September 18, 2010: In today's weekly address, Presdident Obama spoke about the Citizens United decision, and the gaping loophole it has opened in campaign finance laws. He warned that 'shadow groups' were running deceptive attack ads through front organizations, with no requirement to disclose the source of their finances. Mr. Obama described the flood of right-wing special interest money in the current election cycle as a "power grab" by the Republicans.
Time Magazine- September 16, 2010: In recent days, Ohio voters have probably seen a TV spot ripping Democratic "stimulus and debt" policies, courtesy of a group calling itself Crossroads GPS. They may also have caught an ad by an outfit called the American Action Network praising Republican Congressmen Pat Tiberi and Dave Reichert for "standing up for fiscal responsibility." Meanwhile, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, a Democrat, is under attack from the Republican Governors Association (RGA) for being a "bad governor," while the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been touting the "pro-business" record of GOP Senate candidate Rob Portman. All of these groups are based in D.C., not Ohio. And only one of them, the RGA, is required to disclose its donors — and only a few times a year. Which makes Ohio look less like a boxing ring for the candidates than a chessboard for invisible well-funded operatives hundreds of miles away. Ohio is hardly unique. From Washington to Florida this election season, candidates risk being drowned out by a flood of advertising from a robust new network of little-known conservative political outfits. "Shadow Republican groups formed by longtime party officials and party operatives are raising and spending hundreds of millions of dollars in this election," says Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21, a nonpartisan campaign-finance-reform group, "most of which is going to come in the form of secret undisclosed contributions."
-By Jeff Reichert.
September 3, 2010- The issue of prison-based gerrymandering has gotten a lot of ink lately around the country, so to better explain it for a wider audience, I thought I'd open up this space to one of my favorite people I met during the making of Gerrymandering: Peter Wagner of the Prison Policy Initiative. Peter's been almost single-handedly beating the drum on this issue for a few years now, and has scored a number of significant legislative successes thus far in his fight. I won't be surprised if we look back a few years from now and find that he's fixed this problem in every state across the country. He's proof positive that individuals can still create major change in a dysfunctional political climate.