Category Archives: ethics (in politics)

South Carolina’s Divisive Message – NYTimes.com

South Carolina’s Divisive Message – NYTimes.com.

Editorial

South Carolina’s Divisive Message

Since it was first held 32 years ago, the South Carolina Republican primary has been won by the party’s most electable candidate, the one backed by the Republican establishment and invariably the winner of the nomination. On Saturday, the state veered in an extreme direction, and the outcome spoke poorly for a party that allowed itself to be manipulated by the lowest form of campaigning.

[…]

South Carolina has moved sharply rightward since Mr. Obama arrived on the national scene. In 2000, 24 percent of state voters said they were “very conservative,” but that number jumped to 34 percent in 2008. Now it is up to 37 percent, according to exit polls. Two-thirds of Saturday’s voters said they supported the Tea Party, reflecting the election in 2010 of four South Carolina freshmen who are among the most extreme members of the House.

In one of the most telling results of the exit polls, most voters said that cutting the federal budget was more important than encouraging job growth. At a time when more than 13 million people remain unemployed, these voters do not want the government to do a thing about it, possibly because it might improve Mr. Obama’s re-election chances.

[…]

It was Mr. Gingrich who pulled the race into the gutter, where he found considerable support.

[…]

As one voter told a reporter, “I think we’ve reached a point where we need someone who’s mean.”

They got that candidate on Saturday.

[…]

Read the full story here: The New York Times

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As Rick Santorum Secured Earmarks, 2006 Donations Flowed In – NYTimes.com

As Rick Santorum Secured Earmarks, 2006 Donations Flowed In – NYTimes.com.

Donors Gave as Santorum Won Earmarks

The announcements flowed out of Rick Santorum’s Senate office: a $3.5 million federal grant to Piasecki Aircraft to help it test a new helicopter propeller technology; another $3.5 million to JLG Industries to bolster its bid to build all-terrain forklifts for the military; $1.4 million to Medico Industries to upgrade equipment for its munitions work.

Each of the news releases represented an earmark or, in some cases, multiple ones — the practice by which members of Congress set aside money in federal spending bills for what critics often denounce as pet projects back home.

[…]

But an examination of Mr. Santorum’s earmark record sheds light on another aspect of his political personality, one that is at odds with the reformer image he has tried to convey on the trail: his prowess as a Washington insider.

A review of some of his earmarks, viewed alongside his political donations, suggests that the river of federal money Mr. Santorum helped direct to Pennsylvania paid off handsomely in the form of campaign cash.

[…]

In just one piece of legislation, the defense appropriations bill for the 2006 fiscal year, Mr. Santorum helped secure $124 million in federal financing for 54 earmarks, according to a tally by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a budget watchdog group. In that year’s election cycle, Mr. Santorum’s Senate campaign committee and his “leadership PAC” took in more than $200,000 in contributions from people associated with the companies that benefited or their lobbyists, an analysis of campaign finance records by The New York Times shows.

[…]

Read the full article here: The New York Times

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Donors, Secrecy and That Loophole – NYTimes.com

Donors, Secrecy and That Loophole – NYTimes.com.

Editorial

Donors, Secrecy and That Loophole

The Federal Election Commission ended another abysmal year with its three Republican commissioners blocking an attempt to unmask the secret donors flooding the 2012 hustings with unlimited special-interest money.

The three Democratic commissioners favored closing an F.E.C. loophole from 2007 that requires disclosure only if a donor’s stated “purpose” is to electioneer — as if any would-be secret donor would admit that. It has been particularly exploited in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which allows corporations, unions and other heavy hitters to spend unlimited amounts.

[…]

Read the full article here: The New York Times

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Super PACs are a dangerous new weapon – The Washington Post

Super PACs are a dangerous new weapon – The Washington Post.

Ruth Marcus
Opinion Writer

Super PACs are a dangerous new weapon

DES MOINESThe barrage of commercials tells the story: This is a presidential election without meaningful contribution limits or timely disclosure, outsourced to political action committees whose spending often dwarfs that of the candidates they support.

[…]

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Some Real Issues for 2012 – NYTimes.com

Some Real Issues for 2012 – NYTimes.com.

January 3, 2012, 9:00 pm

Beyond Elections: People Power

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Deep Pockets, Deeply Political – NYTimes.com

Deep Pockets, Deeply Political – NYTimes.com.

December 19, 2011, 10:08 pm

Deep Pockets, Deeply Political

A tiny number of wealthy Americans are playing an ever-increasing role in financing our politics. This is not a good thing for a democracy.

[…]

Read the full story here: The New York Times

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Is Rick Perry’s $92,376 pension a harbinger of a major fiscal crisis? – The Washington Post

Is Rick Perry’s $92,376 pension a harbinger of a major fiscal crisis? – The Washington Post.

