March 28, 2012

At Conference With Bank Lobbyists, Mark Warner Wants To Cut Social Security But Won’t Endorse Bank Tax

Last week, the American Bankers Association (ABA) — a leading lobbying group for Big Banks —  held a large lobbying meeting in Washington, D.C. Thousands of bankers packed the halls of the Omni Shoreham Hotel to hear Members of Congress praise their industry and encourage them to back certain pieces of legislation.

The only Democratic Party senator who spoke before the assembled audience was Virginia’s Mark Warner. During his speech, Warner spoke of his efforts to raise the Social Security retirement age — which would involve a major cut to a program that would largely impact blue collar workers the …

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March 28, 2012

Although Bill Gates Supports Gun Control, His Foundation Gave Over $375,000 To ALEC, Front Group Promoting ‘Shoot First’ Law

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has gotten some much-deserved exposure for its secretive campaigns to push harmful laws in statehouses across the country this week after it was revealed that it helped push Stand Your Ground, the law keeping Trayvon Martin’s killer free in Florida. ALEC, funded by many major corporations we all know, drafts some truly despicable model legislation including laws looking to ban living wages, cripple collective bargaining, attack voting rights, and sell off prisons.

ALEC has its hands all over public policy, including educating kids. As my colleague Zaid Jilani wrote about on Monday, …

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March 27, 2012
An interesting idea has emerged from lawmakers from both sides of the political spectrum: why not ban members of Congress from becoming K Street lobbyists? In Canada, senior lawmakers and government officials face a five year lobbying ban. In America, the "cooling off" period is only one year for congressmen and two years for senators -- and there are dozens of loopholes that allow lawmakers to win multimillion dollar salaries from lobbying groups with no waiting period at all. [See our report on revolving door paydays here.] Lawmakers will sometimes make policy in the hopes of winning jobs on K Street after they retire. Former Congressman Billy Tauzin (R-LA) secured billions for the drug industry shortly before becoming a pharmaceutical industry lobbyist. So far, Congressmen Scott Rigell (R-VA) and Dave Loebsack (D-IA) have stepped up to the plate, calling for a lifetime ban on lobbying. We decided to head to Capitol Hill and find out if other lawmakers would join the cause. We spoke to Congressmen Jon Runyan (NJ), Mike Kelly (PA), Paul Broun (GA), and Todd Akin (MO). Watch the video here:

VIDEO: Asked About a Lifetime Lobbying Ban for Members of Congress, Lawmakers Flee Republic Report

An interesting idea has emerged from lawmakers from both sides of the political spectrum: why not ban members of Congress from becoming K Street lobbyists? In Canada, senior lawmakers and government officials face a five year lobbying ban. In America, the “cooling off” period is only one year for congressmen and two years for senators — and there are dozens of loopholes that allow lawmakers to win multimillion dollar salaries from lobbying groups with no waiting period at all. [See our report on revolving door paydays here.]

Lawmakers will sometimes make policy in the hopes of winning jobs on …

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March 27, 2012
David Schweikert, a Republican running for Congress in 2010, stands next to a Koch-funded bus tour designed to help elect him. Schweikert won his election and is now a member of Congress.

Exclusive: How The Koch Brothers Spent At Least $3.9 Million In Unreported Partisan Attack Efforts During The 2010 Election

Republic Report has obtained financial audits showing that the billionaire Koch brothers supported at least $3.9 million in unreported election-related activity in 2010. The documents, reported here for the first time, provide a window into an otherwise secret campaign infrastructure that will likely be reactivated this year.

David and Charles Koch, the billionaire brothers of the Koch Industries business empire, are big election spenders: They dumped millions into negative advertisements against Democrats in the last election, and control a political action committees that has distributed well over $5.2 million in checks to favored politicians over the last two campaign …

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March 26, 2012

Another Young Man’s Shooter Apparently Protected by ‘Ghostwritten’ ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law

In the wake of the terrible tragedy of 17-year-old Trayvon Marton’s death, journalists, activists, politicians, and other concerned citizens have focused on the “Stand Your Ground” law (also known as the “Castle Doctrine“), which Florida police have claimed they are following in declining to arrest George Zimmerman, Martin’s killer. This law was pushed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) — which is funded largely by the gun industry – and the corporate front group, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an ideologically conservative corporate front group that unites state lawmakers with corporations wanting to push specific agendas in statehouses …

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March 26, 2012

Retiring Senator Ben Nelson Refuses To Disclose Any Job Negotiations With Lobbyists

Selling out pays. Members of Congress who retire to become lobbyists get huge paydays. We looked at just a dozen federal lawmakers who went through the revolving door and found that they get, on average, 1,452% raises.

That’s why we sent a letter to the 36 retiring Members of Congress to publicly disclose any negotiations they’re having with lobbying firms or anyone else for a job after they leave Congress. If they’re selling out, we at least want to know — especially while they’re still in Congress and making laws that govern our lives.

Two Members of Congress told …

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March 26, 2012

Time For Businesses Behind ‘Shoot First’ Law To Take Responsibility, Quit ALEC – Republic Report Joins Coalition Effort Challenging Corporations

The story of Trayvon Martin is, first and foremost, a tragedy for his family, and our hearts go out to them.  It’s also about things that need to change, including how powerful interests use their superior resources to distort the processes of government — in this case a well-funded private group, fueled by donations from big corporations: the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC.

We want to know why major U.S. corporations support ALEC, which, working with the National Rifle Association, helped write and promote around the country the law that might allow Trayvon Martin’s killer to go free. So Republic …

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March 26, 2012

The Top Five Most Despicable Laws Passed By Corporate Front Group ALEC

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is the most powerful corporate front group you’ve never heard of. The organization, funded mostly by large corporations, writes model legislation and then sends these bills to state legislators across the country. It has successfully passed scores of laws on various issues.

ALEC has come under scrutiny lately for writing and helping to pass “Stand Your Ground” laws, which allow for an expansive definition of self defense that lets individuals use deadly force if they feel threatened. It is a law like this in Florida which may allow Trayvon Martin’s killer to go free. …

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