-By Trymain Lee
October 8, 2012- Eric Bates was caught twice in the late 1990s driving with a suspended license, and then again in 2006. That third time, under then-Virginia law, Bates was considered a habitual offender and was prosecuted as a felon.
He served 14 months in prison and was released in 2008. He returned home hoping to put his legal issues behind him and move on with his life.
But like many of the nearly 1 million people who are released from correctional facilities each year, Bates said he has had difficulty finding steady work and making ends meet. His rather pedestrian criminal record has also come with one other lingering consequence: Bates has found himself among the approximately 5.8 million whose voting rights have been taken away because of a felony conviction.
-By Aviva Shen
October 5, 2012- The Tea Party organization launching a multi-pronged voter suppression effort this election is under investigation by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) for a possible “criminal conspiracy to deny legitimate voters their constitutional rights.”
Cummings sent a letter to True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht warning her that the Ohio branch of the group, in suing to throw thousands of students, trailer park residents, homeless people and African Americans off the voting rolls, may be violating the law:
-By Ryan j Reilly
October 5, 2012- The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that Ohio must make early voting during the three days before the election available to all voters if it's available to military members and voters who live overseas. The ruling upheld a lower court's decision.
"The State’s asserted goal of accommodating the unique situation of members of the military, who may be called away at a moment’s notice in service to the nation, is certainly a worthy and commendable goal," the court ruled. "However, while there is a compelling reason to provide more opportunities for military voters to cast their ballots, there is no corresponding satisfactory reason to prevent non-military voters from casting their ballots as well."
-by Justin Elliott
October 4, 2012- A dark money nonprofit group that has run more than $1 million in ads in the Ohio race for U.S. Senate told the IRS last year it did not plan to spend any money to influence elections when it applied for recognition of its tax-exempt status.
ProPublica first reported on the group, the Government Integrity Fund, after information from television station political ad files became available online (see our Free the Files project), showing extensive spending by the Fund.
-By Justin Sink and Cameron Joseph
October 2, 2012– The conservative super-PAC backed by former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove announced Tuesday that it would purchase $11 million in television commercials this week, their largest one-week buy of the election, in a new campaign slamming President Obama's jobs record.
The significant ad buy from American Crossroads comes on top of an additional $1 million radio buy and a $4 million television campaign targeting U.S. Senate races in North Dakota, Florida, Virginia and Montana, the group reported Tuesday. The Senate ads will be funded by Crossroads GPS, an affiliated political advocacy organization.
"Obama's weak leadership has yielded weak results and a weaker America. Staying on Obama’s course means a weaker America every day," Crossorads Chairman Steven Law, a former Bush administration official, said in a statement.
October 2, 2012- WASHINGTON — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported an investment of $4 million to help 10 Republican congressional candidates in California and Illinois.
The advertisements all begin with a 10-second clip of Darlene Miller, the winner of the Chamber's Small Business of the Year in 2008, explaining that uncertainty over taxes and health care is preventing her from hiring more workers. Then they shift to nearly identical attacks on their intended Democratic targets, criticizing higher taxes, cuts to Medicare, health care reform and high energy costs.
The Chamber ad blitz heralds the beginning of the coming crush of third-party advertising directed at House races. Super PACs, unions, trade associations and non-profits already have spent $39 million since June on general election campaign efforts, ahead of their pace in the previous election. Over the next 30 days, these groups will spend between double and triple that amount just in House races.