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New frontiers in campaign finance

Races for the Senate, U.S. House, etc. and other issues of national importance.

New frontiers in campaign finance

Postby kurt_w » Mon Mar 19, 2012 12:52 pm

In the past, Federal contractors were not allowed to make contributions to political campaigns. In the post-Citizens United world, with the rise of super-PACs, that constraint seems to have been thrown off.

Industries and businesses that will be seeking government contracts are now helping to finance presidential campaigns.

If I'm reading this right, so far it's only the Romney campaign's super-PAC that is accepting campaign money from companies that contract with the government. But if they're allowed to do this, other candidates will presumably follow suit.
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Re: New frontiers in campaign finance

Postby Henry Vilas » Thu May 31, 2012 2:03 pm

Retired justice says campaign finance ruling made cash king

Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens leveled new criticism on Wednesday against the court's landmark 2010 ruling on campaign financing, saying it had allowed corporations to ramp up spending and non-voters to influence the outcome of elections.

Stevens, who dissented from the "Citizens United" ruling, said it had increased the importance of cash in contested elections, opened the floodgates for foreign campaign spending and put corporations or other out-of-state speakers ahead of voters interested in local issues.
...
He said the fact that corporations had no right to vote should give Congress the power to exclude them from direct participation in the electoral process.


I wonder if he had the Wisconsin recall in mind.
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Re: New frontiers in campaign finance

Postby DCB » Thu May 31, 2012 2:22 pm

Trevor Potter has a good piece on AlterNet:
How I Became Stephen Colbert's Lawyer -- And Joined the Fight to Rescue Our Democracy from Citizens United

Colbert has been doing some pretty interesting stuff on the Citizen's United issue, making the point that our election laws are a joke.
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Re: New frontiers in campaign finance

Postby jman111 » Thu May 31, 2012 2:33 pm

Interesting take on the issue.
The concept of "personhood" for legal reasons is inconsistent and not absolute. We treat certain rights of artificial legal persons (corporations, unions, etc) differently than we treat rights of actual human persons (e.g. 5th amendment right against self-incrimination).

The Citizens United decision supported free speech rights for artificial personalities in the political arena. Why shouldn't rights to political speech be tied to the right to vote?
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Re: New frontiers in campaign finance

Postby Twigz2011 » Thu May 31, 2012 2:40 pm

Link to an article I found interesting from a recent issue of the New Yorker.

The author describes how the Supreme Court decison regarding Citizens United came about.


Money Unlimited
How Chief Justice John Roberts orchestrated the Citizens United decision.by Jeffrey Toobin


http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012 ... act_toobin




Read more http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012 ... z1wThS4i00
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Re: New frontiers in campaign finance

Postby DCB » Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:02 am

I don't like this "money is free speech" and "corporations are people" nonsense. But as long we're playing by these rules, aren't we entitled to at least know who is doing the speaking?

The rich can't handle the glare of the spotlight

Yes, heaven forbid that anyone shine a spotlight these people who want to buy the country's democratic system outright. If we don't give them the ability to buy a President in secret, it's the same as torture in the Middle Ages.
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Re: New frontiers in campaign finance

Postby snoqueen » Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:12 am

Re New Yorker article: Once again, it all comes down to the usual principle: whatever the laws say, whatever clever words are used to question or defend them, the outcome depends not on the quality of the arguments presented but on the people who make the decisions. These guys had their minds made up from the start, and nothing anyone said -- as Elena Kagan knew -- was going to change the result.

So many of the arguments listed in this topic against Cit United make good sense on their face: political speech tied to the right to vote, the value of open records regarding campaign expenditures and PAC donations, and the issue of conflict of interest in a candidate's acceptiing donations from federal contractors. But no matter how good the arguments are (or how the ruling party would like it when the shoe is on the other foot) if the minds of the deciders are already made up, nothing else matters.

All we have now is a complicated ritual with supplicants who are uniformly ignored by the priests as they favor their own, basically. Why does this remind me of the modern Catholic Church?
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Re: New frontiers in campaign finance

Postby snoqueen » Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:49 pm

Retired Justice Stevens thinks the court will return to the Citizens United decision, and it will not stand the test of time:

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012 ... fpnewsfeed
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Re: New frontiers in campaign finance

Postby johnfajardohenry » Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:37 am

Should unions be allowed to spend money on elections?

Are they not corporations?

If Citizens United were overturned, it would prevent unions from spending any money, including organizing GOTV campaigns, on elections in particular and perhaps politics in general.

Are you OK with that?

Or do you think Citizens United should only be overturned for corporations you don't like.

