Money and Democracy Update: Reform efforts gain steam, $805,000 dropped on Huntsman, more

Stunning Statistics of the Week:

  • Less than $1 million: Amount spent so far by Priorities USA, the Super PAC created by a former White House aide to support President Barack Obama’s re-election effort
  • More than $20 million: The amount spent by American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, groups co-created by Republican strategist Karl Rove to promote GOP candidates

Insider trading bill picks up steam as groups call for reform

Seven good government groups are calling on Congress to prohibit lawmakers and their staffs from using insider information to make money in the stock market. A bill to do that is finally picking up steam in the wake of a recent 60 Minutes expose. The bill has languished for years, but now, lawmakers are leaping to co-sponsor it. Craig Holman of Public Citizen told USA Today, “this is a story that really resonates with a public that’s already upset with Congress.”

More large companies disclose political spending policies, but spending is still increasing

More large companies are disclosing their policies on political spending, but that spending is still increasing, according to a new report commissioned by the IRRC Institute and conducted by the Sustainable Investments Institute. Last year, S&P 500 companies spend $1.1 billion on politics.

Rep. Deutch’s constitutional amendment draws praise

Public Citizen enthusiastically applauds and endorses a constitutional amendment proposed by Rep. Ted Deutch(D-Fla.). It would comprehensively repair the damage done to our democracy by Citizens United, end corporate spending on elections and give Congress authority to adopt a sensible campaign finance system.

$805,000 spent – in just one week – to boost Huntsman

Our Destiny PAC has spent $805,000 – just since Monday – to help GOP presidential contender Jon Huntsman Jr. The Super PAC was formed by an executive at the Huntsman Corp., which was founded by the candidate’s father. The goal of the expenditure – which paid for ads in New Hampshire – is to boost the longshot candidate’s chances.

Mysterious man has created a quarter of the Super PACs

A quarter of the Super PACs registered with the Federal Election Commission have been created by one person – Josue Larose of Deerfield Beach, Fla. Larose, who has claimed to be a millionaire and economist, has formed 60 of the 240 Super PACs created since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, which opened the floodgates to corporate money in elections. So far, he hasn’t appeared to have used the Super PACs for anything, and he’s not taking questions. But the names of some of some of his PACs – the Bloomingdale’s Department Store Customers Super PAC, the NFL Sport Players Super PAC are just two – suggests he may not be entirely serious.

Dollars and Cents (even more news bites):

U.S. Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) also has introduced a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United;

… the Federal Election Commission has dismissed a complaint filed by U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller in which he alleged that Alaska Native corporations broke the law prohibiting campaign expenditures by government contractors when they spent money to re-elect Sen. Lisa Murkowski;

… donors and candidates alike are increasingly circumventing Florida’s campaign finance laws, and poor state disclosure laws are making the matter even worse, a new report finds;

… residents of Eugene, Ore., presented city officials with 5,000 signatures calling on the city to support a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision.

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