Archive for ‘Money in politics’

May 28, 2010

Am I supposed to be concerned about this?

by thoughtfulconservative

70 fat cats gave 13% of campaign contributions.

Wisconsin Democracy Campaign has its panties in a knot over 13% of campaign contributions.

Big deal.

I’m sorry but I just can’t get excited over the fact that 13% of the money was given by 1/2 % of the people.

Because, after all, we’re only talking about 13%.

If we get to 40 or 50 per cent, check back.

February 7, 2009

Saturday Snippets

by thoughtfulconservative

For your reading pleasure while I go to Mayfair Mall.

Boxer Urges Quick Handover of U.S. Power to UN

The UNCRC imposes on all treaty signatories power over laws concerning children and, by extension, families. The largest portion of laws concerning children and families in the U.S. are state statutes so this treaty would, in actual fact, eliminate all family laws in the various states and hand the power over this area of law to the U.N. as per the Supremacy Clause to the U.S. Constitution (Article V1) that states that treaties preempt state laws.

Boxer is eager to destroy the entire lot of family laws throughout the country supposedly to protect “the most vulnerable people of society.”

Maybe. Maybe not. Every so often we read something like this where some politician is going to give up US sovereignty for some UN mandate.

I’m still waiting. Watchful, but waiting.

A God-shaped hole? via THE Right Side of Wisconsin

The Man the Left Wants Hanged for Tax Cheating by Warner Todd_Huston

Tax troubles were all the rage for certain folks recently. ABC News screamed in a headline about one fellow that was, “America’s Overnight Sensation… Owes $1,200 in Taxes.” Huffintgon Post was all up in arms over the same story. The San Francisco Chronicle was tsking the fellow for being “concerned about increased taxes – but hasn’t paid his own income taxes.” The Chicago Tribune chided this figure for being “delinquent on his taxes.” It was a crime, they all said. An outrage. This is not to even mention the unhinged, screaming mimis of the left blogosphere that dug in like pitbulls to excoriate this notorious tax cheat.

No, you know how this works. You have to read the whole thing to find out who.

Gmail Labs: Ten Gmail Labs Features You Should Enable. Yes, I still use Gmail, with caution.

Gmail has been slowly but surely rolling out cool new features ever since they started Gmail Labs. If you haven’t taken advantage of the fruits of Labs, here’s a look at 10 Labs features you should enable.

25 Random Tips for the Busy Facebook User. Been hit with one of those lists requests, yet? You will be.

A Times analysis of 2.5 million lists (okay, maybe more like six or seven) yielded the following formula for the perfect list, which we offer in the interest of – well, which we offer, anyway, in case someone wants to read it.

Hot Air reports, Scandal for Steele? Do Republicans have scandal (again)?

Federal investigators have begun looking into claims that Steele diverted campaign funds from his 2006 Senatorial run in Maryland to family members, but the Post has found at least some support for Steele as well.

Palin’s Explanation Brings Out the Crazies via Lakeshore Laments. She always seems to. Amanda Carpenter has a take also.


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October 20, 2008

The money game

by thoughtfulconservative

Snippets of an article on Yahoo! News.

McCain spent $37 million in September, leaving him $47 million for October. His monthly financial report filed with the Federal Election Commission shows he spent nearly two-thirds of his money, $22.5 million, on advertising as he tried to keep up with Obama’s ad blitz in battleground states.

But Obama, who reported raising $150 million in September, retains the upper hand.

Obama also is buying a half hour of air time on Oct. 29 on NBC, CBS and Fox — an expensive commitment of time — to address the nation in prime time five days before Election Day, Nov. 4.

McCain is no longer buying time on national networks or national cable.

Although money isn’t everything, comparing the amounts gives a clear advantage to Obama.

April 2, 2008

Campaign finance

by thoughtfulconservative

In the aftermath of the Wisconsin Supreme Court race, a loud cry is once again being raised to reform the process especially for judgeship races, like theSupreme Court.

I was going to write about it, but Lance Burri already did and his thoughts pretty much mirror mine, to wit,

So we’re all pretty sick of this Supreme Court election. Am I right?Sick of the negative ads. The gutter politics. The mutually assured destruction of reputation and trust.

Me, too. And I’m worried about the effect this all may have on our courts: if the Court simply becomes one more partisan football…

I may be worried unnecessarily. Six months from now, the vast majority of us will have forgotten all about it. In fact, considering today’s expected turnout, most of us may never have known.

His solution? Not what you might have read or heard elsewhere.

I’ll tell you what I’d prefer: no limits on candidate spending. No limits on the money they can raise. It’s more democratic, because it narrows the advantages rich candidates have over the rest of us.

And then enforce strict reporting requirements. You get to spend it, but we get to know where you got it.

