Money in politics

The power of money trumps the power of democracy today. Bill Moyers

Dark Money Is Destroying Our World, Not Just Our Politics By Wenonah Hauter, Common Dreams, January 29, 2015 Unsurprisingly to anyone who follows the policy agenda of this right-wing think tank [Heritage Foundation] that has been funded by some of the most regressive funders in the nation, from the Koch Brothers to Scaife Foundations, they support the economic interests of corporations, and little in the way of real opportunity for the American public…The policies promoted at the conference are bad deals for people and the environment. Let’s work together today to stop their dangerous agenda and begin organizing for the future to get Dark Money out of politics.

Who Needs Lobbyists? See What Big Business Spends To Win American Minds by Erin Quinn and Chris Young, Center for Public Integrity,posted on billmoyers.com, January 28, 2015      When Washington, DC’s biggest trade associations want to wield influence, they often put far more of their money into advertising and public relations, according to a new Center for Public Integrity investigation….It’s been well-publicized how much industry spends on lobbying the government, but little is known about how much money goes toward influencing the public…By industry sector, the biggest clients of PR, marketing and ad services were energy and natural resources associations…The public relations industry is on a growth tear while the number of federally registered lobbyists is actually shrinking. Public relations work, unlike lobbying, is not subject to federal disclosure rules, and PR and advertising campaigns can potentially influence a broader group of people…The strategy, public relations experts say, is not designed to replace lobbying so much as it is to enhance it…PR agencies may further obfuscate their role by creating so-called “front groups” that appear to be grassroots organizations, in an effort to push their clients’ messages. It is often difficult to discern who is behind these manufactured entities, though sometimes information can trickle through…Journalists overwhelmed…The golden age for PR has coincided with the decline of mainstream journalism, especially newspapers, which have suffered from plummeting ad revenue that has necessitated layoffs in newsrooms across the country. Today, not only are PR professionals outnumbering journalists by a ratio of 4.6 to 1, but the salary gap between the two occupations has grown to almost $20,000 per year, according to the Pew Research Center. The widening employment and income disparities have left journalists underpaid, overworked and increasingly unable to undertake independent, in-depth reporting…The gradual shift from a focus on traditional lobbying toward greater use of the “outside game of politics,” or communications like PR, has been going on for at least a decade, close observers say, but is now accelerating with advances in technology, social media and digital strategies…if you have an issue that is visual and has a compelling narrative, we’re better off spending more resources on trying to educate the public” than relying on traditional lobbying…The trade associations that rely most on PR and advertising campaigns are usually those representing industries facing the heaviest regulation and the most public contempt…the campaigns are often tied to specific public policy crises…. when industries really feel threatened that they might actually lose a policy battle…

250 Years of Campaigns, Cash and Corruption

The Angry Right’s Secret Playbook Confessions of a former conservative blowhard.

Karl Rove and the Modern Money Machine By KENNETH P. VOGEL, www.politico.com, July/August 2014

Koch Bros. Group Readies ‘Endless Millions’ for Rightwing Takeover by Jon Queally, Common Dreams,May 9, 2014 …Americans For Prosperity—the rightwing advocacy group funded by the billionaire Koch brothers Charles and David—is prepared to spend $125 million (and likely much more) this year as it begins execution of a long-term strategy to win back the electoral map at all levels of government in this year’s election and beyond.

A Crisis to Address: Why the Senate’s Discussing a Democracy Amendment by John Nichols, The Nation, June 5, 2014 Americans recognize that the promise of American democracy is now fully threatened…the Constitution must be amended in order to preserve democratic self-governance…in order to restore the right of citizens and their elected representatives to organize elections where the vote matters more than the dollar by a two-to-one margin, Americans believe government officials are inclined to promote policies that favor the wealthy rather than the working poor…The disconnect between the popular will and public policy is so radical that it fosters cynicism and disengagement…voters are turning off to a process that does not respond to them…Turnout for US elections is dismal

Supreme Court ruling gives small number of wealthy donors new ways to drive campaigns By Matea Gold, Washington Post, April 2, 2014

The McCutcheon Decision Is Disastrous—Here’s How You Can Fight Back, Nation Action on April 2, 201

