One sentence that perfectly explains how out of control money in American politics is. If you wanted a single sentence to sum up the state of our modern campaign finance system, it would be hard to do better than this one from the Washington Post's Matea Gold and Tom Hamburger: One longtime bundler recently fielded a call from a dispirited executive on his yacht, who complained, "We just don't count anymore. " This is what we've come to: the rich businessman on his yacht feels out of the loop, because campaigns only care about billionaires. Billionaires trump bundlers With attempts to regulate spending in tatters, and unlimited donations now permitted to flow into and out of Super PACs and outside groups, campaigns are increasingly spending their time wooing the absolute richest of the rich.
And according to Gold and Hamburger, donors who are merely rich, but not mega-rich, are feeling neglected. But it didn't always work this way. But Super PACs that can raise unlimited sums have changed the math. Campaigns are tailoring their strategies accordingly. Another example? Programmer under oath admits computers rig elections. What Corruption Looks Like: 87% Of Congressional Reps Supporting Comcast/NBC Merger Got Money From Comcast. Let me start out by pointing out that I'm on the record thinking that people are severely overreacting to the Comcast/NBC merger. I think that it's likely to be a bad business decision, but I see no reason why the government should block it. If anything, it seems like it'll just be a modern updating of the AOL/Time Warner catastrophe, as management won't really know what to do and will just make things worse off.
That said, the companies have been fighting hard against opposition to the merger, and one way to fight is with money. So it comes as little surprise to find out that 84 of the 97 Congressional Reps, who signed a letter urging that the FCC approve the merger without conditions, received campaign contributions from Comcast. Now, this is not to say that those 84 are corrupt. American Politics Unveiled. Campaign Cash: Corporations Get More Power, Political Parties Get Less. By Zach Carter, Media Consortium blogger War chests from right-wing billionaires and corporate titans are funding tremendous portions of political activity, from the so-called grassroots activism of the Tea Party to the streamlined lobbying assaults of the nation's largest corporations. In the aftermath of the Supreme Court's wildly unpopular ruling in Citizens United v.
Federal Elections Commission, secret election financing by elites is exploding, even as the public visibility of such electoral purchasing power evaporates. Corporations get more freedom as political parties get less As Jamelle Bouie emphasizes for The American Prospect, election funding from political committees and non-profits is already up 40 percent from 2008 levels. As Bouie notes, this scenario further rigs the electoral game in favor of the wealthy and corporations. Political parties—however imperfect—can serve as a check on such destructive corporate influence.
The Tea Party "grassroots" movement is anything but. Anonymous Donors. Exclusive: Chamber Receives At Least $885,000 From Over 80 Foreign Companies In Disclosed Donations Alone. By Lee Fang on October 13, 2010 at 12:42 pm "Exclusive: Chamber Receives At Least $885,000 From Over 80 Foreign Companies In Disclosed Donations Alone" Last week, ThinkProgress published an exclusive story about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s foreign fundraising operation.
We noted the Chamber raises money from foreign-owned businesses for its 501(c)(6) entity, the same account that finances its unprecedented $75 million dollar partisan attack ad campaign. While the Chamber is notoriously secretive, the thrust of our story involved the disclosure of fundraising documents U.S. Yesterday, the Chamber’s chief lobbyist Bruce Josten, who has been spoon-feeding much of the media distortions about our report, went on Fox News (whose parent company donated $1 million to the Chamber recently for its ad campaign) to again try to dilute the issue by dissembling about the Chamber’s fundraising and membership.
The Chamber is being deceptive. Tea Party ‘founder’: Palin, Gingrich a ‘joke’ | Raw Story. By Daniel TencerWednesday, October 20, 2010 22:46 EDT A financial blogger and ex-CEO credited with being one of the original “founders” of the Tea Party has come out against the movement, saying it has been hijacked by the very people it was protesting and is now obsessed with “guns, gays and God.” In a “message” to the Tea Party Wednesday, Karl Denninger declared that he “ought to sue” anyone who uses the Tea Party name “for defamation.” “Yeah, that’s a joke,” he writes. “But so are you. Denninger writes: “Tea Party my ass. Denninger runs Market Ticker, a financially-focused blog that has been strongly opposed to bank bailouts and has railed against excessive government spending.
In January of 2009, Market Ticker bloggers including Graham Makohoniuk and Stephanie Jasky suggested “mailing a tea bag” to Congress to protest the planned $800-billion stimulus package and $700-billion bank bailout. 'Independent' Groups Behind Ads Not So Independent. Koch Footprints Lead to Political Powder Keg: Exposing the Far Right's Secret Slush Fund to Keep Fear Alive. October 27, 2010 | Like this article? Join our email list: Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email. Asecretive libertarian nonprofit with ties to Charles Koch bankrolled what was widely perceived to be a fear mongering effort to throw the Presidential election to Senator John McCain in 2008.
Until now, where the money came from has been a hotly debated mystery. Seven weeks before the Presidential election of 2008, approximately 100 newspapers and magazines in the U.S., including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Miami Herald, Philadelphia Inquirer, and St. Petersburg Times, distributed millions of DVDs of the documentary, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West.” The newspapers did not know who was funding this massive propaganda campaign and, apparently, did not care. The DVD packaging was slick, leveraging the imprimatur of the big league media outlets by listing 73 as part of its distribution network.
One possible tie to government interests is Erik Werth. Big Oil spends $69.5m on ads to get the Congress it wants | Environment. The next Congress is expected to throw up a whole new set of roadblocks to Barack Obama's environmental agenda - from time-consuming investigations to budget cuts. So how much was the fossil fuel industries willing to pay to help cast out White House allies on energy and climate change? A lot, it turns out. Oil and coal lobby groups have spent $69.5 million on television ads specifically targetted against Obama clean energy policies in these mid-term elections, according to data compiled by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. That's a 10-to-1 advantage over clean energy groups. Opinion polls are all predicting big wins in tomorrow's elections for Republicans, especially Tea Party candidates. Most of the Tea Party favourites deny the existence of man-made climate change, and some Democrats, like Joe Manchin who is running for the Senate from West Virginia, are doing all they can to distance themselves from Democratic environmental policies.
How Republicans and Their Big Business Allies Duped Tens of Millions of Evangelicals into Voting for a Corporate Agenda | Tea Party and the Right. November 9, 2010 | Like this article? Join our email list: Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email. Tens of millions of American voters got duped badly in the 2010 election. The bible-thumping white underclass thought they hit back at what they regarded as the nefarious forces trying to “take our country away.”
They were bought, paid for, sold, traded and manipulated by the most powerful in the US election: a Billionaire Lynch Mob led by Rupert Murdoch, Karl Rove, the Koch brothers, and hundreds of millions in organize corporate cash. They peddled a fear agenda: fear of immigrants, fear of government control of our lives, fear that their country would become irrevocably changed. Here's how it happened: Where the fear and loathing began A bedrock article of faith among many of the anti-Obama white voters is that America had “Christian origins,” and that today America must be “restored” to “our religious heritage.” 1. 2. Most Americans have never heard of the Reconstructionists.