"Shall not perish from the Earth"

November 19th is the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.

Lincoln_Gettysburg_Address_end.jpg

“The 26th North Carolina, hailing from seven counties in the western part of the state, suffered 714 casualties out of 800 men during the Battle of Gettysburg.  The 24th Michigan squared off against the 26th North Carolina at Gettysburg and lost 362 out of 496 men." (Source: Civil War Trust)

Starvation, disease and exposure killed nearly 2500 American soldiers at Valley Forge during the winter of 1777-1778.

Washington-at-ValleyForge_sm.jpg

At Omaha Beach during the Normandy landings in World War II German soldiers manned machine guns in concrete bunkers that were nearly impervious to the weapons that the Americans had with them that day.  Approximately 2500 American soldiers were killed as they struggled to get from their landing craft to the beach.

Democracy -- the sovereignty of the people -- did not just materialize on the North American continent.  It was created by people who knew the alternative, and were willing to sacrifice for it.

And yet most Americans have not paid any price for our form of government.  It has been handed to us, and many don't know its value.

Rome had a republic.  Athens had a democracy.  They were both lost. 

There is no guarantee that democracy will survive.  The key point in implementation of democracy is the election.  One would like to think that the people who are involved in that implementation -- the candidates, the campaign staff, the pollsters and consultants -- do so with a form of reverence for the sacrifices that have been made on our behalf. 

What would that look like?  Well, campaigns would be honest.  They would not try to portray their opponent as less deserving than she is.  Campaigns would honor merit.  They would not try to win an election solely by outspending the other side.  Campaigns would be informative.  They would proudly confront the issues of the day, and clearly state their positions on these issues. 

So are campaigns honest, reflective of a candidate’s merit and informative?  Well, no.  Of course they aren’t. 

Then I suppose one needs to ask, “Does this matter?

The answer is “yes.”  In fact YES!

Democracy can tolerate some dishonesty, some submission to money and some ignorance, but there is a limit, and we are at the limit.

Democracy needs a critical mass of people who respect it and believe in it for it to survive.

This isn't someone else's job.

We at CleanSlateNow.org area focused on the following problem.  Elections tend no longer to be about who is the most meritorious candidate.  They are about who has the most money for television ads.  


We get what we reward so we have a Congress that is made up of people who are good fundraisers.

Calltime.jpg
These good fundraisers in Congress know some things.  They know which interests and people have money.  They know what to say to them to get some of that money.  They know how to vote to get some more of that money for their reelection. 

So we attack the dysfunction at its weakest point.  We point out where candidates get their special interest money and we support candidates who have the courage to run without it.

Will you volunteer to help us support clean election candidates who make the sacrifice of turning down special interest PAC money, so that we can begin to resurrect and protect government of the people, by the people, for the people?

As always, please do not hesitate to forward this email to anyone you think might be interested or to write back with your comments.

Sincerely,

Ken Gordon

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Simple

  1. Congress is deeply dysfunctional.

  2. Congress is overwhelmingly controlled by wealthy interests who use campaign spending to work their will over the members.

  3. Congress makes national policy that is important to our lives, for instance health care, the environment, Social Security, Medicare, the economy, our jobs, our mortgages and our national defense.

  4. In virtually every area where Congress acts, we disapprove of their actions.

  5. Almost all of us are going to vote to reelect our member of Congress.

Does this suggest any solutions to you?  Let me know.

Cat_and_Dog_on_Congress.jpg


Sincerely,

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Democracy for sale?

  

Yesterday, the case of McCutcheon v. the Federal Election Commission was argued at the United States Supreme Court.  It is an important money in politics case so I will give a short and hopefully clear explanation of what is at stake.

Democracy is NOT for sale

The McCutcheon decision could open the gates to unlimited contributions. 

Congress should not be for sale! Clean Slate Now is working to get candidates that say NO to PAC money in office.

Tell Congress to say NO to PAC money now. Click here to make your voice heard!

There is currently a limit of $123,000 on what an individual can give to all candidates, parties and political action committees (PACs) combined in a Congressional election cycle of two years. McCutcheon, a businessman from Alabama, wants to give more.  He is arguing that this limit infringes on his right to speak freely, and is therefore a First Amendment violation.

Buckley v. Valeo, a 1976 Supreme Court case, said that contribution limits are permissible because of the appearance or reality of corruption caused by donating directly to campaigns, but that campaign expenditure limits are not permissible because money is necessary and therefore the functional equivalent of speech.  So Buckley created this distinction between contributions and expenditures.  And that is what we have now.  An individual can only contribute $5200 directly to a federal candidate, but a campaign or individual can spend any amount of money on an election.

If the Supreme Court rules that aggregate contribution limits are also a violation of free speech, then all contribution limits could be invalidated, leading to even more corruption than we have now.   

Early reports indicate that Chief Justice Roberts’ questions indicate that he did not see the necessity of the aggregate limit.  If this limit is overturned, the new limit, which would be the sum of what could be contributed to every candidate, would be $3.5 million dollars.  Justice Alito said, “I don’t think $3.5 million dollars is a lot of money.”  It doesn’t look like he is going to vote to keep the limit. 

As in practically every Supreme Court decision these days, Justice Kennedy will probably be the deciding vote.

It is an indication of how far the Washington influence auction has gotten from the lives of ordinary people, when Justice Alito can say that  $3.5 million for a single contributor is not a lot of money.

Without an aggregate contribution limit, the individual limits would be a limit in name only.  Multimillionaires like McCutcheon could give directly to a campaign and then give to an unlimited number of PACs as well.

Our answer to the Supreme Court dismantling campaign finance restrictions in America is that we need to support candidates who rely on regular people, not special interests and their PACs, to fund their campaigns.

Last week we announced our petition calling on Congress to say NO to PAC money. Please sign our petition today if you haven't yet.

If you are among the many who have signed already,please ask your friends, family, neighbors, or even complete strangers to sign as well.

Sincerely,

 

Ken Gordon

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Pretending to be a Congressman

Last week I went to Washington, D.C. to meet with others who care about rescuing democracy from special interest money.  While there I thought I would register my opposition.  After all, “dissent is the highest form of patriotism.”

At the Supreme Court I commented on Buckley v. Valeo (“money is speech”) 

Ken_at_SCOTUS_Money_is_not_speech.jpg


and Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission (non-human entities have individual rights).

Ken_at_SCOTUS_Corps_are_not_people.jpg


(The Court is having some work done so they currently have a fake facade.  This must be symbolic; perhaps a fake commitment to political equality.)

