Our Common Good
firthofforth:

source2012:

Mitt Romney: Santorum donor
Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum may be trading licks as the battle for the GOP nomination rages on, but the two weren’t always at odds. The above screenshot of a filing from the Federal Election Commission shows Romney donated the maximum $4,200 to Santorum’s failed Senate re-election campaign in 2006. 
As iWatch News previously reported, Romney’s “Commonwealth PAC” also sent Santorum a $10,000 donation that same year. Such contributions are often given to try and curry favor ahead of future electoral campaigns. Santorum threw his support behind Romney’s presidential bid in 2008 — an endorsement he has since tried to walk back.

AWESOME.

firthofforth:

source2012:

Mitt Romney: Santorum donor

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum may be trading licks as the battle for the GOP nomination rages on, but the two weren’t always at odds. The above screenshot of a filing from the Federal Election Commission shows Romney donated the maximum $4,200 to Santorum’s failed Senate re-election campaign in 2006. 

As iWatch News previously reported, Romney’s “Commonwealth PAC” also sent Santorum a $10,000 donation that same year. Such contributions are often given to try and curry favor ahead of future electoral campaigns. Santorum threw his support behind Romney’s presidential bid in 2008 — an endorsement he has since tried to walk back.

AWESOME.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court may treat corporations like people who can spend whatever they want on elections, but the American people don’t have to accept it, said Democratic senators who proposed a constitutional amendment Tuesday to retake control of campaign spending.

The amendment, introduced by Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), doesn’t directly address the justices’ legal finding that corporations have a right to free speech that was curtailed by election law. Instead, it would add to the Constitution language that says Congress and the states can regulate campaign contributions and expenditures.

The amendment would effectively reverse two landmark Supreme Court decisions — the 1976 ruling in Buckley v. Valeo, which said spending money in elections is a form of speech, and the 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which ruled it unconstitutional to regulate the money spent to influence elections by corporations and unions.

The Citizens United ruling has unleashed a flood of cash from corporations and super PACs, which can spend as much as they want and do so nearly in secret.

“Letting this go unchecked is a threat to our democracy. Campaigns should be about the best ideas, not the biggest checkbooks,” Udall said at the press conference.

We pledge our party to legislation that will compel strict limitation of all campaign contributions and expenditures, and detailed publicity of both before as well as after primaries and elections.

Dylan Ratigan Helped Draft a Constitutional Amendment to Get the Money Out of Government And Is Asking for 100,000 Supporters to Join The Fight 

"No person, corporation or business entity of any type, domestic or foreign, shall be allowed to contribute money, directly or indirectly, to any candidate for Federal office or to contribute money on behalf of or opposed to any type of campaign for Federal office. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, campaign contributions to candidates for Federal office shall not constitute speech of any kind as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution or any amendment to the U. S. Constitution. Congress shall set forth a federal holiday for the purposes of voting for candidates for Federal office."

manicchill:

Last week, the New York Times put together an infographic following the flow of taxpayer money into the coffers of Rick Perry’s closest political friends and allies. Two days later, the Dallas Morning News reported that Perry would spend the weekend at a retreat in with millionaire mega-donor James Leininger and other conservative Christians. The retreat was hosted by Leininger at his personal ranch near Fredericksburg, and fellow Dominionists David Barton and Rick Scarborough were in attendance as well.

Taken at face value, this seems like little more than another political fundraising and strategic planning event. But, according to Texans for Public Justice, the ties between Mr. Perry and Mr. Leininger are much more serious than that.

From a TPJ report:

Perry might never have been governor—nor now be a presidential candidate—but for James Leininger. In a game-changing 1998 race then-Texas Agriculture Commissioner Perry was elected Lieutenant Governor. That victory secured Perry’s automatic promotion to governor two years later when President-Elect Bush abandoned the Governor’s Mansion. Perry narrowly won his fateful 1998 race against Democrat John Sharp, capturing just 50.04 percent of the vote. This squeaker victory was secured by an eleventh-hour media blitz that Perry paid for with a last-minute, $1.1 million loan. Leininger and two other Texas tycoons guaranteed the loan, which supplied more than 10 percent of the $10.3 million that Perry raised for that election. 

Leininger’s family and company PAC contributed $62,500 to that Perry campaign. Leininger also was the No. 1 contributor at the time to the Texas Republican Party (then chaired by former Leininger  employee Susan Weddington), which sank $82,760 into that Perry campaign. 

“I congratulate Leininger,” Perry opponent John Sharp said at the time. “He wanted to buy the reins of state government. And by God, he got them.”

