almost as if the folks at the Federal Election Commission have thrown up their hands and decided that policing the political spending by outside groups just isn’t worth the effort. Consider that in 2004, there was almost complete disclosure on who was paying for the issue ads flooding our airwaves. Today? Not so much. A new Public Citizen study shows that more than two-thirds of outside groups spending heavily on electioneering communications this year are not reporting who is bankrolling their ads – despite rules saying they should.
California: The buying of a ballot initiative
The suspension of California’s landmark greenhouse gas law is up for a vote, prompting out-of-state oil companies and other wealthy corporate interests to pour money into the state. The billionaire, right-wing Koch brothers have spent $1 million to defeat the law, and energy companies have dropped a cool $7.9 million on it. If oil companies prevail, the law would not take effect in 2012 as scheduled but would be suspended until unemployment dropped. The law requires greenhouse gas emissions to be cut to 1990 levels by 2020.
Get ready for some interesting TV ads in Ohio
Ohio’s ban on corporate funding of broadcast ads is dead. As a settlement to a 2008 lawsuit filed by the anti-abortion group Ohio Right to Life, the state has agreed to void its ban on businesses funding broadcast ads that support specific candidates. The settlement tracks the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections.
Watch out Rove, you are being monitored
An assortment of groups has launched www.AmericanCrossroadsWatch.org to monitor and publicize any wrongdoing by Republican strategist Karl Rove and his new group, American Crossroads, which reportedly plans to spend more than $50 million to sway voters this year. The goal of AmericanCrossroadsWatch.org is to “stop Karl Rove from using dirty tricks and dirty money to manipulate the mid-term elections by buying candidates who will support Big Business and deregulation.” Those backing the new effort include Democrats.com, Justice Through Music and StoptheChamber.com. They already have filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission and Department of Justice, and are urging a boycott of companies supporting American Crossroads.
Potential Pelosi replacement is good buddy with corporate lobbyists
Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), who likely would become speaker of the House of Representatives if the Republicans win a majority in November, is quickly becoming the poster child for corporate influence on Capitol Hill. The New York Times recently detailed the strong ties between corporate lobbyists and Boehner. His inner circle includes representatives from some of the biggest companies in the country, like R.J. Reynolds, Miller Coors and Goldman Sachs.
Group brings the love for shadowy corporate front groups
The folks over at the Center for Competitive Politics, a right-wing think tank, must think corporate front groups who run campaign ads are totally awesome. They just issued a poll that they claim demonstrates public opposition to the DISCLOSE Act – even though their own numbers actually demonstrate broad public support for disclosure.
Fair Elections Now Act gets vote next week
Next Thursday, the House Committee on Administration will vote on the Fair Elections Now Act, which would provide public financing to qualified candidates to enable them to respond to the expected corporate onslaught. The fact that this is coming up for a committee vote is considered a good sign that lawmakers (some of them, at least) know the system is broken. The committee is expected to approve the bill.
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