July 31, 2012

LOL Campaign Finance

Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis are out with a new movie that looks like it will be a hilarious skewer of the modern political campaign. The Campaign, out on August 10, gets one thing a bit too right — campaign finance. Watch this clip…so funny because it’s so true.

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July 31, 2012

LINKS: Destroy Campaign Finance Regulation?

The Atlantic: The Only Way to Fix Campaign-Finance Regulation Is to Destroy It
Over the last four decades, the campaign finance system has become a Rube Goldberg-esque contraption of complex, senseless, and indecipherable regulations. To fix it, new “reforms” (a.k.a. regulations) are routinely proposed, and some are even passed — such as the McCain-Feingold Bill in 2002. But the gush of money into politics continues unabated.

Campaign Finance Institute: The National Parties are Holding Their Own Financially at the Eighteen-Month Mark
According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on July 20, the two national committees and four congressional committees had …

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July 31, 2012
A former recruiter at the for-profit ITT Technical Institute described her experiences at Sen. Tom Harkin's press conference.

For-Profit College Recruiter: Goal Was To “Demoralize Potential Applicants” And Get “Asses In Classes”

Yesterday at Sen. Tom Harkin’s press conference on the release of his new report on the predatory nature of the for-profit college industry, one of the most illuminating testimonies came not from the senator or his colleagues, but from a former active and knowing participant in the abusive system. Laura Brozek worked for ITT Technical Institute for over seven years as a recruiter in southern California. She started as an entry-level recruiter, enticing prospective students, including parolees and those with felony records who were interested in criminal justice jobs they likely could never obtain, to enroll at …

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July 30, 2012

Harkin, Colleagues Say For-Profit Colleges Squander Billions and Destroy Dreams

At a Capitol Hill press conference today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released a blockbuster four-volume report based on his two-year investigation of the for-profit college industry.

I’ve already discussed the findings of the report, which details how many of the big for-profit schools engage in fraudulent conduct, offer high-priced, low-quality programs, and leave many students deep in debt.

Harkin today said “the bottom line” is that the $32 billion that taxpayers provide each year to the for-profit college industry is “squandered.” Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) also stressed that enormous $32 billion figure (one quarter of all federal financial aid, and actually …

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July 30, 2012

LINKS: FEC Says It Will Enforce New Disclosure Rules For Nonprofits

Huff Post: ‘Dark Money’ Hits $172 Million in 2012 Election, Half of Independent Group Spending
Through July 26, politically involved groups that do not disclose their donors have spent at least $172 million on campaigns that include television, radio and Internet advertising, according to a Huffington Post review of FEC reports, advertising buys, press releases and news stories. Total spending by these groups is likely far greater, since they are required to report only a fraction of their spending to the FEC. Politically involved independent groups that publicly disclose their donors, including super PACs, have spent $174 million so far …

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July 30, 2012

John McCain Says He’s ‘Proud’ Of Ex-Lockheed Martin Lobbyist He Hired As Defense Staffer

Earlier this year, we reported that Northrop Grumman gave one of its lobbyists an effective $500,000 bonus when he joined the House Armed Services Committee to make defense policy. It now appears that this isn’t the only pay-out from the industry to a future staffer.

Last week, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) noted that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, hired Ann Elise Sauer, who was a lobbyist for Lockheed Martin last year, as the Republican staff director for the committee in February.

POGO revealed that Sauer received $1.66 million in pay last year …

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July 30, 2012
State Senator Michael Waddoups (R-ALEC)

Utah State Senate President Falsely Claims His Legislature Doesn’t Follow ALEC’s ‘Line’

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a very powerful corporate front group that works with corporations to get bills passed in state legislatures — without the general public ever knowing that these bills are ALEC’s.

It has worked to do everything from pass “Shoot First” laws to suppress votes to give special tax favors to online companies. But the public has started to catch on, and dozens of corporations and organizations have ended their relationships with ALEC in recent months.

ALEC is currently holding a meeting in Utah. Utah State Senate president Michael Waddoups (R) defended the …

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July 29, 2012

Sen. Harkin’s Report: For-Profit Colleges Leave Students With Debt But No Degree

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and his Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee staff released Sunday a report based on a comprehensive investigation of  30 of the biggest for-profit college companies. It’s full of stark revelations about this controversial, troubled industry.

I’ve been saying for a couple of years that, no matter how cynical one’s view of Washington is, it cannot encompass the perpetuation of the terrible impunity of America’s for-profit colleges. For over a decade, these corporations have taken billions from taxpayers — now about $33 billion a year — for a toxic mix of high-priced, low-quality programs that leave …

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