The Pardu

The Pardu
Watchful eyes and ears feed the brain, thus nourishing the brain cells.
Showing posts with label Dark Money. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dark Money. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Dark Money And The Buying Of America

Dark Money  

In the politics of the United States, dark money is a term for funds given to nonprofit organizations—primarily 501(c)(4) (social welfare) and 501(c)(6) (trade association) groups—that can receive unlimited donations from corporations, individuals, and unions, and spend funds to influence elections, but are not required to disclose their donors.[1][2]
Non WIKI 501(c)(4) definition 

For clarity, the vast majority of dark money entities are hidden under a the cloak of the 501(c)(4) organizations. The very organizations the IRS placed under close scrutiny int he lead up to the 2012 General Elections.  Regardless of legal strategy from the Right the IRS scrutiny was good for the nation, even with consideration of the scrutiny only slowing the proliferation of such dark money organizations.

A few of these groups are Koch brothers money machines

The Right will quickly throw-out arguments than Unions contribute far more to political campaigns than the Koch brothers. Well, the comparison is a component of an argument much like a desert mirage. 

‘Dark Money’ Debate: Two Views on Whether the Term is Fair Game

As the rules around campaign finance have changed, so has our vocabulary. Yet while the term “dark money” has gone mainstream – referring to dollars flowing in from nonprofit groups that are not required to disclose their donors – there is disagreement over whether the phrase is too loaded to be used by journalists. Organizations branded with the label claim that it unfairly suggests sinister intentions. Groups advocating for more disclosure in campaign finance, however, insist it is appropriate shorthand.

This week, reporter Robert Faturechi speaks with leaders from both sides of the debate. First up: Brad Smith, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), who remains a powerful voice in calling for less federal regulation of money in politics. He’s followed by Larry Noble, formerly the top lawyer for the FEC and now with the Campaign Legal Center, which supports strong enforcement of campaign finance laws. Both sides make a case for the merits or drawbacks of the phrase “dark money” and take their best shot at recommending alternatives they’d like to see.

Photo: Men walk outside the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. (Jeff Hutchens/Getty)

Highlights from their conversations:
  • Smith says reporters should avoid using the language because “it’s not intended to be a neutral term; it’s intended to create an atmosphere of alarm in the listener that makes it harder for the listener to evaluate objectively what’s going on.” (8:45)
  • A zero-tolerance policy against any political spending without public disclosure can come with high costs, says Smith, including the loss of privacy, harassment for voicing one’s political views, and a chilling effect on the advancement of new ideas. (12:10)
  • Noble says “dark money” is fair, as it represents “the opposite of sunlight.” In several Supreme Court cases on campaign spending, including Citizens United, justices have emphasized the importance of disclosure and transparency. (20:32)
  • Disclosure matters for voters, says Noble, because “you can often tell more about a candidate…by who’s supporting them than you can by what they say.” He argues that only with disclosure can the public know to whom candidates are beholden. (23:56)
    Listen to this podcast on iTunesSoundCloud or Stitcher. For more on Faturechi’s reporting on campaign finance, read his latest, Could Scott Walker’s Legal Victory Expand PAC Superpowers?
    End Propublica

    Note the impact of Dark Money after the Citizen's Untied ruling from the Roberts Court.


    Monday, February 2, 2015

    Kochism And Support From Indifferent American Progressivism

    The Koch brothers have indicated a willingness to spend $900 million to buy the 2016 elections. A prospect as dangerous for America as Climate Change. And, US progressives as as responsible for the greedy oligarchs as any conservative voter. With the 34.6% of voters who partook in the 2014 midterm elections, Koch money was as good as GOP support for corporate America.  It was as good as it gets (dark money buying votes). 

    If we consider that axiom, "success begets success" or "nothing succeeds like success" Koch effusive intention for 2016 should surprise no one. Actually, it should horrify anyone in the nation with the exception of the GOP/RNC, Fox News and the SCOTUS. 

    You might ask why, "horrify?"

    Applying steadfast scrutiny of the "Wichita Oligarchs," their intent is as clear as GOP obstruction. They desire a federal government with supportive state legislatures that has no oversight and enforcement power over big oil and gas and no authority over corporate America et al. Bernie Sanders (I) Vermont offers a level of scrutiny and caution unequaled in the US congress.
    Sanders delineates a Koch poli/social reality hasn't budged one iota from far-Right solipsistic authoritarianism and corporate anarchy since the 1980s:  "Kochism."

    GOP policy will mirror modern day Kochism as long as the money flows and as long as there is a need to win an election. If you need an example and if you did not visit the Bernie Sanders link above, consider this:

    1980 Libertarian Party platform item:
    “We support repeal of all law which impede the ability of any person to find employment, such as minimum wage laws.”

