The Pardu

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

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


Friday, January 17, 2014

Open Secrets Dot Org: Hollywood Stars Donate To Political Campaigns!

The Center For Responsive Politics reports via Open Secrets....
OpenSecrets Blog

And the Nominees for Biggest Donor Are...

Nominees for the 86th Academy Awards, to be presented March 2, were announced yesterday, triggering the annual full-throttle national obsession with celebrities competing for the coveted golden statuettes. Expect to see extensive coverage of their clothes, cars, vacation spots, homes, children, romantic entanglements and anything else that can be dug up. 

And just as the stars frequently spend large sums of money to support their lifestyles, many also donate to political campaigns. 

Of the 60 screenwriters, actors, directors and producers nominated for an Oscar, 23 have contributed to a federal political candidate or committee since 1989. And in keeping with Hollywood's longstanding pattern, most of these donations have been directed to Democratic candidates and parties. 

Here, we look at nominees for some of the most popular awards who also are political donors, starting with nominees associated with the films nominated for Best Picture.
American Hustle
This film, which won the Golden Globe for Best Picture earlier this week, has a producer -- Charles Roven -- with a trail of contributions to Democratic campaigns dating all the way back to 1990. Most recently, he's been a fan of Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.): $500 in 2010 and $2,500 in 2012. Another of the movie's producers, Richard Suckle, has given even more to Gillibrand -- $4,800 in 2010 and $2,500 in 2012. 

David O. Russell, nominated for both Best Writer and Best Director, contributed to Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) in 2008. The youthful cast is not as generous; only one nominated actor has made a contribution. Bradley Cooper gave $750 to Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2008. 

The Wolf of Wall Street

Almost all of the major nominees for "The Wolf of Wall Street" have made significant contributions. Leonardo DiCaprio gave $38,500 dollars in 2008 alone, with $26,000 of that going to the Democratic National Committee and the rest going to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and presidential candidate Barack Obama. Since then, he has been more modest, giving $2,500 to Obama in 2012, and $5,200 (so far) to Alison Grimes's campaign to unseat GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. 

Martin Scorcese, who has worked with DiCaprio in many of his movies, has been contributing to Democrats since 1992 and to the Directors Guild of America's PAC since 2004. His contributions totaled $14,500 in 2012, with $4,000 going to the Obama campaign. So far, he has contributed $750 to Democrats in the 2014 cycle. Finally, Terence Winter, nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, has contributed $800 to this cycle.

Captain Phillips

Based on the true story of Somali pirates commandeering the Maersk Alabama in 2009 and starring Tom Hanks, "Captain Phillips" has three nominees -- writer Billy Ray, producer Michael De Luca, and producer Scott Rudlin -- who are political contributors. Ray, who has given the most, has been donating since 2004; his biggest gift was $26,200 to the DNC. So far this cycle, he has donated $6,300 to newly-elected Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). 

Michael De Luca may have switched party loyalties between 2004 and 2014; De Luca's 2004 contributions went to the National Republican Senatorial Committee, while his only contribution so far this cycle is a relatively small donation of $500 directed to Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska).


This was the only film in which more than one of the major nominees has contributed to Republicans. Although producer Albert Berger donated to Democrats in 2004, 2008, and 2012, then-Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.) received $1,000 from Berger in 1992. Director Alexander Payne gave $1,000 to Sen. Chuck Hagel's (R-Neb.) campaign in 2008 (but donated $2,300 to Obama in the same cycle).  

12 Years a Slave

Two nominees from "12 Years a Slave," John Ridley and Dede Gardner, have made contributions, but not since the 2004 election cycle. Ridley, the film's screenwriter, donated to two presidential campaigns then -- $500 to John Kerry (D-Mass.) and $500 to Wesley Clark (D). Gardner, a producer of the movie, also contributed to Kerry's campaign in 2004. 

Dallas Buyers Club
Nominated for Best Supporting Actor in "Dallas Buyers Club", Jared Leto gave to Rep.Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and Obama in 2012. He is one of the youngest contributors of this year's Oscar nominees.


Only one major nominee from this film is a contributor: Gabrielle Tana, a producer, has been contributing to Democratic campaigns since 2004. 
None of the producers or nominees for screenwriting, acting or directing awards connected to the two other Best Picture nominees -- "Her" and "Gravity" -- have made contributions at the national level, according to records.

Oscar Nominees' Contributions Since 2008

MovieDonorNominationTotal Contribs% to Dems
American HustleCharles RovenProducer/Best Picture$3,000100%
American HustleRichard SuckleProducer/Best Picture$7,300100%
American HustleDavid O. RussellDirector/Writer$500100%
American HustleBradley CooperSupporting Actor$750100%
August: Osage CountyMeryl StreepActress$39,832100%
August: Osage CountyJulia RobertsSupporting Actress$3,500100%
Blue JasmineWoody AllenAdapted Screenplay$500100%
Captain PhillipsBilly RayAdapted Screenplay$93,95590%
Captain PhillipsMichael De LucaProducer/Best Picture$500100%
Captain PhillipsScott RudinProducer/Best Picture$4,50044%
Dallas Buyers ClubJared LetoSupporting Actor$1,905100%
NebraskaAlbert BergerProducer/Best Picture$8,350100%
NebraskaRob YerxaProducer/Best Picture$700100%
NebraskaAlexander PayneDirector$12,50092%
PhilomenaGabrielle TanaProducer/Best Picture$3,000100%
Wolf of WallstreetMartin ScorseseDirector$35,20084%
Wolf of WallstreetLeonardo DiCaprioActor$48,700100%
Wolf of WallstreetTerence WinterOriginal Screenplay$10,85094%
MovieDonorNominationTotal Contribs% to Dems

Other Nominees
The Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress nominees from "August: Osage County," Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, each contributed in the 2012 cycle. Meryl Streep, the actress with the most nominations in Oscar history, didn't have a donation history until then, but she jumped in and gave a total of $39,832 to Democrats. Aside from the $5,000 that she contributed to Obama's campaign, most of her money went to state-specific Democratic parties. Roberts made a single contribution of $3,500 to the Democratic National Committee in 2012.  

