JAMES PICKETT WESBERRY Jr >>>> PERSONAL WEBSITE

DOLLARCRACY ->>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> $$$ COUNT.........PEOPLE DON'T

Introduction to Jim Wesberry
GIVING THANKS
DOCTORADO HONORIS CAUSA - UNIVERSIDAD INCA GARCILASO DE LA VEGA, LIMA, PERU - 2013
DECORATION BY THE PERUVIAN GOVERNMENT 1972
CONFERENCIA EN HUANUCO, PERU - El Auditor enfrenta la Erupcion de Corrup$ion del Siglo XXI -2013
CONFERENCIAS EN CHILE - 3 Mayores Desafios al Auditor Interno - 2012 - VIDEO y TEXTO
DOLLARCRACY ->>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> $$$ COUNT.........PEOPLE DON'T
THE CONTINUING FINANCIAL CRISIS
GEORGIA CORRUPTION ON MY MIND
Personal Information
My Resume (in English)
Mi Curriculum Vitae (en español)
EVENTS INITIATED
The Top Quartile of Life
AMERICA IN DECLINE? The Life Cycle of a Great Power
ACCOUNTANCY & AUDITING: MY CHOSEN PROFESSION
SERVICE AS PAGE IN US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES 1949-51
SPECIAL INVESTIGATOR OF CORRUPTION IN STATE GOVERNMENT 1959-60
LEGENDS: Georgians Who Lived Impossible Dreams
Wesberry v. Sanders, 376 US 1 Landmark US House Reapportionment Case
POLITICS - MY FIRST CAMPAIGN 1961
POLITICS - ELECTION TO GEORGIA STATE SENATE 1962
Why I Quit the Georgia Senate
Contador Benemerito de las Americas (Most Meritorious Accountant of the Americas)
Articles from The Journal of Accountancy
My Credo
Media
Interview about Leadership
THE EVER GROWING, EVER STIFLING BUREACRACY
PONZIS and PIRAMIDES
THE NATIONAL DEBT
GRAPHIC DISPLAY OF US DEBT
CALCULATE YOUR DEBT LIABILITY
Fraud-Corruption-Bribery
Collusion Breaks Internal Controls
FORENSIC AUDITING --- AUDITORIA FORENSE
ETHICS
FRIENDSHIP - AMISTAD
Creencia - Belief
Think -------- Pensar
WOMAN -------------- MUJER
Dawn
Message to Garcia - Mensaje a García
THE GREATEST SPEECHES OF ALL TIME
Education
Interesting!
POEMS
ATLANTA, GEORGIA USA - MY HOME TOWN
WASHINGTON DC - MY OTHER HOME TOWN
PERU
ECUADOR
MEXICO
PHILIPPINES
COLOMBIA VS KLEPTOKAKISTOCRACIA: Presentación para el Día Internacional Anti-Corrupción 2011
LECTURE AT MANILA'S UNIVERSITY OF THE EAST: Integrity & Honor, Corruption & Dishonor VIDEO
MANILA LECTURES AT FAR EASTERN & SANTO TOMAS UNIVERSITIES: Good Governance and Social Responsibility
EFFECT OF 2008 GLOBAL CRISIS (JW presentation in English)
SEGUNDA GRAN DEPRESION 2010 (JW presentaciónes en español)
Speeches - English
More Speeches
Discursos - Espanol
Mas Discursos
Power Point Presentations
ANTI-CORRUPTION EVENTS & REPORTS
Favorite Links
Documents, Articles - Documentos, Articulos
Books Read
More Info
Contact Me
Family Photo Album
Miscellaneous
Last Page

"No right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we must live."
                   - Wesberry v Sanders, 376 US 1

Click on underlined extracts to read full articles.
Haz clic sobre extractos subrayados para leer articulos completos.

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View my Flipboard Magazine.

40 charts that explain money in politics

Click above to see the 40 charts

2012 Election Winners' Costs
                                            House

                                      Senate
Average Winner Spent$1,567,293$11,474,077
Average Loser Spent$496,637$7,435,446
Most Expensive Campaign$21,197,801$49,496,249
Most Expensive CampaignerJohn Boehner (R-Ohio)Linda McMahon (R-Conn)
Least Expensive Winning Campaign$209,532$2,850,780
Least Expensive Winning CampaignerJose E. Serrano (D-NY)Angus King (I-Maine)
Number of Incumbents Seeking Reelection39123
Number of Incumbents Reelected35121
Incumbents Reelection Rate90%91%
Number of Close Races (winning margin less than 10%)6011
Average Winner's Vote Percentage65%57%
Average Winner's Receipts from PACs$665,728$2,185,650
Most Receipts from PACs$3,172,193$4,783,168
Candidate with Most PAC ReceiptsDave Camp (R-Mich)Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah)
Average Winner's End-of-year Campaign Balance$371,255$952,289
Biggest End-of-year Campaign Balance$3,406,269$5,676,609
Candidate with Largest End-of-year Campaign BalanceFrank Pallone Jr (D-NJ)Bob Corker (R-Tenn)

* Figures cover full six-year cycle for Senate incumbents.

** Averages include all incumbent politicians and major party challengers in the general election. Third-party challengers are not included, as their number and relative lack of funds tend to artificially lower the averages.

*** Loser averages are based on the money raised and spent by the candidate who came in second on Election Day. Where candidates ran unopposed, losers' spending and fundraising are counted as $0.

U.S. Billionaires Political Power Index is a ranking of the top U.S. billionaires in terms of overall political power. There are a number of existing rankings that rate the net worth of billionaires, but no one has assessed their overall political influence: 
***1 Charles & David Koch
***2 Michael Bloomberg
***3 Tom Steyer
***4 Sheldon Adelson
***5 George Soros
***6 Rupert Murdoch
***7 Bill and Melinda Gates
***8 John and Laura Arnold
***9 Penny Pritzker
***10 Warren Buffett
***11 Peter Thiel
***12 Mark Zuckerberg
***13 Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos
***14 Pierre and Pamela Omidyar
***15 Art Pope
***16 Paul Singer
***17 Peter G. Peterson
***18 Marc Andreessen
***19 Donald Trump
***20 Alice Walton
 

Interactive U.S. Billionaires Political Power Index with information on each individual (Click here)

To fill ambassador posts during his second term, President Barack Obama has nominated diplomats, major fundraisers and political allies. Twentybundlers, headed mostly to Western Europe, have collectively raised at least $13.8 million for Obama since 2007(click here for more info).

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Why Washington is corrupt - TEDTalk

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How much does it cost to become a US ambassador? Click here to find out!

A SOLUTION TO DOLLARCRACY ?????

 

Get Money out of Politics:top lobbyist bribery, End secret money & Empower voters

STOP POLITICIANS FROM TAKING BRIBES

Prohibit members of Congress from soliciting and receiving contributions from entities, special interests, and lobbyists from industries they regulate.

LIMIT SUPER PAC CONTRIBUTIONS AND “COORDINATION”

Require SuperPACs to abide by the same contribution limits as other political committees. Toughen rules regarding SuperPACs’ and other groups’ coordination with political campaigns and political parties.

PREVENT JOB OFFERS AS BRIBES

Close the “revolving door” so that elected representatives and their senior staff can no longer sell off their legislative power in exchange for high-paying jobs when they leave office: seven years for all members of Congress, five years for senior congressional staff. (Currently two years for Senators, one year for Representatives, and one year for senior staff.)

CALL ALL PEOPLE WHO LOBBY, LOBBYISTS

Significantly expand the definition of and register all lobbyists to prevent influencers from skirting the rules.

