Money and Democracy Update: A pact on Super PACs, advice from Scalia

Stunning Statistics of the Week:

  • $3.27 billion: Amount spent on lobbying in 2011
  • $3.51 billion: Amount spent on lobbying in 2010

Note: The drop is attributed to political gridlock.

Citizens United anniversary: Everything it was cracked up to be and more

We’ve been telling you for a while about the momentum that built toward protest events slated for Saturday, Jan. 21, the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The anniversary was everything we thought it would be and then some. Citizens and elected officials took to the streets in cities throughout the country to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision. Check out these pieces in Mother Jones, Truthout.org and Firedoglake. If you haven’t joined the movement, it’s not too late. Visit www.DemocracyIsForPeople.org.

Candidates say “Enough already with the Super PACs”

It might not work but it’s worth a shot. U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and his opponent Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren have signed a “People’s Pledge agreement” designed to keep Super PACs and the negative ads they pay for out of the race. Under the agreement, whichever candidate is aided by an ad paid for by a third party must contribute an amount worth half the ad to his or her opponent’s charity of choice.

House lawmakers draft new DISCLOSE Act

The DISCLOSE Act, designed to mitigate the harmful effects of Citizens United, fell victim in 2011 to GOP intransigence. Now, some lawmakers are making another run at it. U.S. Reps. Bob Brady (D-Pa.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) have drafted a bill that would, among other things, enhance disclosure by Super PACs, corporations and outside groups, and require corporations to tell shareholders about campaign expenditures.

Scalia says, if you don’t like the nasty political ads, turn off your TV

Don’t like all those attack ads, which you are seeing in part because of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision? Turn them off! It’s not the Supreme Court’s fault! So says Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. No, we are not making this up.

Dollars and Cents (even more news bites):

… Want to know how the amount of money spent in U.S. elections compares to the United Kingdom or India? Check out this nifty map

… New Hampshire celebrated its first “Granny D Day,” named in honor of the grandmother who walked across the country to call attention to the need for campaign finance reform …

… the STOCK Act, which would prohibit inside trading by members of Congress and their staffs and which had stalled in Congress, may be getting jumpstarted after President Barack Obama mentioned it in his State of the Union speech

Visit DemocracyIsForPeople.org to learn more!

Get the Money & Democracy Update delivered to your inbox! Sign up here.