    Paul Ryan: Lowering Minimum Wage to $0 an Hour Will Get 0% Unemployment

    The chief GOP House economic policy stooge echoes Kochism like Jay-Z or Katy Perry yelping among the caverns of Mount Everest. 

    Anyone scrutiny of the Kochs and their elected congressional operatives should be accomplished with understanding, the oligarchs are the catalyst of GOP obstruction. Once, you accept the oligarchs are the guiding force behind all things anti-Obama (in addition to the more common US social dynamics: bias, bigotry and racism), you must assume Obama Administration accomplishments since 2009 have induced Koch and GOP tsunami like butt-puckers.

    The following Twitter posts offer irrefutable evidence of the Koch fallacy and associated ignominious GOP subservience. 
    Now how about a list of polling data that despite the small survey sampling indicates support for issues as foreign to the GOP as working with the Obama Administration.

    Embedded image permalink

    Detailed results of pre-#SOTU poll at Bold ideas are POPULAR! #UniteBlue #p2 #BigIdeasProject
    Before you leave the piece, consider viewing an MSNBC segment that lays Paul Ryan's and the GOP's economic policy to bear as ridiculous, based in lies and deflection and as misguided as Ronald Reagan's economic advisers decades ago.  The segment is eleven minutes in run time, but it is as germane to understanding and recognizing the dangers and ludicrous nature of Kochism.


    Sunday, January 26, 2014

    Plutocracy Is A Nation Killer. American Plutocracy: The Kochs and Other Conservative Uber Wealthy (and your vote)

    Do remember the revelations of IRS scrutiny of applications of Tax exempt status for alleged 501 (c)(4) organization?  Do you recall the conservative SCOTUS Citizen's United Decision? How about recognition the decision would (and has)  inseminate hundreds of organization seeking status for purpose of funneling money to political campaigns, political parties, and socio/political causes? Since, we are on a roll, could we convince you that many conservative (behind the scenes) political organizations adopt names that denote some sort of false nationalism and serve as easily recognizable as 'dog whistle' draws for those on the Right.  They can simply read the 501 (c) (4) title and know it is there to fit their mindset and socio/political views. 

    If all of the previous worked for you, it shouldn't have come as a surprise the Cincinnati IRS office charged with 501 (c) authority would seek to investigate false or misleading organization claims of "non-political." Of course, you know eventual investigations yielded data Left leaning organization received similar scrutiny. It is important to know, not one organization submitted an application was denied 501 (c) (4) non-profit status

    If you follow American politics via any sources other than Fox News or the Wall Street Journal you know of Charles and David Koch. You know the brothers have DNA genesis in a father who help build the John Birch Society, and you may also know three Koch brothers shared inheritance in the billions. 

    Billions in inheritance, a solid foundation as American Industrialist, non-profit status shadow groups, social and political beliefs solidly Libertarian, and an obvious deep-rooted desire to shape American society as Koch-Top 1% feudalism. If you are reading this piece, rest assured a Koch society will not include the good life for you and me. Regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or the degree to, one can affix to the nation's Top 20% (ers), society rooted in libertarianism with the Koch's as pseudo kings, is a society doomed to eventual erosion. And, if you are purchasing Koch Industry products, you are funding our de-evolution to regressive libertarian plutocracy.

    The Tea Party is the child of Koch(ism). Polling results indicate a clear diminution of the Koch movement. We assume you now understand where the tea party movement has taken the nation.

    The People's Press Dot Org


    Study Confirms Tea Party Was Created by Big Tobacco and Pollutocrat Kochs

    If Pew Research is accurate the Koch Tea Party has waned in approval. We can assume the movement has taken "hits" due to growing perception the tea party is not about governance, it is about reshaping the nation with a focus on 'regressivism.' Moreover, the tea party is funded by the Kochs and other far-right wealthy plutocrats.  We can only hope that funding is only in the form of support for political campaigns. CNN recently ran a segment that has us wondering about political contributions and how members of Congress are becoming increasing more wealthy. 

    The only weapons we have against what you are about to read and that you have just is the vote.

    See more after the Break


    Thursday, December 12, 2013

    RepresentUS: For High Information People Only (Video)

    Re-blog from RepresentUS.....

    As we move towards awakening to the horrors of US politics ruled by money, RepresentUS is moving towards educating those who want to be be educated.  There are millions who blindly follow and cast votes that are leading to a US plutocracy and oligarchy.  Can you imagine a world where lobbyist have the final say in all matters of federal and state governance? Well, can you imagine we are getting awful close?

