“And finally, rising inequality and declining mobility are bad for our democracy. Ordinary folks can’t write massive campaign checks or hire high-priced lobbyists and lawyers to secure policies that tilt the playing field in their favor at everyone else’s expense. And so people get the bad taste that the system is rigged, and that increases cynicism and polarization, and it decreases the political participation that is a requisite part of our system of self-government.”— President Barack Obama, in a speech today on income inequality and economic mobility. (Transcript)
WASHINGTON — In a sweeping indictment of New York politics, a commission empaneled by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to investigate official corruption in the state released its preliminary report, detailing abuses of power and endorsing major changes to campaign finance and anti-corruption laws. The report issued by the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption on Monday points to numerous ongoing investigations while laying out patterns of systemic corruption.
WASHINGTON — A Republican congressman from Maryland is going after a campaign finance loophole that has allowed lawmakers to use campaign funds on non-campaign activity — like a family trip to Scotland. Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) introduced a bill last month seeking to prevent lawmakers from using funds from their leadership PACs to pay for personal expenses.
"Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, whose record-breaking campaign spending in 2012 made him an icon of the new super-donor era, is leveraging that newfound status in an escalating feud with industry rivals over the future of gambling.”
“The best way to address that would be to prohibit campaign contributions from registered lobbyists or from the clients who hire lobbyists made to members of congress who sit on the committees with jurisdiction over the subject matter of their lobbying.”— DC “super lobbyist” Jack Quinn, during a Reddit AMA yesterday. (Via Public Campaign, “DC Super Lobbyists: Yes, Money in Politics is a Problem.”)
This paragraph says a lot about Washington and politics (and Mitch McConnell):
"McConnell has often exercised power in D.C. by pressuring major donors to withhold donations from a given lawmaker or organization. His allies on K Street are often the people who deliver this message and “enforce” it. SCF is receiving most of its donations from a large number of individuals who send in small-dollar amounts. McConnell can’t easily pressure these grassroots donors — they aren’t professional politicians and they’re far from D.C."
“[T]he old labels don’t mean anything. Republican doesn’t mean anything. Democrat doesn’t mean anything. It’s the huge money and everybody else. That’s the deal now, I think, going forward. Up and down the road.”— Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Alton Davis on the big money being spent on elections, more specifically, judicial races. (NPR and the Center for Responsive Politics)
“Our current system requires that the candidates … act like the infamous bank robber Willie Sutton — they go where the money is.”— Public Campaign Action Fund Executive Director David Donnelly, in this story about fundraising in the Kentucky Senate race.
In fact, emails reviewed by The New York Times show that Citigroup lobbyists drafted more than 70 of the 85 lines of the House bill, as they tried to develop language that Democrats and Republicans on the Financial Services Committee could support.
“I know that some of our members are inclined to whore, but we cannot be apes.”—
- One House GOP aide, according to the New York Times, “in an email exchange among House Financial Services staff members last year, warned that lawmakers should not mimic the talking points from lobbyists.”
But don’t worry, Democrats are going to vote for the Wall Street bill in the House this week too (emphasis added):
"House aides, when asked why Democrats would vote for this proposal even though the Obama administration opposes it, offered a political explanation. Republicans have enough votes to pass it themselves, so vulnerable House Democrats might as well join them, and collect industry money for their campaigns.”
“There’s a trick to getting PAC money. You have to have done things that show you are interested in their issue. A PAC isn’t a company. It’s people within the company that donate. I’ve been pleased with the percentage that is glad to have me back there.”— U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming), with a pretty simple explanation of how things work in Washington—do what special interest PAC donors like and you’ll be rewarded for it. (Billings Gazette)
Twitter Inc. registered to lobby in July of this year and just reported they spent $40,000 lobbying the executive and legislative branches during the third quarter. But it is the long list of bills in the issue areas of civil liberties, copyright/patent, immigration, and telecommunications, that show how many government actions may impact on the company in the future.
“With automatic cuts to the military set to take effect by January and a separate round of cuts scheduled for Medicare, lawmakers will have to decide who gets hit the hardest. Washington’s lobbying machine — representing older citizens, doctors, educators, military contractors and a wide range of corporate interests — is gearing up to ensure that the slices of federal money for those groups are spared in new negotiations over government spending.”—
We are a group of money-in-politics experts here to discuss looming threats to what’s left of anti-corruption regulations in U.S. campaign finance law. Basic limits on how much money wealthy individuals can give to politicians are under attack, but solutions do exist. Ask Us Anything!
WASHINGTON — With the federal government shut down and the economy hurtling toward the debt limit deadline of Oct. 17, the architects of the Republican Party’s shutdown strategy are getting ready for a plush four-day fundraiser at what Golf Digest once called the number one golf resort in America. Yes, with Washington in chaos, Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint is scheduled to attend a major fundraiser for Heritage Action for America, the lobbying arm of DeMint’s insurrectionist empire, at Oregon’s Bandon Dunes Golf Resort.
“There aren’t a lot of functioning democracies around the world that work this way, where you can basically have millionaires and billionaires bankrolling whoever they want, however they want, in some cases undisclosed. And what it means is ordinary Americans are shut out of the process.”— President Barack Obama this afternoon in response to a question about today’s McCutcheon v. FEC challenge to aggregate contribution limits (Public Campaign)
Big thanks to Tumby.me for building a search engine for our "Corruption, Originally" site — remember, the Tumblr site with all the framing references to the term “corruption,” which establishes at a minimum that the Framers meant more by “corruption” than “quid pro quo”…