LIMIT LOBBYIST DONATIONS

Limit the amount that lobbyists and their clients can contribute to federal candidates, political parties, and political committees to $500 per year and limit lobbyist fundraising for political campaigns. Federal contractors are already banned from contributing to campaigns: extend that ban to lobbyists, high-level executives, government relations employees, and PACs of federal government contractors.

END SECRET MONEY

Mandate full transparency of all political money. Require any organization that spends $10,000 or more on advertisements to elect or defeat federal candidates to file a disclosure report online with the Federal Election Commission within 24 hours. List each of the donors who gave $10,000 or more to the organization to run such ads. This includes all PACs, 501c nonprofits, or other groups that engage in electioneering.

LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD WITH A SMALL DONOR TAX REBATE

Empower voters by creating an annual $100 Tax Rebate that can be used for qualified contributions to one or more federal candidates, political parties, and political committees. In order to be eligible to receive Tax Rebate contributions, candidates, political parties, and political committees must limit the contributions they receive to no more than $500 per contributor per calendar year or contributions from entities that are funded exclusively by Tax Rebates and small-dollar contributions.

DISCLOSE “BUNDLING”

Require federal candidates to disclose the names of individuals who “bundle” contributions for the member of Congress or candidate, regardless of whether such individuals are registered lobbyists.

ENFORCE THE RULES

Strengthen the Federal Election Commission’s independence and strengthen the House and Senate ethics enforcement processes. Provide federal prosecutors the additional tools necessary to combat corruption, and prohibit lobbyists who fail to properly register and disclose their activities from engaging in federal lobbying activities for a period of two years.

CLICK HERE for more information on The American Anti-Corruption Act

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From my home state of Georgia:

Top Three PACs gave $1M to Georgia politicians

Trial lawyers, dentists and Realtors — perhaps Georgians’ three most-beloved professions — had the deepest pockets as state legislators convened today for 2013, an analysis of campaign disclosures shows. Between them, trade groups for those three professions donated more than $1.1 million to Georgia politicians and parties over the past two years...
 
Lawmakers may not accept donations during the legislative session, so they like to hold fund-raisers in the week or two beforehand, which also happens to be when special interests’ lobbyists are preparing to push their own agendas. It’s win-win on both sides of the equation...

Among this year’s top donors, trial lawyers are watching for any effort to bring up any sort of so-called “tort reform” that could depress damage claims. Dentists are always looking to improve insurance coverage for their services. Realtors focus on a range of issues, from limiting local governments’ attempts to registered foreclosed properties to blocking a proposal to levy a sales tax on their commissions.

Members of other trusted occupations and institutions — including insurance salesman, title pawn lenders, lobbyists and the phone company — were also among Georgia’s biggest political donors in the 2011-12...

Georgia’s Big Bucks political donors

State funding for political parties leads to arrogance, corruption and authoritarianism

One of the saddest consequences of the Westminster expenses revelations is that sensible people are now wondering whether there might, after all, be something in the idea of state funding for political parties. Perhaps you are one of them. Perhaps you imagine that, for all its disadvantages, it would at least take some of the sleaze out of the system. Perhaps you have reluctantly concluded that it would be a lesser evil than making parties dependent on trade unions and wealthy donors. If your thoughts are trending that way, my friend, look at what is happening in Brussels.

Since 2003, the European Parliament has paid for pan-European political parties. There are currently 13, and each is funded in proportion to the number of MEPs who support it. The little ones might get a couple of hundred thousand euros a year. The behemoths – the Party of European Socialists and the European People's Party – qualify for several millions.

Europe's various fascist movements recently buried their mutual loathing for long enough to set up such a party, which means that they qualify for, by my reckoning, a little under €300,000 a year. Most MEPs have reacted with drooling horror. But, under the current system, there is no question that the BNP, Jobbik and the rest are eligible for their share. The best legal brains in the European Parliament examined the matter, but could find no loophole. Shaven-headed losers who spend their time trolling blogs from their mothers' basements are as entitled to representation as anyone else, and their representatives can't be distinguished in law from other duly elected MEPs.

When the law doesn't serve their purpose, Euro-integrationists are quick to discard it. They are currently amending the rules so that a party can be deprived of funds if it fails to uphold 'European values'. Who will determine whether it meets the criteria? In the last analysis, a plenary vote of the European Parliament. In other words, the question of whether a party qualifies will be in the hands of its political opponents, who will have a direct financial interest in barring it since, if it is dissolved, its share of the funding will be divided among the other parties.

If that doesn't alarm you, it should. The de-registration of opposition movements is the favoured tactic of dictators the world over. Most autocracies now hold regular elections: Iran, China, Zimbabwe. But participation in those elections is restricted to approved parties. A Polish MEP, shocked by the current proposal, told me: 'This is exactly what the Communists did. They didn't ban elections. They just banned the people they didn't like from contesting the elections'.

Winning Senate seat on $14,000 a day: Reformers decry cost of 2012 campaigns

Successful Senate candidates raised an average of more than $14,000 per day during the last election cycle — a sum that campaign finance reform advocates said shows a system begging for an overhaul.

According to MapLight, a nonprofit group that tracks money in politics, those who won election to the Senate last year raised more than $10 million, which translates to the staggering $14,000-a-day figure.

Democrats got 88 percent of 2008 contributions by TV network execs, writers, reporters

Senior executives, on-air personalities, producers, reporters, editors, writers and other self-identifying employees of ABC, CBS and NBC contributed more than $1 million to Democratic candidates and campaign committees in 2008, according to an analysis by The Examiner of data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Democratic total of $1,020,816 was given by 1,160 employees of the three major broadcast television networks, with an average contribution of $880.

By contrast, only 193 of the employees contributed to Republican candidates and campaign committees, for a total of $142,863. The average Republican contribution was $744.


Most Expensive Presidential Campaign Ended In Sprint To Spend

Gingrich Warns of Dangers of Super PACs

How Much Did Independent Groups Spend Per Vote?

Barack Obama


$1.83


Spent per vote


$1.43 of it attacking Mitt Romney


Mitt Romney

$6.35

Spent per vote,

$5.60 of it attacking Barack Obama

Click here to go to full analysis by ProPublica

The 2012 Money Race: 

        Compare the Candidates

A tally of the money raised and spent through September by the presidential candidates, the national party committees and the primary “super PACs” whose sole purpose is to support a candidate. Contribution and spending totals do not include money raised or held by each candidate’s “victory fund,” a joint fund-raising committee that will distribute funds to the campaigns and party committees. In addition to these committees, nonprofit groups that do not have to file with the Federal Election Commission and other super PACs have spent at least $65 million more on television advertising, almost all of it against President Obama or in support of Mitt Romney.
 
Barack Obama 
           Raised $934.0m Spent $852.9m
Mitt Romney
        Raised $881.8m  Spent $752.3m

Click here to go to analysis by the New York Times

OBAMA VICTORY PROVES MONEY CAN BUY ELECTION

In the 2012 election, one candidate took advantage of the loosening of campaign finance to rack up over a billion dollars in donations, spend nearly three times as much as his opponent on mostly negative ads, and break records for total amount of spending. His name was Barack Obama. Two years ago, the Supreme Court handed down the landmark case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, a case heralded by many as a step forward for free speech and denounced by just as many as a decision that would sell America down the river to corporate interests for as long as it was considered binding law. The explosion of money in politics gave birth to Super PACs, a new class of billionaire donors, and even (arguably) the Occupy Wall Street mass movement, which consistently placed the reversal of Citizens United at or near the top of all unofficial lists of demands it released. There is little doubt that the explosion of money in this year’s race has fundamentally altered the dynamics of campaigning in American politics. Both the Obama campaign and the Romney campaign have raised money in the neighborhood of a billion dollars just on their own (Obama just a little over, and Romney just a little under).

