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an e-newsletter about the movement to curb corporate influence in politics and restore our democracy
Issue #34 • October 15, 2010
We hope you enjoy this issue of Public Citizen's e-newsletter about the intersection of money and politics. This is part of the campaign we developed following the disastrous Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts supporting or attacking political candidates. We'll update you regularly with select news stories and blog posts, legislative developments and ways to get involved.
Stunning Statistics of the Week:
FEC should investigate Crossroads GPS for campaign finance law violations, watchdogs say
- Amount the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent this week in new independent expenditures: $6.6 million
- Amount the committee has spent to date: $19 million
- The amount the committee is expected to spend before Election Day: $52 million
- Amount that just two Republican groups, American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS, have raised to influence the elections: $56 million
Crossroads GPS, an organization created by Republican strategists Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie to influence the midterm elections with huge expenditures of money, appears to be violating federal campaign law, Public Citizen and Protect Our Elections told the Federal Election Commission in a complaint filed this week.
SuperPacs are debasing our democracy
When the U.S. Supreme Court issued its Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision in January, Public Citizen predicted that corporations were sure to accept the court's invitation to overrun the political process. We were hardly alone in offering this prognostication. Nine months later, we concede: Things are much, much worse than we anticipated.
Latest tally of election spending by outside organizations: $153 million
Business associations, unions, ideological groups and other organizations have spent $153 million to influence elections this cycle, according to a new study by Center for Responsive Politics. That's more than double the tally in the 2006 cycle.
Most corporate boards don't oversee political spending
Less than a quarter of S&P 500 companies require their boards to oversee political spending, and nearly 60 percent of S&P 500 companies spend shareholder money from the corporate treasury on political campaigns. Meanwhile, only 20 percent of S&P 500 companies disclose how much they spend on politics. That's according to a new study, "How Companies Influence Elections: Political Campaign Spending Patterns and Oversight at America's Largest Companies," from the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute and the Sustainable Investments Institute.
Minnesota disclosure law becoming model for nation
After the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, Minnesota quickly enacted a law requiring disclosure of corporate donations. Now, it is becoming a national model.
Robert Reich offers guidelines to counter corporate money in elections
Concerned about the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics, Robert Reich, secretary of labor under former President Bill Clinton, says people should read the dissent in the Citizens United ruling, talk to candidates, support public financing of elections and talk to their friends.
This Texas oil company doesn't want California climate change law to stand
Houston-based Marathon Oil gave a $500,000 check last week to help defeat Proposition 23, a measure on the California ballot designed to suspend California's landmark greenhouse gas law. Energy companies across the country have been pulling out the stops to pass the measure. Will more corporate money come?
Don't forget the NRA
With so much focus on nonprofit front groups using secret money to influence elections, an organization that is often highlighted for its ad buys is being virtually ignored. But it's still active. The National Rifle Association has said it plans to spend up to $20 million this election cycle. As of today, it was slated to have spent $6.7 million. So look for more NRA-sponsored ads in the next two weeks.
Visit www.DontGetRolled.org to learn more!
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