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The controversy over the Internal Revenue Service's handling of applications for non-profit status from Tea Party groups has put a spotlight on a subject with which we at the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group are all too painfully familiar: The migraine-producing complexity of the nation's campaign finance system. To shed some light on the ongoing debate, we've decided to share what we know.
Intuit, producer of the top-selling tax software TurboTax, has opposed letting the government do your taxes for free – even though it could save time and headaches for millions of filers.
(Visualizations by Alexander Furnas and Amy Cesal ) As Congress inches toward major immigration legislation, a new Sunlight Foundation analysis (based on almost 8,000 lobbying reports) offers a comprehensive and interactive guide to the web of interests with something at stake.
When historians look back on Mitt Romney’s bid for the Presidency, one trend will be clear: no Republican candidate ever ran a similar campaign again. For four decades, from Richard Nixon to Ronald Reagan through the two Bush Presidencies, the Republican Party won the White House by amassing large margins among white voters. Nixon summoned the silent majority. Reagan cemented this bloc of voters, many of whom were former Democrats.
Traffic on a Muckety map published in August, examining the Koch brothers’ extensive involvement in libertarian politics, has spiked this week because of the demonstrations in Wisconsin. As The New York Times writes, Koch money is finding its way to Madison. Tim Phillips, head of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, spoke to counterprotesters on Saturday. Now the group is launching an ad campaign in support of Gov.
Share this Oh, my goodness! This page does not exist . . . kind of like "clean coal." We apologize but something's gone wrong — an old link, a bad link, or some little glitch.
When historians dissect the 2012 elections, they will almost certainly look beyond the daily ebb and flow of momentum to a larger truth: This was the year outside spending exploded. The election will cost a record $6 billion  , with super PACs and other outside groups spending more than $1 billion — up 260 percent from 2008. Dark money groups have spent at least $302.5 million  this year, a figure that doesn’t account for activity not reported to the Federal Elections Commission. In some races, we found, dark money represented the majority of spending on behalf of both candidates. As our reporting has shown  , these dark money groups avoid disclosing their donors by saying they are “social welfare” nonprofits under IRS rules, then spend vast sums on political activity (read: how nonprofits spend millions on elections and call it social welfare  ).
In a campaign that's supposed to be about an ailing economy, there's just one financial indicator that remains consistently robust: Call it the Gross Political Product. The latest signal of just how profitable a business politics remains is available on Sunlight's Follow the Unlimited Money , which shows outside spending at nearly $465 million as of Sunday evening. That's more than the total for the entire 2010 campaign, the first that took place following the Supreme Court's landmark Citizens United decision, which allowed corporations and unions to give in unlimited amounts. This cycle's outside spending mostly comes in the form of "independent expenditures" supporting or opposing political candidates by unions, corporations, trade associations, non-profit groups and super PACs. This money enabled outside groups to run shadow campaigns for or against candidates of their choice, as a look at some of the expenditures reported over the weekend shows.
By Lee Fang posted May 22nd 2012 at 9:00AM The Senate Banking Committee is responding to outrage over the news that J.P. Morgan lost some $3 billion in customer money because of a risky trading strategy.
Two days ago I mentioned the " Goodbye to All That " essay by Mike Lofgren, a respected (including by me) veteran Congressional staffer who had worked for Republican legislators on defense and budget issues for nearly 30 years. If you have not read his essay yet, please read it now . And then, please return! Among the important aspects of his essay is that it goes beyond one now-conventional point of "the worse, the better" analysis: that the GOP's main legislative goal is to thwart Obama, and if that includes blocking proposals that might revive the economy, so much the better for the Republicans next year. More fundamentally, Lofgren argues that today's Republicans believe they are better off if government as a whole is shown to fail, not just this Democratic Administration. Republican hard-liners might seem to have "lost" the debt-ceiling showdown, in that they wound up even less popular than the Democrats are.
The following op-ed, co-written by HLS Professor Lawrence Lessig and Daily Beast contributor Mark McKinnon , appeared in the Apr. 6 edition of the online publication. by Mark McKinnon and Lawrence Lessig Washington is hopelessly addicted to money and thus to the status quo; drunk with power and incapable of getting sober and fixing itself. It’s time for an intervention—by the states. Politically, we two disagree on just about everything. But the one thing we do agree on is that the institutions of government in Washington have become corrupt, held hostage by well-funded special interests.
At a talk at UCLA last month Lawrence Lessig said that Congress needs to think big, not puny, when considering the reform needed to fix our corrupt government. So, too, must America. Two pieces of legislation have already dared us to do so — the American Anti-Corruption Act and the Grassroots Democracy Act. Any reform would be better than what we have, but the real test is going to be whether such a bill can steal the hearts of Americans not yet inside this movement. At minimum, we must understand these proposals, and even better, we must be ready to talk about them with others.
Our Exposé episode called As Likely As Not is one of our strongest, not least because of how it evolved as we were working on it. It began as a story about sick U.S. nuclear workers being denied benefits they deserved. In the course of shooting it became a tragic story about one of those workers passing away before he and his family were fully compensated for his illness. Then, just as we were finishing the edit, without our ever having planned or imagined it, the story also became about a woman losing her job. That woman is Laura Frank, an investigative reporter until recently employed by Denver's Rocky Mountain News . The Rocky went under on February 27, 2009, after having published newspapers in Colorado since 1859.
Photo: Shutterstock Last week, after giving myself an initial overview of the scientific research on how gun ownership and gun laws affect violent crime, I told you that it seems like there's not a solid consensus on this issue . At least not in the United States. Different studies, of different laws, in different places seem to produce a wide variety of results. On the one hand, this is kind of to be expected with social science.