Citizens United decision helped Romney neutralize Obama's fundraising advantage

Super PACs and nonprofits unleashed by the Citizens United Supreme Court decision have spent more than $840 million on the 2012 election, with the overwhelming majority favoring Republicans, particularly GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. An estimated $577 million, or roughly 69 percent, was spent by conservative groups, compared with $237 million spent by liberal groups, or about 28 percent, with the remainder expended by other organizations. Of all outside spending in the 2012 election, more than $450 million was dedicated to the presidential election with more than $350 million spent helping Romney and about $100 million spent to help President Barack Obama.

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Who Bought Your Politician? Click here to check from among all Federal Candidates. The widget shows where candidates are ranked in terms of how much money they've raked in compared to their peers. It also shows how they rank among all federal candidates.

The Declaration of Independence and campaign finance reform

iwatch news.

Click here to go to Open Secrets website providing more info on Dollarcracy's sources.

Click here to go to "From Citizens United to Super PACs: A Campaign Finance Reading Guide"

DOLLARCRACY IN THE 2012 CAMPAIGNS

Corporate, union and nonprofit giving to super PACs tops $167 million

New "Super PACs" Alter Landscape for House Races

American Crossroads, Crossroads Gps and the Growing Importance of Outside Groups in American Politics

Former President Jimmy Carter issues blistering indictment of the U.S. electoral process, saying it is shot through with "financial corruption" that threatens American democracy

REPORT: TOP OBAMA BUNDLERS BAG MILLIONS IN TAXPAYER MONEY

Meet the Bundlers: Bundlers are fundraisers who gather high-dollar donations and "bundle" them together for their favored candidates. A close look at some of the men and women who raise money for the president by the Government Accountability Institute

Campaigns and RMoney

The Cost of the 2012 USA Presidential Election Campaign

Will money buy the White House?

"Social welfare" funders sidestep rules of super PACs

MONEY TALKS: WHO'S FIGHTING FOR CAMPAIGN-FINANCE REFORM? - "The problem with most efforts at ending corrupt elections is that as soon as you plug one hole, you find another leak."

Super PAC Mega-Donors Increase Their Influence In May

Republicans oppose super PAC disclosure: For years, Republicans were staunch champions of transparency in money in politics. Disclosure, they said, was the surest antidote to corruption - more so than dollar restrictions on spending, which could drive illicit activity underground. But now that dollar restrictions have been lifted, Republicans have made an about-face and are opposing measures to inform voters about who is financing the negative ads flooding the airwaves.

2012's Financial Free-for-All: right now we're shackled to a system that demeans the people running for office, corrodes voters trust in them and doesn't do any honor to this democracy of ours.

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READ RELATED ARTICLE: "Finance industry makes up nearly half of pro-Romney super PAC's donations"...Of the $43.2 million raised by the attack PAC, $20.5 million, or 48 percent, came from finance industry donors.

Casino king provides 84 percent of funds for pro-Gingrich super PAC

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PayPal co-founder gives $1.7 million to pro-Ron Paul super PAC in January - responsible for 76 percent of Endorse Liberty's $3.4 million in total receipts,

Another Campaign for Sale - New York Times Editorial

ROBERT REICH: Obama Has Handed The Election Over To The Super Rich - "...now a relative handful of super-rich Democrats want fight a relative handful of super-rich Republicans. And we call that a democracy."

Super PAC roundup: Billionaire, corporations, labor unions fill coffers of 'super PACs'

Secrecy Shrouds "Super PAC" Funds in Latest Filings

Sixty percent of Obama funds come from big-money bundlers

Close to 60 corporations and wealthy individuals gave checks of $100,000 or more to a "super PAC" supporting Mitt Romney

Obama raises $55M, Bachmann lands in debt

Who's Buying Your Next President? Sheldon Adelson Makes His Bid

Supreme Court ruling unleashed torrent of attack ads: Citizens United case spawned rise of super-PACs

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Click to see a larger version.

Congressional leaders and campaign committees have raked in nearly $2.3 million in contributions since 2009 from companies seeking tariff waivers on products they import, according to an analysis by The Washington Examiner.

Ten House and Senate leaders, including the chairmen of two congressional panels that approve the waivers known as Miscellaneous Tariff Bills, together got more than $1 million of the total.

Five party organizations set up to get their partisans elected to Congress split another $1.2 million.

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GRECO, a top European anti-corruption body, wants the U.S. to increase transparency of political funding through outside groups that donate millions to support candidates, warning that they could be used to skirt long-established disclosure rules. The Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption — known as Greco and which counts the U.S. as a member — warns “soft money” political financing vehicles appear to be increasing in America....authors were concerned about the potential fallout from super PACs, which were born out of a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that stripped away prior restrictions on some election spending. Click below for more information.

Council of Europe Group of States against Corruption stresses the need to enhance transparency in respect of certain types of contributions.

Click here to download full report describing US campaign financing rules, practices and recommedations by GRECO to the US.

The Center for Public Integrity's iWatch News is offering a variety of ways to follow the money this election cycle, particularly the flood of funds that have come in the wake of the Supreme Court'sCitizen Uniteddecision

  • Get breaking news from iWatch staff on Twitter at @iWatch and follow politics reporters Michael Beckel at @mjbeckel, Aaron Mehta at @AaronMehta, and engagement editor Cole Goins at@colegoins
  • Check out our Tumblr blog, maintained with the Center for Responsive Politics, to keep an eye on the flow of money in the 2012 elections. 
  • And read substantive investigations into the presidential candidates and the elite donors to “super PACs” backing them at the Consider the Source project. 

Super PACs can collect unlimited amounts of money from individuals, unions and corporations to spend on advertising to elect or defeat candidates. Each of the major presidential candidates has at least one super PAC backer.  

The Consider the Source project profiles each of these groups, as well as several that focus on both the White House and Congress.

Presidential candidates and the super PACs that support their campaigns are in a fierce competition for cash to compete in the 2012 presidential race. You can track their progress by clicking here.

MapLight U.S. Congress: Research Guide

If you want to run for Congress, you need money. A lot of money.

To win election, U.S. House members raised, on average, $1,900 per day, every day, for an entire two-year term—including weekends and holidays. That’s $1.4 million per House member, on average.

Winning senators raised $7.5 million, on average—$3,400 per day. (These figures are for the 2008 election, from the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.)

The main source of this campaign money is interest groups that want something from government. Once elected, politicians often pay back their campaign contributors with special access and favorable laws. This common practice is contrary to the public interest. MapLight's research tools help shine a light on the connection between money and votes, to help citizens hold legislators accountable.

Money and Votes

MapLight connects money and votes. We bring together, in one website, the money given to politicians with each politician's votes.

We provide data, research services, and online tools that work together to make patterns of money and influence more transparent. Connections between campaign contributions, interest groups and votes that would have required days or weeks of manual research are now available at the click of a mouse.

We currently track money and votes for the U.S. Congress and the California and Wisconsin state legislatures. You can stay up-to-date on our work via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO MAPLIGHT

Pennsylvania governor benefited from untraceable $1.5 million donation

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 DOLLARCRACY RISING
 
U.S. SUPREME COURT SAYS... DOLLARCRACY 
             OVERRIDES DEMOCRACY
           $ will vote, not people
                   $$$$$$$   to power $$$$$$$

DOLLARCRACY RISES
dollarballot.jpg
DOLLARS WILL VOTE, NOT PEOPLE - click on box for more info

Click on the White House below to read the full decision of the SUPREME COURT RATIFYING DOLLARCRACY AS OUR FORM OF GOVERNMENT (pdf, 187 PP.)

