-By Brad Friedman
January 23, 2012- The conventional wisdom is that Mitt Romney has been attempting to withhold his tax returns from public scrutiny so that we'll not learn just how small the percentage is that he pays on his enormous income (which is said to be largely reported as capital gains, and thus taxed at just 15%.)
But there's another interesting issue that could be revealed when he releases his 2010 tax returns on Tuesday, as promised.
Remember last June when little-known Republican candidate Fred Karger filed a complaint with the state of Massachusetts charging that Romney committed voter fraud by using the unfinished basement of his son's house in Belmont, MA as his address for voting purposes after he'd sold his own him there in 2008, rather than registering to vote at his $12.5 million ocean front home in La Jolla, California or at his $10 million compound in New Hampshire?
Bill Moyers talks to President Reagan's former budget director and to Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times about the way Wall Street runs Washington.
January 22, 2012- "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 former budget director for President Reagan, talking to Bill Moyers in this week's episode of Moyers & Company. Continuing to focus on the intersection of money and politics, Moyers' new program talks to Stockman about the financialization of the economy, re-regulating the big banks, the Fed's enabling of Wall Street, and how the banks buy influence with politicians to ensure favorable treatment.
-By Glenn Thrush and Kenneth P. Vogel
January 18, 2012- Last spring, Sean Sweeney — a co-founder of Priorities USA Action, Barack Obama’s not-so-super super PAC — rode an elevator up to a donor’s office atop a Chicago skyscraper, hoping to ride down with a big check.
His pitch: Sure, Obama has made a career of railing against the power of big money in politics — but the president’s 2012 campaign needs a handful of his rich supporters to write six- and seven-figure checks to counter the hundreds of millions Karl Rove and others plan to raise for Republicans.
Sweeney’s host leaned back in his chair, pained expression on his face, and asked: “Is this what we’ve become?”
The WPP Group is perhaps the most important lobbying corporation you've never heard of.
-By Lee Fang
January 19, 2012- On Saturday, protesters will stage demonstrations across the country to mark the two year anniversary of the Citizens United, the Supreme Court case that opened the door to unlimited, and largely secret, corporate money flooding into American elections. But not everyone is grimacing at the prospect of special interests buying the 2012 vote.
Last summer, Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of the world's largest advertising and lobbying corporation, the WPP Group, told investors that he is bullish for this year. Political spending in the United States, Sorrell said confidently, "has already kicked off" and will rise to $4 billion — "as best as we can anticipate." "The Supreme Court decision recently," he said referencing Citizens United, "on lobbying and funding of lobbying, pushes it further."
-By Dennis Kucinich & Russell Simmons
January 21, 2012- This is not a progressive issue or a conservative issue. This is not a Tea Party issue or a liberal issue. This is an American issue. Money is destroying our politics and our political system. The signs are everywhere. A "super PAC" supporting Mitt Romney spent $3.5 million to knock Newt Gingrich out of the lead in Iowa. A super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich is spending a greater amount of money to return the favor to Mitt Romney in South Carolina. Our electoral system has become such a joke that two late-night comedians are now actually participating in it and are generating great laughter just by demonstrating how it operates.
In the past, Congress has made two bipartisan efforts to control the impact of money on our elections, first in the early 1970s and more recently with the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, known as "McCain-Feingold." Both of these laws tried to restrict the influence of money on our elections. But after each of these efforts, the Supreme Court kicked down the door and allowed campaign money to flow more freely.