It might not work. Or it might. One way to find out.

It won’t entirely settle the “appearance of impropriety” problem, of course, but at least it won’t run afoul of the First Amendment.

It won’t end the nastiness, either. Politics and elections will still be bare-knuckle and bloody – the more important the election, the more that will be true.

But then, none of the other “solutions” people are offering will change that, either.

Read the whole thing.

April 2, 2008

Lobbyists and term limits

by thoughtfulconservative

Jim Burkee, a Republican candidate for Wisconsin’s fifth congressional district, writes at his MequonNOW blog, Responsibility Now, and raises some questions that need consideration,

Thus was born the K Street Project – Tom DeLay’s decade-long effort make Republicans the primary beneficiaries of lobbyist cash (Washington’s K Street is home to many of its most powerful lobbyists). In one notorious example, first reported in Washington Monthly, Tom DeLay and Haley Barbour (Chairman of the Republican National Committee) met with the CEOs of several large American corporations. DeLay made clear to the executives – mostly Republicans – that “they were expected to purge their Washington offices of Democrats and replace them with Republicans.” The offended executives promptly walked out. But Tom DeLay’s project was ultimately successful.It also killed the Republican Revolution.

In 2001, when George W. Bush cemented Republican control of Washington, there were just over 17,000 registered lobbyists in Washington. By 2007, when Republicans lost the House and Senate, there were 37,000. Since 1998, according to the Center for Public Integrity, lobbyists spent $13 billion to influence members of Congress. Lobbyist influence extended even further: Half of all retiring Members of Congress now go into lobbying, where they often collect large six and seven-figure salaries.

I can understand where Mr. Burkee is coming from. When we hear how much lobbies give to our politicians and how that money seems to influence their decisions, it’s easy to get frustrated.

But are more regulations on campaign finances required? Are term limits required? With the high cost of campaigning, aren’t we headed toward a government by elite rich people because only they can run for office?

And remember, not all lobbyists are “evil.” God help me, I’m quoting Hillary Clinton here,

“A lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not, represent real Americans,” the New York senator said in defense of her decision to accept campaign contributions from lobbyists. “They represent nurses, they represent social workers, yes, they represent corporations that employ a lot of people.”

Do we punish all because some are evil?

That seems to be Mr. Burkee’s cure.

I’m just not sure it’s the right one.

January 11, 2008

Campaign finance reform?

by thoughtfulconservative

Owen’s had a couple of pieces lately on campaign finance reform (this one will probably be in the Waukesha Freeman this Friday). James Wigderson had one recently also.

Owen’s first piece and James’s piece was followed by a guest editorial by Jack Lohman, who claims to be a Republican, even though he believes in public financing of elections and universal health care, although he does seem to be a mixed bag in his positions. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Now this may surprise folks but the ACLU was against public financing, at least, against McCain-Feingold. Their point of opposition? First Amendment concerns. The Cato Institute has the same concerns.

This just happens to be the biggest concern with most conservatives. Why should I have to pay for someone else’s campaign? And why don’t I have the right to give as much as I want to the person whose belief’s most match mine?

James makes this point about full financing,

It will be fun to watch the state Legislature decide what is “full” funding of a political race. How many television commercials will each candidate be able to run? How many radio ads? How many mail pieces will they be able to send? Can they hire a campaign consultant, or will the court appoint someone?

We just had a congressional race in Waukesha with a candidate who paid himself a salary from his campaign fund. Will that be allowed in a fully funded state Supreme Court race?

And is the public ready for the costs? Look at what elections cost today? McCain-Feingold is largely ignored in the current presidential election because there’s no way you can run an election today on the money that McCain-Feingold limits you to.

The other thing that bothers those who are against public financing of campaigns is that the candidates have no incentive for making their case to the people other than gathering a few signatures and collecting a little money.

The example of this? John McCain. John McCain has made an impressive comeback. Do you remember where he was a couple of months ago? He had opted out of McCain-Feingold, but was running out of money, so he opted back in. Now at the end of this article, we see that he will opt out again.

The once-cash-strapped campaign of McCain is raising money at a faster clip, campaign manager Rick Davis told reporters. So far, the campaign has raised about $1 million and aides expect the victory in New Hampshire to increase the pace of fundraising.

McCain now is unlikely to accept federal matching funds, one adviser said, a decision that would severely hamper him through spring and summer if he were to become the party’s nominee.

Opting out of his own bill. Interesting.

Bill Richardson on Neil Cavuto today started to whine that he couldn’t get the financing his opponents did. And why is that? His message didn’t resonate.

Another reason? Loopholes. What else is there to say?

My conclusion? Better full disclosure than the alternatives. Fully disclose who gets money and who they get it from. Fully disclose who else spends money on the campaign.