THE KEY TO THE WHITE HOUSE
whitehousedollar.jpg
WHOEVER SPENDS THE MOST GETS ELECTED

 
 
 
 
 
Click on the ballot box above
to read article about the case
and scroll down on this page
for more information

DOLLARCRACY RATIFIED AGAIN: Court rejects corporate campaign spending limits by states

The Supreme Court on Monday (June 25, 2012) reaffirmed its 2-year-old decision allowing corporations to spend freely to influence elections. The justices struck down a Montana law limiting corporate campaign spending.

By a 5-4 vote, the court's conservative justices said the decision in the Citizens United case in 2010 applies to state campaign finance laws and guarantees corporate and labor union interests the right to spend freely to advocate for or against candidates for state and local offices.

The majority turned away pleas from the court's liberal justices to give a full hearing to the case because massive campaign spending since the January 2010 ruling has called into question some of its underpinnings.

The same five justices said in 2010 that corporations have a constitutional right to be heard in election campaigns. The decision paved the way for unlimited spending by corporations and labor unions in elections for Congress and the president, as long as the dollars are independent of the campaigns they are intended to help. The decision, grounded in the freedom of speech, appeared to apply equally to state contests.

But Montana aggressively defended its 1912 law against a challenge from corporations seeking to be free of spending limits, and the state Supreme Court sided with the state. The state court said a history of corruption showed the need for the limits, even as Justice Anthony Kennedy declared in his Citizens United opinion that independent expenditures by corporations "do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption."

Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia, as well as Sen. John McCain and other congressional champions of stricter regulations on campaign money, joined with Montana.

"What has changed in the last few years are two things. The price of campaigns is going through the roof. The pressure to raise money for those campaigns because of TV advertising is just enormous. Congressman, Senators spend as much as two, three days of every week dialing for dollars or going to fundrarisers." - Filmmaker Alex Gibney interviewed about his Abramoff lobbyist corruption film.

Articles about dollarcracy
   (click on each headline to read)

FLORIDOLLARCRACY: Powerplay in "this vast state where political viability is defined in dollar signs...by a large television advertising campaign to introduce him to voters...has quickly gained the support of 24 percent of likely...primary voters..." - Miami Herald describes planned spending of $25 million in primary by little known, egocentric, fraud linked millionaire to buy for himself the governorship of the State of Florida

Summary of Legislation Introduced in Response to Citizens United Decision

The legislation introduced by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Representatives Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Mike Castle (R-DE) addresses problems that arise from the Supreme Court's destructive decision in the Citizens United case to empower corporations and unions to make unlimited expenditures to influence federal elections and government decisions.  

The core provisions of the legislation establish new transparency and accountability requirements for corporations and unions that make expenditures in federal elections. The Schumer and Van Hollen - Castle bills are similar. This is a summary of the Schumer legislation. 

Comprehensive disclosure by corporations, labor unions, trade associations and non-profit advocacy groups of campaign-related expenditures  

Click here to read full summary of the proposed legislation

IN THE 21ST CENTURY ONLY THE WEALTHY AND/OR THE CORRUPT CAN AFFORD TO RUN FOR PUBLIC OFFICE

 

Freshmen in 112th Congress Exceedingly Wealthy

 

Sixty percent of Senate freshman and more than 40 percent of House freshmen are millionaires, the Center’s study finds. Roughly 1 percent of Americans at large claim the same lofty financial status.

“Even though millions of Americans continue to struggle financially, most of the nation's newest congressional representatives are a world away from such constituents' financial realities," said Sheila Krumholz, the Center's executive director.

Freshmen congressmen also appear generally immune to the nation’s persistently soft economy, in which joblessness still hovers around 9 percent and many of the country’s regions continue to claw their way back from the recent recession.

The Center calculates that the median estimated wealth for Senate freshman is $3.96 million. For House freshmen, it’s $570,418.

Washington Post/ABC News Poll
Overwhelming Majority Opposes Supreme Court's Campaign Finance Decision
A vast majority of Americans -- 80 percent -- oppose last month's Supreme Court ruling that lifted restrictions on corporate and union spending in political elections. Though most other areas of national politics may be paralyzed by partisanship, the opposition to the decision cuts across Republican, Democratic and independent lines.

Sixty-five percent of those polled said they "strongly" opposed the ruling. Only 17 percent strongly or somewhat favored it, with 6 percent in the "strongly" camp.

Seventy-two percent favor action by Congress to reinstate campaign spending limits on corporations and unions (with 52 percent "strongly" supporting such a move) while 24 percent oppose doing so.
 

READ ARTICLE

SEE POLL RESULTS

DOLLARCRACY = $ vote, people don't
dollarballot.jpg
MORE MONEY SPENT ON CAMPAIGNS = LESS DEMOCRACY

RASMUSSEN POLL

DOLLARCRACY REJECTED

Voters believe that special interests are still running the show and that voters’ voices are being drowned out by those who help fund politicians’ campaigns...strongly oppose recent Supreme Court decision allowing unlimited corporate contributions by a stark 64 to 27 percent margin...strongly support proposals to limit corporate influence and develop a program that would allow politicians to run campaigns using small contributions from their constituents. (Click on ballot box for more)

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MARKET FLASH >>> BUY A CITY
CURRENT COST OF A VOTE IN NEW YORK CITY - $174
SEE BELOW FOR INFO
 
DOLLARCRACY HAS REPLACED DEMOCRACY ACROSS THE PLANET...
 
ONE MAN, ONE VOTE
   HAS BEEN REPLACED BY ONE DOLLAR, ONE VOTE
or perhaps ten, fifty, 1,000, or 100,000 dollars, one vote depending on the economic capacity of the country.
 
(NOTE:  On this page most current news is about the party in power in the USA at this time, the Democratic Party; however, the Republican Party has done the exact same things over the years...BOTH PARTIES FAVOR DOLLARCRACY AND ARE EQUALLY TO BLAME FOR IT)

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Democracy has been replaced by dollarcracy across the world but especially in the USA
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Dollarcracy at work
How political campaigns are financed under
dollarcratic governance:

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Pre-election contributions       =          
                  post-election paybacks
............................
Post-election contributions  = BRIBES
 
Both are ...LEGAL!
Both are shameful

High court unleashes political  spending

 

In a decision with profound implications for the role of money in American campaigns, the Supreme Court on Thursday gave interest groups, unions and corporations the right to pour money into issue advertising in political races - reigniting the passionate battle over the influence of cash on the electoral process.

The 5-4 decision punched a hole in the complex web of federal campaign-finance laws and rules in finding that those groups should have the same rights to spend money on political ads as any person. Direct contributions by corporations and unions to individual candidates are still forbidden.

Supporters cheered the ruling, which they said returns the country to the core free-speech precept that political speech should be protected, no matter who or what is speaking.

Critics warned that the foundations of American democracy are at stake and that big businesses will be able to spend enough money to influence elections.

In stark language, the court acknowledged that it was overturning its own precedents, but Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing the majority opinion, said the justices were now returning to "ancient First Amendment principles."

"The government may regulate corporate political speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements, but it may not suppress that speech altogether," Justice Kennedy wrote in an opinion overturning a 1990 case and part of a separate 2003 case that upheld most of the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance laws, enacted in 2002.

President Obama State of the Union Address:
 
I don’t think American elections should be bankrolled by America’s most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities.” 
 
Last week’s Supreme Court Citizen’s United decision opens the floodgates to special interests and foreign countries and companies bankrolling national campaigns.  The President called for bipartisan support for legislation that will remedy the Supreme Court’s unprecedented and troubling decision. 

