Why Democrats must break with Obama on Social Security cuts
The Nation - Opinion
There are a lot of complicated ways in which to describe the schemes being floated by President Obama and congressional Republicans to abandon the traditional Consumer Price Index in favor of the so-called “chained-CPI” scheme. But there is nothing complicated about the reality that changing the calculations on which cost-of-living increases for Social Security recipients are based has the potential to dramatically reduce the buying power of Americans who rely on this successful and stable federal program.
So the word for what is being proposed is “cut”—as in: President Obama and congressional Republicans are proposing to cut Social Security…
That’s the message coming from former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, whose group Progressives United has partnered with MoveOn.org and leading progressive groups to develop a “whip count” that names the names of Senate Democrats who are "Weak-Kneed," who are "Part-way there, or Wavering," and who are "Champions" committed to opposing any deal that cuts Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits. READ MORE
Money, transparency, and policy since Citizens United v. FEC
The Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission U.S. Supreme Court ruling changed modern politics. It made an unmistakeable effect on the ability for secretive and unaccountable groups and organizations to push their interests, as well as opened the floodgates for unlimited spending and helped spur the creation of super PACs. Check out below the milestones of the money and politics landscape since the Court's ruling in January 2010.
The timeline covers four categories: Courts (major court rulings and cases), Disclose (legislation around greater disclosure of political contributions and spending), Super PACs (trend and news for independent expenditure only committees) and FEC (decisions made by the Federal Election Commission). READ MORE
Soft cash changes hands between Crossroads GPS and the NRA
Center for Responsive Politics - Blog
While the National Rifle Association has been making headlines in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. last week, its nonprofit affiliate has been flying under the radar.
The NRA Institute for Legislative Action is a conservative 501(c)(4) group that is not required to disclose its donors, but the Center for Responsive Politics dug up a six-figure contribution from a similar tax-exempt group.
In its investigation into shadow money groups, the Center uncovered a $600,000 donation to the NRA's nonprofit from Crossroads GPS -- the 501(c)(4) associated with Karl Rove and his super PAC, American Crossroads. In the 2012 election cycle, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action spent $7.4 million on independent expenditures, bringing the overall total spent by NRA-affiliated groups to $17.6 million. READ MORE
Arizona dark money group gave lavishly to other groups
Talking Points Memo
The Center to Protect Patient Rights (CPPR), the secretive Arizona dark money group tied to the movement of millions of dollars between political nonprofits, gave almost $15 million in 2011 to a number of groups that spent heavily on political ads in 2012, according to IRS documents obtained by the Center for Responsive Politics.
The CPPR, run by former congressional aide Sean Noble, spent $23.2 million in 2011, with $14.8 million given in grants to 19 other nonprofits. Bloomberg has previously reported that the CPPR contributed $55.4 million to other nonprofit political groups in 2009 and 2010.
Among the recipients of the CPPR’s largesse in 2011 were the American Future Fund, Concerned Women for America, 60 Plus Association, Free Enterprise America, American Commitment, and the Coalition to Protect Patient Rights (not to be confused with the CPPR itself.) Each of these groups received over $1 million from the CPPR. READ MORE
The bribery aisle: How Wal-Mart got its way in Mexico
The New York Times
Wal-Mart longed to build in Elda Pineda’s alfalfa field. It was an ideal location, just off this town’s bustling main entrance and barely a mile from its ancient pyramids, which draw tourists from around the world. With its usual precision, Wal-Mart calculated it would attract 250 customers an hour if only it could put a store in Mrs. Pineda’s field.
One major obstacle stood in Wal-Mart’s way…
The plan was simple. The zoning map would not become law until it was published in a government newspaper. So Wal-Mart de Mexico arranged to bribe an official to change the map before it was sent to the newspaper, records and interviews show. Sure enough, when the map was published, the zoning for Mrs. Pineda’s field was redrawn to allow Wal-Mart’s store.
Problem solved.READ MORE