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Money and Democracy Update: Corporations write laws, Murdoch's lobbying is like a pie in the face

"Public Citizen Money and Democracy Update"Stunning Statistics of the Week:

  • 244: The number of bundlers who raised money from others on behalf of Obama and Democrats
  • $37 million: The amount these bundlers raised this quarter for both the campaign and the Obama Victory Fund, a fundraising vehicle Obama shares with the Democratic Party
  • $86 million: The amount raised by both President Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee in the second quarter of the year

Koch, ExxonMobil, other corporations buy their way to the legislative drafting table

Can corruption be as or more rife at the state level than in Washington, D.C.? Apparently. Big corporations pay a $25,000 membership fee and another fee of up to $10,000 to the American Legislative Exchange Council. Then they roll up their sleeves and sit down with state lawmakers – who also are members – to draft bills. This “model legislation” is then circulated in state legislatures throughout the country.

Wall Street does not want to be reformed

As the first anniversary of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law passes, Wall Street is pressing to excuse itself from a rule specifically designed to address one the main causes of the financial meltdown: inappropriate incentive compensation packages. In addition to filing tons of comments to regulators, 30 Wall Street companies, trade associations and allies spent nearly $243 million lobbying on financial services issues and $46.7 million contributing to campaigns in 2010 election cycles.

Wall Street money helps Obama campaign coffers grow

President Barack Obama is relying more on Wall Street money during this election than the last one, according to a new analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics. A third of the money Obama’s elite fundraising corps has raised is from the financial sector.

It depends on what your definition of “lobbyist” is

When President Barack Obama broke fundraising records last week, his aides bragged that he didn’t “accept a single dollar from Washington lobbyists or special interest PACs.” But it’s not like his corporate-connected donors have nothing to do with policymaking. Donors include the corporate executive who oversees Comcast’s lobbying efforts, the chairwoman of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer’s political action committee and the CEO of a public relations firm that billed more than $4 million in federal lobbying last year.

News Corp. giving out the big bucks

Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has been dishing out the cash to U.S. lawmakers. In June alone, News Corp.’s political action committee (PAC) gave more than $50,000 to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Murdoch himself has donated $451,438 to American politicians and PACs since 1987.

Speaking of News Corp. …

Oh, irony of ironies. Around the time that the News of the World phone-hacking scandal was emerging, News Corp. sent its lobbyists to swarm Capitol Hill, spending more than $1.5 million in the first three months of the year. What were they hoping to influence lawmakers about? Digital privacy. Well ain’t that just a pie in the face.

A fundraiser’s pledge for reform

A longtime Washington, D.C., fundraiser who has raised more than half a million dollars for local politicians, members of Congress and nonprofits, has had enough. “Money and politics are a volatile mix,” he says. The corrupting influence must stop and candidates should take part in publicly financed elections. From now on, he vows to contribute only $25 per candidate.

IRS denies nonprofit status to three groups

The IRS has denied 501(c)(4) nonprofit status to three groups because their activities are primarily political. The groups — Emerge Nevada, Emerge Maine and Emerge Massachusetts — were created to cultivate Democratic candidates.

Rove group targets Dems in ads

Crossroads GPS, a group co-founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove, is launching ads this week against 10 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives. The group, which spent more than $70 million in the midterm elections, is hitting the lawmakers on the economy.

The influence of foreign governments

Foreign governments and corporations pour tens of millions of dollars a year into lobbying Washington. Some of the cash may end up in politicians’ bank accounts.

Visit DemocracyIsForPeople.org to learn more!

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This week’s Money and Democracy Update was written by Dorry Samuels and Angela Bradbery.