Add to that a Los Angeles Times expose on Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons, and its becoming increasingly clear that Texas’ wealthy citizens are lining up behind Rick Perry with checkbooks in-hand. But how will the general public, particularly the Tea Party, respond when they find out that Perry became wealthy after taking public office?

We want to set in motion an upward spiral of confidence. We are not waiting for government to create an incentive program or a stimulus. We are not waiting for economic indicators to tell us it’s safe to act. We are hiring more people now.

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in his “Upward Spiral” pledge, arguing “our country is better than this” - “this” being its recent political gridlock over the debt ceiling - and vowing to speed up hiring to help jump-start the American economy.

Schultz’s call also contains a pledge to forestall campaign donations “until a fair, bipartisan deal is reached that sets our nation on stronger long-term fiscal footing.”

Will Schultz’s giving pledge have an impact? Perhaps, as CNN’s Jack Cafferty writes:

Less than one half of one percent of Americans give more than $200 to candidates and political parties and those donations make up 65% of all contributions.

But because it doesn’t explicitly bind contributions from a company’s political PAC, perhaps not: Personal political contributions aren’t where the money is. Consider this: Schultz has donated over $100,000 since 1996, all but $1,000 of which went to Democrats and Democratic causes.

Goldman Sachs’ political action committee (PAC) ponied up nearly $750,000 in the 2010 election cycle alone, with 57 percent going to Republicans. Technology firm Intuit’s PAC, whose CEO has signed the pledge, spent over $54,000 in the 2010 election cycle with 58 percent going to Republicans.

More than 100 CEOs have signed the Upward Spiral pledge so far. Here is the donation history for some of the big names who have signedthe pledge:

Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL: Donated $2,500 to GOP candidate Mitt Romney in this election cycle.

Mickey Drexler, CEO of clothing retailer J. Crew Group: Donated $1,000 to New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg (D). 

Bill Campbell, chairman of technology firm Intuit; Ponied up roughly $18,000 for Democrats and $5,000 for Republicans since 2000.

Duncan Niederauer, CEO of stock exchange NYSE Euronext: Spent about $15,000 on Democrats and $10,000 on Republicans since 1998.

Billionaire investor Pete Peterson: Given over $52,400 since 1989 to a various causes and candidates in both parties.

Starbucks CEO Schultz: Since 1996, donated at least $102,500, all but $1,000 of which went to Democrats and Democratic causes.

Take action:

  • You can sign Schultz’s pledge to hold off on campaign donations and/or hire (if you’re a business owner) here.
  • Want to find out where your favorite company’s political PAC is spending its money? Use the Center for Responsive Politics’ search tool here.

(via dcdecoder)

ilyagerner:

While the proportion of women voting has exceeded the proportion of voting males in every presidential election since 1980, and women cast approximately 10 million more ballots than men in 2008, women lag behind in contributing to political campaigns. In the current campaign cycle - featuring candidates for all federal offices -only 27.8% of donors are women, accounting for 25.9% of funds raised.
But the variations in the presidential campaign filings are telling. President Obama secured 42.5% of his warchest from female donors. Rick Santorum derives 36.6% of his funding from women, though the sample is small. Pawlenty is included for old times sake. As for Ron Paul, he isn’t exactly breaking the libertarian mold with his inability to connect with the ladies.

ilyagerner:

While the proportion of women voting has exceeded the proportion of voting males in every presidential election since 1980, and women cast approximately 10 million more ballots than men in 2008, women lag behind in contributing to political campaigns. In the current campaign cycle - featuring candidates for all federal offices -only 27.8% of donors are women, accounting for 25.9% of funds raised.

But the variations in the presidential campaign filings are telling. President Obama secured 42.5% of his warchest from female donors. Rick Santorum derives 36.6% of his funding from women, though the sample is small. Pawlenty is included for old times sake. As for Ron Paul, he isn’t exactly breaking the libertarian mold with his inability to connect with the ladies.

pantslessprogressive:

Special interests gave millions to budget panel

 The 12 lawmakers appointed to a new congressional supercommittee charged with tackling the nation’s fiscal problems have received millions in contributions from special interests with a direct stake in potential cuts to federal programs, an Associated Press analysis of federal campaign data has found.
The newly appointed members - six Democrats and six Republicans - have received more than $3 million total during the past five years in donations from political committees with ties to defense contractors, health care providers and labor unions. That money went to their re-election campaigns, according to AP’s review.
Supporters say the lawmakers were picked for their integrity and experience with complicated budget matters. But their appointments already have prompted early concerns from campaign-finance watchdog groups, which urged the lawmakers to stop fundraising and resign from leadership positions in political groups. [read more]

