Suzanne Merkelson

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Suzanne Merkelson is the former Associate Web Editor at United Republic. She previously worked at Foreign Policy magazine, where she was a web producer. She has also interned at The Atlantic and NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook. Suzanne has written for the Chicago Tribune, Foreign Policy and The Atlantic, among others.

July 13, 2012

LINKS: “This Is The End Of Accountability In Elections”

Bloomberg BusinessWeek: Campaign Fundraisers: You’re Cordially Excluded
There are many aspects of our money-soaked political culture to worry about. One that we seem to be getting awfully comfortable with is the off-the-record fundraiser, which consumes an increasing amount of presidential candidates’ time and energy. Raising money under a cloak of silence suggests that candidates have one version of their pitch that they offer ordinary voters and another, more candid one the public isn’t allowed to hear. That’s the appeal of events limited to mega-donors, and it isn’t a good thing, says Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics …

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July 12, 2012

LINKS: Do We Need Dodd-Frank? That’s A Clown Question, Bro

Washington Post: Money gap may not matter so much in November
Obama probably will be similarly outspent in the end, but given the near-parity in bank accounts on both sides, it won’t make much difference.
“Nobody’s going to win or lose this election on the basis of not having enough money,” said Bob Biersack, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign money. “Each of them is going to have around $700 [million to] $800 million available. The idea that that’s not enough is just bizarre.”

Roll Call: Judges Will Rule on Texas Voter ID
The war over …

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July 11, 2012

LINKS: Corruption Is Up In The United States

New York Times:  The Spreading Scourge of Corporate Corruption
The misconduct of the financial industry no longer surprises most Americans. Only about one in five has much trust in banks, according to Gallup polls, about half the level in 2007. And it’s not just banks that are frowned upon. Trust in big business overall is declining. Sixty-two percent of Americans believe corruption is widespread across corporate America. According to Transparency International, an anticorruption watchdog, nearly three in four Americans believe that corruption has increased over the last three years.

Washington Post: …

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July 11, 2012

Record Polluter Lobbying Contributes To Record Heat

It was so hot in D.C. this weekend that a plane trying to depart from Reagan National Airport actually sunk into melting tarmac. In Colorado, wildfires have destroyed over 600 homes in a matter of days. Meanwhile, the recent “derecho” storm, one so severe it needs a special name, killed at least 23 people and left 1.4 million more without power from Illinois to Virginia. In the last week alone, over 2,000 individual heat records were broken across the country. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that this past spring “marked the largest temperature departure from average of any …

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July 10, 2012

Political Corruption Enhances the Influence of the One Percent

The Atlantic: Big Campaign Spending: Government by the 1%
Here’s what we must come to see: America has lost the capacity to govern. On a wide range of critical issues — from global warming to tax reform, from effective financial regulation to real health-care change, from the deficit to defense spending — we have lost the capacity to do anything other than suffer through a miserable status quo. If there is a ship of state, its rudder has been lost. We are drifting. We can’t change course. And eventually, and with absolute certainty, in waters such as these, a drifting …

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July 10, 2012

John Deere, CVS Caremark, HP, MillerCoors, And Best Buy Drop ALEC

Today, five new companies have pledged to stop funding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). They include John Deere, CVS Caremark, MillerCoors, HP, and Best Buy.

According to the activist group ColorOfChange:

“Over the last few weeks, we have closely followed the issues surrounding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and have heard from numerous stakeholders expressing their views,” said Larry Burton, CVS Caremark Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, in an email to ColorOfChange. “As a result, after careful consideration of the available information, CVS Caremark has discontinued its membership in ALEC.”

“We’ve not contributed to ALEC this year, nor do …

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July 9, 2012
Mitt Romney Koch fundraiser

Lunchtime Money in Politics Links: July 8, 2012

The Washington Post: Romney outraised Obama in June, $106 million to $71 million
(Important to note that these totals don’t include funds raised and spent by outside groups like super PACs!)

New York Times: Democrats to Ask for Curbs on Donor-Shielding Groups
The Democratic Party’s Senate campaign arm will file a formal complaint on Monday with the Federal Election Commission against three of the Republicans’ biggest campaign groups, accusing them of willful violations of federal election law and asking that their electioneering be stopped.

New York Times: Tax-Exempt Groups Shield Political Gifts of Businesses
The secrecy shrouding these …

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July 2, 2012
DC power outage and money in politics
Are DC's downed power lines a product of too much money in politics?

Still Sweating? Here’s Another Reason To Hate Pepco: It Spends Your Tax Dollars Lobbying To Increase Rates For Its Shoddy Services

The Washington, DC, area experienced incredibly severe storms on Friday night, the kind that, with an unprecedented number of downed trees, can only lead to extensive power disruptions — 1.5 million were without power for at least part of the weekend. Yet three days later, 25 percent of households and businesses in the area still don’t have power — and some aren’t expected to get it back until next Friday (or even later!), a full week after the storm. This is happening amid a record-setting heatwave that isn’t just inconvenient and sticky. 100-plus degree days without access to air-conditioning …

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