Clips Round-up for 11/16/11
First, two important notes. We are happy to welcome a new ally in our fight to put elections back in the hands of voters--United Republic. Make sure to check out their site: http://unitedrepublic.org.
Second, a report we co-wrote with PICO National Network on the influence of private prisons is being released this week at PICO's National Clergy Gathering in New Orleans. Proud to work with them on this. The report is here: http://publicampaign.org/reports/unholyalliance.
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
Proposed ban on lobbyist gifts causes firestorm, review extended
"A rule proposed by the Obama Administration to limit the types of gifts federal employees can receive from lobbyists — including free trade show admittance and paid travel and hotel expenses — has had its review-period extended for 30 additional days."
Is money's deep role in politics the root of our woes?
David Gergen looks at Larry Lessig's new book. "A new book that should receive far more attention makes an even more sweeping and thoroughly researched case against money in politics -- 'Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress -- and a Plan to Stop It,' by Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig."
Administration officials double as Obama campaign speakers
The LA Times looks at cabinet officials, etc., hitting the money trail for Obama. PCAF's David Donnelly: "It was wrong to do under previous presidents, and we don't think it's the right thing to do now, either. This is the kind of thing that makes the public sick to their stomachs."
Illegal during Watergate, unlimited campaign contributions now fair game
2012 spending: "The likely result: Corporate involvement in presidential politics on a scale not seen since the Watergate scandal of the 1970s. The critical difference: This time, it's legal."
Watchdog: Members must disclose Delta perks
With Congress still considering the long-term reauthorization of the FAA, we sent letters to 20 members yesterday who have received Delta campaign contributions, asking if they'd received other perks that the company offers to "elites." Delta is the only airline lobbying for an anti-union provision in the reauthorization.
Jack Abramoff's rehabilitation tour hits D.C.
Tucker Carlson hosted a book party for Jack Abramoff last night.
- He also sat for an interview with Eliza Newlin Carney: http://www.rollcall.com/issues/57_60/Jack_Abramoff_Expects_Cold_Shoulder_From_K_Street-210353-1.html.
What it's worth to be committee chairman
CREW has a new report on fundraising and committee chairs--it pays to have the gavel. "Of the 20 members studied, contributions from regulated industries rose nearly three times faster than their fund-raising totals."
- More from Roll Call: http://www.rollcall.com/issues/57_60/Report-Tracks-Donations-Votes-of-Panel-Heads-210339-1.html?pos=hbtxt
Congress blocks new rules on school lunches
UGH: "In a victory for the makers of frozen pizzas, tomato paste and French fries, Congress on Monday blocked rules proposed by the Agriculture Department that would have overhauled the nation’s school lunch program." Right on, Margo Wootan at the Center for Science on the Public Interest: "“It’s a shame that Congress seems more interested in protecting industry than protecting children’s health,”
GOP freshmen see fundraising dwindle
"Two-thirds of the Republican freshmen who captured Democratic-held seats in the GOP's 2010 takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives saw their fundraising dip in the past quarter, campaign-finance reports show."
Senators introduce "STOCK Act" to stop "insider trading" in Congress
Seems like stories on 60 Minutes might still have some traction: "A bill to stop 'insider trading' in Congress is gaining momentum with two new Senate supporters."
Gingrich said to be paid at least $1.6 million by Freddie Mac
At a recent debate, Gingrich said his work for Freddie Mac was more as a "historian." Well, he must know lots of history: "Newt Gingrich made between $1.6 million and $1.8 million in consulting fees from two contracts with mortgage company Freddie Mac, according to two people familiar with the arrangement. The total amount is significantly larger than the $300,000 payment from Freddie Mac that Gingrich was asked about..."
Citagel's Griffin backs Romney after fundraising for Obama
Barack Obama is losing another Wall Street fundraiser to Mitt Romney.
Rick Perry's unlikely crusade against casual corruption
"Rick Perry is perhaps not the best Republican presidential candidate to take up the banner of cleaning the corruption out of Washington, but he's charging ahead anyway."
Half the members of Congress are millionaires
"Half the members of Congress enjoys '1 percent' status as millionaires, according to a new study by the Center for Responsive Politics."
Congress took $5M in private trips this year
"Sectors ranging from financial services, energy and agriculture to more ideologically driven groups like the Aspen Institute and the National Democratic Institute have footed the bill for events largely considered educational. Often the trips allow industry players with business before Congress to get face time with lawmakers and their staff."
Inside police lines at the Occupy Wall Street eviction
Josh Harksinson with Mother Jones has a great write-up of what went down as Bloomberg began evicting people from Zuccotti Park early yesterday morning.
- Buddy Roemer blasted Bloomberg: http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=5ae5cbeb872e363926c378876&id=025940efd9
- Here is our statement: http://campaignmoney.org/press-room/2011/11/15/statement-response-eviction-zuccotti-park
What does Occupy Fairbanks stand for?
Have you been wondering what Occupy Fairbanks stands for? Well, here's their #1: "Separation of corporation and state; enacting reform in the government to remove the power of corporate lobbyists over our representatives, and to sever the incestuous ties between government and big money.
Supercommittee on the the brink
Things aren't looking good for the supercommittee.
Supercommittee's tax menu causes heartburn for K Street
"The lobbying smorgasbord that was supposed to be the congressional supercommittee is giving heartburn to many on K Street. Chatter that the deficit panel is targeting tax deductions has anxious lobbyists scrambling for news about the secretive panel’s negotiations."
Internet companies boost Hill lobbying
"The makers of FarmVille and Words With Friends seem to be testing the K Street waters."
Texans allowed to show gun permits but not student IDs at voting booth
Oh, Texas: "When Texas state legislators moved to cut student IDs from the list of acceptable voter identifications in May, they actually made voting easier for some residents: Now gun owners in Texas are allowed to use their concealed-carry permits as valid proof of the right to vote."
Ex-Alabama politician pleads guilty to accepting cash, ski vacation in bingo bribery case
"Former Alabama state representative Terry Spicer (D) pleaded guilty on Tuesday to accepting cash, campaign services and a ski vacation from Alabama lobbyist caught up in a massive bribery case involving casino interests n the state."