In other news, the sky is blue. The above news should be no surprise, yet it’s important to know who’s giving money to whom. It’ll be interesting to see what money rolls in now that they’re on the super committee.
OpenSecrets, run by the Center for Responsive Politics, is always a great site for checking out campaign contributions.
[From top, left to right: Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX); Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI); Rep. Fred Upton, (R-MI); Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ); Rob Portman (R-OH); Patrick J. Toomey (R-PA); Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA); Sen. Max Baucus (D-T); Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA); Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC); Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA); Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). Photo credit: LA Times]

pantslessprogressive:

Special interests gave millions to budget panel

 The 12 lawmakers appointed to a new congressional supercommittee charged with tackling the nation’s fiscal problems have received millions in contributions from special interests with a direct stake in potential cuts to federal programs, an Associated Press analysis of federal campaign data has found.

The newly appointed members - six Democrats and six Republicans - have received more than $3 million total during the past five years in donations from political committees with ties to defense contractors, health care providers and labor unions. That money went to their re-election campaigns, according to AP’s review.

Supporters say the lawmakers were picked for their integrity and experience with complicated budget matters. But their appointments already have prompted early concerns from campaign-finance watchdog groups, which urged the lawmakers to stop fundraising and resign from leadership positions in political groups. [read more]

In other news, the sky is blue. The above news should be no surprise, yet it’s important to know who’s giving money to whom. It’ll be interesting to see what money rolls in now that they’re on the super committee.

OpenSecrets, run by the Center for Responsive Politics, is always a great site for checking out campaign contributions.

[From top, left to right: Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX); Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI); Rep. Fred Upton, (R-MI); Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ); Rob Portman (R-OH); Patrick J. Toomey (R-PA); Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA); Sen. Max Baucus (D-T); Sen. John F. Kerry (D-MA); Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC); Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA); Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). Photo credit: LA Times]

talkstraight:

Obama’s Campaign Manager Jim Messina Admits Taking Contributions From Outside The United States?

At the 3:29 mark: “Globally we raised more than 86-million dollars — more than $47 million for Obama for America and more than $38 million for the DNC.”

If Team Obama is indeed raising money “globally” as he claims, then they would be in violation of FEC contribution law.

From the Federal Election Commission website:

Can non-US citizens contribute?

Foreign nationals are prohibited from making any contributions or expenditures in connection with any election in the U.S. Please note, however, that “green card” holders (i.e., individuals lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the U.S.) are not considered foreign nationals and, as a result, may contribute.

American citizens living outside of the United States can still contribute and can still vote.

The memo was a sharp reversal for the tax agency, which had invoked a rarely used, 30-year-old ruling to warn the five donors in February that they might owe gift taxes on their donations. Organizations heavily financed by conservative donors like David Koch, or in the case of Crossroads GPS, tied to top Republican strategists like Karl Rove, would have come under such newly enforced rules, were they to be imposed across the board.

[…]

Mr. Rove’s group and Priorities USA, a new liberal advocacy group set up by two former Obama administration officials, Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney, are attracting ever larger war chests in support of campaigns and causes because they can offer their donors anonymity, unlike political action committees and 527 organizations.

The I.R.S. audits became public just as such groups were ramping up for the 2012 election cycle, and a group of six senators led by Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican from Utah, wrote to the I.R.S. commissioner Douglas H. Shulman raising concerns that its effort to impose gift taxes on donations to these groups was politically motivated and in violation the First Amendment.

ryking:

After Citizens United, Undisclosed Conservative Donors Spent 8 Times as Much as Liberal Ones in Election
More money is more free speech.

Tennessee State Rep. Glen Casada (R)

Tennessee’s state legislature passed a bill on Tuesday that will allow corporations to donate directly to political candidates. The legislation also increases campaign contribution limits.

(via pantslessprogressive)

A top donor to Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) gubernatorial campaign has been charged with multiple violations of campaign finance law, reports the Associated Press. Prosecutors today have charged William Gardner, the CEO of Wisconsin & Southern Railroad Company, with one count of excessive political donations and another related to unlawful political contributions. Gardner used his employees and family members to funnel $44,000 to Walker during the GOP primary. He then illegally reimbursed the donors with company money. Walker has returned the contributions. Notably, the donations were only illegal because the law prohibits direct donations from corporations to candidate committees. However, the Citizens United decision allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts in support of a candidate for office. If Gardner had funneled the company donations through a group like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or another front group, or if his company had taken out ads in support of Walker, he would not have violated the law.