Then I pretended to be a member of Congress.

Ken_at_Congress_Will_pass_laws_for_money.jpg


On the plane back to Colorado I pondered what motivated people and organizations with billions of dollars to buy disproportionate political power.  They should be satisfied with an equal political voice--that being the quintessential American value.

This is what I came up with.  When you look beneath the higher functioning part of the brain, when you get to the primitive, non-verbal, instinctual level, you find in everyone fear—primal fear.  Fear of not having enough, fear of hunger, fear of loneliness, fear of death.  Some feel that they can make themselves safer by having power and money, as much power and money as possible.  We see this in tyrants, cutthroat business people and grasping politicians.  Underneath the limitless greed for wealth, power, position is fear.

This is the answer to a question that has puzzled me.  Why does someone work hard to get their second billion dollars?  The answer is because they are trying to fill a psychic hole to escape fear.  Money gives a short term feeling of having helped to fill the hole, but in the midterm and longer the satisfaction gotten from money is fleeting.  So there is an undiminished hole that still needs filling, hence the need for more money than anyone could ever spend.

Man_filled_with_gold.jpg


Others—again this is a subconscious attempt to feel secure—see that when you have more money and political power than others, you create envy and resentment.  To these people, and I am one of them, a society that has large and increasing disparities in wealth and power creates more insecurity, not more security.  We find more security in justice and equality than power and advantage.

Constitution.jpg


At one time the American consciousness had compromised the two methods of seeking security.  Our economic system fostered competitive striving for advantage and wealth, yet our political system honored the concept of equality in political voice.  Currently the competitive values of the economic system, aided and abetted by a questionably motivated Supreme Court, have come to dominate the political side as well.  The compromise that honored democracy is broken.

Congressional approval ratings hover in the high single digits (pretty much immediate family, staff and lobbyists).  This level of approval shows that people correctly see that Congress does not work for them, but for organized wealth. 

If we are to become a society with a functional government we need to restore the compromise.  The economy creates wealth by being motivated by competition and inequality, but our political system needs to honor the equal political worth of all citizens.

This is why CleanSlateNow exists. 

As always do not hesitate to write back with comments, reactions or questions.  Forward this to anyone you feel would be interested.

Sincerely,

Ken Gordon
http://www.cleanslatenow.org/

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Lamborn's Lenders - PAC Donors to Congressman Doug Lamborn

This is our fourth installment analyzing special interest political action committee (PAC) contributions to members of Congress.  We looked at PAC money given to Republicans Mike Coffman and Cory Gardner, and Democrat Diana DeGette.  Here we look at Republican Doug Lamborn.


 Doug_Lamborn_USA.jpg

Doug Lamborn – Strong Conservative

Doug Lamborn's district includes all of Chaffee, El Paso, Fremont, and Teller Counties. He sits on the Natural Resources, Armed Services, and Veterans Affairs committees, and chairs the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.  His district is home to the Air Force Academy and the North American Aerospace Defense Command.  He was rated the most conservative member of Congress in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Lamborn's Top PACs

In his Congressional career, Lamborn has raised $1.4 million dollars from PACs – 52% of his campaign contributions.  His top 20 PAC donors are below.  His top four sectors for PAC receipts are leadership PACs, oil and gas companies, conservative and Republican issue PACs, and defense contractors.

Lamborn_Top_PACs.jpg

Lamborn's special interest money seems to be a story of likeminded groups supporting one of their own.

However, a closer look finds that Lamborn has a sweet tooth.

Sugar PACs

Sugar makes up 1.9% of the value of US agricultural production.  Yet the sugar industry spends 34% of the agricultural lobbying money, and makes 55% of agricultural PAC contributions.  

What do they get for this investment? 

Import quotas. The domestic sugar industry prevents American food manufacturers from buying less expensive foreign sugar.  As a result Americans spend 40% more for sugar than consumers in other countries. 

Conservative groups criticize this form of Big Government involvement in the market, likening it to communism.  As the CATO Institute puts it, "the sugar industry is operated in a Soviet Union style with detailed central planning from Washington."

So naturally we would expect a conservative member of Congress to oppose this special break for a particular industry at the expense of his constituents.

But this doesn't seem to be the case.

Doug_Lamborn_USA_USSR.jpg

Representative Lamborn has twice had the opportunity to vote against this “Soviet” sugar system.  Both times he voted for governmental interference with the free market: once in his first term in Congress when Democrats were in the majority and again earlier this year.

How much does it cost to have a staunch conservative vote for governmental interference with the free market?

$16,000 in campaign money.

Here are Lamborn’s sugar PAC receipts:

AMERICAN CRYSTAL SUGAR $13,000
GREAT LAKES SUGARBEET GROWERS $1,000
WESTERN SUGAR COOPERATIVE $1,000
AMERICAN SUGARBEET GROWERS ASSN $500
FLORIDA SUGAR CANE LEAGUE $500

The sugar industry makes close to $2,000,000 in PAC contributions a year to Congress.  The economic benefit they get from this is about $2,000,000,000 per year.  So they make about a thousand dollars for every dollar they invest in Congress.  It is probably a better return than they would get on investing in capital or labor.

As always do not hesitate to write back with comments and questions, and please forward this to anyone you think might be interested.

Sincerely, 

Ken Gordon

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Gardner's Givers

“The Colville River flows through much of the Brooks Range. Alaska’s largest Arctic River is home to 20 fish species. Known as an internationally-recognized area for nesting birds of prey, the Colville River’s bluffs provide significant nesting habitat for raptors such as Peregrine Falcon, Gyrfalcon and Golden Eagle.” - from On Arctic Ground

The river delta has been designated an “Aquatic Resource of National Importance.”

Colville-River-Alaska-1901-USGS.jpg
Inuit family on Colville River


One would have thought that this is one of the few places on Earth where other species might be safe from encroaching human development….and that would have been true except for the hundreds of millions of barrels of oil under the cold, sparsely-populated tundra.

Shift to Colorado.  In 2010 Cory Gardner was elected to Congress in Colorado’s 4th District -- the Eastern Plains.  One of the freshman’s first bills was HR 4480 which contains the following, “The designation by the Environmental Protection Agency of the Colville River Delta as an Aquatic Resource of National Importance shall have no force and effect.”

Why would a freshman Colorado Congressman wade into the battle between environmentalists and oil companies three thousand miles from his district?

Could it be because Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Anadarko, and British Petroleum are companies who own leases near the Colville River, and are financial backers of Cory Gardner’s political career.

