The Pardu

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

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. 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ted Cruz: Nine Months in Office...The Money Flows!

As Ted Cruz comes back from his trip to OZ, Open Secrets captures his financial backbone.

Before moving to Open Secrets, I cannot help, but lament the obvious. Is it actually possible to anoint one's self leading candidate as the GOP front-runner for 2016, by staging what amounts to showboat speaking to a camera on the floor of the Senate?  Whatever happened to the old fashioned and arduous two-year political campaign? When did the GOP turn itself into a party that would so cheaply cuddle under to tea party bullies and anarchist?  Has the party given up on 2016? Why is electronic media foretelling Paul and Cruz as GOP finalist for the GOP presidential candidate in 2016? Neither Rand Paul nor Ted Cruz could win a General Election. 

As I view the following information, I can see how Cruz would certainly garner money-backers. He has been in office just shy of nine months. Shy of nine months, but look at the money-trail!

Open Secrets (Center for Responsive Politics) 

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz

Bio | Email | WebSite | Facebook
Select cycle and data to include:
  • Campaign Cmte Only
  • Leadership PAC Profile Only
  • Campaign Cmte & Leadership PAC Combined

Committee Assignments: 

Leadership PAC (1): 

Cycle Fundraising, 2009 - 2014, Campaign Cmte

Raised: $15,672,756 Sparklines Explanation coming soon
Spent: $14,730,777
Cash on Hand: $643,977
Debts: $545,000
Last Report:Sunday, June 30, 2013

Top 5 Contributors, 2009-2014, Campaign Cmte

Club for Growth$705,657$705,602$55
Senate Conservatives Fund$315,991$305,991$10,000
Woodforest National Bank$93,500$93,500$0
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius$67,200$67,200$0
Goldman Sachs$66,850$61,850$5,000

Top 5 Industries, 2009-2014, Campaign Cmte

Lawyers/Law Firms$875,685$816,935$58,750
Oil & Gas$788,818$609,318$179,500
Securities & Investment$608,777$584,277$24,500

Total Raised vs. Average Raised

2009-2010 Fundraising

Cycle Source of Funds, 2009-2014, Campaign Cmte only

Individual Contributions About Size of Contributions
 - Small Individual Contributions
 - Large Individual Contributions
$2,641,297 (17%)
$10,179,239 (65%)
legendPAC Contributions$1,588,615(10%)
legendCandidate self-financing$843,000(5%)
NOTE: All the numbers on this page are for the 2009-2014 election cycle and based on Federal Election Commission data available electronically on September 25, 2013 (for Fundraising totals, Source of Funds and Total Raised vs Average) and on August 18, 2013 for Top Contributors and Industries. In the "Source of Funds" chart, "Large Individual Contributions" refer to all contributions from unique individuals aggregating to more than $200 within a cycle, and "Small Individual Contributions" refer to all contributions from unique individuals totaling $200 or less within a cycle. ("Help! The numbers don't add up...")
The organizations themselves did not donaterather the money came from the organizations' PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Money Trails And Buying Your Politics


We are going to post the following table with minimum dialog. As you view the table, it will not take much to realize dialog beyond our normal railing about money in politics, is unnecessary.

While both sides of the isle accept contributions from businesses, individuals and PACs, the upper most part of the table will tell all. It tells of why the IRS may have first focused on conservative (appearing)  organization names applying for tax free status. 

There are two things endemic to conservative giving. They never want their identities reveled (after the very visible plutocrat Kochs) and they abhor the responsibility of paying taxes. They do not want to pay taxes even if it means buying votes. 

This story reminds of a segment I watched on CNN yesterday. Apparently, Disney World (Disney) is revising a policy of allowing disabled quick access to its theme park rides and exhibitions. Can you guess why? Wealthy people were reported to seek-out and pay disabled people to pretend they were families members so the wealthy did not have to wait in line. I assume Disney would not undertake such a public policy if they knew of an isolated case. DAMN!

Open Secrets Dot Org and the Center for Responsive Politics.

Political Nonprofit Spending Since 2008: Politicization Rankings

Political spending by nonprofits has exploded since the Supreme Court's decision in Wisconsin Right to Life v. FEC decision, issued during the 2008 cycle. This influx of nonprofit spending correlates directly with the increase in "dark money" from unknown sources in federal elections because the vast majority of nonprofits aren't required to -- and don't -- disclose their donors. This page is the first systematic attempt to pull together data the groups report to the IRS and the FEC to compare the overall spending of politically active nonprofits in a given year, as well as the proportion of spending devoted to activities meant to influence, directly or indirectly, the outcome of elections.  