    If you need a basic example, we offer:

    Think of the 2010 mid-terms elections and the tragedy that follows our failure to it the polls with progressive "UMPH."  Koch brothers money funneled into tax free organizations such as FreedomWorks and many others, as well as funding of the Tea Party's false premise and activities contributed to the GOP infestation of the House of Representatives.  Has the US ever witnessed a group of legislative quacks comparable to the 'crew" resulting from the 2012 mid-term?  More significantly the strategy to win in 2010 reaped GOP dividends far beyond your and my comprehension (at the time).  The party in with the House majority in January of 2011, was handed the "magic wand' of congressional redistricting just after the competed 2010 Census.  The Kochs, Karl Rove and the rest of the plutocracy mongers could ask for nothing better.

    We literally gave ourselves a the Sequesters, a shutdown federal government to the tune of $24 billion, the GOP War on Women, voter suppression like never before, reduced funding of Public Education, and a GOP treasure chest of obstruction to the nation's 44th President that is unparalleled in both actuality, scope and in net-net affect on the US economy.

    If we pay attention to organizations like RepresentUS and other information treasure troves, we can and will make better election decisions. Examples of types of information shared by RepresentUS is posted in the table below.

    Representative Jim Himes first caught our attention when he helped push through a bill written by CitiGroup lobbyists. As it just so happens, CitiGroup is also Rep. Himes’ #1 financial backer. That’s why we decided to make a “generous donation” of our own. 
    We decided to target Jim Himes because he’s emblematic of a much larger systemic problem: Our Congress is being corrupted by big money and no longer represents the people. Rep. Himes co-sponsored and helped push a bill called H.R. 992 through the House. 992 would further deregulate derivatives, a financial instrument that played a major role in the 2008 crisis (source).
    Our organization doesn’t have a position on derivatives trading. What we do have a position is corruption, and this is a textbook case. The New York Times revealed that 992 was written by big bank lobbyists — 70 of the 85 lines in 992 were written by lobbyists for CitiGroup (source).
    As it just so happens, Jim Himes has received more money from CitiGroup than any other member of Congress — The only politicians who received more money from CitiGroup in the 2012 election cycle were Mitt Romney and Barack Obama (source). 7 of the top 10 interests funding his campaign committee and leadership PAC were financial services institutions (source). 
    The Congressman who co-sponsored a bill written by big bank lobbyists — a bill which would directly benefit big banks if it ever becomes law — is completely dependent on those same banks to get reelected. Jim Himes also sits on the House Financial Services committee. He’s supposed to regulate the financial sector, and instead he’s letting their lobbyists write our laws. It’s flagrantly corrupt, and astonishingly legal. 
    What used to be a shoebox full of unmarked bills has been replaced with a handful of checks from a lobbyist. The nature of corruption has evolved, and our laws have failed to evolve with it. That’s why we’re pushing for the American Anti-Corruption Act: A law that would put and end to the legalized bribery that’s come to define modern politics. Click here to read the Act, and add your name to the petition on this page to show your support the Act and join the movement.
    The following accompanies the YouTube video above.
    Published on Dec 6, 2013
    Rep. Jim Himes lets lobbyists and donors write our laws, so we decided to make a "generous donation" of our own. Learn more and take action at

    ----- Sources -----

    How did your Rep vote on H.R. 992?

    Contributions by Vote

    On H.R. 992, derivatives regulation:

    Citigroup's Involvement:

    Representative Jim Himes (D - CT):

    How derivatives work:


    Sunday, December 8, 2013

    Bill Moyers : Joshua Holland...Dark Money

    Fighting to Rein in Dark Money (via Moyers & Company)
    Every news cycle seems to bring another revelation of the corrupting influence of dark money on American politics. In just the past few weeks, reporters and watchdog groups have exposed a network of state-level advocacy groups posing as think-tanks,…


    Sunday, December 1, 2013

    "Dark Money": A Monetary Means to Plutocracy

    Dark money is a slang term for funds used to pay for an election campaign without disclosure before voters go to the polls. Funds can be spent on the behalf of a candidate running in an election, or to influence voting on a ballot question.
    The Obama Administration via the Treasury Department has issued political financial contribution guidelines to corral and dam-up the flood gates of "Dark Money" to political campaigns. The Center for Responsive Politics have developed an interactive infographic that illustrates how contributions for anonymous donors works into the 'open-for-business' hoppers of politicians. The depictions appear to focus organizations that appeal to conservative donors. The interactive illustration runs from January 2008 through November 2010.

    The Growing Dark Money Churn

    This visualization represents the flow of dark money since 2008 as it relates to the top 10 most politicized groups. The information shown includes all of the money the Center for Responsive Politics has discovered flowing to each organization, all grants made by each organization to other politically active nonprofits, and all political spending (as reported to the FEC) by both the organization itself and its recipients, during the period covered by the donor organization's IRS. Graphic by Anna Flagg.