Analyzing financial influence on Congress, we first looked at Coffman, then DeGette, and now Gardner.

In his Congressional career he has raised $1.9 million dollars from PACs – 38% of his campaign contributions.  Below is a list of the top 20 PAC givers to Gardner.

 

Garnder_Top_20_PACs.jpg

Even though Anadarko Petroleum Corp. is the only oil company that appears in his top 20 PAC givers, Gardner’s biggest industry contributor is “Oil and Gas” with contributions from individuals and PACs totaling $384,924 over his career.

Half of the bills he sponsored in his first term focused on oil and gas production.  Now one might think that this is not necessarily a response to the campaign money.  There is significant oil and gas production in Gardner’s district.  Perhaps he is looking out for the local interests of his constituents.

It doesn’t seem to be the case.  Let’s look at his proposed bills.

HR 2021 would restrict the ability of the Department of the Interior to regulate air quality impacted by drilling and exploration on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).  The OCS is American jurisdiction in the ocean.  You can draw a circle with a radius of 750 miles, the center of which is Representative Gardner’s home town, Yuma, Colorado and not include any of the OCS. (The Outer Continental Shelf is the cross hatched area in the map below.)


GardnerMap.jpg

HR 4480 contains numerous provisions unrelated to Colorado.  One title relates to the “Expeditious Program of Oil and Gas Leasing in the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska” and it contains Section 903 relating to leasing off the Virginia shore.  Another section of HR 4480 contains the language relating to the Colville River.

Perhaps I am wrong about Gardner's motivation.  If any of you run into Representative Gardner you might ask him. 

The conversation might go something like this.

You….“Representative Gardner, why did you propose legislation to do away with the “Aquatic Resource of National Importance” designation for the Colville River Delta?

Representative Gardner…. “What?”

You repeat the question.

Representative Gardner….  “Where did you get that?”

You…. “It is in HR 4480, which you sponsored.”

Rep. Gardner (rallying)……  “I was just trying to do away with needless government regulation that interfered with our becoming energy independent.”

You…..  “Did you talk to anyone who lived in the Colville River Delta before you offered the legislation?”

Rep. Gardner…..  “I will have to look at my notes.  I will get back to you.”

You…  “While you are at it check to see where the idea of revoking that designation came from.  Was it one of your constituents?”

Maybe I am being too snarky.  Gardner, being a Republican, may believe that anything that protects nature from the effects of oil drilling is a needless government interference with resource extraction.

But when you are in the business of trying to make real the effects of campaign money on the actions of Congress, you have to make assumptions. 

You never know what is in a Congressman’s head.  All you can do is report the facts.  He received this much money.  He offered this legislation that was helpful to the contributor.  It had nothing to do with his district.  Draw your own conclusions.

As always do not hesitate to write back with comments and questions, and please forward this to anyone you think might be interested, especially people who live in Representative Gardner's district.

Sincerely,

 

Ken Gordon

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Pacs Giving to Both Sides

Here is a list of PACs that have given to both a Democrat and a Republican in the Colorado Congressional delegation:

ABBOTT LABORATORIES EMPLOYEE PAC

ACCENTURE INC PAC

ACTION COMMITTEE FOR RURAL ELECTRIFICATION

AFLAC PAC

AIRCRAFT OWNERS & PILOTS PAC

ALLERGAN INC PAC COMM FOR EMPLOYEES (APACE)

ALTRIA GROUP PAC

AMERICAN ACADEMY OF NEUROLOGY PROFESSIONAL ASSN

AMERICAN ACADEMY OF NURSE PRACTITIONERS PAC

AMERICAN ACADEMY OF OPHTHALMOLOGY (OPHTHPAC)

AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ORTHOPAEDIC SURGEONS

AMERICAN AIRLINES PAC

AMERICAN ASSN OF NURSE ANESTHETISTS CRNA PAC

AMERICAN ASSN OF ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGEONS PAC

AMERICAN ASSN OF ORTHOPAEDIC SURGEONS PAC

AMERICAN BAKERS ASSN PAC

AMERICAN CHIROPRACTIC ASSN PAC

AMERICAN COLLEGE OF CARDIOLOGY PAC

AMERICAN COLLEGE OF RADIOLOGY ASSN PAC

AMERICAN CRYSTAL SUGAR PAC

AMERICAN DENTAL ASSN PAC

AMERICAN ELECTRIC POWER COMMITTEE FOR RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT

AMERICAN EXPRESS COMPANY PAC (AXPPAC)

AMERICAN FAMILY MUTUAL INSURANCE CO PAC

AMERICAN FINANCIAL SERVICES ASSN PAC

AMERICAN GAS ASSN PAC

AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ASSN PAC

AMERICAN HOSPITAL ASSN PAC

AMERICAN HOTEL AND LODGING ASSN PAC

AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS PAC

AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSN PAC

AMERICAN MOVING & STORAGE ASSN PAC

AMERICAN NURSES ASSN PAC

AMERICAN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSN PAC

AMERICAN OPTOMETRIC ASSN PAC

AMERICAN PHYSICAL THERAPY ASSCOATION PAC

AMERICAN PODIATRIC ASSN PAC

AMERICAN RESORT DEVELOPMENT ASSN PAC (ARDA-PAC)

AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS PAC

AMERICAN SPEECH-LANGUAGE-HEARING ASSN PAC

AMERICAN SUGAR CANE LEAGUE PAC

AMERICAN SUGARBEET GROWERS ASSN PAC

AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSN PAC

AMGEN INC PAC

ANHEUSER BUSCH COMPANIES PAC

ARCADIS US INC PAC

ARCH COAL INC PAC

ASSN OF PRIVATE SECTOR COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES PAC

