Money and Democracy Update: The super power of Super PACs
Stunning Statistics of the Week:
- $310 million: Amount that the three main GOP presidential contenders had raised by this point in the 2008 race
- $146 million: The amount that GOP presidential candidates have raised for the 2012 race
- $145 million: The amount President Barack Obama has raised so far for his 2012 campaign
Help pass a resolution in your town
Join the growing movement to pass local resolutions for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said corporations could spend unlimited sums to influence elections. Already, more than 4,300 people have signed up. Click here to get involved. And give three cheers to Tampa’s City Council, which on Thursday passed a resolution unanimously.
Meanwhile, in Vermont and California …
State resolutions supporting a constitutional amendment are progressing through the Vermont and California Legislatures. Key hearings and votes are scheduled for next Tuesday. Learn more information about the resolutions.
The power of Super PACs
Super PACs paid for 91 percent of the 5,592 ads that ran in Mississippi and Alabama in the month before the GOP presidential primaries there, according to a company that tracks ads. Restore Our Future, the Super PAC supporting Mitt Romney, bought 65 percent of the ads that ran in the two states.
Groups to corporations: No more secret money
A coalition of groups, including Public Citizen, threw down the gauntlet this week, demanding that corporations stop secretly funding campaigns. One of the groups, Americans United for Change, is offering a $25,000 reward to anyone who blows the whistle on a corporation that is funneling money into the elections and trying to hide it.
Running for president? Reveal your bundlers and the amounts they gather
Nine government watchdog organizations are calling on all presidential candidates to reveal more details about fundraisers for their presidential campaigns who “bundle” contributions in amounts greatly exceeding what they’re permitted to contribute on their own.
I’ll show mine if you show yours
Virginia U.S. Senate contender Tim Kaine asked his rival, George Allen, to strike a deal: Let’s both make outside groups that help the campaigns disclose the identities of their donors, so the public knows who is helping us. Allen immediately rejected the offer, as he previously dismissed Kaine’s suggestion that both men call on Super PACs and other groups to avoid involvement in the race.
Dollars and Cents (even more news bites):
… This is a neat trick! A company that appears to no longer exist is still giving campaign contributions to local politicians in Washington, D.C. …
… Friday fun: Get ready to tap your toes with this video about Super PACs from ProPublica …
… A whopping 70 percent of registered voters say Super PACs should be outlawed …
… Waaaaahhh!!! The American League of Lobbyists is asking President Barack Obama to stop calling lobbyists bad names. Gee, you’d think they could at least spell his name right …
… Is the House Ethics Committee overworked? Or has the process been weakened? Hard to say, but we do know that the resolution of cases seems to be delayed …
… A general contractor from Alabama who has funded a number of campaign ads, including one featuring a “surfing rabbi,” is asking the Federal Election Commission to lift the aggregate cap on how much individuals can donate to multiple candidates …
… You’ve heard about how the superrich have too much influence over politics? Well this guy says that in fact, they don’t have enough. Of course, he’s superrich …
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