Secret Financing and the Campaign Finance Reform Battles to Come
The Supreme Court, in Citizens United, eliminated one of the nation's principal laws to protect against government corruption and opened the door to campaign finance scandals which began to play out in the 2010 congressional races. As a result of the decision, one of the worst in Supreme Court history, this is the first election in more than 60 years where corporations and labor unions were free to spend money to influence federal elections.

As a result of the Citizens United decision, and the failure of five Justices to understand the nation's campaign finance laws, this also is the first election in nearly 40 years where hundreds of millions of dollars in secret money has flooded federal elections.

Major campaign finance reforms are essential to protect the integrity of our elections and the interests of the American people in honest government. The battle for these reforms will begin immediately.

Campaign finance reform victories can be won regardless of who controls Congress or the Presidency.

In 2000, legislation to require 527 groups to disclose their campaign contributions and expenditures was enacted with Republicans in control of the House and the Senate and a Democratic president.

In 2002, legislation to ban unlimited or "soft money" contributions to the national parties was enacted with Republicans in control of the House, Democrats barely in control of the Senate, 51 to 49, and a Republican president.

Secret contributions in political campaigns are a formula for influencing-buying corruption. It has happened before and will happen again.

You cannot have secret $100,000 or $1,000,000 contributions going to outside spending groups, without having the influence-seeking donors who provided this secret money also trying to buy influence and votes from the federal officeholders they have helped elect.

Unless we enact new disclosure laws, secret contributions to outside spending groups are bound to dramatically increase in the 2012 elections, when both presidential and congressional races will be at stake.

In addition to new disclosure laws, Congress also must take steps to prevent the blatant abuse of the tax laws that took place in this election, such as the misuse of the tax exemption for 501(c)(4) organizations by political groups like Karl Rove's brainchild, Crossroads GPS.

Just as history tells us secrecy results in scandal, history also tells us that scandal results in reform.

The Watergate campaign finance scandals in the 1970s resulted in the creation of the landmark presidential public financing system which served the nation well for most of its existence until it became outdated when Congress failed to modernize it. The Watergate scandals also led to the enactment of limits on individual contributions to candidates and parties, upheld by the Supreme Court as necessary to prevent corruption of federal officeholders and government decisions.

The soft money scandals in the 1990s led to the ban on unlimited contributions to the national parties upheld by the Supreme Court in 2003, a decision that was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court earlier this year. The soft money ban continues to serve the country well in preventing a system of legalized bribery of federal officeholders.

Similarly, major campaign finance reform battles lie ahead. The most immediate reform to be pursued involves passing the DISCLOSE Act to ensure that organizations spending money to influence federal elections are required to disclose to voters the donors financing those expenditures.

The Act passed the House in June and in September fell just one vote short of the 60 votes needed to reach the Senate floor for action. Another effort must be made in the post-election session to pass the DISCLOSE Act in the Senate and enact it into law.

If this cannot be accomplished, however, the battle for the DISCLOSE Act will begin immediately in the next Congress.

A New York Times/CBS News poll recently found that 92 percent of Americans support disclosure of the contributions financing campaign expenditures. Opponents of disclosure cannot sustain the practice of secret influence-buying contributions being spent to influence federal campaigns, in the face of overwhelming public support for disclosure of the contributions.

An expected Republican-led effort to reinstate the soft money system must be defeated. The corrupt soft money system was banned by Congress in 2002 and the ban was upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court in 2003 and again by the Court this year.

The argument will be made by proponents that the limits on contributions to the national parties should be eliminated or greatly increased so that parties can "compete" with outside spenders.

But you cannot solve the problems caused by the corrupting role being played by outside spending groups by legalizing much greater and more direct corruption in the form of huge influence-buying contributions made to the national parties to benefit federal officeholders. It should be noted, furthermore, that even with the soft money ban, the national parties will raise as much as $1 billion or more for the 2010 congressional election cycle, far more than the amount spent by outside spending groups.

In testifying in support of the soft money ban in 2003, former Republican Senator Warren Rudman said:

Individuals on both sides of the table recognize that larger donations effectively "purchase" greater benefits for donors... Large soft money contributions in fact distort the legislative process. They affect what gets done and how it gets done. They affect whom Senators and House members see, whom they spend their time with, what input they get, and make no mistake about it, this money affects outcomes as well.

Former Republican Senator Alan Simpson also testified in support of the ban stating that a system of unlimited contributions "prostitutes ideas and ideals, demeans democracy, and debases debates." Simpson said, "Too often, Members' first thought is not what is right or what they believe, but how it will affect fundraising. Who, after all, can seriously contend that a $100,000 donation does not alter the way one thinks about - and quite possibly votes on - an issue?"

In the next Congress, the fight will continue for fundamental reforms to repair the presidential public financing system and create a similar system for congressional races. The goal of the new systems is to make citizens who donate small contributions the key players in financing our federal elections. Small donor contributions raised on the Internet and magnified in importance by public matching funds have the potential to revolutionize the way we finance our campaigns.

These reforms will be vigorously pursued in the new Congress. A serious effort also will be made to address the absence of enforcement of the campaign finance laws caused by the dysfunctional Federal Election Commission, and in particular by the three Republican FEC commissioners who are ideological opponents of the laws and have shown no interest in enforcing or properly interpreting them.

If the voices and interests of average citizens are to be heard in Washington, then the role and importance of small donors in financing our elections must be greatly enhanced and the role of influence-seeking larger donors, bundlers and outside spenders must be greatly diminished.

We have won important campaign finance reform battles before. We can and will win them again.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/fred-wertheimer/on-secret-financing-of-20_b_778346.html

Click here to read full article

DOLLARCRACY RISES
dollarballot.jpg
DOLLARS WILL VOTE, NOT PEOPLE - click on box for more

FOR MORE INFO ON THE SUPREME COURT'S DOLLARCRACY DECISION GO TO...

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Big Donors Plan Boost in Campaign Spending

NEW YORK TIMES DEBATE: How Corporate Money Will Reshape Politics

ANOTHER VIEW
(Webmaster Note:  I disagree with the following video and consider it a gross exaggeration, but it is worth trying to understand - JW)

Corporation Says It Will Run for Congress

With more than a twinge of irony, Murray Hill Incorporated, a liberal public relations firm, recently announced that it planned to run in the Republican primary in Maryland’s 8th Congressional District.

Here is the company’s first “campaign” ad:

DOLLARCRACY = ACCESS TO POWER

The top 10 individual donors to House and Senate members from New York include some of the nation’s leading figures in real estate, energy, finance and law. Together, they gave slightly more than $381,000 last year.

Among organizations, the city’s white-shoe law firms and labor unions were the biggest givers, collectively contributing $1.5 million last year.

Nearly $370,000 of that came from two Manhattan law firms ...whose partners and employees gave heavily to a notable alumna of both firms...Five major labor unions gave nearly $740,000 total to New York’s representatives in Congress, while a trial lawyers’ group...gave $176,000 to New York’s delegation.

The donors’ motivations vary widely, from a desire to protect their business interests to ideological allegiance to personal loyalty to concern over foreign policy. And they enjoy a level of access to the government that is unavailable to most people.

READ FULL NYT ARTICLE

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DOLLARCRACY DOES NOT DISCRIMINATE
From 2004 to 2008, the Congressional Black Caucus’s political and charitable wings took in at least $55 million in corporate and union contributions..."All eight open House investigations involve caucus members, and most center on accusations of improper ties to private businesses." The bottom line is that it appears the Congressional Black Caucus is devoted to two things -- spending millions of dollars on lavish parties and raising money from corporations and lobbyists. And many of the caucus' fundraising arrangements are suspect at best.

