dark-money

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Read the report that Bernie Sanders mentions HERE.

While Big Money invades U.S. elections and stifles our democracy (thanks, Senate Republicans!), mainstream media remain silent.

From Reuters: 

This week the U.S. Senate considered a constitutional amendment that would have allowed Congress and state legislatures to limit the power of money in politics. The debate was not much covered in the media because the outcome was so predictable. But the party-line vote that killed it should not go unnoted.

A remarkable majority of the American public — 79 percent according to Gallup — want campaign finance reform. The right and left, the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, even Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly agree that, left unchecked, Big Money corrupts politics and undermines democracy.

When people say democracy depends heavily on reliable media reporting, this is exactly what they’re talking about. As Republicans block efforts for campaign finance reform, Americans aren’t being informed that it’s happening – a responsibility that lies with the press. 

This is completely unacceptable. The American media is failing us. 

Secretive donors gave US climate denial groups $125 million over three years

The secretive funders behind America’s conservative movement directed around $125 million over three years to groups spreading disinformation about climate science and committed to wrecking President Obama’s climate change plan, according to an analysis of tax records.

The amount is close to half of the anonymous funding disbursed to rightwing groups, underlining the importance of the climate issue to US conservatives.

Read the article

The conservative thinktanks are really the spearhead of the conservative assault on climate change,” said Riley Dunlap, a sociologist at the University of Oklahoma who studies environmental politics. “They write books, put out briefings and open editorials, bring in contrarian scientists … They are an immense megaphone that amplifies very, very minority voices.”

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Awesome good government groups such as Public Citizen, Demos, CAP and many many others have united to put the heat on Mary Jo White. As SEC Chair, she has the authority to demand publicly traded corporations to start disclosing dirty details about the hundreds of millions in ‘dark money’ political spending that is rotting our system.
Washington needs our help to get the SEC on the scene. If you’d like to call on Mary Jo White to save the day, check out https://secure.avaaz.org/en/where_is_mary_jo_white/ & participate with #WhereisMJW!

WHERE THE DARK MONEY GOES

Via the National Journal:

This election cycle has seen a surge in dark money—that is, undisclosed political donations—in congressional races. Of the total amount of dark money pumped into House and Senate contests since January 2013, all but 25.8 percent has gone to benefit 40 candidates. So far, most dark money has been spent to either support a Republican or oppose a Democrat; the largest share has gone toward opposing Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in her race to unseat Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky.

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Bill Moyers on Dark Money, the Attack on Voting Rights & How Racism Stills Drives Our Politics

Published on Jan 27, 2014

http://www.democracynow.org - Legendary broadcaster Bill Moyers joins us to discuss his latest investigation which explores how the influence of large, untraceable political donations known as “dark money” have become the greatest threat to democracy in the United States. In “State of Conflict: North Carolina,” Moyers and his team explore how wealthy right-wing donors are greatly influencing state politics. “This is more than North Carolina,” Moyers says. “It’s a harbinger of how organized money is the greatest threat to democracy because it unbalances of equilibrium. Democracy is suppose to check the excesses of private power and private greed and if money disestablishes that equilibrium we’re in trouble.” Moyers, the host of “Moyers & Company,” also talks about the long fight to secure voting rights. Fifty years ago, he was serving in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration at the time of the “Freedom Summer” campaign in 1964 and the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Moyers has won more than 30 Emmy Awards. He also was a founding organizer of the Peace Corps, served as press secretary for President Lyndon Johnson, and was a publisher of Newsday and senior correspondent for CBS News. 

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GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain says he was “falsely accused” of sexual harassment by two female National Restaurant Association employees in the 1990s. But that’s actually only the second-most-damaging Herman Cain scandal of the day: According to a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report, Cain’s campaign might have broken federal campaign and tax laws by allowing his chief-of-staff’s nonprofit to foot the bill for iPads, chartered flights, and trips to Vegas.

Coming soon to OpenSecrets.org: we’re adding information we’ve gathered on more than $70 million in new grants to politically active nonprofits and their affiliates. All of this information is linked up to FEC data for the exact periods covered by the IRS data.

What makes these updates so special?

Well, for one, we entered these 14,000+ records ourselves.
Also, this is the first time IRS data for dark money groups has been so closely matched to FEC spending by date.

This is a pretty big deal for anyone who cares about secret spending in U.S. elections and beyond.

Explore our Outside Spending section, learn more about how these “social welfare” groups operate so secretively, and get ready for this groundbreaking dark money data. 

One big thing Fox News is ignoring when they claim Democrats are outspending the GOP: dark money.

From the Brennan Center for Justice:

Overall, 80 percent of pro-Republican independent expenditures came from dark money groups, compared to 30 percent of outside spending favoring Democrats. In addition, unreported spending – where the heavyweights are conservative groups like Americans for Prosperity and Crossroads – leans Republican, meaning the 80 percent figure underestimates the true extent of the preference for secrecy among GOP supporters.

A rare look inside the Koch brothers political empire
by Matea Gold, The Washington Post

The labyrinthian design of the political network backed by the Koch brothers and their fellow conservative donors serves several purposes, but one of the biggest is to ensure the privacy of its financial backers. As we detailed last month, the money flows through a complex maze of tax-exempt groups and limited liability corporations, creating multiple barriers that shield the identities of the donors. Such anonymous contributions should be allowed, Charles Koch has argued, to protect people from the attacks that he and his brother David and their company have fielded. Critics say the Kochs and their allies seek to influence elections without accountability.

Now a document published by Mother Jones provides a rare glimpse inside the closely held network. The spreadsheet – apparently left behind by a guest who attended a recent Koch-sponsored donor seminar at a resort outside Palm Springs – lists the names of more than 40 top donors, along with the senior Koch officials they met with during the three-day conclave.

This is not the first time we’ve learned the names of some of the Koch network donors. But the document reveals the vast resources of the group’s backers, which includes top corporate executives, hedge fund billionaires and longtime Republican financiers. Several of those in attendance also have been top contributors to American Crossroads, the super PAC co-founded by Karl Rove.

Among the notable attendees identified were:

*Papa John pizza chain founder John Schnatter

*Kenneth Griffin, chief executive of Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel

*Debra Waller, chief executive of Jockey International

*Silicon Valley real estate investor Carl Berg

The spreadsheet shows the personal attention that the Kochs and their operatives lavish on donors. Charles Koch was scheduled to hold one-on-ones with at least nine contributors, including private equity investor John Childs and TRT Holdings co-founder Robert Rowling, who were set to have sessions with him at the “Koch residence.” Many donors also met with senior staff at Americans for Prosperity, the major political arm of the network, which is in the midst of a huge campaign against vulnerable congressional Democrats. Top officials with Freedom Partners, a new tax-exempt business league that funds AFP and the other nonprofit groups, also were set to be in some of the meetings.

“It has long been reported that AFP participates in the Seminar,” said AFP spokesman Levi Russell. “It’s a great assembly of organizations and individuals who support free-market solutions, and includes some of the greatest job creators in the country. AFP is proud to be a part of it.”

A spokesman for Koch Industries declined to comment, and officials at Freedom Partners did not immediately respond to a request for comment.