-By Ramit Plushnick-Masti and Pete Yost (AP)
July 10, 2012- HOUSTON — Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday he opposes a new photo ID requirement in Texas elections because it would be harmful to minority voters.
In remarks to the NAACP in Houston, the attorney general said the Justice Department "will not allow political pretexts to disenfranchise American citizens of their most precious right."
Under the law passed in Texas, Holder said that "many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them – and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them."
"We call those poll taxes," Holder added spontaneously, drawing applause as he moved away from the original text of his speech with a reference to a fee used in some Southern states after slavery's abolition to disenfranchise black people.
The 24th amendment to the constitution made that type of tax illegal.
-By Melanie Eversley
July 9, 2012- Texas' controversial voter ID law goes on trial in Washington starting today, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and other news organizations.
The trial before a panel of judges starts this morning in U.S. District Court in downtown Washington. In the lawsuit Texas v. Attorney General Eric Holder, the state asks the court to approve its law requiring that voters produce a government-issued photo card, and also asks the court to strike down a section of the Voting Rights Act that requires states with a history of voter discrimination to get approval for new voter plans. Student IDs are not accepted under the Texas law.
DemocracyNow.org – We spend the hour looking at the bloody struggle to obtain — and protect — voting rights in the U.S. with the civil rights icon, now 13-term Georgia Congressmember, John Lewis. During the 1960s, Rep. Lewis was arrested more than 40 times and beaten almost to death as he served as chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, marched side-by-side with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., helped organize the Freedom Rides, campaigned for Robert Kennedy's presidential bid, and spoke at the 1963 March on Washington. He has just written a new memoir looking back on his more than fifty years of political involvement, "Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change."
It's no coincidence he's the first governor to survive recall – after the supreme court took the cap off corporate campaign finance
-By Amy Goodman
June 7, 2012- The failed effort to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is widely seen as a crisis for the labor movement, and a pivotal moment in the 2012 US presidential election season. Walker launched a controversial effort to roll back the power of Wisconsin's public employee unions, and the unions pushed back, aided by strong, grassroots solidarity from many sectors. This week, the unions lost.
-By Dina Rasor
July 5, 2012- We interact with nonprofit organizations every day – little league, Girl Scouts, churches, League of Woman Voters, the PTA, the Rotary Club, volunteer firefighter organizations and veterans' service organizations. The US tax law set up two main types of nonprofit organizations to help the general society. The IRS describes them this way:
501(c)3 non profit organization – Religious, Educational, Charitable, Scientific, Literary, Testing for Public Safety, to Foster National or International Amateur Sports Competition, or Prevention of Cruelty to Children or Animals Organizations.
501(c)4 non profit organization – Civic Leagues, Social Welfare Organizations and Local Associations of Employees
C3 organizations do not have to pay tax on their income, and donors can take a charitable tax deduction. C3 organizations are not allowed to be involved in political campaigns, but can do limited lobbying for legislation that involves their mission.
-By Steven Jonas
July 5, 2012- Ah yes, now the Grand Old Tea Party is screaming about "politics" and the Supreme Court. How could Chief Justice Roberts betray them on the "man from Kenya's" health care reform act? He was just playing politics and that was a terrible thing. Oh really? So you think that the functions of the US Supreme Court really follow the prescripts of Article III, Section 2 of the US Constitution, or should:
-By Jason Leopold
July 5, 2012- Will the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) launch an investigation into the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the corporate-backed "nonpartisan" "stealth business lobbyist" group that has been accused of flouting civil and criminal tax laws?
That's the obvious question to ask after a prominent Washington, DC-based tax attorney, acting at the behest of one of his clients, sent the IRS a 30-page complaint two weeks ago, following a months-long exhaustive study of ALEC's tax filings, expenditures and public reports about its political activities. The study contained dozens of new examples of how ALEC, whose board is made up entirely of Republican lawmakers, has violated its tax-exempt status.
-By Anna Almendrala
July 5, 2012- One of the largest states in the nation took an official stand Thursday against the Supreme Court's 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which ruled that government restriction of corporation or union spending on political campaigns violated the First Amendment right to free speech.
California joins Hawaii, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maryland and New Mexico in calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court ruling.
State assembly members Bob Wieckowski (D-Calif.) and Michael Allen (D-Calif.) introduced the campaign finance reform bill in January, calling for the federal government to send a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United to all the states for ratification. The measure also would serve as an official symbol of California's disagreement with the ruling.
-By Jeff Spross
July 3, 2012- Michigan Governor Rick Snyder (R) bucked his fellow Republicans on Tuesday by vetoing a voter ID law crafted by GOP members of the state legislature, the Detroit Free Press reports:
Among the bills vetoed was one requiring photo ID for first voter registration or to obtain an absentee ballot, a requirement that African-American activists claimed was an attempt to deter voting by the urban poor.
Snyder said in a statement that “he appreciates the issue of ensuring voters are eligible and U.S. citizens, however this legislation could create voter confusion among absentee voters.”
Laws requiring residents to present state-issued photo IDs tend to disproportionately effect low-income American citizens — who also tend to vote Democratic — because they often lack the resources and the time to acquire the proper documentation.