    The Growing Dark Money ChurnFrom the good folks at OpenSecrets:This visualization represents the flow of dark money since 2008 as it relates to the top 10 most politicized groups. The information shown includes all of the money the Center for Responsive Politics has discovered flowing to each organization, all grants made by each organization to other politically active nonprofits, and all political spending (as reported to the FEC) by both the organization itself and its recipients, during the period covered by the donor organization’s IRS. Graphic by Anna Flagg.Remember: This is interactive! Go to CRP’s website to enjoy the full experience!

    Last night we posted a brief report from Open Secrets (The Center for Responsive Politics) about how the money is building towards the 2014 mid-terms. The graph shows Democrats are leading in overall contributions, and leading handily. Of course, we know the Kochs and Karl Rove will influence the level and depth of contribution on the due time.

    It will be most interesting to view similar interactive graphic from January 2008 through November 2012.

    If you clicked the link of the 10 most politicized groups (above), you will find the top ten are clearly conservative organizations.  Or, at least they appear so by name. Thus, the eventual revelation of IRS scrutiny of organizations requesting tax exempt status, could easily lead to the only available identifier investigators could have followed to accomplish approval of denial of tax exempt status.

    Conservative contribution (money) solicitation seems best facilitated by organization names that 'sets fire' in the wallets of donors and taps into right-wing nationalism. If you again click on the Top "10 Most Politicized" list above the first 30 names (with one or two exceptions) reads like a Tea Party's Dream with visions "Don't Tread on Me." in each name.

    We are certain the proposed guidelines will the meet with extreme opposition from Koch and Rove operatives. Every conservative member of the US Congress, and Democrats in conservative districts, will fight the proposed guidelines as doggedly as they fight jobs legislation and Obamacare. As a matter of fact, many Democrats will oppose the guidelines, but good Democrats will serve the cause and acquiesces e tot he Treasury. 

    Monday, September 16, 2013

    Open Secrets: Dark Money

    The following is a re-blog from Open Secrets Dot Org.  

    The piece is as relevant to US politics and US society as state and federal government.  Money is flowing into US politics at an alarming and dangerous rate.  Ultimately, lobbying dollars and political contributions work for business entities and special interest groups. There are few to no organizations, which pour money into Congress on behalf of "The People." It just does not happen comparable to money funneled to support 360 degree wealthy accumulation by the nation's Top 20% (ers). 

    As is the case with all 'high information", the following is not a quick read.  Of course, we are aware, people really do not like long reads. Well, there are times when our tendencies contribute to "low information." Do you want to live your life as do most Fox News viewers? How about Beck viewers and listeners?  Or, better yet, people who visit Breitbart News Dot Com and actually feel they are being informed vs. entertained.  In fact, entertainment and political posturing is the basic media model for each of the three entities. 

    Open Secrets, nor  do we have an answer to the horrors of purchased legislation, purchased votes, and purchased politicians However, we feel an obligation to inform. When information flows, good things eventually happen. What we do know is Citizens United open a door that leads to nothing the horrors of plutocracy. As the IRS attempted to investigate the legitimacy of the Citizens United money flood, it became immersed in conservative, "hands-off" our SCOTUS decision rhetoric  that lingers even today. 

    Update, Sept. 11: For clarity, we have added two paragraphs to this story (see *) explaining that the IRS and FEC definitions of political spending are not identical, and have rephrased headlines to two charts.

    Building on our previous work on "dark money" nonprofits, the Center for Responsive Politics is rolling out new information on the activities of these groups that are playing an increasing role in U.S. elections. 

    Dark money groups -- politically active 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations and 501(c)(6) trade associations that, under tax law, don't have to disclose their donors -- aren't supposed to spend the majority of their resources on politics. But over the last six years, a combination of Supreme Court decisions that loosened restrictions on their electoral activity, coupled with regulatory confusion, has led to a surge in their political expenditures. Direct spending on federal elections by 501(c)(4) and 501(c)(6) groups has risen from $10 million in 2004 to well over $300 million in 2012 -- and that's just counting what they reported to the Federal Election Commission, which doesn't include all of their political spending.

    And the nature of their activity has changed in recent elections. Nearly half of the political spending by these groups in 2004 went for communications to their own members -- what the FEC calls "communication costs." Now, it shows up almost entirely in the form of negative, often misleading ads aimed at influencing the outcome of elections. In 2012, only 2 percent of the spending by these groups was directed at their own members. 


    Friday, September 13, 2013

    Bill Moyers: Koch Brothers "Secret Bank"

    Thought you knew all about the many tentacles the Koch brothers’ have around American politics? Politico’s Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen have the story of a heretofore unknown pot of cash that they and other deep-pocketed donors spread around in…