AT&T FEDERAL PAC

BALL CORPORATION PAC

BASIN ELECTRIC POWER COOPERATIVE PAC

BLACK HILLS CORPORATION PAC

BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD ASSN PAC

BNSF RAILPAC

BOEING PAC

BOK FINANCIAL CORP PAC

BOSTON SCIENTIFIC CORP PAC

BP CORPORATION NORTH AMERICA INC PAC

BRIDGEPOINT EDUCATION INC PAC

BROOKE HOLDINGS & JACKSON NATIONAL LIFE SEP SEG FUND

BROWNSTEIN HYATT & FARBER PAC

BRYAN CAVE LLP PAC

BUILDING OWNERS AND MANAGERS ASSN

CAPITAL ONE FINANCIAL CORP ASSN POLITICAL  FUND

CARDIOLOGY ADVOCACY ALLIANCE PAC

CBEYOND INC PAC

CENTURYLINK INC EMPLOYEES PAC

CH2M HILL COMPANIES LTD PAC

CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP PAC

CME/CBOT PAC

CMS ENERGY CORPORATION EMPLOYEES FOR BETTER GOVERNMENT - FEDERAL

COALPAC

COLLEGE OF AMERICAN PATHOLOGISTS PAC

COLORADO BANKERS ASSN PAC

COMCAST CORPORATION PAC

COMPTEL PAC

COUNCIL OF INSURANCE AGENTS & BROKERS PAC

COVIDIEN PAC

CREDIT UNION LEGISLATIVE ACTION COUNCIL

CRICKET COMMUNICATIONS INC PAC (CRICKETPAC)

CUMMINS INC PAC

DAIICHI SANKYO INC EMPLOYEE PAC

DAIRY FARMERS OF AMERICA PAC

DAVITA INC PAC

DCI PAC

DEALERS ELECTION ACTION COMMITTEE OF THE NATIONAL AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSN

DEAN FOOD COMPANY PAC

DELOITTE FEDERAL PAC

DICKSTEIN SHAPIRO LLP PAC

DIGITAL GLOBE PAC

DIRECTV  GROUP, INC FUND

DLA PIPER LLP (US) PAC (DLA PIPER PAC)

DOCTORS COMPANY FEDERAL PAC

DUKE ENERGY CORPORATION PAC

DYKEMA GOSSETT FEDERAL PAC

ECHOSTAR COMMICATIONS AND DISH NETWORK PAC

ELI LILLY & COMPANY PAC

EMPLOYEES OF NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORPORATION PAC

ENTERGY CORPORATION PAC (ENPAC)

ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMICAL CORPORATION (ECC) PAC

FACEBOOK PAC

FARM CREDIT COUNCIL PAC

FARMERS GROUP INC PAC

FEDERAL EXPRESS PAC

FEDERAL HOME LOAN BANK OF TOPEKA PAC

FEDERATION OF AMERICAN HOSPITALS PAC

FIRST DATA CORP EMPLOYEES PAC

FLORIDA SUGAR CANE LEAGUE PAC

FORD MOTOR COMPANY CIVIC ACTION FUND

FREEPORT-MCMORAN COPPER & GOLD INC CITIZENSHIP COMMITTEE

GENENTECH PAC

GENERAL DYNAMICS CORPORATION PAC

GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY PAC

GENERAL MOTORS COMPANY PAC

GENWORTH FINANCIAL INC PAC

GLAXOSMITHKLINE PAC

GOLDMAN SACHS GROUP, INC PAC

GREAT LAKES SUGARBEET GROWERS PAC

GREENBERG TRAURIG, PA PAC

GROCERY MANUFACTURERS ASSN PAC

GROWTH ENERGY PAC

HARRIS CORPORATION PAC

HCA GOOD GOVERNMENT FUND

HCR MANOR CARE PAC

HEARTLAND COMMUNITY BANKERS ASSN-PAC (HCBA-PAC)

HEWLETT PACKARD COMPANY PAC

HOGAN LOVELLS PAC

HOLLAND & KNIGHT COMMITTEE FOR EFFECTIVE GOV

HOLLAND AND HART FEDERAL PAC

HOME DEPOT INC PAC

HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL PAC

HUMANE USA PAC

INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY BANKERS OF AMERICA PAC

INDEPENDENT INSURANCE AGENTS & BROKERS OF AMERICA

INTEGRAPAC OF INTEGRA TELECOM HOLDINGS

INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF SHOPPING CENTERS INC PAC

INTERNATIONAL PAPER PAC

INTERNATIONAL UNION OF OPERATING ENGINEERS

JOBS, OPPORTUNITIES AND EDUCATION, PAC (JOE-PAC)

JPMORGAN CHASE & CO FEDERAL PAC

K&L GATES LLP PAC

KPMG PARTNERS/PRINCIPALS & EMPLOYEES PAC

KROGER PAC

KUTAK ROCK LLC PAC

LEVEL 3 COMMUNICATIONS INC PAC

LIBERTY MEDIA CORPORATION PAC

LOCKHEED MARTIN CORPORATION EMPLOYEES PAC

MANUFACTURED HOUSING INSTITUTE PAC

MASTERCARD INTERNATIONAL INC EMPLOYEES' PAC

MCKESSON CORP EMPLOYEE POLITICAL FUND PAC

MEDCO HEALTH PAC

MEDNAX PAC

MERCK & CO INC EMPLOYEES PAC (MERCK PAC)

MICHAEL BAKER CORPORATION PAC

MICROSOFT CORPORATION PAC

MILLER COORS LLC PAC

MINEPAC A PAC OF THE NATIONAL MINING ASSN

MINN-DAK FARMERS COOPERATIVE PAC

MORTGAGE BANKERS ASSN PAC

MOTOROLA SOLUTIONS, INC PAC

MUTUAL OF OMAHA COMPANIES PAC

NATIONAL ACTION COMMITTEE (NACPAC)

NATIONAL APARTMENT ASSN PAC

NATIONAL ASSN OF BROADCASTERS PAC

NATIONAL ASSN OF CHAIN DRUG STORES PAC

NATIONAL ASSN OF INDUSTRIAL AND OFFICE PROP

NATIONAL ASSN OF INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL ADVISORS PAC

NATIONAL ASSN OF MORTGAGE BROKERS PAC

NATIONAL ASSN OF MUTUAL INSURANCE PAC

NATIONAL ASSN OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS INC PAC

NATIONAL ASSN OF REALTORS PAC

NATIONAL AUTOMOBILE DEALERS ASSN

NATIONAL BEER WHOLESALERS ASSN PAC

NATIONAL CABLE & TELECOMM PAC

NATIONAL COMMUNITY PHARMACISTS  ASSN - PAC

NATIONAL EMERGENCY MEDICINE PAC

NATIONAL MULTI HOUSING COUNCIL PAC

NATIONAL PROPANE GAS ASSN PAC

NATIONAL RESTAURANT ASSN PAC

NATIONAL RIFLE ASSN OF AMERICA POLITICAL VICTORY FUND

NATIONAL RURAL ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE ASSN PAC

NATIONAL STONE SAND & GRAVEL ASSN ROCKPAC

NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COOPERATIVE ASSN

NATIONAL VENTURE CAPITAL ASSN

NELNET INC PAC (NELNET PAC)

