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Empire - US Democracy: The Power of Money. Infographic: What's the Cost of Getting Into Congress? (Scaling) Wal-Mart took part in lobbying campaign to amend anti-bribery law. The effort has intensified in the past two years, drawing on the backing of several large companies and trade groups such as the Retail Industry Leaders Association, where one of Wal-Mart’s top executives serves as a director.

Wal-Mart took part in lobbying campaign to amend anti-bribery law

It also has involved high-powered lobbyists, including former attorney general Michael B. Mukasey. The 1977 law, known as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, prohibits U.S. companies from offering fees or gifts to foreign officials to advance corporate interests. When the GOP Tried to Ban Dark Money. For a brief moment a decade ago, it was Republicans who wanted disclosure of anonymous political donations that Democrats now decry.

When the GOP Tried to Ban Dark Money

Last month, when House Democrats introduced [1] the DISCLOSE 2012 Act to try to stop the flow of secret "dark money" into the electoral process, it marked an ironic twist. A decade ago, it was Republicans who were pushing for disclosure of donors to nonprofit social welfare groups who are now pouring millions into political attack ads and House Democrats who opposed them. Double Standards Galore. I happened to be flying on American Airlines the morning after the company declared bankruptcy.

Double Standards Galore

Exactly nothing bad happened to my flight. Nobody passed the hat to buy aviation fuel.

Money in politics - curators...

The Man Behind Citizens United Is Just Getting Started. Photo: Jay Fram IN JANUARY 2008, James Bopp got laughed out of court—literally.

The Man Behind Citizens United Is Just Getting Started

The white-haired lawyer from Terre Haute, Indiana, was appearing before a federal three-judge panel in Washington, DC, to argue that his client, a small conservative nonprofit named Citizens United, should be able to air Hillary: The Movie on on-demand TV during the Democratic presidential primaries. Citizens United had produced the film to show that Hillary Clinton was a "European socialist" and ruthless political schemer—a cross between Machiavelli and Lady Macbeth who "looks good in a pantsuit," as Ann Coulter put it in the movie. Also featured was Kathleen Willey, who accused Bill Clinton of hugging and kissing her in the White House—and who suggested in the film that Clinton had helped hatch a plot to assassinate her cat. At that point, US District Court Judge Royce Lamberth laughed out loud. How Dependent are Super PACs on Top Contributors? Not so super PACs.

Are the new funding groups bad for democracy?

Not so super PACs

Photo: matthileo How much does money matter in a democracy? The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has led to an explosion of campaign spending. Photograph by Tim Sloan/AFP/Getty Images.

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has led to an explosion of campaign spending

Most of what you hear about Citizens United v. FEC is negative. The Dark Money Shakedown. This story first appeared on the TomDispatch website. A bit over an hour into the five-hour drive across the ferrous red plateau, heading south toward Uganda's capital Kampala, suddenly, there's the Nile, a boiling, roiling cataract at this time of year, rain-swollen and ropy and rabid below the bridge that vaults over it. Sugar Daddies. Larry McCarthy, Mitt Romney, and Restore Our Future Super PAC.

Editor’s note appended.

Larry McCarthy, Mitt Romney, and Restore Our Future Super PAC

Mitt Romney, in his struggle to wrap up the 2012 Republican nomination for the Presidency, has presented himself as an outsider. The road to political dictatorship. John Weeks: The economic power of Wall St., if not restrained, will lead to political dictatorship - Bio John Weeks is Professor Emeritus of the University of London and author of the forthcoming book, The Economics of the 1%: How mainstream economics serves the rich, obscures reality and distorts policy.

the road to political dictatorship

His recent policy work includes an supplemental unemployment program for the European Union and advising the central banks of Argentina and Zambia. Is US democracy being bought and sold. Has money corrupted US politics beyond repair? The landmark Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruled that individuals working through corporations, unions, or independent political action committees, known as SuperPACs, could make unlimited campaign contributions.

Now, candidates can depend on a handful of the wealthy in America to fund their campaigns even when they lack strong grassroots support. The Corruption Of Our Entire Political Class Explained In One Paragraph. Ari Berman: The politics of the super rich. Guess The Politician... And Follow The Money. A few days ago we presented a roster of the top contributors to Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign as reported by OpenSecrets.

Guess The Politician... And Follow The Money

Today we have done the same for two other candidates, representing two previous election cycles: 2008 and 2004. The first table shows Romney's key contributors to date. No One Is Above the Law, Even Megabanks. Simon Johnson, the former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, is the co-author of “13 Bankers.”

No One Is Above the Law, Even Megabanks

The American ideal of equal and impartial justice under law has repeatedly been undermined by attempts to concentrate power. Tom Ferguson: The Devil and Rick Santorum – Dilemmas of a Holy Owned Subsidiary. By Thomas Ferguson, Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is the author of many books and articles, including Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money-Driven Political Systems. Cross posted from Alternet The father of the Investment Theory of Politics reveals what pundits miss in the GOP’s failure to lead its own electorate and its evangelical problem.

Election night in Iowa was a heavenly moment for Rick Santorum. The Second Gilded Age: Has America Become an Oligarchy? - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International. At first, the outraged members of the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York were mainly met with ridicule. They didn't seem to stand a chance and were judged incapable of going up against their adversaries, Wall Street's bankers and financial managers, either intellectually or in terms of economic knowledge. "We are the 99 percent," is the continuing chant of the protestors, who are now in their seventh week of marching through the streets of Manhattan. And, surprisingly, they have hit upon the crux of America's problems with precisely this sentence. Indeed, they have given shape to a development in the country that has been growing more acute for decades, one that numerous academics and experts have tried to analyze elsewhere in lengthy books and essays.

It's a development so profound and revolutionary that it has shaken the world's most powerful nation to its core. Inequality in America is greater than it has been in almost a century. A New 'Gilded Age' A Threat to the World Economy. Jeffrey Sachs: Paul Ryan, American Values, and Corporatocracy. My new book, The Price of Civilization, describes why America needs a "mixed economy," one where a more effective federal government regulates business and invests alongside the business sector. Barack Obama Has, on Average, Attended a Fundraiser Every Five Days in 2011.

Zhang Jun/Xinhua/ZUMAPRESS.com On Wednesday, President Obama zipped up to New York City to attend three different fundraising events. Jeff Connaughton: Obama and the Rule of Law. Long silent and now contradictory, President Obama needs to deliver a clarifying speech about our financial markets and the rule of law.

Lobbying...

National Institute on Money in State Politics. The Institute's Blog: Nonpartisan. Timely. Transparent. The Sun Never Rises: Sources of Michigan’s Dark Money Set to Remain HiddenTwo days after Christmas, Governor Rick Snyder gave a belated gift to dark money groups and those donors who felt stifled by Michigan’s campaign finance limits. Snyder signed Senate Bill 661, which the Money Tale described in depth here, after … Continue reading. Influenceexplorer. Rootstrikers - Fighting the corrupting influence of money in politics. Is Our Republic Lost? Over the weekend I finished Larry Lessig’s most recent (and ambitious) book, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress–and a Plan to Stop It.

Amongst those of us who considered Lessig our foremost voice on issues of Internet policy, his abrupt pivot to focus on government corruption was both disorienting and disheartening: here was our best Internet thinker, now tilting at government windmills. I mean, fix government? American society / economy / politics.