READ NEW YORK TIMES EXPOSE

CFI - AEI - Brookings Working Group Report
REFORM IN AN AGE OF NETWORKED CAMPAIGNS:
How to Foster Citizen Participation Through Small Donors and Volunteers 
Click here for the full report, audio, video, and transcript.


A joint project of the Campaign Finance Institute, American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution unveiled a new report, "Reform in an Age of Networked Campaigns: How to Foster Citizen Participation Through Small Donors and Volunteers."


The report, co-authored by Anthony J. Corrado, Michael J. Malbin, Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, seeks to change the ongoing national dialogue about money in politics.

The political world has been arguing about campaign finance policy for decades. A once-rich conversation has become a stale, two-sided battleground. The time has come to leap over this gulf and, as much as possible, move the disputes from the courts.

The 2008 elections showcased the power of the Internet to generate enthusiasm, mobilize volunteers and increase small-donor contributions. The digital revolution has altered the calculus of participation. Instead of further restricting the wealthy few, therefore, this new report presents detailed recommendations to help activate the many. 

In addition to extensive new information about the role of small and large doors in federal and state elections, the fifty-five page report contains this report offers a new vision of how campaign finance and communications policy can help further democracy through broader participation. Key recommendations, which are meant to apply to state as well as federal elections, include:
  • Ensure open and accessible communications and information by (1) expanding affordable broadband access, (2) carriers providing full access for political speech and (3) creating a one-stop portal for all of a citizen's election-related public information;
  • Improve transparency by (1) making all disclosure reports be filed and available to the public electronically, (2) filing advertising logs electronically with the FCC and (3) developing a single disclosure Web site;
  • Refining contribution limits on contributions to candidates and political parties;
  • Redefining public funding by (1) providing multiple-dollar matching funds for small donors in general elections and primaries and , (2) doing away with spending limits as a requirement for public funding, (3) requiring candidates who accept public funds to abide by lower contribution limits instead of spending limits, (4) offering early money sooner, (5) using tax credits or rebates; and
  • Enhancing party-candidate relations an electoral accountability by allowing unlimited coordinated expenditures for political parties from small-donor contributions.

Lobbying industry booms in recession
 BIG SPENDERS

More than half of the 20 groups and companies that spent the most on lobbying last year increased their lobbying expenses over 2008. Totals include lobbying subsidiaries.

Name Total 2008 Total 2009
U.S. Chamber of Commerce $91,725,000 $144,456,000
ExxonMobil $29,000,000 $27,430,000
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America $20,220,000 $26,465,520
General Electric $19,379,000 $25,520,000
Pfizer Inc. $12,180,000 $24,619,268
AARP $27,900,000 $21,010,000
American Medical Association $20,555,000 $20,830,000
Chevron Corp. $12,994,000 $20,815,000
Blue Cross-Blue Shield{+1} $16,300,165 $20,067,939
National Association of Realtors $17,340,000 $19,497,000
ConocoPhillips $8,459,053 $18,069,858
Verizon Communications $18,020,000 $17,820,000
FedEx $9,335,000 $17,050,000
Boeing $17,540,000 $16,850,000
American Hospital Association $18,902,684 $16,300,000
National Cable and Telecommunications Association $14,500,000 $15,980,000
Northrop Grumman $20,743,252 $15,180,000
Lockheed Martin $15,981,506 $13,533,782
Business Roundtable $13,320,000 $13,410,000
Altria Group $13,840,000 $12,770,000

1 Fourth-quarter reports are still being talliedSources: Center for Responsive Politics, U.S. Senate

The recession has battered the U.S. economy, but the lobbying industry is humming along in the nation's capital, even for companies that have shed thousands of jobs in the past year.

The 20 trade associations and companies that spent the most on lobbying increased their spending by more than 20% in 2009 to $507.7 million, up from $418.2 million a year earlier, according to a USA TODAY analysis of reports compiled by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.

The top 20 include oil giant ConocoPhillips, which announced nearly 1,300 layoffs in January 2009, and drugmaker Pfizer, which shed 4,200 jobs since completing its merger with drug company Wyeth last fall....

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce led spending, pumping $144.5 million into lobbying last year, according to the center's tally. That's a nearly 60% increase over 2008 and came as the business federation battled Congress and the White House over legislation dealing with health care and financial regulation.

Spending jumped because the chamber also launched an advertising campaign last year, including TV ads slamming a congressional proposal to create a new consumer-protection agency to oversee lending, said R. Bruce Josten, the chamber's executive vice president for government affairs. The chamber needed to respond to "critically important, top-tier issues to the business community" coming out of Congress, he said.

More than half of the top 20 companies increased lobbying activity in 2009. Others, including Verizon, Boeingand Lockheed Martin, curtailed spending. Struggling automaker General Motors tumbled out of the top 20 altogether.

GM, which has cut 21,000 U.S. jobs and has received more than $50 billion in government aid — spent $8.7 million on lobbying last year, down from $13.4 million in 2008

_______________________________________

Health care groups lobby at record pace

The drug and insurance industries have dramatically amped up their efforts to lobby Congress, spending millions over a three-month period to influence legislation aimed at reshaping the nation's health care system, new reports show.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America reported nearly $7 million in lobbying expenses from July through September. Overall, the group has spent nearly as much during the first nine months of 2009 as it did during the entire previous year. Individual drug companies also have sharply increased lobbying. Pfizer, for instance, has spent more than $17 million in lobbying during the first nine months of this year, nearly twice its lobbying budget during the same period in 2008. Pfizer spokeswoman Kristen Neese said the spending reflects a commitment to "making our voice heard."

“It leaves room for a little cynicism that money buys votes, but realistically, it’s the engine of the process.”

When President Obama arrived at the Mandarin Oriental hotel for a fund-raising reception on Thursday night, the new White House rules of political purity were in order: no lobbyists allowed. But at the same downtown hotel on Friday morning, registered lobbyists have not only been invited to attend an issues conference with Democratic leaders, but they have also been asked to come with a $5,000 check in hand if they want to stay in good favor with the partys House and Senate re-election committees. The practicality of Mr. Obamas pledge to change the ways of Washington is colliding once more with the reality of how money, influence and governance interact here. He repeatedly declared while campaigning last year that he would not take a dime from lobbyists or political action committees. So to follow through with that promise, Mr. Obama is simply leaving the room...The White House said the president had agreed to attend the event on Thursday night, expected to raise $3 million, only if federal lobbyists were not on hand...A ticket went for $5,000 on Thursday night, but most people contributed far more. The top tier for contributors was $100,000, known as the United Committee, which was assigned to those who donated their own money and helped raise even more. Most people gave $30,400 per couple, which included a photograph with the president...The Republican National Committee said Mr. Obama had not kept his word. This is the height of hypocrisy and just one more example of President Obamas rhetoric not squaring with reality, said the Republican chairman, Michael Steele. Candidate Obama said lobbyists and special interests will not fund the Democratic Party, but now the Democrats are cashing their checks as fast as they come in, 364 days a year.

Bloomberg Spent $102 Million to Win 3rd Term


  • To eke out an election victory over the city’s low-key comptroller, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg spent $102 million of his own fortune — or about $174 per vote — according to data released Friday, making his bid for a third term the most expensive campaign in the city’s history.

Mr. Bloomberg, the wealthiest man in New York City, shattered his own records: He poured $85 million into his campaign in 2005 (or $112 per vote) and $74 million into his first bid for office in 2001 ($99 per vote).

And the $102 million tab is likely to rise, because the mayor has not yet doled out postelection bonuses to campaign workers, which have routinely exceeded $100,000 a person in years past. That spending will not be reported until after his inauguration in January.

Mr. Bloomberg has now spent at least $261 million of his own money in the pursuit of public office, more than anyone else in the United States.