See Table and more after the break below


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

PAC Checks Make Legislating Easy!


Do you ever wonder why our federal and state legislators expend energy, effort, and time on bills that appear as wasteful legislation?

From CISPA (an alleged Internet security bill) through the current manifestation and deliberation on the Internet sales taxes, some legislators appear to have no other driven focus.  How many jobs related bills have we gotten from either House of Congress? I recall a bill to level the volume of television commercials between television networks for channel surfers: Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation, or CALM, Act in 2010.

According to CNN the legislation was one of the Federal Communication Commission's most sought after bills over a period of many years.
.....the Federal Communications Commission is barring broadcasters and pay TV providers from airing excessively loud commercials, saying ads must maintain the "same average volume" as the programs they accompany. 
The move -- which undoubtedly will make many TV viewers happier, and save countless marriages -- addresses a problem that, regulators say, is almost as old as television itself. 
Loud commercials have been a leading source of complaints to the FCC since its consumer call center began reporting top complaints in 2002. 
Since January 2008, the FCC has received about 1,000 complaints and about 5,000 inquiries, the commission said.

Is it possible to expect more from a Congress that is orbiting around the 13% approval rating? Orbiting at an increasingly accelerated pace much like human fecal waste tracking around the sides of a restroom privy towards its ultimate location: the drain (Tried hard to keep that sentence image free!).

So, sales taxes on the Internet is a pressing issue for you and me?  Sales taxes are a pressing issues for all small businesses, maybe? Small business are suffering severe loses from Internet sales by not collecting state and local taxes on sales to consumers?  Any of the previous, all of the previous or actually 'little' of the previous.

OpenSecrets Dot Org has a different take on the imminent legislation. The "follow the money around congress" website uses a perfect example of legislative impetus via a congressman from Missouri  the "Show me State:", as in show me the money.  OpenSecrets uses Blunt as an entry to comment related to a number of 'contribution hungry" legislators.
Supporters of the proposed Internet sales tax like to make it sound as though they just care about the little guy, the shopkeeper still intrepid enough to keep the doors open at her bricks-and-mortar store on Main Street. And in fact, the matching bills in the House and Senate -- which would require online retailers to collect sales tax on all transactions and hand the money over to state and local governments -- are called the Marketplace Fairness Act. 
keyboard cash money.bmp
But, like many things in Washington, especially those that suddenly start to move through Congress quickly, very big business has thrown its weight behind the proposal.
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told the Times he was motivated to support the Internet sales tax in part by the owners of a local bridal shop, who complained to him that many customers browse in the store, then buy online for a better deal. 
“They use the parking lot. They use the sidewalk. They benefit from police protection, and then the local merchant who pays for all of that doesn’t get the sale,” he told the Times.  
Blunt didn't tell the Times that three other supporters of the Internet sales tax with much deeper pockets than the bridal shop -- PACs run by Home Depot, Walmart and Target -- each gave $5,000 to his leadership PAC, Rely On Your Beliefs, earlier this year. And Rep. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) who told the Times about a local shop in his state that lost customers looking for better deals on rifle scopes, took $5,000 from Home Depot on March 31. 

The legislation's sponsor in the House, Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.) told the Times that his constituents have reminded him that Norquist didn't elect him, and "Members that come to Washington and kowtow to special interests end up contributing to this very polarized government. These are tough decisions we have to make up here." 
In the first three months of 2013, Womack received $10,000 from Walmart's PAC, $2,000 from the PAC run by Best Buy and $1,000 from the PAC run by Lowe's, the home improvement big box store. All of those companies are supporters of the Internet sales tax. 
Read More

A few points. I was once marveled by the news of a California politician who contributed $100 million of her one money to fund her campaign for office in the House or the Senate (memory failed me there).  Well, if we pay close attention to websites like OpenSecrets, we may find rationale for the willingness to spend copious amounts to win a congressional seat. Paying close attention also will also yield possible motivating factors for the votes of many who sit in congress. Money clearly buys votes and often against the wishes of congressional constituents and the nation. But, of course businesses are constituents also, right? According to Mitt Romney they surely are "people."  But, does the business as an entity literally vote, or are there other considerations from businesses? (Hint, Hint).

Internet sales tax to help the brick and mortar businesses?  Sure, considering Home Depot sells brick and mortar.