Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Dark Money Congress, Ruled by the Wealthy, for the Wealthy

what eye thynk:  Remember the rosy future predicted by the Supreme Court in their Citizens United decision?

"A campaign finance system that pairs corporate independent expenditures with effective disclosure has not existed before today...  Citizens can see whether elected officials are 'in the pocket' of so-called moneyed interests."

Five years later "effective disclosure" is a joke, citizens know less and less about whose money their congressman is pocketing,  and our Republican led Congress is making sure it stays that way. 

  • The newly passed budget bill includes a provision that blocks the IRS from creating any rules that would curb the growth of political interest groups currently masquerading as social welfare organizations.  Political interest groups are required by federal law to reveal their donors; social welfare groups can keep their donors secret.  By prohibiting the IRS from creating standards to determine the difference between the two, i.e. how much political activity a social welfare group can engage in, Congress is basically saying that anyone rich enough to form a special interest group can call it a social welfare group, hide their identity, and promote their personal political interests to their heart's content with no federal oversight.   Where is the promised effective disclosure to the public?
  • Congressional Republicans have also voted to bar the SEC from finalizing rules that would have required corporations to disclose how much they spend on political campaigns and to identify the recipients of their larghesse to their investors. 
How can anyone of sound mind look at these two recent moves and say they offer any degree of "effective disclosure?"

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, wealthy, phantom donors have spent more than $500 million since January 2010 on an unprecedented, special-interest shopping spree.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said it best when she named Citizens United the worst decision the Court ever made; "...Members of the legislature, people who have to run for office, know the connection between money and influence on what laws get passed."

The current Republican dominated congress must thank SCOTUS every day for giving them the right to keep their pockets open and their votes available to the highest bidder.

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