August 31, 2012

On HuffPost: To Get Better Policies, Expose Corrupt Politics

Huffington Post published this piece by me yesterday, as part of its Shadow Conventions series:

To grasp the harms caused when money dominates politics, start with for-profit colleges. This industry tripled in size during the last decade, spurred by deceptive recruiting practices, after its lobbyists loosened federal rules aimed at protecting students and taxpayers from fraud. It has become a monster, a league of Wall Street corporations and private equity-owned firms that get 86 percent of their revenues — $32 billion a year — from taxpayers.

While some for-profit colleges are honest and work to educate their students, many charge sky-high …

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August 7, 2012
Super PAC ads aren't just annoying...they make a lot of money for stations.

Political Advertisements Advance The Media’s Profits

Industry analysts are predicting that upwards of $3 billion will be spent on political advertisements in the 2012 election. This is an increase of more than $500 million from 2008. But who will benefit the most from this cash infusion? Not President Obama. Not even Mitt Romney. Rather, the National Association of Broadcasters, a lobbying group that proclaims itself “the voice for the nation’s radio and television broadcasters.”

A new FCC rule could provide the public with real-time data about who is profiting from the vast Super PAC spending. The commission ruled in April that affiliates of CBS, NBC, ABC, …

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August 2, 2012

‘Persistence Matters, Public Engagement Matters': House Democrats Dare To Reform Campaign Finance System

Yesterday, House Democrats held a press conference outside of the capitol building along with Public Campaign, a campaign finance reform group. Their goal was to issue a D.A.R.E to Congressional Republicans encouraging them to act on campaign finance reform.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Rep. James Clyburn, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen all joined Public Campaign in calling for a constitutional amendment overturning the 2010 Supreme Court case Citizens United.

D.A.R.E is intended to highlight key areas that need to be addressed when trying to ameliorate the U.S. campaign finance system: disclosing donors, amending the constitution, reforming campaign finance …

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July 27, 2012

Whitehouse At Senate Judiciary Hearing: If We Can Ask Soldiers To Go To Afghanistan, We Can Ask The Koch Brothers To ‘Put Up With Some Impolite Blogging’

On Tuesday, a Senate Judiciary subcommittee held a hearing called “Taking Back Our Democracy,” examining special interests’ increasing grip on American politics and policy, especially focusing on the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. Two panels of witnesses, including both current lawmakers and activists, testified to a friendly panel of Democratic senators (no Republicans appeared to have shown up) that our democracy is under siege.

That sentiment was no surprise to anyone in the room (over 400 people showed up for the hearing, packing the room and causing spillover to another room). Again and again, testimonies confirmed that while money has …

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June 8, 2012

20,000 United Republic Members Petition Supreme Court To Overturn Citizens United

Last month, “Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to let stand a decision by the Montana Supreme Court, American Tradition Partnership vs. Bullock, upholding the state’s ban on outside election spending by corporations. The anti-environmental group American Tradition Partnership contends that Montana’s law conflicts directly with the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision.”

We asked United Republic members to petition the court to overturn the Citizens United decision and stand with the American people, not Big Money. Over 20,000 members signed our petition of support, and we received 1,700 comments from Americans of …

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May 23, 2012
Supreme Court

Even Mississippi Calls For The Supreme Court To Overturn Citizens United

(No offense, Mississippi.)

Last week, Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to let stand a decision by the Montana Supreme Court, American Tradition Partnership vs. Bullock, upholding the state’s ban on outside election spending by corporations. The anti-environmental group American Tradition Partnership contends that Montana’s law conflicts directly with the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision.

Meanwhile, 22 states and the District of Columbia are backing Montana. Led by  New York, they’re saying that the Montana law is different from the federal issues addressed by Citizens United. Surprisingly, one of …

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May 21, 2012

Meet The Group Trying To Use Citizens United To Kill Montana’s Ban On Corporate Spending In Elections

Last week, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) submitted an amicus brief ” urging the U.S. Supreme Court to let stand Montana’s century-old ban on corporate money in political campaigns despite the court’s Citizens United ruling two years ago declaring unconstitutional a similar federal law sponsored by McCain.”

The challenge to Montana’s ban on corporate money comes from a shadowy group called American Tradition Partnership (ATP).

ATP is a group based in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area that was launched in 2008 as a 501(c)4 lobbying group called Western Tradition Partnership. It was then renamed American Tradition Partnership. The …

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May 14, 2012

Meet Three Congressional Primary Candidates Running Against Corruption

Americans everywhere are waking up to the corrupting influence of Big Money on our democratic form of government. Activists are holding rallies, signing petitions, getting city resolutions passed against Citizens United, and taking part in other activities designed to push for major reforms to our system.

But that’s not the only way Americans are challenging our special interest-dominated system. Across the country, a number of congressional candidates are running in primaries based largely on the fact that they oppose Big Money. Here’s three particularly outspoken primary candidates, Democrats and Republicans, who are running against corruption:

1. Eric Griego (New Mexico): Griego, …

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