Is Rick Perry’s $92,376 pension the harbinger of a major fiscal crisis?

at 04:51 PM ET, 12/19/2011

Critics of government aid to public employees have a new favorite target for the system’s largesse to retiring federal workers: Governor Rick Perry. This year, the 2012 Republican hopeful took advantage of Texas’ generous pension rules to begin receiving a $92,376 annual pension even before leaving office and giving up his $150,000 annual salary as governor.

Texas’s “early retirement” rules allow for state employees with many years of military and public service to receive pension benefits even before they retire, the Texas Tribune explains. Perry insists that his early benefits are nothing “out of the ordinary.” Critics say that’s precisely the problem, arguing that such perks to government workers are bankrupting taxpayers and saddling states with pension obligations they won’t be able to meet.

[…]

A vocal cadre of Republicans, led by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), are arguing that state public pensions are now the country’s next great “debt crisis.” In a new report titled “States of Bankruptcy,” they point out that 11 states are projected to run out of money to pay for pensions by 2020 if they don’t take further action. And they argue that special accounting rules that states use grossly underestimate the liabilities they actually face. By the private sector’s accounting standards, states are actually facing a $3 trillion total pension gap—more than twice the standard estimate. DeMint claims that the funding gap could lead to major tax increases and possibly “the Mother of All Bailouts” by the federal government as unfunded pensions come due.

[…]

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The Trouble With That Revolving Door – NYTimes.com

The Trouble With That Revolving Door – NYTimes.com.

December 18, 2011, 9:00 pm

The Trouble With That Revolving Door

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Inside The 1 Percent’s Texas Enclave | Mother Jones

Inside The 1 Percent’s Texas Enclave | Mother Jones.

Inside The 1 Percent’s Texas Enclave

Howdy from Highland Park, where taxes are low, the gun store’s booming, and donations to the GOP are way, way above average.

At a strip mall clogged with Ferraris and fashion boutiques, Beretta Gallery salesman Chris Cope shows me a framed photo of one of his best clients, an oilman posing next to a bounty of elephant tusks. In addition to selling massive safari rifles, this high-end Italian weapons emporium in the Dallas suburb of Highland Park supplies $130,000 Imperiale Montecarlo shotguns as well as petite .22s and chic, lockable handbags to conceal them. All told, it sells more firearms than any other Beretta outlet in the world. Last year, the store presented George W. Bush with a $250,000 shotgun engraved with the presidential seal, a picture of his Scotty dog, and “43” on the lever. The gun, which required more than a year to assemble, was a thank-you from Mr. Beretta for a military order of a half-million pistols.

It’s fair to call 75205, the zip code for most of Highland Park, the most enthusiastically Republican enclave in the country. Among the two-dozen zip codes that donated the most money to candidates and political parties last year, 75205 gave the highest share—77 percent—to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. It also gave Republicans more hard cash, $2.4 million, than all but four other zips nationwide. Affluent, insular, and intensely sure of itself, Highland Park is the red-state counterpart of, say, Berkeley. It’s a place where, one native son half-jokes, friends might ask one another, “Do you want to come over for barbecue after we go vote for Mitt Romney?” People in the surrounding city of Dallas, where I grew up, call it the Bubble.

[…]

It’s no secret why Highland Park attracts so many rich conservatives. It has a prime location near Dallas’ financial center and one of the lowest property tax rates in a state with no income tax. Yet it has one of the nation’s best school systems and an average emergency response time of 2.5 minutes. “Highland Park is safe,” says Mary Bosworth, a local GOP precinct chair. “You call the fire department and they’ll be there in three minutes, versus ‘Are you dead yet?’ in Dallas.”

[…]

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Perry’s retirement, pay boost spark charges of hypocrisy – Houston Chronicle

Perry’s retirement, pay boost spark charges of hypocrisy – Houston Chronicle.

Perry’s retirement, pay boost spark charges of hypocrisy

Published 10:25 p.m., Friday, December 16, 2011

AUSTIN – Unbeknownst to most Texans, Gov. Rick Perry officially retired in January so he could draw early pension benefits worth $7,699 a month, in addition to his annual governor’s salary of $150,000.

Perry’s January retirement – on paper, at least – was revealed Friday when the Federal Elections Commission released the financial disclosure statement the governor was required to file as a candidate for the Republican nomination for president. The annuity brings Perry’s total state government-related income to $242,388 a year.

Reaction to news of the unusual arrangement, in which Perry retired as a state employee but remains Texas’ elected governor, was swift and negative.

[…]

Perry, 61, and his staff brushed off the criticism, with the governor telling ABC News, “I think it’d be rather foolish to not access what you’ve earned.”

[…]

Read the full story here: The Houston Chronicle

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