NEW YORK LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY PAC

NEWMONT MINING CORPORATION PAC (NEWPAC)

NEWS AMERICA HOLDINGS INC FOX PAC

NOBLE ENERGY INC PAC

NORTHEAST UTILITIES EMPLOYEES' PAC - FEDERAL

NOSSAMAN LLP PAC (NOSSAMAN PAC)

NOVARTIS CORP PAC

NRG ENERGY INC PAC

NUCLEAR ENERGY INSTITUTE FEDERAL PAC

PAETEC HOLDING CORP PAC

PATTON BOGGS PAC

PETROLEUM MARKETERS ASSN PAC

PFIZER INC PAC

PG&E CORPORATION ENERGY PAC

PHIL PAC

PINNACLE WEST CAPITAL CORPORATION PAC

PMA GROUP PAC

POLSINELLI SHUGHART PC PAC

POWER PAC OF ENERGY FUTURE HOLDINGS CORP

POWER PAC OF THE EDISON ELECTRIC INSTITUTE

PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS PAC

PROGRESS ENERGY EMPLOYEE'S FEDERAL PAC

PROPERTY CASUALTY INSURERS ASSN OF AMERICA PAC  (PCIPAC)

PURDUE PHARMA INC PAC

QWEST COMMUNICATIONS INTERNATIONAL INC PAC

RAYTHEON COMPANY PAC

REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT TRUSTS PAC

REAL ESTATE ROUNDTABLE PAC (REALPAC)

REYNOLDS AMERICAN INC PAC; RAI PAC

SAFEWAY INC PAC (SAFEPAC)

SALLIE MAE INC PAC

SECURITY SERVICE FEDERAL CREDIT UNION PAC

SOUTHERN COMPANY EMPLOYEES PAC

SOUTHERN MINNESOTA BEET SUGAR COOPERATIVE PAC

SPECTRA ENERGY CORP PAC

SPRINT NEXTEL CORPORATION NEXTEL PAC

STEPTOE AND JOHNSON LLP PAC

SUN HEALTHCARE PAC

T-MOBILE USA, INC  PAC (T-PAC)

TACO PAC

TIME WARNER CABLE FEDERAL PAC CTE

TITLE INDUSTRY PAC

TURKISH COALITION USA PAC

TYCO INTERNATIONAL (US) INC EMPLOYEES PAC

UAL Corp

UNION PACIFIC CORPORATION FUND FOR EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT

UNITED PARCEL SERVICE INC PAC

UNITED PILOTS PAC

UNITED SERVICES AUTOMOBILE ASSN EMPLOYEE PAC - USAA EMPLOYEE PAC

UNITED STATES TELECOM ASSN PAC CTE

UNITED TECHNOLOGIES CORPORATION PAC

US BANCORP POLITICAL PARTICIPATION PROGRAM

US ONCOLOGY INC GOOD GOV COMMITTEE

US-CUBA DEMOCRACY PAC

VERIZON COMMUNICATION INC GOOD GOVT CLUB

VFW PAC

WAL-MART STORES INC PAC FOR RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT

WELLPOINT INC, PAC

WELLS FARGO & CO EMPLOYEE PAC

WESTERN SUGAR COOPERATIVE PAC

WESTERN UNION COMPANY PAC

WESTON SOLUTIONS INC PAC (WESTON PAC)

WESTWOOD COLLEGE, INC FUND FOR EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE

WEXLER & WALKER PUBLIC POLICY ASSNIATES PAC (A UNIT OF HILL & KNOWLTON)

WILLIAMS AND JENSEN PLLC PAC

WINE & SPIRITS WHOLESALERS OF AMERICA PAC

XCEL ENERGY EMPLOYEE PAC

XO COMMUNICATION PAC

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Diana's Donors

“Even when Congress occasionally does something about big money buying political influence--which it does every forty or fifty years--the Supreme Court says that ‘money is speech.’  No other country says bribery is speech!” 

-The author, venting during an early morning power walk with former Denver Post reporter Mike McPhee.


This is our second installment analyzing the special interest PAC contributions to members of Congress.  Two weeks ago we looked at money given to Republican Mike Coffman.  Here we are looking at PAC money given to Democrat Diana DeGette.

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Diana DeGette represents all of Denver, along with parts of Adams, Arapahoe, and Jefferson Counties. She is the longest serving Member from Colorado, first elected in 1996. DeGette serves as a whip for the Democratic minority and sits on the Committee on Energy and Commerce.  She was Vice Chair of this committee when Democrats were in the majority from 2007 to 2011.

In her Congressional career she has raised $3.7 million dollars from PACs – 51% of her campaign contributions. Of that $3.7 million, $2,327,531, 64% of the total, comes from business PACs, $1,088,200, 30% of the total, comes from labor and $238,287, 7% comes from single issue ideological PACs. The graphic below is a word cloud of all of her PAC contributors.  The size of the font correlates with the size of the contribution.  Her top 20 PACs are detailed here.

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Most candidates, lobbyists, and big contributors deny that there is anything wrong with our campaign finance system.  Contributors will say, “We are just supporting candidates who share our values.  We are not buying excessive influence.”

If supporting candidates who share their values were the motivation for campaign contributions, you would not see interests contributing to candidates from opposite ends of the political spectrum.  And yet there are 36 special interest PACs that have given to every member of the Colorado delegation who takes PAC money (Polis does not take PAC Money), and 253 have given to at least one Democrat and one Republican!

These are the interests who have contributed to every member of the Colorado delegation who takes PAC money -- Republicans and Democrats (in order of most contributed to least).

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Earlier we pointed out that a number of Rep. Coffman’s biggest contributors were defense contractors, and I noted that this was probably because of his membership on the Armed Services Committee.  

However, defense contractors Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon actually have contributed to every single member of the Colorado delegation who takes PAC money.  Why would PACs contribute to members coming from ideologically divergent points?

Because they aren’t supporting candidates who share their values.  They are buying influence with every member of Congress they can. Since you probably don’t have a PAC, they are getting something you don’t have.

This is a disconnect.  Ask your member of Congress if they are influenced by their campaign contributions.  They will probably deny it.  Ask the lobbyist representing these PACs whether they get anything for the money they contribute.  A lobbyist quoted in the New York Times on August 10 said, "we make an investment, and we are hopeful that investment produces a return."

Following this line — that special interest PACs contribute to get influence rather than support candidates whose values they share — it is noteworthy that Congresswoman DeGette received more than twice as much money from business interests than she got from labor.