Plutocracy, Paralysis, Perplexity by Paul Krugman, New York Times, posted on CommonDreams.org, May 4, 2012 — …money buys power, and the increasing wealth of a tiny minority has effectively bought the allegiance of one of our two major political parties, in the process destroying any prospect for cooperation…the Republican Party is dominated by doctrines formerly on the political fringe…the real structural problem is in our political system, which has been warped and paralyzed by the power of a small, wealthy minority. And the key to economic recovery lies in finding a way to get past that minority’s malign influence…

Big Media Is Raking in Billions on Political Ads By Bill Moyers and Michael Winship, Alternet.org,  March 30, 2012

How Big Money Bought Our Democracy, Corrupted Both Parties, and Set Us Up for Another Financial Crisis By Bill Moyers, Moyers & Company, January 22, 2012 — posted on AlterNet.org - “Crony capitalism is about the aggressive and proactive use of political resources, lobbying, campaign contributions, influence-peddling of one type or another to gain something from the governmental process that wouldn’t otherwise be achievable in the market. And as the time has progressed over the last two or three decades, I think it’s gotten much worse. Money dominates politics.” Those are the words of [David Stockman] former budget director for President Reagan…“As a result,” Stockman says, “we have neither capitalism nor democracy. We have crony capitalism.” Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times business and finance reporter Gretchen Morgenson: “You and I don’t have a lobbyist and so we are not represented in this melee. There is no balance here. There’s a drastic imbalance between the people who created the problem and the people who had to pay the problem and it has not been addressed.”

Billionaire Koch Brothers Spending Millions To Deny Health Coverage To Low-Income Americans  By Igor Volsky, October 20, 2013 

Millionaires Are Now the Majority in Congress: The 1% Literally Rule Us by MARK KARLIN, EDITOR AT BUZZFLASH.COM, January 10, 2014 http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash

The Big Money Behind State Laws, Editorial, New York Times, February 12, 2012

A Bitter, Losing Fight Against the Power of Money by Rupert Cornwell, Independent/UK, December 5, 2010  - …amid the turbulent craziness of American politics, there is one constant: money rules.…
It is the very rich who have done best out of those cuts pushed through by George Bush in 2001. Indeed, real take-home pay has stagnated for most people over that period, while the poor have, if anything, got poorer…
Republicans, however, are adamant; the cuts (which lowered the top rate of income tax from 39 per cent to 35 per cent) must be extended for the rich and super-rich too. Do otherwise, they challenge Democrats, and you will be forever branded the party that raises taxes. In US politics, there is no deadlier accusation…the fundamental law of American politics: money rules.

How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich by Tim Dickinson, Rolling Stone, November 24, 2011

ALEC: Facilitating Corporate Influence Behind Closed Doors  by Mary Bottari, PR Watch, August 15, 2011 — Through the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), corporations pay to bring state legislators to one place, sit them down for a sales pitch on policies that benefit the corporate bottom line, then push “model bills” for legislators to make law in their states. Corporations also vote behind closed doors alongside politicians on this wishlist legislation through ALEC task forces. Notably absent were the real people who would actually be affected by many of those bills and policies. With legislators concentrated in one city, lobbyists descend on the conference to wine-and-dine elected officials after-hours…ALEC’s power lies not only in generating corporate-sponsored “model bills” for state legislators to make law, but that it facilitates multiple levels of influence-peddling. ALEC itself has a $7 million budget and 32 staffers. In addition to this budget, ALEC technically acts as an intermediary for about a million dollars in travel “scholarships” that pay for many legislators’ trips to ALEC meetings…ALEC spokeswoman Raegan Weber notes that a piece of model legislation passed by the task force still must be approved by the 22-person Board of Directors, all of whom are legislators (and all of whom are Republicans.) Nothing that the legislative board votes on, however, gets to the board unless the corporate wing of each task force has voted in favor of it. The ALECexposed.org site launched by the Center for Media and Democracy in July demonstrates that over 800 bills and resolutions voted for by corporations have been ratified by the ALEC legislators selected for its board…

 

 

 

 

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