So It's Not a Video Game?!

A new poll by The Washington Post shows most Americans haven’t even heard of Super PACs and aren’t sure what they are.

When given choices for the definition of the term “Super PAC,” only 40% correctly answered “a group able to accept unlimited political donations.” One percent of respondents even thought a Super PAC referred to a game for a smart phone. It gets worse: ¾ of respondents had heard very little or nothing at all of increased spending by outside groups in this election.

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Senate Subcommittee Takes On Super PACs and Citizens United

If you're a history nerd like me there's nothing in the world like a batch of new primary source documents. And primary source documents on Citizens United and campaign finance? Oh, come to Poppa.

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American Thinkers vs. Big Money

You may think that the debate over big money in politics is a new one. This is not so. It’s a debate that has been prevalent in political discourse since the conception of our country. 

A number of prominent American political thinkers and politicians over the past few centuries –including numerous founding fathers– have denounced the effect of big special interests. Thomas Paine, Andrew Jackson, Grover Cleveland, and Theodore Roosevelt are among such people; Thomas Paine being one of our most important founding fathers.

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There Are Some Things You Can't Hide

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There's a clever scene in Steven Spielberg's 2003 film Minority Report when Tom Cruise's character, disgraced police chief John Anderton, on the run from his former colleagues, ducks into a mall in order to escape. But Speilberg's setup here is that at the same time, wall-mounted optical sensors repeatedly scan his eyes and ID him, then project holographic ads so specific and personalized they use his name ("John Anderton! You could use a GUINESS right about now!"). As he gets further into the mall, and more floating ads shout his name, his anonymous getaway looks less and less likely.

Futuristic, right? Wrong. Much in the same way John Anderton had ads calling out to him and him alone, Super PACS are placing highly targeted ads on specific web sites for news junkies like yourself says the investigative news site ProPublica.

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Follow the Money: The Great Immigration Debate

As the presidential election heats up, so too has the immigration debate. Most want some kind of immigration reform but how do we do it? Some are proponents of the Dream Act. Some are proponents of “self-deportation.” Some are in favor of strengthening our border with Mexico.

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A Message From CO Common Cause

When the Supreme Court handed down its 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC, it opened up our elections to a flood of corporate and special interest money. This election cycle we have already seen a record amount of money spent from SuperPACs and dark money organizations. The only way to overturn Citizens United is with a constitutional amendment. That effort starts here in Colorado, Right Now!

We are in the midst of a signature drive campaign to get an initiative on the Colorado ballot calling on our elected officials to support a constitutional amendment to restore government of, by, and for the people, by keeping big money out of our elections.

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GLBT and Money

4421374836_d3a7dfc763.jpgIt’s been quite a year for the GLBT community all over the nation, with Washington state and Maryland allowing same-sex marriages, a federal appeals court ruled California’s Prop 8 unconstitutional and unfortunately, the defeat of civil unions here in Colorado.

So what does this have to do with our work at CleanSlateNow.org? Well, I’m glad you asked. 

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Guns & Laws

It would take you less than an hour to drive from Columbine High School to the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora. Both venues are in the suburbs of Denver and subject to the laws created by the Colorado Legislature.

Few politicians have mentioned laws when talking about the shooting in Aurora. The following story will help explain this reluctance.

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State and Federal Colorado Lawmakers Who Are Recipients of Gun Lobby Money

Here is a list of current Colorado state legislators who have received contributions from gun lobby PACs:

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Strength In Numbers vs. Strength In Dollars

The New York Times posted a fascinating piece last Saturday on their 2012 campaign blog by professor and author Drew Westen about a couple of things we've been trying to wrap our heads around here at CleanSlateNow.org.

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Follow the Money: (The Lack of) Full Disclosure

Yesterday, the Dems in the  Senate voted on the DISCLOSE (Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections) Act – a law that would require any unions or corporations to report any election spending above $10,000.

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Money in Politics Ballot Measure

Common Cause and CoPIRG are circulating petitions to put on the ballot a measure that would instruct Colorado’s elected representatives to support a Constitutional Amendment that overturns the Supreme Court case of Buckley v. Valeo.

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Have You Heard of Super PACs?

iWatch News went out on Independence Day and asked visitors in Washington D.C. what they thought about Super PACs. Some of the responses might surprise you.

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Too Much Political Advertising? Ask Yourself: "What Would Shatner Do?"

tj_hooker_pilot.jpgThe Denver Post's Spot Blog is reporting that Colorado leads the nation in political advertising television buys.

"Three of the top four hottest advertising markets for political campaigns are in Colorado [Denver, Colorado Springs, and Grand Junction] this week, NBC News reported Wednesday," the Post writes. "The news is a harbinger to what’s to come for Colorado in terms of attention and outside spending. Just two years ago, Colorado ranked first in the country for the number of outside dollars that poured into the state to influence the Senate race...The reason...is fairly simple: It is a battleground state that both sides see as winnable this November. And the media is (relatively) cheap."

Doesn't it make you feel special? (and I do mean YOU - I stopped watching broadcast television when I couldn't find TJ Hooker reruns anymore).

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History and Big Money Dependency (and Zombies)

Big money from special interest contributors has been a factor of American politics since our country’s founding.  As George Thayer says in his book Who Shakes the Money Tree?, “In 1839, Whig lobbyist Thurlow Weed raised $8,000 from New York merchants, and the money was delivered in a bandana handkerchief.  No one appeared to think it unusual.” 

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Outspending the Incumbent

For the first time in history, an incumbent President may well be outspent by his challenger. With the theoretical end of public financing, Super PACs, hybrid PACS, and 501c4’s who act just like Super PACs but with anonymous donations, money is flowing freely this election year. But it seems to be flowing more right than left.

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Ruthless, Relentless Storytelling

Spend a moment or two this afternoon to reflect on a recent pair of pieces in major East Coast newspapers focusing on money and politics in the era of Citizens United and the Super PAC. Taken together, they show what it is that gets overlooked when the money is speech side defends Citizens United.

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The Curious Case of The New Gessler Lawsuit

The Denver Post's Spot blog reports Secretary of State Scott Gessler has had yet another lawsuit filed against him over campaign finance rulemaking. But this time, Gessler may not want to win.

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Educated Voter

The following is a letter that I wrote to a class of graduate social work students.  Based on my interaction with the class, we created a new page on the website called "Be an Educated Voter."

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The Power of the Court

Since the Supreme Court did not strike down the individual mandate section of the Affordable Care Act as many expected, some have thought, “Hmm, maybe the court isn’t so conservative.” Maybe you even thought you saw a ray of hope in terms of campaign finance reform in the future.

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