Remember that her district, unlike the Coffman seat, is a safe seat.  In 2012 Diana received 68% of the vote.  No interest group, whether they like her or not, needs to give her money to ensure that she keeps the seat.

So why do they spend this money?

I hope you are doing well.  As always do not hesitate to write back with comments or questions and please share this email with anyone who you think might be interested.

If you would like to help us work on this issue, click here to donate to CleanSlateNow.org.

Sincerely,


Ken Gordon


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Diana DeGette's Top 20 PAC Donors

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A few not so fun facts

In Boston’s upcoming mayoral race, candidate Rob Consalvo recently asked his running mates not to take special-interest PAC money.

Consalvo’s proposal seemed commendable until I saw fellow candidate Charlotte Golar Richie’s response. She rejected Consalvo’s proposal, explaining, “I do not come to this race with a war chest like Councilor Consalvo”. She continued, “I have to build my organization and campaign account from scratch.”

This dialogue puzzled me. I believed special interest money to be synonymous with immoral politics.

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After digesting Golar Richie’s response, my first thought went like this: holding political office is ultimately someone’s job, upon which its occupants’ livelihoods depend. Naturally, individuals want to succeed in their work. A politician succeeds if he or she helps contribute to just and effective government, but this end goal entails periodic reelection. Therefore, since reelection campaigns require a lot of money, a politician needs access to financial backers for success.

All right, so politicians need lots of money to maintain their offices. But this does not explain why Richie and other politicians dismiss individual contributions while seeking out special interests. Why not focus on involving voters and reject unrelated special-interest PAC money?

Simply answered, citizens do not give enough money.  Consider 2008 - only 4% of Americans made any sort of political contribution. Less than 1% contributed 80% of all political funds. In 2012, 0.4% of Americans gave more than $200 to a political cause, yet this 0.4% provided 63.5% of all money to federal candidates, PACs and political parties.

Candidates cannot rely on citizens when the average citizen is not politically engaged.

This lead to my next supposition: is it the case that local and state candidates may require special interest money, whereas federal officials are wealthier and should finance their own campaigns? I discovered a state lawmaker’s base salary (including bonuses/per diem) varies from around $50,000 to $90,000, while local politicians surely earn even less. Meanwhile the average personal wealth of U.S. Senators and Congressmen is respectively $11.9 million and $6.5 million.

So why do these millionaires not finance their own campaigns? Well, of House and Senate members who won election in 2012, the average campaign funds raised were respectively $1,689,580 and $10,476,451 per candidate.

That’s a lot of money needed to retain a job. Is it fair to ask Senators to contribute $1.75 million or Congressmen $845,000 every year from their personal savings? No other profession demands colossal personal contribution from its employees so they can keep their positions. Besides, many Senators and Representatives would quickly go bankrupt attempting to finance their own campaigns. 

What does all of this unsettling information reveal about the big picture of American politics?

Bright men and women run for office wanting to create a better country. To get elected, candidates need campaign money. The average citizen is either politically unaware or simply reluctant to contribute, so candidates turn to special interest money. In order to keep contributions flowing, politicians find themselves legislating in favor of special interests and not constituents. Elected officials cannot impartially do their jobs without angering groups who enable them to keep their jobs. 

How do we fix this? Candidates who do not take PAC money (Colorado’s own Andrew Romanoff) and state systems of publicly financed campaigns are encouraging steps. Ultimately, people must stand against special interests and renew their political engagement. As previously mentioned, 0.4% of Americans contributed 63.5% of all political giving in 2012. What if the other 99.6% of Americans started contributing $5 each to their preferred candidates?

Join CleanSlateNow and our Clean Election Crew if you are sick of watching our government implode from the sidelines.

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Farm Bill, a Study in Special-Interest Exploitation

Congressional work on the Farm Bill has been a dismal showing of special-interest influence, reflecting poorly on both Democrats and Republicans.  

The first draft of the Bill failed in mid-June, the key-up being crop insurance policies. Prior to the final vote, Jim McGovern (D-Mass) added an amendment to reduce crop insurance funding in order to avoid cuts to SNAP, which were supported by House Republicans (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or the food stamp program). 

The vote on McGovern’s measure was mostly along party lines except for eight wayward Democrats siding with Republicans. What might explain their abandonment of SNAP funding, a mainstay in liberal policy?

Collin Peterson of Minnesota, Ranking Democratic Member of the Agriculture Committee, received $17,500 from the American Farm Bureau political action committee (PAC) in 2012, his top contributor in the last three election cycles. Mike McIntyre of North Carolina, also a committee member, received a total of $296,000 Agribusiness contributions in 2012 -- in the same year the average agribusiness donation per Democrat was just $36,880. 

  The potential downpour of new agribusiness subsidies is a gloomy forecast for American taxpayers

  The potential downpour of new agribusiness subsidies is a gloomy forecast for American taxpayers

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Candidates who don't take pac money

Clean Election Candidates - as of August 1, 2013

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These candidates have made a necessary and courageous decision to turn down special interest political action committee campaign contributions. Their name below is a link.  Send them a note thanking them for representing their constituents and not special interest contributors. 

Find out what corporations and unions your elected officials are receiving money from.

State Officials

Federal Officials

 
   

Federal

U.S. Senate

Washington

Senator Maria Cantwell Democratic Party

 

U.S. House of Representatives

Colorado

Andrew Romanoff (CD 6, Aurora, Littleton, Centennial, Brighton) Democratic Party

Congressman Jared Polis (CD 2, Boulder, Fort Collins) Democratic Party

Tennessee

Congressman Phil Roe (CD 1, Kingsport, Morristown) Republican Party

New York

Jeffrey Kurzon (CD 7, Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg) Democratic Party

 

State

Colorado General Assembly

Sen. Irene Aguilar (SD 32, Denver) dem_logo.jpg

Rep. Lois Court (HD 6, Denver) dem_logo.jpg

Sen. Michael Johnston (SD 33, Denver) dem_logo.jpg

Rep. Janak Joshi (HD 14, Colo. Springs) rep_logo.jpg

Rep. Dan Pabon (HD 4, Denver) dem_logo.jpg

Sen. Pat Steadman (SD 31, Denver) dem_logo.jpg

Rep. Jovan Melton (HD 41, Aurora) dem_logo.jpg

Owen Perkins  (HD 2, Denver) dem_logo.jpg

 

Local

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele dem_logo.jpg

 


If you're thinking of running for office without special interest contributions, here are some helpful principles to follow>>

Please suggest others if they aren't listed here. We must be able to verify their stance. Please include a link to a website or Facebook page which states their stance.

