-By Scott Bauer
August 16, 2011- MADISON, Wis. — Two Democratic Wisconsin state senators targeted by Republicans survived their elections Tuesday, ending a tumultuous summer of recalls spurred by anger over how lawmakers reacted to Gov. Scott Walker's proposal curbing collective bargaining rights of public workers.
Democrats picked up two seats through the nine recalls but were unable to wrest majority Senate control away from the GOP, which now holds a narrow 17-16 majority. Before the recalls, Republicans had a 19-14 edge in the chamber.
The two senators facing recall Tuesday were among the 14 senators who fled the state in February in opposition to Walker's proposal which passed despite their absence and has been held up by the state Supreme Court.
-By Andrew Kreig
Recent events show why election theft deserves much more scrutiny than it receives from either government officials or news reporters. Most dramatically, a federal judge has released the 2008 testimony of GOP IT guru Michael Connell, right. The Ohio resident died in a mysterious plane crash that year after anonymous warnings he would be killed if he testified about his work with Karl Rove and others helping the Bush-Cheney ticket win in 2000 and 2004.
-by Paul Blumenthal and Jason Cherkis
August 13, 2011– WASHINGTON — Texas Governor Rick Perry is set to officially jump into the Republican presidential primary race with unmatched backing from a collection of independent groups raising unlimited money from corporations and individuals to help get him the Republican nomination. The connections that these groups have to Perry's inner circle, however, are raising serious questions about their supposed independence and the appearance of collusion.
There are currently seven Super PACs — independent political committees that can accept unlimited contributions from individuals, corporations and unions — supporting Perry's bid. The most recently formed is Make Us Great Again, which is, perhaps, the most emblematic of the veil of independence worn by these candidate-centric committees.
New ID laws combat an imaginary crime wave.
-By Roger Bybee
August 12, 2011- Voter fraud is virtually nonexistent in America, but this imaginary crime still serves to justify a wave of onerous new voter registration laws—often requiring a state-issued photo ID—that Republican legislators have rapidly spread across the nation. The implications for the 2012 elections are huge.
“The overall idea is pretty obvious,” says Frances Fox Piven, author of three books outlining America’s unusually harsh and restrictive voting laws. “Both parties expect close elections in 2012, and if you peel off just a couple percentage points, you can determine the outcome.”
-By Nicholas Confessore and Jim Rutenberg
August 11, 2011- Gov. Rick Perry of Texas won’t officially announce his presidential campaign until Saturday. But his fund-raising team isn’t wasting any time.
An e-mail to his top donors sent on Thursday afternoon lays out an aggressive schedule of late-summer fund-raisers and urges Mr. Perry’s top bundlers — those who collect checks from friends and family members on his behalf — to send in their own contributions as soon as possible, with the goal of providing Mr. Perry seed money that he can use to jump-start his campaign.
-by Susan Crabtree
August 11, 2011- Two campaign-finance watchdogs want the Federal Election Commission and Department of Justice to crack down on the so-called phantom companies that are sprouting up apparently for the sole purpose of allowing anonymous million-dollar donations to the pro-Mitt Romney Restore Our Future Super PAC.
The Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 have filed complaints with the FEC and DOJ calling for an investigation into the activities of two companies that appear to have been used to funnel funds to a Super PAC created by former Romney campaign staffers. The complaints come on the heels of a another the two groups filed against the first phantom company, W Spann LLC, was discovered to have masked the true identity of a $1 million mystery donor to Restore Our Future.
-by Kenneth P. Vogel
August 9, 2011- If anyone had doubts about the role that anonymous and untraceable money will play in the 2012 campaign ad wars, a flurry of recent reports and voluntary disclosures should put them to rest.
The full extent of the anonymous giving is by definition impossible to know. But the recent disclosures as well as interviews with fundraising sources suggest that Republican-allied independent groups are outpacing Democratic ones in collecting undisclosed contributions to fund their political advertising, just as they did in 2010.
But, perhaps more significantly, they show that Democrats, who vociferously attacked that kind of fundraising last year, have set aside their qualms and are now active competitors in the anonymous donor arms race.
As Wisconsin progressives fight to recall Scott Walker's allies in the state senate, here are some of the conservative groups funding their right-wing agenda.
-By Sarah Jaffe
August 8, 2011- Today will see the recall elections of six Wisconsin state senators who supported Republican Governor Scott Walker's budget cuts, and specifically his attacks on the right of workers to bargain collectively.
The state has become a focal point for national politics, pitting Democrats—14 of whom fled the state in order to stall a vote on the union-busting bill—against Republicans, who with Tea Party support have been enacting Shock Doctrine-style slash and burn policies instead of delivering the promised jobs to the state's workers.