March 31, 2012

Conservative Washington Examiner Calls On Maryland To Offer Lawmakers’ Financial Disclosures Online

It’s important to know about lawmakers’ conflicts of interest. For example, if they are for building expensive fighter jets produced by Boeing while at the same time owning Boeing stock, the public should know about this financial incentive.

But many states currently lack strong disclosure laws that make it easy for the public to learn about these conflicts of interest. In Maryland, the only way for the public to see lawmakers’ financial disclosure forms is to go to the state capitol in Annapolis and request to see them directly. This is a burdensome system that is anything but accesible to the …

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March 30, 2012
A citizen uprising in the Peach State defended the Constitution.
A citizen uprising in the Peach State defended the Constitution.

VICTORY: Tea Party-Occupy-Labor Coalition Kills Georgia’s Corporate Assault On The First Amendment

Republic Report was one of the first outlets to tell you about a dangerous bill in Georgia being pushed by a Waffle House executive and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce that would’ve outlawed picketing outside of private residences — a law that would’ve put the Founding Fathers themselves in jail.

After we filed our report, Georgia activists took action. In direct response to our piece, Georgia Jobs With Justice started leafletting outside Waffle Houses to inform the patrons what one of the company’s most senior executives was proposing. The Tea Party also joined with Occupy Atlanta and the state’s labor …

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March 30, 2012

Senator Joe Lieberman, Congressman Jerry Lewis Reject Republic Report’s Backdoor Bribery Campaign

Republic Report investigates political corruption of all types, and we’ve become increasingly concerned about retiring lawmakers. A study we produced earlier this month found that, out of the members of Congress who have become lobbyists and disclosed their salary, lawmakers moving through the revolving door can expect a 1,400% raise on average. The multimillion-dollar salaries are made possible in part by corrupt laws — pork barrel spending, lucrative government contracts — supported by members before they leave office. The evidence suggests retiring lawmakers begin selling public policy in exchange for K Street paydays. “Being a Congressman is like being …

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March 30, 2012
Former Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN). Bayh now works on several lobbying campaigns on behalf of corporate interests.

At Banking Event, Senator-Turned-Lobbyist Evan Bayh Echoes Naomi Klein’s “Shock Doctrine,” Says Crisis is the Only Way to Make “Progress”

Ex-Senator Evan Bayh, a lobbyist for financial services industry firms like VISA (as well as many other corporate interests), spoke at an industry event late last year to give his thoughts on the political dynamic in the US.  What he said could be lifted straight out of Naomi Klein’s book, “The Shock Doctrine”, whose thesis is that political elites use crisis moments to create structural change.  Here’s Bayh, according to an account in an industry newsletter:

At a recent industry event, former Senator Evan Bayh provided an update on the banking industry as it relates to the U.S. economy. …

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March 30, 2012

Joe the Plumber, Now Running For Congress, Gives Up Plumbing for Special Interest Speaking Gigs

Samuel Wurzelbacher became better known as “Joe the Plumber” after he confronted then-candidate Barack Obama in 2008. Wurzelbacher told Obama that his tax policies would impact his ability to create a small plumbing business.

Wurzelbacher, now a candidate for Congress, never founded that business. But he has continued playing up his plumbing background. “I’m counting on your support because, as a plumber, I’m not going to be able to write my campaign a check,” writes Wurzelbacher in a recent campaign e-mail.

But he’s put down the plunger for the podium. Wurzelbacher has no plumbing income in the last two years. Rather, …

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March 29, 2012

Koch Operative Steve Lonegan Offers Rude Gesture When We Ask About Lawsuit Over His Questionable Public Financing

Last year, Steve Lebowitz and I published a story for ThinkProgress revealing that Steve Lonegan, a Republican candidate for New Jersey governor in 2009, made false statements in order to obtain millions in public funding for his election. Our report sparked a qui tam lawsuit by a citizen in New Jersey against Lonegan for defrauding the taxpayers of his state. Lonegan, however, doesn’t seem interested in talking about the matter. In fact, he gave us a rude gesture when confronted about the issue.

Here’s the backstory. Lonegan badly needed resources to compete with Chris Christie in the GOP primary in 2009. …

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March 29, 2012

How You Can Meet Some Financial Services Lobbyists and the Staffers Who Love Them

Last week, you learned about former banking committee staffer Scott Eckel, who should just be settling into his new job as head of lobbying for Charles Schwab. Eckel is now earning money based on his connections crafted during his time as a public policy-maker, which is a nice clear a case of Backdoor Bribery. Below is an invitation to another form of corruption, the “Financial Services Industry Meet and Greet.” This is a kind of meat market, where staffers and lobbyists interact, exchange gossip and information, and set up fundraisers and potential job interviews (both ways, from lobbyist …

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March 28, 2012

Retiring Congressman Barney Frank Will Not Agree To Disclose Negotiations For Future Jobs

Selling out pays. We looked at just a dozen Members of Congress who became lobbyists and other advocates for special interests after they left office and found that they received an average of a 1,452 percent raise. So we here at Republic Report sent a letter to all 36 retiring Members of Congress asking them to commit to disclosing any job negotiations they have with anyone during the rest of their time in office. That way, we at least know who they’re potentially selling out to, and we can watch out for signs that, while still in office, they …

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