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Re: New frontiers in campaign finance

Postby massimo » Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:40 am

I'm personally ok with that. For as bad as Democrats can be at this game of politics, we can do a mean ground game when we feel like it.
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Re: New frontiers in campaign finance

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue Jun 05, 2012 11:43 am

If Citizens United is overturned, then McCain-Feingold would be reinstated. That act applies to unions as well as corporations.
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Re: New frontiers in campaign finance

Postby Henry Vilas » Sun Jul 08, 2012 1:38 pm

First there was Citizens United. Now this:
Tax-Exempt Groups Shield Political Gifts of Businesses

Two years after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision opened the door for corporate spending on elections, relatively little money has flowed from company treasuries into “super PACs,” which can accept unlimited contributions but must also disclose donors. Instead, there is growing evidence that large corporations are trying to influence campaigns by donating money to tax-exempt organizations that can spend millions of dollars without being subject to the disclosure requirements that apply to candidates, parties and PACs.

The secrecy shrouding these groups makes a full accounting of corporate influence on the electoral process impossible.
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Re: New frontiers in campaign finance

Postby makmadison » Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:17 pm

How much to we thank the McCain-Feingold bill? I believe only somewhat, but this "signature" legislation has been a failure.

What do we do? Legislate more of the same reform? Or throw it all out and start over?

I say throw all campaign reform out, start over. Doing more of the same is insanity ....
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Re: New frontiers in campaign finance

Postby pjbogart » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:09 pm

I can't help but think that campaign finance is a "rock bottom issue." People won't address the problem because people don't completely understand the problem. Until the problem becomes so terrible that we can't avoid it, we won't deal with it. For some of us this time has already come, but there are a significant number of people who don't understand why excessive money in politics corrupts the process, or they engage in rationalizations like John Henry, equating union campaigning to corporate campaigning. Union campaigning fights for specific causes that benefit the majority of Americans whereas corporate campaigning is done solely for a sliver of the population. Just because you have a 401k does not make you part of the ruling elite.

I think the problem is that most people scoff at the idea that their beliefs and decisions are influenced by money. It's uncomfortable to say, "I'm uncertain of the truth because I might have been tricked." It's like admitting that you're stupid. As a result, corporations have free reign over our beliefs, filling our heads with silly nonsense like the "global warming hoax" or Saddam Hussein's WMD's through their media outlets.

On a positive note, there really isn't a "too late" on campaign finance, unlike climate change. Yeah, the pendulum swing might be greater the longer we wait, but our democratic institutions provide for remedy, even if that remedy ends up being something so extreme as a wealth tax. We may find ourselves in a position (actually, I think we're already there) where we're forced to resort to confiscation in order to recover ill-gotten gains.

A Wealth Tax is a notion that has been floating around Europe during their financial crisis and I can't imagine the conniption Republicans would throw if it were suggested in the United States. Essentially, to pay down debt and reduce deficits, a short period of years, perhaps three, would include a small tax on wealth instead of income for those people at the top of the ladder. If every person with a wealth over $50 million were forced to pay their income taxes, along with a 3% charge on their overall wealth, it would recover some of their gains that they've enjoyed from corrupting our political system, whether they actively corrupted it or not. As a beneficiary, willful or not, of an imprudent policy (lowering taxes on the super rich) they surrender a portion of their gains.

I'm not sure how much traction such a suggestion would receive state-side, but I would certainly support it.
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Re: New frontiers in campaign finance

Postby Rich Schultz » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:19 am

US budget for 2012 6.3 trillion

Total Net worth of all Americans in 2010 55 trillion
Net worth Forbes 400 in 2010 1.37 trillion
Deficit for 2010 1.6 trillion
Total Deficit 16 trillion

Lets round your 3% for three years to 10%
10% of 55 trillion equals 5.5 trillion
10% of 1.37 trillion equals 137 billion.
Three years of deficits at 1 trillion a year equals 3 Trillion
Three years of deficits at 1.6 trillion a year equals 4.8 trillion

"...66,000 had a net worth of $20 million or more. These ultra-rich individuals had a combined net worth of nearly $4 trillion.."
http://money.cnn.com/2012/03/02/news/economy/wealth_in_America/index.htm

"... 84,700 people in the world worth $50 million or more. And 42 percent of them, 35,400, live in the US ."
http://www.globalresearch.ca/PrintArticle.php?articleId=27286

So you got 35,000 people with a net worth south of 4 trillion total, if you took 100% of their wealth you could pay less than 25% of the current accumulated deficit. Or the next three years worth of deficit. Or stick with your plan of 9% in three years and pay approximately 10% of the deficit for those three years. Possibly less because your plan would probably increase unemployment and capital flight.

The government needs to spend less, not tax more.
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