Salon: Feingold: “Even worse than we expected”

Russ Feingold tells Salon the post-Citizens United world is "even more shameless" than he imagined

-By Alex Seitz-Wald

September 22, 2012- Former Sen. Russ Feingold is one of the country’s most outspoken voices on campaign finance reform, spearheading several major pieces of legislation to clean up money in politics during his time in Washington. He continues that work today with the group he founded, ProgressivesUnited. As we get close to Election Day and have seen the impact of the Citizens United decision on the first presidential campaign since the Supreme Court handed down the ruling, Feingold spoke with Salon about how campaign finance has changed for the worse and what can be done to fix the system. This conversation has been lightly edited for brevity.

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RAW Story: Maddow: Tea party groups trying to steal election via voter purges

-By David Ferguson

September 21, 2012- On Thursday night’s edition of “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow discussed the fact that the supposed scandal of thousands of people casting votes under the names of dead people on voting day is a “phantom problem,” and alleged that it’s only urgent in the minds of people who want fewer people to vote.

In North Carolina, for example, where former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) and President Barack Obama are tied, 46 percent to 46 percent, according to recent polls, Maddow said that a “self-appointed, supposedly non-partisan tea party outfit” called the Voter Integrity Project has announced that 30,000 voters should be stripped from the polls.

The group presented the list of names to the North Carolina Board of Elections of Friday, insisting that the 30,000 individuals listed as current North Carolina voters are actually deceased, but are still registered to vote. Voter Integrity Project director Jay DeLancy believes that someone else could vote in the dead voter’s stead, raising the specter of voter fraud.

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New York Review of Books: Voting Wrongs

-By Elizabeth Drew

September 21, 2012- The Republicans’ plan is that if they can’t buy the 2012 election they will steal it.

The plan, long in the making and now well into its execution, is to raise great gobs of money—in newly limitless amounts—so that they and their allies could outspend the president’s forces; and they would also place obstacles in the way of large swaths of citizens who traditionally support the Democrats and want to exercise their right to vote. The plan would disproportionately affect blacks, who were guaranteed the right to vote in 1870 by the Fifteenth Amendment; but then that right was negated by southern state legislatures; and after people marched, were beaten, and died in the civil rights movement, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Now various state legislatures are coming up with new ways to try once again to nullify that right.

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Lawsonry: Republican Staffers Charged With 36 Counts of Election Fraud

The party of voter ID laws may need to clean up their own house first when it comes to election fraud.

-By Augusta Christensen

September 20, 2012- It turns out that the Republican Party’s obsession with voter fraud may be yet another case of projection. Four former staffers for resigned House Rep. Thaddeus McCotter have been charged with 36 counts of misdemeanor and felony election fraud. Yesterday one of those staffers, Lorianne O’Brady, pled not guilty to five misdemeanor counts of submitting fraudulent signatures on a ballot petition. O’Brady is the last of the four staffers to be arraigned; the other three, Don Yowchuang, Mary Melissa Turnbull, and Paul Seewald, were arraigned on similar charges on August 10th.

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National Journal: Pelosi: If Dems Win the House, I’ll Pass Jobs Bill, DISCLOSE Act

-By Erin Mershon

September 20, 2012- In the off chance that Democrats take back the House in November, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has dreamed up quite a busy first day for her return to the Speaker's podium.

After laying out the Democrats' path back to the House Thursday, Pelosi ticked off a bold list of the achievements she most wants to see on day one – including perhaps, a constitutional amendment.

First and foremost was a jobs bill, based largely on President Obama's, she said. Second on the list was passing the DISCLOSE Act, a bill introduced in 2010 that would effectively overturn the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision.

If the bill isn't enough to get the job done, she won't stop there.

We would "amend the constitution to overturn Citizens United, reform the whole money in politics to take it to public financing of campaigns, and elect — and I don't care if they're Democrats or Republicans — elect reformers to save our democracy. Keeping it the government of the many not the government of the money."

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NY Times: Obama’s Lead Looks Stronger in Polls That Include Cellphones

-By Nate Silver

September 19, 2012- As I observed on Tuesday, and as The New Republic’s Nate Cohn also found, Barack Obama seems to have received a much clearer bounce in some types of polls than others.

Although there are exceptions on either side, like the Gallup national tracking poll, for the most part Mr. Obama seems to be getting stronger results in polls that use live interviewers and that include cellphones in their samples — enough to suggest that he has a clear advantage in the race.

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LA Times: Appeals court overturns political donor disclosure ruling

A U.S. Court of Appeals panel reverses a decision requiring groups that run election-related TV ads to reveal their donors. Conservative groups spending heavily in the 2012 campaign cheer the move.

-By Matea Gold

September 18, 2012- Conservative groups pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the 2012 campaign won a reprieve Tuesday when the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington overturned a decision requiring organizations that run election-related television ads to reveal their donors.

In an unsigned decision, a three-judge panel said a lower court erred in finding that Congress intended to require such disclosure. It sent a case brought by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) against the Federal Election Commission back to the district court and called on the FEC to defend its regulations or issue new ones.

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Huffington Post: Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Sent Back By State Supreme Court To Lower Court For Reconsideration

September 18, 2012- In a potentially significant victory for Democrats, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court vacated a lower court's decision to uphold the states's restrictive new voter ID law on Tuesday, and asked the judge to consider enjoining it instead.

The law, passed by a Republican legislature and governor, requires voters to have specific, state-issued photo ID — a move that opponents say could disenfranchise tens of thousands of people, most of them minorities, students and the elderly.

"We are not satisfied with a mere predictive judgment based primarily on the assurances of government officials," the court wrote of arguments that voters would not be disenfranchised by the law.

The court ruled 4-2, with two dissenting justices saying it should have blocked the law outright. One justice accused the court of "punting" and said she would have "no part in it."

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NY Times: Looking, Very Closely, for Voter Fraud

Conservative Groups Focus on Registration in Swing States

-By Sthepanie Saul

September 16, 2012- It might as well be Harry Potter’s invisible Knight Bus, because no one can prove it exists.

The bus has been repeatedly cited by True the Vote, a national group focused on voter fraud. Catherine Engelbrecht, the group’s leader, told a gathering in July about buses carrying dozens of voters showing up at polling places during the recent Wisconsin recall election.

“Magically, all of them needed to register and vote at the same time,” Ms. Engelbrecht said. “Do you think maybe they registered falsely under false pretenses? Probably so.”

Weeks later, another True the Vote representative told a meeting of conservative women about a bus seen at a San Diego polling place in 2010 offloading people “who did not appear to be from this country.”

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