Disclaimer: Even if the official candidate committee is not accepting special interest/PAC money, because of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, PACs, political parties and other political committees may be spending money advocating for the defeat or election of these candidates without their permission. 

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Coffman's Coffers

Special interests buying political influence by financing campaigns is an ongoing crisis, profoundly undermining our democratic system.  This corrupt practice is accepted -- in fact promoted -- by political insiders across the ideological spectrum.   Accordingly we will publish reviews of the special interest political action committee (PAC) money received by members of Congress, starting with Colorado.

A PAC is a political committee set up by an interest group to make contributions or independent expenditures on behalf of candidates.

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We will focus on one member per week in alphabetical order, starting with the House.  This first week will be Representative Coffman.

Republican Congressman Mike Coffman represents parts of three counties - Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas, including the City of Aurora, where he lives.  He is a veteran who serves on the House Armed Services, Small Business, and Veterans’ Affairs Committees.  In 2014, Coffman’s Democratic opponent will be Andrew Romanoff, former Colorado Speaker of the House.

Coffman was first elected to Congress in 2008.  In his Congressional career he has raised over $1.7 million dollars from PACs – 25% of his campaign contributions.

Forty-one PACs have each written checks totaling at least $10,000 to Coffman’s Congressional  campaigns.  Below is a list of his 22 largest PAC contributors (top 20 and ties).

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Coffman’s membership on the Armed Services Committee, which approves the 595 billion dollar defense budget, helps explain the contributions from defense contractors, such as Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Honeywell.

Why would these contractors give money to a Congressional campaign?  In 2012 Northrop Grumman had $22.7 billion in government sales, 90% percent of their business.  Lockheed Martinhad $38.8 billion in government sales, 82% of their business. Raytheon’s sales to government were $17.9 billion, 73% of their total.  Honeywell had $3.4 billion in sales to the government, 9% of their business.  So these four defense contractors had a total of $82.8 billion in sales to the Federal government in 2012.  Their political contributions, although large in the political world, are only .01% of what they receive from government sales.

Five leadership PACs -- Every Republican Is Crucial, New Pioneers PAC, Freedom Project, Prosperity PAC and Majority Committee PAC -- are also among Coffman’s top contributors.  Leadership PACs are set up by other members of Congress who have leadership roles, or hope to have such a role. (It turns out that practically every member has one of these PACs).

The Congressmen behind these five “leadership PACs” are, respectively, Eric Cantor (House Majority Leader), Greg Walden (Chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee), John Boehner (Speaker of the House), Paul Ryan (Chairman of the Budget Committee), and Kevin McCarthy (Majority Whip).

In 2012 Northrop Grumman made $34,500 in campaign contributions to the leadership PACs that also gave directly to Coffman.  The numbers for the other contractors are $38,000 for Honeywell, $35,000 for Lockheed Martin and $22,500 for Raytheon.

A special interest PAC that gives to a leadership PAC helps itself in two ways. It is able to funnel more money to its preferred candidate, and it obtains gratitude from the leaders and rising stars of the majority party.

The ultimate goal of the defense contractors is to obtain votes for approval of billions of dollars of purchases by government.  Financing campaigns through contributions by self-interested parties is one reason why our defense spending exceeds the combined defense spending of the next ten largest spending countries, many of whom are allies.

Whether this amount of money is necessary for defense is a separate question, but the spending helps create immense income for contractors, who can then give a relatively small amount to the campaigns of their political supporters, creating an endless corrupt loop of contribution, appropriation, special interest revenue, contribution...  Congressmen indirectly appropriate money to their own campaigns.

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Looking at the money given by one industry to one Congressman highlights a systemic form of dishonesty and corruption.

By taking these contributions Representative Coffman is acting no differently than practically every other member of Congress.  In fact this is the problem.

As always do not hesitate to write back with comments and questions, and please forward this email to anyone you think might be interested.

Sincerely, 

Ken Gordon
CleanSlateNow.org
http://www.cleanslatenow.org/

P.S.  CleanSlateNow.org addresses the issue of special interest money corrupting our politics by supporting candidates who do not take PAC money.

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Why I ran a Clean Election Campaign

Mark_head_shot.jpgOver four and half years ago, I decided to run for the Colorado State House.  I jumped into the race assuming I would need to raise more than $100,000 to win, and that would likely mean taking money from anyone willing to donate – special interest political action committees (PACs) included.  That is just how campaigns are run and won -- or so I thought.  Like most candidates, I assumed that those contributions would not impact my vote or my approach to the office.  I was running because of the issues I cared about and the things I wanted to get done. 

While on the campaign trail, I met with former Colorado Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon.  As he does with everyone he meets, he made the case for not taking money from special interest PACs, and explained how he had won seats in both the Colorado House and Senate without PAC money.  I listened politely, hoping to earn his support, and possibly a contribution to my campaign.  Instead, he convinced me to return the two PAC checks I had accepted, and to turn down any more offered to me.  I did, and I’m glad I did.

The experience of running a Clean Election Candidate taught me two very important lessons:

The first is that special interest groups expect a return on their investment.  Not only do they expect you to win, they expect to receive special access to the legislative process.  Most will not say they expect you to vote with them in exchange for their contribution - but it is no secret that many of the bills and amendments offered up by our legislators are written by the same lobbyists who decide which candidates receive the PAC's money.  If you show them that you will play ball, by their rules, they will support you - of course, they might support your opponent, too.

The second lesson I learned is that the vast majority of voters are shut out of this process. They know it, and they do not like it one bit.  Too many of our elected officials play ball with PACs to get ahead, but at the expense of the trust of their constituents.  There is a reason that Congress’s approval ratings have been in the teens for years, and it has nothing to do with which party is in power, because neither party is truly in control.  The special interest groups are, thanks in large part to their PAC contributions. 

CO_Flag.jpgI ran for office because of my passions for better schools, good government, and protecting our planet for my daughter’s generation and those yet to come.  My conversation with Ken and the experience of meeting with special interest groups as a candidate made it clear to me that everything I wanted to accomplish would be stymied by special interests and their strangle hold on the legislative process.  Even if a few legislators win Clean Election Campaigns, it will not be enough to fix the system.

Here in Colorado, we currently have 7 legislators who don’t take PAC money.  I joined Clean Slate Now to help elect more Clean Election Candidates in Colorado, and throughout the country.  With your help, we can make all elections, Clean Elections.

