Clips Round-up for 9/15/11
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
Fix our campaigns to fix our economy
Common Cause President Bob Edgar's latest on Huffington Post: The Census Bureau's new findings about the our economy -- that poverty actually has increased and that the number of long-term unemployed Americans actually went up last year -- simply confirm what most of us already sensed: The 'recovery' exists in name only; the recession continues and is worsening and self-interested big money is eating away at our democracy and our way of life."
More ethics trouble for Clarence Thomas
"The left-leaning Alliance for Justice and the good-government group Common Cause asked the Judicial Conference of the United States, <http://www.afj.org/press/09132011-2.html> which oversees the federal courts, to investigate whether Thomas violated the Ethics in Government Act."
Without scandal, lobby reform stalls
"With no specific malfeasance in the headlines, the congressional appetite for the new rules is so low that even lawmakers who backed reforms in the past aren’t signing on this time, making good-government types grumble that only a salacious scandal — think the return of Jack Abramoff to Capitol Hill — can get their plan moving quickly."
Sen. Toomey will not give up fundraising during supercommittee
Sen. Toomey told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he would NOT be giving up fundraising.
Supercommittee members nixing some events but not all
Dave Camp's office told PoliticalPartyTime: "Since being named to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, Congressman Camp has not and will not schedule new fundraising events.”
- More from National Journal: http://influencealley.nationaljournal.com/2011/09/camp-wont-add-fundraisers-whil.php
"Super committee" process needs to be transparent
"We agree with the Brennan Center for Justice's call for what it termed 'robust transparency' in all aspects of the Super Committee's work."
Aerospace industry campaigns against further defense cuts
Defense-aerospace companies are lobbying supercommittee members against more cuts. "While many Americans think about corporate giants like Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon when the defense sector is mentioned, the lobbying effort will make the case that many medium-sized and smaller supplier firms also will be affected by deeper Pentagon cuts."
Weight in the lobby: Jobs and cash still rule in Washington
An editorial from the CS Monitor: "A few lawmakers on the panel have committed to not fundraising for campaigns during this period. Sen. John Kerry even says he will try to avoid seeing lobbyists while working on the committee. Such steps in rebuilding the public’s trust in their elected representatives will help restore a sense of fairness and equal access to government for all, and not just for those with big money to throw around the nation’s capital."
Republicans plotting to revoke $2 billion in consumer rebates to boost insurer profits
Ethan Rome: "In fact, the health care and insurance industries have given the Republicans holding Thursday's hearing more than $21.7 million in campaign contributions, according to a new analysis by Public Campaign Action Fund. Maybe that's why they are willing to take so much money from consumers and give it to health insurers even as they rake in record profits on the backs of families and businesses being crushed by a bad economy."
- Here's the full analysis: http://campaignmoney.org/press-room/2011/09/14/subcommittee-republicans-rake-big-bucks-health-and-insurance-industry
Fossil-fuled Republicans grandstand against Solyndra, solar energy
House Republicans railing against Solyndra and solar energy are heavily backed by fossil fuel interests.
In through the out door: how lobbyists rule congress
"The real power in Washington is not on Capitol Hill, nor even at the White House, but rather a few blocks to the north on the much less exciting road of nondescript modern office buildings known as K street." AND a blast from the past: "Many a member of Congress accepted lavish gifts from such lobbyists – although few match Tom DeLay of Texas. In 2006, two activist groups – Campaign for America's Future and Public Campaign Action Fund – took out a tv ad to hammer home how much DeLay had received."
Lobbying by foreign countries decrease
"Foreign countries are spending less to lobby America’s federal government, according to a new report released by the Department of Justice."
FBI corruption probe surrounding Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker apparently expanding
The FBI raided the home of a former Gov. Walker aide yesterday. "Wednesday's raid is the latest carried out by federal authorities on several of Governor Scott Walker's top staffers, all state employees who recently resigned."
Shining a light on shadowy government
An op-ed from Arizona on secretive outside spending. "Ultimately, the only way to shine a light on our new shadow government would be for the very same lawmakers who benefit from these 'anonymous' friends to pass a law requiring transparency whenever a corporation tries to influence ANY election.And, really, you don't have to be a conspiracy buff to believe that ain't happening."