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Category Archive: Corporate Influence in Politics

Apr 12 2014

Public Opinion Matters Far Less Than Wealth

A new study confirms what anyone who has been paying attention has always known, that the views of wealthy people and powerful interest groups matters far more in influencing public policy than public opinion, even when voters are strongly in favor of a particular policy choice.

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Apr 09 2014

How to Fix the Campaign Finance Problem

Unfortunately, it looks like the only way to fix the campaign finance problem that is preventing the solution to practically every other problem is to pass a constitutional amendment, something that is incredibly difficult to do. Lawrence Tribe has proposed this amendment:

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Apr 07 2014

The Sham of Conservative Originalism

Larry Lessig, the Harvard law professor who has led a crusade for real campaign finance reform for several years, reacts to the Supreme Court’s ruling in McCutcheon by pointing out that the conservative justice’s claimed preference for originalism is contradicted by the ruling.

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Apr 03 2014

SCOTUS Hands More Power to Oligarchs

The Supreme Corp…sorry, I meant Court…doubled down on their ruling in Citizens United (and the even more important 4th Circuit case Free Speech Now) and all but handed what little was left of a genuine democracy over to wealthy individuals and corporations. The New York Times reports on the ruling in McCutcheon v FEC:

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Mar 23 2014

Graham Wants to Ban Online Gambling

Sen. Lindsay Graham has decided that we must ban internet gambling at the federal level. By sheer coincidence, I’m sure, he came to this position after Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate who wants to rid himself of the competition, started raising big money for his reelection campaign.

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Mar 20 2014

Scott Brown Wants Limits on Outside Spending. Except When He Doesn’t.

Former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown is now preparing to run for the Senate from New Hampshire, having conveniently relocated there, and the exact same agreement to not accept outside spending that he proposed and signed in 2012 is now suddenly game-playing nonsense in 2014.

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Mar 14 2014

New Jersey Bans Tesla Car Sales

New Jersey just became the third state to ban the sale of Tesla cars directly to customers who want them. Because never forget that the stated glories of the free market (which are real, actually) must always take a back seat to political grift and rent-seeking companies.

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Feb 13 2014

NC Govt. Prevented Cleanup of Coal Ash Site

Remember that coal ash retention pond owned by Duke Energy that leaked nearly 30 million gallons of toxic slurry into a river in North Carolina? Well the government agency that was supposed to regulate that company’s facility was instead helping protect it. And the governor worked for Duke Energy for 28 years. I’m sure that’s …

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Jan 29 2014

The Selling of Rich Delusions

In the wake of billionaire venture capitalist Tom Perkins saying that he thinks the richest Americans are on the verge of being rounded up into Nazi-style concentration camps, Josh Marshall tries to understand the psychology and sociology of that utterly deluded belief.

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Jan 26 2014

D’Souza Indicted for Campaign Finance Fraud

Is it possible to overdose on schadenfreude? If so, this might do it. The DOJ and the FBI indicted Dinesh D’Souza on multiple counts of campaign finance fraud for allegedly having other people donate money to a political candidate he favored, then reimbursing them to get around contribution limits.

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Jan 24 2014

What Citizens United Hath Wrought

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Chris Cillizza looks at the effect that the Citizens United ruling has had on outside spending — money spent by third-party political organizations rather than by the parties or the candidates — during the last three election cycles. It’s pretty staggering. This chart speaks volumes:

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Dec 13 2013

Rand Paul Tells Lies in Detroit

Jeff Wattrick, one of Michigan’s best muckraking journalists, went to hear Rand Paul’s speech to the Detroit Economic Club last week and asked him a simple question: Why did you vote to continue subsidizing crop insurance for tobacco farmers? His response was a rather blatant lie.

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Dec 03 2013

Tancredo: New IRS Regs an ‘Assault’ on Free Speech

Tom Tancredo, former congressman turned wingnut columnist and professional anti-immigration agitator, responds to new propose IRS guidelines on what can and can’t be done by 501(c)(4) groups with all the nuance and intellectual integrity one would expect. Which is to say he screams “OMG, Obama is destroying freedom of speech” at the top of his …

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Nov 29 2013

IRS Proposes New Guidelines for Political Non-Profits

Throughout the mostly fake IRS “scandal” the right pretended that it was all about Obama persecuting conservative groups, but the real problem was that the rules governing political non-profits are far too vague and provide little guidance. Now the IRS is proposing new rules to fix that.

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Nov 14 2013

Clinton vs Warren in 2016?

There has been a lot of speculation recently about a possible Elizabeth Warren candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, challenging Hillary Clinton, who has been the presumptive nominee for many years now. I don’t think that’s likely to happen, but it does bring up some interesting issues. Like this:

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