Link to New York Times article

WORTH READING

Is Constituency Democracy Destroying The U.S.A.? >>> Our government has deteriorated into constituencies, which drive only for constituent gains. We have traded being a beacon for the world, to groups of people who are selfishly grabbing pieces of an ever-shrinking pie. Each constituency seems to feel that their end justifies the means, resulting in spinning the truth, telling flat-out lies while ignoring impending doom.

National Donor Profiles >>> Thousands of corporations and special interest groups, playing off the old adage "don't put all your eggs in one basket," are spreading their political cash across the nation, from the U.S. Capitol to the smallest states' statehouses. They may do so for a number of reasons, such as building strong relationships with decision-makers, attempting to influence votes or supporting philosophical positions such as lower taxes or expanded health care. This database provides you with the total contributions for the Top 10,000 national givers in U.S. politics and their contributions to state-level politics during the 2008 election cycle. It's information that exists nowhere else. Use it to follow the money not only in the nation's capital, but also from Alaska to Florida, Maine to California -- and everywhere in between.

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Corzine's total tally for his 3 campaigns: $131M
 
It will take some time to assess the costs and benefits of Jon Corzine's nine years as an elected official. But how much money his political career cost him is now known.

He spent $131 million of his own money on three runs for political office since 2000, including primaries, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal and state campaign finance data, including a report issued Tuesday by the state Election Law Enforcement Commission.

That's enough money to pay the entire property tax billfor a year for everyone in Corzine's hometown ofHoboken. It's nearly as much as the NHL paid last month to buy the Phoenix Coyotes and rescue the franchise from bankruptcy.

"After $130 million, what he got out of it was a term in the Senate, a term in the Statehouse and a portrait in the outer office," said Peter McDonough, an adjunct professor at Rutgers University's Eagleton Institute of Politics and a former communications director for Republican former Gov. Christie Whitman.

Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center of Responsive Politics, says it's safe to say that Corzine has spent more of his own money to run for office than anyone in U.S. history other than New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The mayor has spent about twice as much as Corzine in his three elections, all of them victorious.

Corzine is known for running overwhelming campaigns in a state where doing that requires lots of pricey airtime on New York and Philadelphia television stations.

He was pushed out of his job at the helm of Goldman Sachs in 1999 and used his fortune to help him burst onto the state's political scene. In 2000, the Democrat was elected to the U.S. Senate. In 2005, he was elected governor. And last month, after spending $27 million on a bitter campaign—$25.3 million of it his own—he lost to Republican Chris Christie, who spent $11.4 million.

READ FULL ARTICLE

Obama's New Ambassador Nominees Gave Big -- and Bundled Bigger

President Obama announced another 10 names for ambassadorships last week, and in doing so, he awarded another set of big donors and bundlers with plum positions representing U.S. interests abroad. The new nominees for ambassadors to Belize, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Romania and Switzerland along with their spouses and dependent children have contributed at least $637,800 to federal candidates, parties and committees since 1989, CRP has found. Nearly that entire sum has gone to Democrats, including $32,775 to Obama himself and $8,300 to former primary opponent and now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. These individuals also brought in at least $1.1 million for Obama's presidential bid as bundlers, and at least another half-a-million as bundlers for his inauguration. To date, this brings the contribution histories of Obama's ambassador nominees to roughly $1.8 million in donations since 1989. The 19 ambassadors that CRP has found in our campaign contribution database, along with their spouses and children, have given more than $98,200 to Obama personally, bundled at least $3.4 million for his 2008 presidential run and bundled another $1.4 million for his inauguration.

RASMUSSEN POLL: 60% of Americans say most politicians will break the rules to help people who gave them large campaign contributions. Just 19% say most politicians would refrain from breaking the law.

WAPO  12/4/09  At least 30 of the president's 324 top bundlers -- those who raised $100,000 or more -- have been nominated for ambassadorships or other senior administration posts, including some of the most consequential and coveted American outposts. Some have also been given at least one opportunity to visit the White House, in venues such as the St. Patrick's Day party in March or the first formal state dinner last week....The numbers pale in comparison to Clinton's administration -- during which coziness with donors was legendary -- or to that of George W. Bush, who gave hundreds of jobs and other perks to wealthy supporters over the course of his presidency.

56% Favor Regulation of Campaign Contributions, But 88% Say Special Interests Likely To Get Around It
The Supreme Court is expected to hand down a ruling this fall that could loosen restrictions on contributions to political campaigns in a major way, but 56% of U.S. voters believe the federal government should regulate how much money individuals can give to political campaigns.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 25% don’t believe the government should regulate campaign contributions. Nineteen percent (19%) are not sure.

But 88% say it’s at least somewhat likely that special interest groups will find ways to get money to politicians and influence their votes even if the government places limits on how much individuals can give to campaigns. Voters feel strongly about this, too, because 69% say it is Very Likely.

Only five percent (5%) say it’s not very likely special interests will find ways around the government regulations, and another two percent (2%) say it’s not at all likely.

There is very little partisan disagreement on the need for campaign finance regulation or over the ability of special interests to get around that regulation.

 

Freshmen: Massa right about money

At least one part of former Rep. Eric Massa’s hourlong, train-wreck interview with cable-television host Glenn Beck rang true to his fellow House freshmen Tuesday: the grim description of the intense and time-consuming fundraising pressures that dominate the lives of junior members.

“Congressmen spend between five and seven hours a day on the phone, begging for money,” Massa (D-N.Y.) told Beck, before launching into a detailed account of the arduous fundraising routine — a demeaning process, Massa said — that includes filling out call sheets, detailing the amount of money raised per hour and conferring with fundraising coaches who advise them on how to wring even more money out of donor calls. 

“I don’t have the life’s energy to get up at 5 in the morning and work until midnight [and] spend five hours on the phone begging for money,” said Massa, estimating that he worked 120 hours a week as a congressman. “I have completely abandoned my family for five years.” 

To his fellow members of the Class of 2008 — many of whom are also looking to solidify their grip on newly won seats while convincing party leaders of their political chops —Massa’saccount was all too familiar. 

In interviews with a dozen House freshmen, nearly all of whom requested anonymity to discuss their fundraising practices candidly, members said Massa’s estimate of five to seven hours of daily fundraising call time was something of a stretch. But they agreed that his account wasn’t that far off the mark. 

They described days packed with research about potential donors, trips down the block to the boiler-room-style call centers operated by the campaign committees and hours of mind-numbing calls dialed from cramped cubicles. 

“How much do I like doing it? I hate it. It’s the worst,” one House freshman remarked to POLITICO during a vote this week. “I hate fundraising. I make no bones about it.” 

“It’s kind of like going from alpha to omega,” said the first-termer, pointing from the House floor to the direction of the campaign committee headquarters where he makes his fundraising calls. “I don’t know many people who like it. And if they do like it, there is probably something wrong with them.” 

“It’s actually sad,” lamented a freshman Democrat who spends one to two hours a day dialing for dollars. “I don’t think most of us when we ran for office thought we’d be spending so much time raising money.” 

Most members interviewed for this article said they spend anywhere from 10 to 15 hours a week on the phone raising money or holding fundraising events in the restaurants, offices or clubs that surround the Capitol — a remarkable time commitment, but one that freshmen describe as the reality of the lives they lead.

“It’s no different than the campaign. I’m in a tough district. It takes a lot of money to win,” said one freshman Democrat who said he schedules about 15 hours of fundraising time per week. “There’s a direct correlation to the time you spend on the phone and the money you raise.”

“I don’t get a lot of sleep,” said the Democrat, noting that he spends time researching all the donors he contacts in addition to practicing specific pitches that he thinks will increase the likelihood that a check will come his way. “It’s just the reality.” 

