Talking Points Memo: Congressmen Propose The Mother Of All Voting Rights Protections

-By Hunter Walker

May 27, 2013- A pair of Democratic congressmen is pushing an amendment that would place an affirmative right to vote in the U.S. Constitution. According to Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), who is sponsoring the legislation along with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the amendment would protect voters from what he described as a “systematic” push to “restrict voting access” through voter ID laws, shorter early voting deadlines, and other measures that are being proposed in many states.

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Huffington Post: Prop C Wins: LA Voters Send Strong Message Against Supreme Court’s Citizens United Ruling

-By Anna Almendra

May 22, 2013- In a blow against the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, the second-largest city in the U.S. sent a strong, if symbolic, message against corporate personhood and unlimited corporate spending on political campaigns.

Los Angeles voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition C, a resolution that instructed local and state officials to promote the overturning of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. With 100 percent of precincts reporting by 3:16 a.m. Wednesday, Prop C had won 76.6 percent of the vote, according to the LA City Clerk's unofficial results.

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MSNBC: Obama launches panel to reduce long lines at polls

-By Zachary Roth

May 21, 2013- More than six months after declaring on election night that “we’ve got to fix” long lines at the polls that forced some voters to wait up to eight hours, President Obama has announced the members of his commission on election administration. The list includes a mix of business executives, public officials, and election administrators, but no dedicated voting-rights advocates.

Obama had previously revealed that Washington super-lawyers Bob Bauer and Ben Ginsberg, a Democrat and Republican respectively, would chair the panel. Tuesday, he named the following eight commissioners:

– Brian Britton, Member–Vice President, Global Park Operations and Planning at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

– Joe Echevarria, Member–Chief Executive Officer, Deloitte LLP

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Moyers & Company: Billionaires Unchained

-By Andy Kroll, TomDispatch

This piece first appeared at TomDispatch. Read Tom Engelhardt’s introduction.

May 16, 2013- Billionaires with an axe to grind, now is your time. Not since the days before a bumbling crew of would-be break-in artists set into motion the fabled Watergate scandal, leading to the first far-reaching restrictions on money in American politics, have you been so free to meddle. There is no limit to the amount of money you can give to elect your friends and allies to political office, to defeat those with whom you disagree, to shape or stunt or kill policy, and above all to influence the tone and content of political discussion in this country.

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Legislative Gazette: ‘Fair Elections’ Act passes Assembly

Public campaign finance bill touted as Senate hearing looks at abuses in the NYC system

-By TG Branfalt Jr

May 13, 2013- Dozens of protestors filled the hallway of the Capitol with chants of "let the people in" during a Senate hearing on public financing of elections after they were barred from entering the public hearing. The hearing examined the abuses within the New York City taxpayer funded system. Just hours before, the Assembly passed its "Fair Elections Act" (A.04980-c) 88-50, mostly across party lines.

The system proposed by the Assembly Democrats mirrors the New York City system that matches campaign donations with $6.00 of public money for every $1.00 raised by a candidate. If implemented the legislation would also create an independent oversight board to oversee the finance process.

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WISN (ABC Milwaukee): Appeals court upholds voter ID law

Law requires voters to show photo ID

May 30, 2013- MADISON, Wis. —A Wisconsin law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls is constitutional, a state appeals court ruled Thursday.

The 4th District Court of Appeals decision stems from a lawsuit the League of Women Voters filed challenging the mandate. The league argued the law violates the Wisconsin Constitution's explicit language on every person's right to vote. Dane County Circuit Judge Richard Niess sided with the league in March 2012, ruling the requirement would disenfranchise voters who lack the resources to obtain photo identification.

The appeals court reversed his decision, concluding the league failed to show the mandate amounts to an additional qualification to vote and failed to show the law is unconstitutional on its face.

"From the start, we have defended the constitutionality of Wisconsin's voter ID law," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said in a statement.

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Progressive Democrats of America: Politicking by corporate cowards

-By Jim Hightower

May 11, 2013- Hide & seek can be a fun game for kids, but when huge corporations play it in our elections, fun becomes infuriating.

Last year, corporate interests sought to elect their candidates by hiding from voters. In all, $352 million in "dark money" was spent, the bulk of it by corporations that secretly pumped it into trade associations, "social welfare charities," and other front groups run by the likes of Karl Rove, the US Chamber of Commerce, and the Koch brothers.

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The Nation: Our Elections Really Are Rigged—by Gerrymandering and Districting Abuses

-By John Nichols

May 8, 2013- Mark Sanford’s comeback bid was never so audacious as America’s political gossip columnists would have us believe.

Yes, the conservative Republican once boomed as a presidential prospect, before drawing national headlines in 2009 when it turned out that he had not gone missing on the Appalachian Trail but had instead snuck off to visit a woman friend in Buenos Aires. Yes, revelations about the affair led to his resignation as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, to his being censured by the South Carolina General Assembly after a State Ethics Commission investigation into allegations that he had misused state travel funds and to his divorce from a popular South Carolina politico.

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Huffington Post: Campaign Contribution Limits Broken Repeatedly In 2012 Election With No FEC Oversight

-By Paul Blumenthal

May 3, 2013- WASHINGTON — In October 2011, John Canning, chairman of the Chicago-based hedge fund Madison Dearborn Partners, expressed his displeasure with President Barack Obama to the Chicago Tribune. "It's the populist economic policies of wealth redistribution and government control of all aspects of everyday life that I object to," he said.

Canning put his money where his mouth was, hosting a fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney that fall. And Romney wasn't the only benefactor of his largess. Over the course of the 2012 election cycle, Canning gave to as many federal candidates, political action committees (PACs) and party committees as he seemingly could find — some 38 individuals and groups, all but two of them Republican — ultimately distributing $276,000 in contributions.

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PR Watch: Kochs Form “Business League,” Will Keep Political Spending In the Shadows

-by Brendan Fischer

May 2, 2013- The right-wing network funded by the billionaire industrialist Koch brothers is being revamped after the 2012 elections, starting with a new nonprofit called the "Association for American Innovation" that will act as a hub for funnelling undisclosed spending towards the Kochs' political projects. With ambiguous IRS rules and a deadlocked Congress, they might get away with it.

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