August 1, 2012

Georgia Voters Of Both Parties Revolt Against Corruption

Imagine if lobbyists could give virtually anything they wanted to lawmakers, ranging from a gift basket of cookies to a Mercedes Benz.

This isn’t some dark fairy tale. In Georgia, it’s reality. Lobbyists can give virtually whatever gift they want to lawmakers.

But in recent month, a rowdy coalition of tea partiers and progressives have been campaigning to place a modest cap on these gifts that lobbyists can give to legislators — $100 value per gift.

Last night, in the statewide primary election, voters in both parties overwhelmingly approved of non-binding ballot questions approving of such a lobbyist gift cap. Here’s a

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August 1, 2012

Former Army Captain Says If Hospitals Behaved Like For-Profit Colleges, Execs Would Be In Jail

At a press conference Monday, Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA), flanked by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), unveiled a new report looking at the abuses against students by the for-profit college industry, which is largely subsidized by the taxpayer with few strings attached.

In recent months, abuses against veterans in particular have come to light. Thus one of the speakers at the event was the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America’s (IAVA) Tom Tarantino. Tarantino served 10 years in the U.S. Army, reached the rank of captain, and was awarded the Continue Reading »

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July 20, 2012

Maine’s Two Senators Were Once Champions Of Campaign Disclosure; Now They Bow To K Street-Prescribed Secrecy

If Maine’s two senators, or even one of them, had stood by their long-held principles, we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in today where the majority of the outside spending groups are completely undisclosed, and even foreign corporations can spend in our elections without any transparency. Because of the Supreme Court, we can’t limit this spending; but disclosure is a story of political will, or the lack thereof.

Indeed, either one of Maine’s senate delegation — Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins — both Republicans, could have been the deciding vote to break the GOP filibuster of the DISCLOSE Act, …

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July 13, 2012

In Georgia, Tea Party And Progressives Go On Bus Tour To Fight Lobbyists

We’ve been continually reporting on the tea party-progressive movement in Georgia to demand a lobbyist gift cap so that lobbyists can no longer give any gifts to lawmakers that cost more than $100 (Georgia is today one of three states where lobbyists can give unlimited gifts to legislators).

At least 130 sitting state lawmakers or legislative candidates have signed a pledge promising to support a $100 cap on gifts to lawmakers, an important step ahead of Georgia’s state legislative primaries at the end of this month. There will also be non-binding ballot questions both for Democrats and Republicans …

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July 10, 2012
Nebraska GOP Senate candidate Deb Fischer

Nebraska GOP Senate Candidate Deb Fischer Puts Out Bold Plan For Ethics Reform

Deb Fischer shocked political observers recently when she came from behind and won the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in Nebraska. Although an endorsement from GOP icon Sarah Palin probably helped, it’s worth noting that Fischer has also been campaigning on a strong proposal to reform the ethics and lobbying laws in Congress.

Here’s a few of the provisions that she has listed:

– “A lifetime ban on Members of Congress from becoming federally registered lobbyists after they leave office.”

– “Congress should be subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  Nebraska and other states are subject to FOIA and Washington …

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July 6, 2012

Virginia Democratic Party Chair, Subject of Our Reporting, Ends His Job As For-Profit College Lobbyist

In May, Republic Report approached Virginia Democratic Party chairman Brian Moran and asked him if there was a conflict of interest between his role in the party — advancing the goals of President Barack Obama — and his job as a for-profit college lobbyist for the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities (APSCU), which has specialized in battling Obama’s attempts to hold the industry accountable to students and taxpayers.

He blew us off, saying that our reporting was “totally unfair” and that there was “absolutely not” any conflict between being chair of the Democratic Party and being a corporate …

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July 5, 2012
Rep. Don Parsons (R). He may be smiling because lobbyists keep buying him great free dinners.

Georgia Lawmaker Calls Lobbying Gift Cap Silly, But Gets Hundreds Of Dollars In Meals From Lobbyists

Momentum continues to grow in the state of Georgia, as both tea partiers and progressives are pushing hard to enact a lobbyist gift cap that would cap lobbyist gifts to lawmakers at $100.

Recently, Rep. Don Parsons (R) called the cap “silly,” and refused to sign on to a pledge to push for such a reform. Parsons has good reason to find this reform silly — it would cut off a major gravy train for him.

According to records released by the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission, Parsons has received hundreds of dollars in …

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July 3, 2012

On Independence Day, Remember That The Founding Fathers Revolted Against Big Money

Tomorrow is Independence Day, the holiday where Americans celebrate declaring independence from the British Empire. And the joy of hot dogs and fireworks.

But Independence Day shouldn’t just be a day where we’re all glad we drive on the right side of the road and perplexingly still don’t use the metric system. It’s also a holiday where we should reflect on the roots of the American idea that the Founding Fathers fought for.

For example, everyone knows that the Founders revolted against their British rulers to make America an independent country, and that one of the starting points for this revolution was …

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