Clips Round-up 11/21/2011
If you missed it this weekend, Chris Hayes reported an amazing story about DC lobbying shop Clarke Lytle. The firm put a memo together highlighting how and why the American Bankers Association, one of their clients, should move to discredit the Occupy Wall Street protests. Here's our response with some add'l facts and figures.
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
House Democrat: Occupy the Constitution!
An interview with Rep. Ted Deutch who just introduced "Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy (OCCUPIED)," legislation that "would amend the Constitution to outlaw the use of all corporate money in elections, not only undoing the biggest changes under Citizens United but also going after the legal concept of 'corporate personhood' altogether."
Super PAC man gobbles up regulators' time, patience
Funny story from ProPublica. This guy in Florida has created 60 super PACs. Fred Wertheimer: "This guy looks like he's just playing games, but he's playing games in a very dangerous world."
How Occupy Wall Street can restore clout of the 99%, by Scott Turow
Turow: "Now that the Occupy Wall Street protesters have been driven from many of their encampments, I have an unusual suggestion for how they should next deploy their considerable energies: work across the nation for a constitutional amendment requiring Congress to regulate the expenditure of private money on elections."
Lobbying leads to big bucks, study claims
On Friday, Public Campaign and USAction released a report on tax repatriation and the ties the corporations pushing for it have with Congress.
- More from Politico: http://www.politico.com/politicoinfluence/1111/politicoinfluence146.html
- The full report: http://publicampaign.org/reports/foolmetwice.
- Op-ed from WV Citizen Action in Charleston on the report: http://wvgazette.com/Opinion/OpEdCommentaries/201111210002
Really with Seth and Kermit
A first for the daily clips--I'm linking to Saturday Night Live. On "Really with Seth and Kermit" on Saturday, they blasted Congress's decision to consider pizza a vegetable, highlighting food industry lobbyists. Meyers said, "Congress is the puppet of the food industry."
Supercommittee chairs prepare to announce failure
In news that will shock nobody, the supercommittee will likely announce today that they cannot come to a deal.
Wall Street rallies around Brown for Senate race
Battling Elizabeth Warren might be good for his war chest, but I don't about building support back home: "Mr. Brown, a freshman who harnessed populist Tea Party anger to win the seat once held by Edward M. Kennedy, has taken more money from the financial industry than almost any other senator: all told, more than $1 million during the last two years, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics."
Wall Street hosts visit for Hill staffers
"The Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. sent a letter to 100 Hill staffers recently inviting them to New York City for a Nov. 7 briefing on the corporation’s role in the capital markets and related regulatory issues in Washington, D.C."
Banks near record spending on DC lobbyists
Related to above stories: "The money banks spend on lobbying is on pace to reach a record high again this year as the industry battles to weaken or repeal hundreds of rules being crafted by federal regulators."
Occupy the agenda, by Nick Krisof
Good analysis from Kristof on Occupy. Especially on-point: "The Occupy movement is also right that one of the drivers of inequality (among many) is the money game in politics."
- And all you have to do is read this Bloomberg article about billionaires dodging taxes to understand why people are angry.
Pizza still counts as a veggie in schools
A look at the Minnesota delegation and their campaign cash from a food company that could have been impacted by USDA's new school food guidelines.
Perry asks Republican donors not to write off his candidacy
"Please, rich people, keep giving me money" - Rick Perry, sort of.
Potential for campaign spending aids Norquist's influence
"But Norquist's pledge, which he administers on behalf of his group Americans for Tax Reform, could be even stronger now than ever, campaign finance experts say. The recent Supreme Court ruling known as 'Citizens United' allows for unlimited campaign spending by certain groups, providing ATR and Norquist with the opportunity to make sure voters know who's keeping to the pledge and who's broken it."
American League of Lobbyists regroups, heads into 2012 under new director
"The American League of Lobbyists is vowing to continue fighting what it calls attacks by the Obama administration on the lobbying profession."
Obama outpaces GOP rivals--and his own 2008 results--in small donations
Wow: "A Washington Post analysis shows that nearly half of his campaign contributions , and a quarter of the money he has raised for the Democratic Party, has come from donors giving less than $200."
- Though, as The Hill points out, "the president is struggling with the ever-important maximum donors."
Law firms dominating campaign contributions to Obama
"Big law is heavily favoring President Obama in campaign contributions, pouring twice as much money into the president’s re-election campaign than into the four leading Republican candidates combined."
Lessons from a disgraced lobbyist
USA Today editorial on Abramoff. "For lobbyists, trying to buy congressmen continues to be seen as a good investment, and too many members allow themselves to be bought, or at least rented. If Congress wants to get its approval rating above 13%, it should heed a disgraced lobbyist."
- De-former Brad Smith has the opposing view. Don't blame the lobbyists, blame big government!
- And Dan Morain at the SacBee has a good column on Abramoff - he may be telling the truth, but he's not telling all of it.
Millionaire PAC founder sees nation on the brink
Sort of odd story on a Tennessee millionaire who's "determined to restore to politics what made America great: ethics based in Judaism and Christianity, a sense of personal responsibility and capitalism." His choice to make that happen, for now, is Michelle Bachmann.
Half of GOP's biggest bundlers still haven't picked a presidential candidate to back
Nearly half of the bundlers for McCain and GWB "have yet to tap their networks to back a candidate to head the Republican ticket in 2012, the analysis shows."
Occupying SB for campaign reforms
Want to know why Bill Steinmetz is supporting Occupy South Bend? The need for campaign finance reform.
Out of state campaign cash is flowing to Mike Pence
On Congressman Mike Pence's run for governor: "No candidate so far has benefited as much from nonresident pocketbooks as U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, one of two Republicans seeking his party's nomination in the May 8 primary election."
Joe Biden addresses secretive donor conference
The Vice President spoke at the Democracy Alliance meeting last week.
South Jersey congressman spent $9,000 from campaign funds on donor's wedding
Odd. Rep. Rob Andrews spent $9,000 from his campaign account to attend a wedding for a donor in Scotland with his family. "Andrews said the expense was legitimate because the wedding was for a donor and volunteer adviser, allowing him to consider it a political event."
Free lunch? Legislators are divided
A look at lobbyists paying for lawmakers' meals in Michigan.
Alfred Representative facing probe for misuse of Clean Election funds
Never good when a lawmaker misuses Clean Elections funds, but this shows there is accountability. And, with just 2 of the 67 candidates audited facing any issues, problems are rare.
- Op-ed from Maine, "Big money wields too much power over our election system."
Finally, did you see the pictures and video of police pepper spraying UC Davis students over the weekend? Well, watch this video of UC Chancellor Katehi walking past assembled protestors that are sitting arm-in-arm in silence. Powerful stuff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8775ZmNGFY8