Category Archives: campaign contributions

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.

[…]

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Should Foreign Money Be Allowed to Finance U.S. Elections? – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com

Should Foreign Money Be Allowed to Finance U.S. Elections? – Room for Debate – NYTimes.com.

Updated January 6, 2012 2:17 PM

Foreign Money Swaying U.S. Voters?

The United States Supreme Court may decide this week to take up a case involving Benjamin Bluman, a Canadian citizen, who is challenging the Federal Election Commission for the right to contribute money to American political candidates. The court ruled two years ago that banning political spending by corporations, labor unions or other organizations in elections violates the First Amendment’s free speech principles. If that’s the case, argue those in support of Bluman, then foreign nationals also have the right to contribute to U.S. political campaigns.

Are they correct? Should noncitizens who live in America be allowed to donate to U.S. elections? What are the ramifications for U.S. politics?

[…]

Read the full debate here: The New York Times, Room for Debate

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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.

[…]

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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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Let Noncitizens Contribute to U.S. Elections – NYTimes.com

Let Noncitizens Contribute to U.S. Elections – NYTimes.com.

Let Noncitizens Contribute to U.S. Elections

Arlington, Va.

ON Friday the United States Supreme Court will meet to decide whether to hear Bluman v. F.E.C., a First Amendment challenge to a federal law that prohibits noncitizens living in the United States (but who don’t have green cards) from making contributions to American political candidates or from spending money on independent speech to influence elections.

[…]

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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.

[…]

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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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Detailing the Koch brothers’ influence on environmental politics | The American Independent

Detailing the Koch brothers’ influence on environmental politics | The American Independent.

Detailing the Koch brothers’ influence on environmental politics

By Troy Hooper | 10.31.11 | 11:16 am | More from The Colorado Independent

Koch Industries Inc. isn’t just in Kansas anymore, Toto.

The nation’s second largest private company and its subsidiaries are also in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, Texas and just about every other state in the nation. But the locale where Koch Industries is making its presence felt the most isn’t a state at all. It’s Washington, D.C.

The Wichita-based conglomerate has spent a fortune lobbying for its oil, gas, mineral and chemical interests this past decade while bankrolling the campaigns of sympathetic congressmen. It has paid special attention to lawmakers that make up the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Koch Industries is diversified — it manufactures household staples such as Angel Soft toilet paper, Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Lycra fabrics and Stainmaster carpets — but its main investment is in oil.

While the influence of Koch Industries has been ongoing for years, it wasn’t until after 2008 that it captured mainstream attention for the tornado of dollars it funneled into campaign coffers as the Democrats — buoyed by House, Senate and White House control — pushed for cap and trade. What followed was a conservative takeover of the House in 2010 that capitalized on widespread voter frustration with the job-hemorrhaging economy and the government’s inability to put a stop to it.

In the 2010 elections, Koch Industries and its partners spent tens of millions of dollars to elect politicians who would roll back environmental and financial regulations that benefit their businesses.

The men behind the curtain are Charles and David Koch who, with an estimated net worth of $25 billion a piece, are tied for fourth in Forbes magazine’s annual list of The Richest People in America.

[…]

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Outside Groups Eclipsing G.O.P. As Hub of Campaigns – NYTimes.com

Outside Groups Eclipsing G.O.P. As Hub of Campaigns – NYTimes.com.

Outside Groups Eclipsing G.O.P. As Hub of Campaigns

About once a month, a dozen or so of the country’s most influential Republicans meet in a bare-walled conference room in Washington to discuss how to make further gains in the Congressional elections next year and defeat President Obama.

They share polling and opposition research, preview their plans for advertising and contacting voters in swing states, and look for ways to coordinate spending hundreds of millions of dollars over the next 12 months, drawing on years of experience laboring for the party.

But almost none of them hold office or a job with the Republican Party itself. Instead, they represent conservative groups that channeled tens of millions of dollars into last year’s Congressional campaign. And as 2012 approaches, the groups — among them the Karl Rove-founded American Crossroads, the Republican Governors Association, the American Action Network and Americans for Prosperity, which is backed by the billionaire Koch brothers — have gathered into a loosely organized political machine poised to rival, and in many ways supplant, the official Republican Party apparatus.

[…]

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Did You Hear the One About the Bankers? – NYTimes.com

Did You Hear the One About the Bankers? – NYTimes.com.

Op-Ed Columnist

Did You Hear the One About the Bankers?

CITIGROUP is lucky that Muammar el-Qaddafi was killed when he was. The Libyan leader’s death diverted attention from a lethal article involving Citigroup that deserved more attention because it helps to explain why many average Americans have expressed support for the Occupy Wall Street movement. The news was that Citigroup had to pay a $285 million fine to settle a case in which, with one hand, Citibank sold a package of toxic mortgage-backed securities to unsuspecting customers — securities that it knew were likely to go bust — and, with the other hand, shorted the same securities — that is, bet millions of dollars that they would go bust.

It doesn’t get any more immoral than this. […]

But, then, what happened to us? Our financial industry has grown so large and rich it has corrupted our real institutions through political donations. As Senator Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, bluntly said in a 2009 radio interview, despite having caused this crisis, these same financial firms “are still the most powerful lobby on Capitol Hill. And they, frankly, own the place.”

Our Congress today is a forum for legalized bribery. […] Why are there 61 members on the House Committee on Financial Services? So many congressmen want to be in a position to sell votes to Wall Street.

We can’t afford this any longer. We need to focus on four reforms that don’t require new bureaucracies to implement. 1) If a bank is too big to fail, it is too big and needs to be broken up. We can’t risk another trillion-dollar bailout. 2) If your bank’s deposits are federally insured by U.S. taxpayers, you can’t do any proprietary trading with those deposits — period. 3) Derivatives have to be traded on transparent exchanges where we can see if another A.I.G. is building up enormous risk. 4) Finally, an idea from the blogosphere: U.S. congressmen should have to dress like Nascar drivers and wear the logos of all the banks, investment banks, insurance companies and real estate firms that they’re taking money from. The public needs to know.

Capitalism and free markets are the best engines for generating growth and relieving poverty — provided they are balanced with meaningful transparency, regulation and oversight. […]

Read the full stroy here: The New York Times

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