“Let them know that you can accept corporate contributions and it is not reported.”— A top aide to Gov. Scott Walker, suggesting a way to get around disclosing big corporate donations to boost the governor’s recall election fight. (NYT)
“The key staff from Obama for America are translating their political success into personal economic success. If anything this points to the need for the rest of us to build a movement that gets big money out of politics so the change we voted for in 2008 can become real.”— Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen in this story on former top Obama advisers cashing out with questionable jobs.
Why is Mitch McConnell skipping agriculture committee hearings?
Sen. Mitch McConnell “has touted his work for Kentucky farmers on the campaign trail, but back in Washington, he has a trend of skipping out on Senate Agriculture Committee hearings for events unrelated to his home state,” The Hill reports today.
On at least one of these occasions, Mitch McConnell skipped a hearing to raise money with a billionaire.
Too often, members of Congress are forced to decide between doing their job and raising money to keep their job. Mitch McConnell has made his choice, but we’re not sure Kentucky voters would agree with it.
"At a time when many states are making it harder to vote, 16 states have provided some good news over the last year by deciding to go in the opposite direction. In various ways, they have expanded access to the polls, allowing more people to register or to vote more conveniently."
WASHINGTON — Campaign finance reformers are taking their policy efforts to the hustings, raising millions of dollars in an unprecedented push to support candidates in the November elections. Among these groups, the pioneer of this electoral strategy…
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“Legistorm, an organization that compiles and analyzes congressional data, reported that the number of departures to K Street in 2014 is on pace to exceed the last election year of 2012, when about 329 staffers left to go lobby.
"Headhunters said a number of factors explain the jump, including a ‘brain drain’ of ambitious aides who are frustrated by the legislative gridlock."
“Billion-dollar presidential race, are you kidding me? In 2016 that’ll be for starters. The country’s going to the highest bidder, I believe. Or it’s perceived to be going to the highest bidder. You’re going to have a few people who are able to play the game and that’ll be it.”—
- U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on his support for a constitutional amendment to regulate campaign spending (Public News Service)
As governor of West Virginia, Manchin helped enact a public financing program for state Supreme Court races that allows candidates to run campaigns for office without having to rely on big donations from interests that might come before the Court.
"Today’s the day a little-known rule by the Federal Communications Commission takes effect for every TV station in the country. In a nutshell, it requires broadcasters that run political ads to disclose who paid for them.
"It may sound like a simple idea. But it could have tremendous effects on the way campaigns compete and spend money — not to mention for third-party groups and members of the general public who are interested in campaign finance, too."
“The American political system is overrun by money. Economic inequality translates into political inequality, and political inequality yields increasing economic inequality.”— Economist Joseph Stiglitz (New York Times)
Fun photo essay on money in politics editorial cartoons through history, including this from the 1870s:
Down through the Gilded Ages and all the boom-to-bust bubbles, one icon of American cartoonography has proven unshakable. There’s something about the symbol of big money in politics that always bends toward the pinstriped cigar-chomping fat cat and the voracious vampire squid.
“Schlepping from here to New York to L.A. to Chicago to New Orleans to Miami to, my God, I don’t know where. Ten thousand here, 20,000 there, 15,000 there. Boy. I don’t miss that.”— Retiring U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), explaining that the constant chase for campaign cash is one reason Congress is so dysfunctional. (Los Angeles Times)
“In lobbying, the name of the game is fundraising, that’s all they care about with us. Sure, we can give them advice, but if we aren’t contributing, what are we doing? If we’re not contributing, we don’t deserve a seat at the table.”— A Republican lobbyist on K Street befriending new House Majority Whip Steve Scalise. (The Hill)