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-By Gary Heinlein
February 24, 2013- Lansing — Republicans handed Bobby Schostak another two-year term as state chairman Saturday and overwhelmingly endorsed a plan to change Michigan presidential electoral vote rules in a way opponents charge is intended to distort election results in favor of GOP candidates.
By a 1,370-132 margin at the party convention in Lansing, GOP members approved a resolution backing a proposal from Rep. Pete Lund, R-Shelby Township, to divvy-up 14 of the state's 16 electoral votes according to which candidate got the most votes in each congressional district. The other two would go to the state-wide vote total winner.
That switch from a winner-take-all formula that has been in effect 175 years could water down the dominance Democrats have had in Michigan in presidential elections for the last 24 years.
Critics say the plan would have given Mitt Romney nine of Michigan's 16 electoral votes last year, although he lost by more than 500,00 votes to President Barack Obama state-wide. With the win, Obama captured all 16 Michigan electoral votes.
-By David Ferguson
February 23, 2013- A Montana Republican state legislator has introduced a bill that would give corporations the right to vote in municipal elections. According to Think Progress, Rep. Steve Lavin (R-Kalispell) has introduced Montana House Bill No. 486, which would grant to “a firm, partnership, company or corporation” that owns property within a district the right to vote as a citizen of that district.
-By Emily Swanson
February 22, 2013- The Supreme Court announced this week that it would hear McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, a case challenging the cap on the total amount that individuals can give to federal candidates as a violation of free speech. This is not an issue that worries most Americans.
In fact, restrictions on both the amount of money Americans can donate to individual federal candidates and the total amount they can donate over a two-year election cycle enjoy broad support from the public, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.
The survey found that only 12 percent of Americans think there should be no limit on the total amount a person can donate to federal candidates. Forty-four percent said the current limit of $46,200 was too high, while 18 percent said it was about right. Another 5 percent said it was too low, and 23 percent said they weren't sure.
-By Ian Millhiser
February 22, 2013- A bill introduced by Montana state Rep. Steve Lavin would give corporations the right to vote in municipal elections:
Provision for vote by corporate property owner. (1) Subject to subsection (2), if a firm, partnership, company, or corporation owns real property within the municipality, the president, vice president, secretary, or other designee of the entity is eligible to vote in a municipal election as provided in [section 1].
(2) The individual who is designated to vote by the entity is subject to the provisions of [section 1] and shall also provide to the election administrator documentation of the entity’s registration with the secretary of state under 35-1-217 and proof of the individual’s designation to vote on behalf of the entity.
Huffington Post: Citizens United: California Poised To Become Largest Electorate To Vote On Constitutional Amendment
-By Kathleen Miles
February 21, 2013- California voters are poised to become the largest electorate to decide whether to support a constitutional amendment that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling.
California Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) introduced a bill, AB 644, Wednesday to put a measure on the state's 2014 ballot urging Congress to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the 2010 Citizens United ruling, which lifted restrictions on political spending by corporations and labor unions. Independent spending in federal elections has exploded since the ruling.
"It's one thing for a legislator to say he wants this," Wieckowski said. "It's another thing for Congress to have direct instruction from the voters. There comes a tipping point where people are upset with billionaires having a disproportionate impact on our electoral system."
The measure is backed by campaign finance watchdog Common Cause. The group's growing effort includes ballot questions that allow voters in cities and states to weigh in on Citizens United.
-By Elspeth Reeve
February 20, 2013- The massive amount of outside political spending unleashed by Citizens United did not, as feared, make it easier for rich people to buy an election. Instead, it showed that rich people are pretty dumb about politics. Take the billionaire businessmen Charles and David Koch who are spending their 2013 figuring out why they the money they spent in 2012 was such a waste. They have already fired most of their 100 staffers at Americans for Prosperity, and they're now conducting an audit.
-By Amanda Marcotte
February 20, 2013- Thanks to Donkeylicious for bringing this to my attention. Michael Walsh of National Review Online called for the termination of women’s right to vote last week:
Nevertheless, you’re on to something I’ve been advocating for years now. And that is the repeal of all four of the so-called “Progressive Era” amendments, including the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th, which were passed between 1911 and 1920.
-By Bernie Becker
February 19, 2013- A former Democratic congressional candidate and a government watchdog are suing the IRS, claiming the agency has allowed political groups to flout campaign finance laws.
In their lawsuit, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and David Gill, who lost a razor-thin election in 2012, say that the failure of the IRS to keep so-called 501(c)(4) groups out of politics has allowed a flood of anonymous money into the political process.
“Disgracefully, the IRS has sat on its hands for the last two election cycles while 501(c)(4) groups have been formed expressly to run negative attack ads funded by anonymous donors,” Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director, said in a statement.
“When called out, the IRS has said only that it is ‘aware’ of the public’s concern. Now the IRS can explain its deplorable inaction in federal court.”
-By Brendan Fischer
February 20, 2013- The U.S. Supreme Court could open the door to even more money in politics than it did in the disastrous 2010 decision Citizens United v FEC as it considers a new case challenging limits on how much wealthy donors can give directly to federal candidates and political parties. If the court sides with the challengers in McCutcheon v FEC, political power and influence in America would be further concentrated in the hands of just a few wealthy donors.
Citizens United Flawed in Light of 2012 Elections, but McCutcheon Might Be Worse
The Citizens United decision was premised on the notion that expenditures made "independently" of candidates are less likely to have a corruptive influence than direct contributions to candidates and parties.