The Pardu

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


    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

    Open Secrets Explores Defense Spending

    We often write about the extent to which Congress is inundated with contributions from the healthcare, insurance and Pharma industries. Defense contributions has been a main stay of 'funds to Congress" for many years. well, beyond the more recent huge infusions of contributions from 2008/09 forward. Healthcare reform has provided members of Congress virtual gold mines with which to fund election campaigns. we can only hope the funds are used that purpose and that purpose only. Federal reporting requirement such as those that left the data trail in which Open Secrets frequently taps, probably work to ensure open use of contributions for legal political purposes. You know the fund we are most concerned about: Those we cannot track.

    Let's follow Open Secrets through Defense contributions. Various links on the Open Secrets web page offer opportunity to view data from past years. The link also provide opportunity to view contributions from various perspectives.
    Open Secrets looks at Defense Spending from a perspective most researcher rarely undertake: politics related Contributions. To reduce the myriad of research, it appears Open Secrets focused on a period from 1990 - 2014 projections. Of course, with any military action, 2014 projections will sky rocket, especially for those contractors who build missiles, bombs, and supply logistics to the military.

    Due to the nature of Open Secrets page formatting view-able charts that follow the initial Corporate Contributions chart are linked via the "ON THIS PAGE BOX" below.  Actually, the first link "Top Contributors" reveals the complete page.

    One look at Defense Spending by country via Media Matters (February 2013)

    We offer the image above is obscene. We also suggest the data that follows contributes to the level of obscenity.

    Open Secrets Dot Org

    Center for Responsive Politics


    On Sept. 1, 2013, President Obama announced to the nation that he would ask Congress to authorize military action against Syria. Defense policy and decisions about whether to intervene in conflicts abroad have long been highly charged issues in Congress. It's not surprising that the defense industry, which can profit from both, participates in the political process in a number of ways. 
    Below, you can see breakdowns of spending by the defense industry on both lobbying and political contributions. Following the vote on the Syria resolution, we will refresh this page to break out political contributions to lawmakers and show how they voted.
    Top Contributors, 2013-2014

    Northrop Grumman  $991,370
    Lockheed Martin  $700,175
    Raytheon Co  $689,750
    BOEING CO  $680,235
    United Technologies  $491,150
    General Dynamics  $396,733
    Huntington Ingalls Industries  $313,550
    BAE Systems  $265,750
    SAIC Inc  $263,210
    Honeywell International  $188,540
    DynCorp International  $177,160
    DRS Technologies  $164,300
    L-3 Communications  $121,450
    General Electric  $84,000
    Sierra Nevada Corp  $75,950
    Mantech International  $66,550
    Alion Science & Technology  $53,500
    Emergent Biosolutions  $53,500
    Rockwell Collins Inc  $46,320
    Aar Corp  $45,000
    Contributions to Democrats  Republicans  Outside Spending Groups 

    Open Secret Page Links
    On this page:

    And the money flows! Do you think, if we could collect enough money for similar contributions, Congress would legislate far more responsively to our needs and wishes? Two very unlikely scenarios!