Please click here to help.

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You'll learn a lot about campaigns from this presentation by Stephen Colbert's Lawyer...

Republican Attorney Trevor Potter lays out a compelling case for the need for Campaign Finance Reform.

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American Values

When my high school Civics teacher didn’t know something, she made it up.  I remember catching a friend’s eye when she told us that FDR was the first Jewish President. My friend corrected her.  (Roosevelt was an Episcopalian).  I had already been to the principal’s office for our “personality conflict.”

Capitol_Building_3.jpgNow, nearly 50 years later, I read through Civics texts to see what we currently teach teenagers.  I wanted to compare the reality of what we do as a country with our stated values. The three texts were substantially consistent.

  1. Prentice Hall, Civics, lists basic American values as Equality, Freedom and Justice.
  2. Holt McDougal, Civics in Practice lists Equality, Liberty and Justice.
  3. McGraw Hill, Building Citizenship, Civics and Economics, lists Freedom, Equality, Opportunity, Justice and Democracy.

Words are imperfect vehicles for carrying meaning.  We use them out of necessity, but there are not hard lines between the concepts of equality, freedom and justice.  For instance you cannot have a society that attains a high degree of freedom and justice, if you also do not also have political equality.

It is political equality that is threatened by the way we finance campaigns. 

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What are Clean Election Campaigns?

Public Campaign is a group we regard highly.  Their “slogan” is a simple one:  Clean Money - Clean Elections

We like the term Clean Elections, too, because, well, who doesn’t want elections to be clean?

Other groups use similar terms (e.g. Clean Money or Voter-Owned Elections) but they mean the same thing. 

But what, exactly, is a Clean Election? 

CarterFord.jpgThe best known example of a Clean Election program is the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.  It was created by the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 and went into effect in the 1976 election.  You can dedicate $3 of your federal income taxes to fund qualifying candidates for President.  For years, both the Democratic and Republican nominees for President relied on those funds for their general election campaigns, along with the party nominating conventions.  In exchange they were not allowed to accept any other funds for their own campaigns (though the political party committees could and did raise money to campaign on their behalf). 

In 2008, Barack Obama became the first major candidate in decades to opt out of government funding for a Presidential campaign - though he also declined to take contributions from the special interest political action committees (PAC). In 2012, both Obama and Romney opted out of the government funding system, and decided that they could raise more money on their own.  Once again, Obama did not accept PAC contributions to his campaign (though he did solicit contributions for a Super PAC that spent money to support him, but independently of his campaign).

 

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Cuomo's Moreland Commission Unveiled

Cuomobio.jpgNew York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled his previously promised Moreland Commission, a committee tasked with investigating corruption in New York government and recommending legislative action.

In response to his campaign finance reform bill dying in the Senate, the Governor has assembled a collection of 25 legal experts, including 10 District Attorneys. Authorized with broad jurisdiction and subpoena power, these officials will tackle the fraud rampant among New York politicians.

Considering Albany’s recent cluster of political scandals, the Moreland Commission is a welcome, albeit transitory, substitute for legislation. Some preventive action was necessary after cases of bribery, embezzlement, and illegal campaign fundraising surfaced, rocking the trust in state government. Southern District of New York attorney Preet Bharara labeled the situation aptly: “a show-me-the-money culture seems to pervade every level of New York Government.”

Despite its seemingly honorable intentions, Governor Cuomo’s Moreland Commission has received mixed reviews. 

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Not like the others

Which one of these is not like the others?

Pine Beetles
PAC contributions
Lobbyists
Lake Michigan

 

An acquaintance recently asked, “Why did you run for political office?”

I said, “Well, I’m Jewish, and my grandmother’s parents and eight of her brothers and sisters were killed in an anti-Semitic pogrom in the Ukraine in 1916.  When I was in college becoming politically aware during the Vietnam War, it was clear to me that Vietnam was a failure of morality, judgment and policy.

I realized that things don’t automatically turn out okay.  I thought if you want to prevent tragedies, you need to be involved.  You may not be able to stop every bad thing from happening, but at least you will know that you tried.”

My friend was quiet and I thought that perhaps I had been too self-revealing.  Previously we had only joked around together.  But he said in a serious way, “That sounds like a good reason.”

 

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George Washington in Modern Times

iStock_000001754334XSmall.jpg“Martha, I’m not going to be home for dinner tonight.”

“George, why not?  I’m making chicken.”

“I have to go to a fundraiser with the Wall Street Banks.”

“Ok.  When do you think you will be home?”

“Probably about ten.  I just have to listen to them whine about over-regulation, and then pick up a envelope of big checks.”

“Where is the fundraiser?”

“At the Willard Hotel.”

“Well don’t eat too much of that rich food.  You know it gives you gas.”

When George got home Martha asked him how it went.

“They want the government to insure the depositors against losses, but they don’t want to follow any rules to prevent them from taking risks with the taxpayer’s money.”

“What did you say to them?”

“I just listened, and nodded my head as if I agreed.”

“George, if you didn’t agree, that sounds almost like lying.”

“Well, I didn’t actually tell a lie.”

“Will you be home early tomorrow night?”

“No tomorrow night is another fundraiser.  This one is with the Cherry Tree Growers Association.  Hell if I know what I am going to tell them.”

 

As we celebrate our country’s independence it is appropriate to look at how we are doing compared to the ideals upon which the country was founded.

The truth is we are not doing well.  Candidates spend more time raising money than they do on policy.  Wealthy special interests like banks, insurance companies, pharmaceutical and oil companies have overwhelming influence and control in Washington.  Ordinary citizens are almost totally ignored.  Every four years, more money is spent on campaigns, people become more cynical, and fewer people participate, potentially creating a negative, downward, death spiral for democracy.

I founded CleanSlateNow.org because I felt a responsibility to do something to stop this looming disaster for our political system.  We are working to solve the problem of special interest money corruption by helping to elect candidates who do not accept special interest PAC contributions.

 

Please join us in supporting these candidates by becoming a member of CleanSlateNow.org.

 

To become a member, you only need to

1) Pledge to volunteer 10 hours a year;

2) Sign up as a monthly contributor of $8 or more a month; or

3) Make an annual contribution of at least $96.

 

Will you join CleanSlateNow.org today as a member?

 

Click here to join us in standing up for democracy, and become a member today.

 

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CleanSlateNow.org
We recruit and advocate for candidates who do not take special interest PAC money.