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Money and Democracy Update: Obama rakes in business cash, momentum builds to Citizens United anniversary

Stunning Statistics of the Week:

  • $5.6 million: Amount President Barack Obama has raised from business executives this year
  • $5.2 million: Amount GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney has raised from business executives this year
  • $272,000: Amount GOP presidential contender Next Gingrich has raised from business executives this year

The beat goes on …

This week, more than 150 people throughout the country held organizing meetings to build for nationwide days of protests in January surrounding the two-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling. In that decision, handed down on Jan. 21, 2010, the court said that corporations can spend unlimited amounts to influence elections. Next month’s organizing parties will be the week of Jan. 9. Sign up to host an event in your community on January 21 and help build momentum to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Or, join or host a house party!

30 corporations spent more on lobbying than taxes

This will make your blood boil: Thirty large corporations analyzed by Public Campaign paid more to lobby Congress than they paid in federal income taxes between 2008 and 2010, according to a new report. What’s more, those companies received tax rebates totaling nearly $11 billion.

FEC deadlocks on disclosure rules

In its last meeting of the year, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) this week deadlocked 3-3 over new rules that would tell the public where the big money for political advertising comes from. The law requires disclosure of the names of donors who give more than $200 to support such “independent expenditures,” but FEC regulations have made the disclosure requirement meaningless by limiting it to donors who earmark their contributions to support specific ad buys, which virtually no donors actually do. Thus, many groups that make huge independent expenditures now report none of their donors.

Even when there is a disclosure law, another major loophole exists

Restore Our Future, the Super PAC that is supporting GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney’s campaign, has changed the date when it will file its donation report. The group will push its report back to Jan. 31 – after four primaries have been held. Yes, it’s perfectly legal.

Citizens United strikes again – Wisconsin contribution limits struck down

Saying that Wisconsin’s law limiting contributions to groups that run independent political ads conflicts with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down the state law.

Dollars and Cents (even more news bites):

… The FEC has really dropped the ball on the reporting and disclosure of bundled contributions …

… Call it a Super PAC attack: With Gingrich rising in the polls, Super PACs are starting to duke it out on the airwaves …

… Round and round they go – through the revolving door. Sixteen of the 62 lawmakers who left Congress last year have taken jobs at lobbying firms or groups that lobby, USA Today reports. …

… The Oakland City Council next week will vote on whether to support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United

Visit DemocracyIsForPeople.org to learn more!

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