“We do a great deal of fundraising. It’s part of the job,” said another House freshman who estimated spending about 10 hours a week on the phone with donors. “My tolerance is such that I don’t do it for more than 1½ hours.” 

“I am probably not the best fundraiser,” the freshman shrugged. “I’m doing pretty well.” 

The intense focus on fundraising reflects the reality of running a campaign in the era of the 24-hour news cycle, with outside interest groups willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on efforts to dislodge incumbents. In 2008, House freshmen spent an average of about $1.8 million on their reelection campaigns, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. 

“It’s gone up in recent years,” said former Texas Rep. Martin Frost, who served as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. 

But the hours on the phone also reflect a Capitol Hill culture that measures political sway by the size of a campaign’s bank account — not to mention one’s margin of reelection. One freshman, who said he was contemplating a rise through his party’s leadership ranks, said there was nothing worse than giving the impression to party bosses that he couldn’t fend for himself financially or that he was somehow a financial weak link. 

“You’ve got to show you’re a player, and you’ve got to do that by being reelected. And fundraising is a big part of that,” said Frost. “This is the real world. Politics is not for the faint of heart. And to anyone who wants to make a difference, you’ve got to show you can be reelected.” 

“The pressure to get reelected, to climb the leadership ladder, to raise money for the party, is a big part of politics,” said former Virginia Rep. Tom Davis, who once chaired the National Republican Congressional Committee. “Your reputation in politics centers on whether you got reelected, and fundraising is a big part of that.” 

The expectations of the NRCC and the DCCC can be crushing, the freshmen say, further intensifying the fundraising pressures, with both committees laying out specific benchmarks for members to meet in order for them to be eligible for committee assistance down the road.

DCCC staffers and leaders “hammer” the importance of amassing cash at the beginning and then “grill” new members if they don’t raise enough money or meet their goals, said a House Democrat who is a member of DCCC’s Frontline program, which aims to provide fundraising and institutional support to vulnerable incumbents. They talk about wanting to see “sweat equity.”

“You hear about it if you don’t,” the Frontline member said. “I worry that some [colleagues] go overboard and have made it almost an obsession.” 

For many freshmen, most of the fundraising takes place at NRCC and DCCC headquarters. Members describe crowded rooms of metal folding chairs amid cubicles set up to serve as call centers, where the din of fundraising calls makes it hard to think or concentrate. 

“You’re on one side, and you’re overhearing the person on the other side — and sometimes they’re talking to the person you just called,” said one freshman Democrat. 

Members quietly converse on the side with staffers, and many take calls on their cell phones between calls on the committee phones. Some have learned to talk on two phones at once while working off call sheets that have been provided by fundraising consultants. 

“It’s sort of like a boiler room,” one Frontline House Democrat said. “It’s a sweatshop.” 

“It’s hardly what one imagines one ran for Congress to be and do. There’s not much romantic to it,” said the member. 

To some, the notion of calling people they barely know and asking them to open their checkbooks is hard to stomach. “I’m not good at cold-calling people who I don’t know,” said one freshman. “I just wasn’t brought up to call people asking for money who I haven’t met.” 

Some freshmen claim the fundraising demands don’t bother them. 

“Given the needs of my district down there, I don’t have too much time to fundraise,” said Rep. Anh “Joseph” Cao (R-La.), whose calm belies his status as perhaps the most vulnerable member of the House. “There is pressure to fundraise, but my focus right now is simply to represent the people of the 2nd District of Louisiana.” 

First-term Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who represents a safely Republican district in Utah, said he doesn’t have to spend much time fundraising — the NRCC mandates that he raise only $125,000 each year. 

“It’s much easier to do without it,” Chaffetz said, adding that he spends only about two to three hours a week asking donors for cash. “But it’s the reality of what you have to do for the job.” 

NASA legend and former Sen. John Glenn (D-Ohio) would prefer picking a fight with a primate to raising funds for a campaign, lamenting that clamoring for cash “was the most onerous part of politics for me. I’d rather wrestle a gorilla right here on the floor than ask anybody for five bucks — make it a dollar.” - The Hill, 1/11/12

The remaining big banks (in the US) and big banks/corporates (elsewhere) are made invincible by campaign contributions, political connections, and everyone’s reasonable fear of a great depression.  It will be hard for outsiders to challenge that structure effectively – either as new companies or with new ideas.  But you won’t see a great deal of innovation, investment, and growth coming from these survivors.
                                         Simon Johnson

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MAPLight.org, a groundbreaking public database, illuminates the connection between campaign donations and legislative votes in unprecedented ways. Elected officials collect large sums of money to run their campaigns, and they often pay back campaign contributors with special access and favorable laws. This common practice is contrary to the public interest, yet legal. MAPLight.org makes money/vote connections transparent, to help citizens hold their legislators accountable.

The health sector---eclipses all other sectors but the financial sector in lobbying spending since 1998, putting $3.4 billion into its efforts.  Below are health sector contributions to Congress over the years

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Top Contributors

The table below is from the Center for Responsive Politics' Open Secretes Website. It lists the top donors to the two top candidates in the 2008 election cycle. The organizations themselves did not donate , rather the money came from the organization's PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.

Because of contribution limits, organizations that bundle together many individual contributions are often among the top donors to presidential candidates. These contributions can come from the organization's members or employees (and their families). The organization may support one candidate, or hedge its bets by supporting multiple candidates. Groups with national networks of donors - like EMILY's List and Club for Growth - make for particularly big bundlers.

More details on those organizations shown in BLUE may be obtained by clicking on their names.

Barack Obama (D)

University of California $1,591,395
Goldman Sachs $994,795
Harvard University $854,747
Microsoft Corp $833,617
Google Inc $803,436
Citigroup Inc $701,290
JPMorgan Chase & Co $695,132
Time Warner $590,084
Sidley Austin LLP $588,598
Stanford University $586,557
National Amusements Inc $551,683
UBS AG $543,219
Wilmerhale Llp $542,618
Skadden, Arps et al $530,839
IBM Corp $528,822
Columbia University $528,302
Morgan Stanley $514,881
General Electric $499,130
US Government $494,820
Latham & Watkins $493,835

John McCain (R)
Merrill Lynch $373,595
Citigroup Inc $322,051
Morgan Stanley $273,452
Goldman Sachs $230,095
JPMorgan Chase & Co $228,107
US Government $208,379
AT&T Inc $201,438
Wachovia Corp $195,063
UBS AG $192,493
Credit Suisse Group $183,353
PricewaterhouseCoopers $167,900
US Army $167,820
Bank of America $166,026
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher $159,596
Blank Rome LLP $154,226
Greenberg Traurig LLP $146,437
US Dept of Defense $144,105
FedEx Corp $131,974
Bear Stearns $117,498
Lehman Brothers $114,357

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The Campaign Finance Institute is a non-partisan, non-profit institute, affiliated with The George Washington University, that conducts objective research and education, empanels task forces and makes recommendations for policy change in the field of campaign finance.

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Whenever you find you are on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect

                     --- Mark Twain

We have never observed a great civilization with a population as old as the United States will have in the twenty-first century; we have never observed a great civilization that is as secular as we are apparently going to become; and we have had only half a century of experience with advanced welfare states...Charles Murray

Kella
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This is a personal website containing personal information and some news and  personal opinions on certain issues affecting democratic governance of interest to me and my friends, associates and seminar participants. The financial information, charts, etc., consist of items I find interesting. Draw your own conclusions from it.
Copyright Notice: In accordance with Title 17 U. S. C. Section 107, any copyrighted work on this website is distributed under fair use without profit or payment to those who have expressed an interest in receiving the included information for nonprofit research and educational purposes only. Ref.: http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html

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