Writer Ethan Hawke of "Before Midnight" contributed $18,000 to the Democratic National Committee in 2004, while Woody Allen, nominated for writing the "Blue Jasmine" script, has contributed to various Democratic candidates over the years. His contributions date all the way back to 1990, halt for a decade, and pick up again in 2000 with a contribution to former Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), who was running for president. As recently as 2013, Allen donated $500 to Alison Grimes, the same candidate to whom Leonardo DiCaprio contributed this cycle. 

The entertainment industry writ large -- including companies and individuals in TV, movies and music -- has been a huge and reliable contributor to Democrats for some time. In the 2012 campaign cycle, it gave nearly $70 million to campaigns, parties, PACs and outside spending groups, with 73 percent of it going to Democratic candidates or causes. The total is up from 2008, when Hollywood wrote $51.3 million in political checks, but enthusiasm for Barack Obama's first presidential run prompted those in the industry to send a full 79 percent of it to Dems that year. In any case, Republicans have not stood much of a chance.

With another election approaching, Democrats will want to stick with that script. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Money In Politics: Elections To The Highest Bidder; Governance With Less Regard For The People

The Center for Responsive Politics continues to work to educate a populace about money in politics. Unfortunate, we are preoccupied with manipulation and subterfuge from political operatives and we are simply not paying attention. Thus, we relegate ourselves to the uninformed low information voters (LIVS) that provide substantial revenues for cable networks like CNN and Fox News.  

While organizations like the American Legislative Exchange(ALEC) and major plutocrats like the Kochs are well known for huge infusions of cash to politicians, there are other sources. Fortunately, President Obama and the Democrats reaped moderately more contributions than Romney/Ryan and the cabal of US regression (AKA the GOP). 

Our point cannot be better illustrated than the following from Demonocracy Dot Info. If you follow the link to the website, you will come away with validation the Democrats out-paced the GOP in 2012 and you will also find major contributions from small donors carried the elections. Donors giving under $2500 ran roughshod around mega donors from the Right.
US Presidential Elections - For sale to highest bidder
In America, winning the Presidency has proven to be a question of how much money you're willing to spend. The trend constantly shows that, he who spends the most money on elections usually wins. 
A new law in 2010 allowed SuperPACs, through which people can indirectly (often secretly) donate unlimited amounts of money to a candidate. Since the candidate who raises most money, usually wins... the election is up for the highest bidder. Data collection date: 2012-08-14
2012 Presidential Elections - Who gets the most money usually wins

Our candidates have managed to organize serious sums of cash. Donations are mostly limited to $2500 per person, per candidate, but the Campaign finance laws are confusing and full of loop-holes. 

Bank of New York MelFlon - Derivative Exposure

Super PACs: 
Where the donations are spent

SuperPACs spend their money on advertising that attacks or defends a presidential candidate. They usually use the their raised money for negative ads, destroying the candidates that oppose their agenda. 

Obama is getting 'attacked' the most by negative SuperPAC ads. 

Mitt Romney got $14.6 million of positive ads from SuperPACs. 

Super PACs spent $4.86 million on positive ads for Ron Paul, and only $134,000 on negative ads. 

Source: OpenSecrets

2012 Super Pac's Total Raised - American Crossroads, Priorities USA Action, Restore Our Future

The Demonocracy site offers many additional comparisons and each points to the fact that money rules all in US politics. Of particular interest is the section of the page that delineates top donors.

After the Demoncracy data, think about taking a break and coming back to data from Open Secrets. The monitoring authority has published a 10 Things You Need To Know About Money In Politics

We are going to post one chart from the first five of the "10 Things" pages. 

Millionaire candidates

Millionaire candidates present one of the more credible threats to an incumbent, but they don't have a very good track record. During the 2010 election cycle, only 11 of 58 millionaire candidates who challenged House and Senate incumbents using their own money to finance their campaigns actually won.

The rising price of admission

Does the rising cost of elections discourage those without monied connections, or money themselves, from running for elected office? Consider this: The average winner of a U.S. House race in 2010 spent about $1.4 million. The Senate? Nearly seven times more. Hiring staff, running ads and otherwise operating a robust campaign is ever more expensive. And each midterm election or presidential election cycle costs more than the previous one -- by a lot. According to research by, the 2010 midterm election cost $3.6 billion -- about 28% more than the 2006 midterm election. The 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has unleashed tens of millions in spending by special interest groups attempting to advance their agendas.

Large donors took  the nation to the House of Oz in 2010.  We need say no more about a congress that has the lowest approval ratings in US History. 

Every politician loves to talk about all the "small" donations they've received, But the money that really pays for elections comes from big donors, not little ones.
If you've never given money to a politician in your life, join the club. Polls have shown that less than 10% of Americans have ever given a contribution to candidates for any office, at any level. And if you look at contributions big enough to be reported to the Federal Election Commission -- those exceeding $200 -- the number of Americans contributing in a typical election year is infinitesimal. Even in the presidential election year of 2008, which saw more people giving than ever before, barely more than one-half of one percent gave more than $200 to a federal candidate, political action committee or party.

The remaining "Five Things" illustrate exactly what is meant by "Dark Money." 

The messages here: The sad state of money in politics, the power of the small donors in the general elections, and the fact we have to compete as we move in to 2014. 

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.