RAW Story: Feingold compares new Obama fundraising group to Karl Rove

April 29, 2011- Former Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) on Friday tore into Democrats for launching a new outside group to aid President Barack Obama's re-election efforts in part by raising undisclosed funds.

"Democrats who mirror the right-wing tactics of Karl Rove and David Koch do our nation no favors," said Feingold, a longtime opponent of industry-funded elections who now helms Progressives United, according to Politico's Ben Smith. "Our democracy is best served by rejecting the fundamentally corrupt strategy of embracing unlimited corporate influence."

The group, Priorities USA, is poised to receive the kinds of unlimited, undisclosed donations that Obama has spoken out against. It's similar in some respects to Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, which spent millions in anonymous money trying to defeat Democratic candidates last year.

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The Motley Fool: Shedding Light on Hidden Agendas

April 29, 2011- It's no secret that corporate political contributions are highly controversial, but a lot of that controversy comes from these donations' very secrecy. As corporations try to keep their political donations under wraps, they face a surge of shareholders demanding to know just where that money's going.

After all, if you've invested in a publicly traded company, wouldn't you want to know whether it's supporting politicians, causes, or agendas with which you disagree?

Politics and proposals
ProxyMonitor.org, which tracks shareholder resolutions and vote tallies at Fortune 100 companies, has been keeping score of donation disclosure and other hot-button issues. The group reports that political spending now enjoys a groundswell in interest among shareholder proposals.

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Huffington Post: FEC Sued By Chris Van Hollen Over Huge Disclosure Loophole

April 21, 2011- A Democratic congressman on Thursday sued the Federal Election Commission in an effort to close a massive disclosure loophole before individuals and corporations have the chance to secretly funnel hundreds of millions of dollars into the 2012 presidential and congressional elections.

In his lawsuit, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.) charges that in 2007 the FEC created the loophole by willfully misinterpreting disclosure requirements in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, which is more commonly known as McCain-Feingold.

That law clearly called for disclosure of donors to groups making "electioneering communications." Those are defined as the broadcast ads that refer to a federal candidate in the period 60 days before a general election or 30 days before a primary election.

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RAW Story: Embracing ‘Citizens United,’ Dems to welcome undisclosed donors

April 26, 2011- Despite their prior criticism, Democratic strategists are following Republicans into the forum of undisclosed political donations, engaging in an arms race of-sorts to drum up more outside-party cash than their opponents in 2012.

The change in strategy comes at the amusement of conservatives, who out-gunned Democrats in political donations during the 2010 mid-term elections. Democrats hit Republicans hard before the last election, casting their fundraising efforts — and those of their corporate allies — as an attempt to undermine American democracy with secret, possibly even foreign money.

But next year, that line will likely bite them back.

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NYT: Op-Ed: The Republican Threat to Voting

April 26, 2011- Less than a year before the 2012 presidential voting begins, Republican legislatures and governors across the country are rewriting voting laws to make it much harder for the young, the poor and African-Americans — groups that typically vote Democratic — to cast a ballot.

Spreading fear of a nonexistent flood of voter fraud, they are demanding that citizens be required to show a government-issued identification before they are allowed to vote. Republicans have been pushing these changes for years, but now more than two-thirds of the states have adopted or are considering such laws. The Advancement Project, an advocacy group of civil rights lawyers, correctly describes the push as “the largest legislative effort to scale back voting rights in a century.”

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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Bill affects more than voter ID

Absentee ballots limited, primary date moved in new GOP version

April 26, 2011- The latest version of a bill requiring voters to show photo ID at the polls would make sweeping changes to Wisconsin elections – moving the September primary to August, tightening rules on absentee ballots and ending straight-ticket voting.

A hearing on the bill is slated for 10 a.m. Wednesday, and Republicans who run the Assembly will meet in private later in the day to discuss any changes to the measure.

Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon) said his caucus is largely behind the latest version by Rep. Jeff Stone (R-Greendale), but may want to tweak it. He said he hopes to pass the bill in May and forward it to the Senate.

Stone's bill leaves in place the ability of people to register at the polls. Some Republicans have wanted to eliminate election-day registration, but Stone said he did not believe they needed to take that step.

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NYT: Lobbyist Fires Warning Shot Over Donation Disclosure Plan

April 26, 2011- So much for détente.

After a brief truce of sorts between the White House and business leaders, the top lobbyist at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce took aim at President Obama on Tuesday over an as-yet unannounced plan to force government contractors to disclose their political giving.

The lobbyist, R. Bruce Josten, said in an interview that the powerful business bloc “is not going to tolerate” what it saw as a “backdoor attempt” by the White House to silence private-sector opponents by disclosing their political spending.

“We will fight it through all available means,” Mr. Josten said. In a reference to the White House’s battle to depose Libya’s leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, he said, “To quote what they say every day on Libya, all options are on the table.”

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NYT: The Republican Threat to Voting

April 26, 2011- Less than a year before the 2012 presidential voting begins, Republican legislatures and governors across the country are rewriting voting laws to make it much harder for the young, the poor and African-Americans — groups that typically vote Democratic — to cast a ballot.

Spreading fear of a nonexistent flood of voter fraud, they are demanding that citizens be required to show a government-issued identification before they are allowed to vote. Republicans have been pushing these changes for years, but now more than two-thirds of the states have adopted or are considering such laws. The Advancement Project, an advocacy group of civil rights lawyers, correctly describes the push as “the largest legislative effort to scale back voting rights in a century.”

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