Boston — IT’S only May, but this presidential election is on track to be one of the most expensive ever. So far two-thirds of election dollars have largely come from anonymous corporate donations, funneled through what have been referred to as “dark money” nonprofit groups that freely engage in electoral and legislative politics, but don’t have to disclose their donors, expenditures or even their members.One of the most promising strategies to stem the tide of corporate dark money is a proposed rule at the Securities and Exchange Commission that would require public companies to report the amounts and recipients of their political spending. The rule has received a groundswell of support from a bipartisan group of former S.E.C. commissioners, state treasurers and law professors, and has generated more than one million public comments.
Timothy Egan on the Koch brothers: ” At some point, you would think that average Americans would be appalled by a few rich guys trying to buy the next presidential election. And — hope alert! — you did see a great pushback against the Koches in red-state Montana this month. There, Koch-funded surrogates tried to keep poor people from getting health care, through the Medicaid expansion option of Obamacare. Koch agents were booed at one hearing. And they were shamed at another, for the stark cruelty of two people worth a combined $80 billion dollars trying to deny a basic human decency to people who earn $11,000 a year. Health care is on the way in Montana.”
From Comments at NYT, on Tom Friedman’s piece below:
New York, NY Yesterday
What a surprise. Big money allowed to run amok in politics leads to undue influence, to a dialogue controlled by, and policy unduly influenced by the few. Is there any doubt Adelson and his ilk coordinated the “Bibi in Congress” show, or this treasonous letter to Iran? Citizens United will be the undoing of this nation.
Shame – SHAME – on you, Scalia, Alito, Thomas, Roberts and Kennedy. May your days be short, and may you be forever remembered as the self-centered tools of the moneyed and powerful who destroyed the American dream.
Mining for Influence in Montana, by Brian Schweitzer, NYT
“All this is in jeopardy, though, thanks to the Supreme Court and its infamous Citizens United ruling. In February the court notified the office of Montana’s commissioner of political practices, which oversees state campaigns, that until further notice, we may no longer enforce our anti-corruption statute, specifically our restriction on corporate money.
The court, which will make a formal ruling on the law soon, cited in the 2010 Citizens United case that corporations are people, too, and told us that our 110-year effort to prevent corruption in Montana had likely been unconstitutional. Who knew?”