Holding Politicians Accountable

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At Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on a constitutional amendment to regulate campaign fundraising and spending, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill) said, “The right to vote is under attack on two fronts: A well-funded coordinated effort has made it harder for millions of Americans to vote, and at the same time, unleashed a tidal wave of special interest and corporate money into elections to drown out the voices of average Americans.”

At Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on a constitutional amendment to regulate campaign fundraising and spending, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill) said, “The right to vote is under attack on two fronts: A well-funded coordinated effort has made it harder for millions of Americans to vote, and at the same time, unleashed a tidal wave of special interest and corporate money into elections to drown out the voices of average Americans.”

Filed under Dick Durbin Illinois getmoneyout campaign finance voting rights

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Everyone has a lobbyist in Washington, via Bloomberg News: 

George Washington had France to thank for helping defeat the British at Yorktown, effectively ending the Revolutionary War. Jefferson was dispatched to Paris as ambassador for the nascent American democracy, and returned with an appreciation for fine wine.
Now, as the 238th anniversary of American independence approaches, public records show France is drawing a line in that alliance, stepping up its fight to keep champagne knock-offs from the U.S. and other nations from tainting the international market for bubbly.
…
The French champagne industry has hired Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP — one of Washington’s top law firms — to lobby on its behalf, according to a disclosure form filed with the Senate and made public July 1.

Everyone has a lobbyist in Washington, via Bloomberg News

George Washington had France to thank for helping defeat the British at Yorktown, effectively ending the Revolutionary War. Jefferson was dispatched to Paris as ambassador for the nascent American democracy, and returned with an appreciation for fine wine.

Now, as the 238th anniversary of American independence approaches, public records show France is drawing a line in that alliance, stepping up its fight to keep champagne knock-offs from the U.S. and other nations from tainting the international market for bubbly.

The French champagne industry has hired Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP — one of Washington’s top law firms — to lobby on its behalf, according to a disclosure form filed with the Senate and made public July 1.

Filed under lobbying champagne influence Washington

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Good News: A win for transparency in campaign finance

"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."

Filed under transparency disclosure political spending 2014

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National Journal: 

"It’s going to be a little more difficult to ferret out which members of Congress are lavished with all-expenses-paid trips around the world after the House has quietly stripped away the requirement that such privately sponsored travel be included on lawmakers’ annual financial-disclosure forms.

"The move, made behind closed doors and without a public announcement by the House Ethics Committee, reverses more than three decades of precedent."

Filed under Congress trips lobbyists secrecy politics