Saturday, September 10, 2011

Money & democracy update from @Public_Citizen

Public Citizen's 'Money and Democracy Update'
an e-newsletter about the movement to curb corporate influence in politics and restore our democracy

Issue #77 • September 9, 2011

“Money and Democracy Update” is Public Citizen’s weekly e-newsletter about the intersection of money and politics. It is part of our ongoing campaign to track the results of — and ultimately overturn — the U.S. Supreme Court’s reckless decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allows for-profit corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to support or attack political candidates. We’ll update you regularly with select news stories and blog posts, legislative developments and ways to get involved.

Stunning Statistics of the Week:
Companies that disclose political spending are more valuable
Publicly held companies that disclose their electoral spending have a higher share price than politically active companies that fail to disclose their donors, according to a report released this week by Public Citizen and a Harvard Law School professor. The new finding provides added evidence that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should require corporations to disclose their political activities, the report said.

Super PACs to change scope of elections
Make Us Great Again, a Super PAC that is throwing its weight in support of presidential candidate Rick Perry, plans to spend $55 million to help secure the Republican nomination for the Texas governor. This may be even more than the Perry campaign raises itself. “It’s a game changer,” said Paul S. Ryan, the Federal Election Commission director for the campaign finance watchdog Campaign Legal Center, of the Super PAC’s goal. “Super PACs will make the 2012 presidential election unlike any election we've seen before.”

Boosting fundraising game plans
With 14 months to go until the 2012 presidential elections, the political action committee and nonprofit created by Republican strategist Karl Rove are raising the stakes in their fundraising plans. American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS have more than doubled their original goal of raising $120 million to influence elections next year.

Transparency would mitigate industry influence on supercommittee
Nearly 100 former aides to lawmakers serving on the bipartisan “supercommittee” now lobby on K Street for industries(think energy, financial, defense, agricultural, etc.) that have a stake in the budget deal. Additionally, seven former lobbyists currently work for the lawmakers. Luckily, a bill was introduced this week that calls for transparency in the supercommittee’s dealings to ensure that its recommendations aren’t unduly influenced by lobbyists representing wealthy corporate interests.

It’s all about convenience, right?
Some of the top political fundraisers for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign got together to watch the commander in chief’s speech on jobs this week. But immediately after the speech, many of the guests were invited to another event: a reception hosted by two former Obama aides who formed a Super PAC to raise money for the re-election efforts.

Meet the financial base of the Koch political agenda
Just who helps finance the political agenda of the Koch Brothers, the billionaire industrialists who love to throw their money into political causes? Thanks to materials obtained by Mother Jones, ThinkProgress and Alternet, we now can have a better sense. Check out this analysis of the guest lists of some of the Koch Brothers’ “seminars.”

Reaping benefits of legislation
When Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) intervened and stopped federal regulators from shutting down a struggling kidney transplant program in her district, she was lauded for standing up for Nevada families. But her constituents weren’t the only ones reaping benefits. Berkley’s husband, a physician whose nephrology practice directs medical services at the hospital’s kidney care department, got a $738,000-a-year contract with the hospital after the regulators backed off. In fact, the kidney care industry stood to benefit from at least five House bills that his spouse co-sponsored.

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