Jimmy Carter calls Citizens United campaign finance ruling “legalised bribery”


No outside dollar$ needed to run BITD

Former American president Jimmy Carter has warned that US politics has been corrupted by billions of dollars of campaign financing following a supreme court ruling that he said legalised “bribery”.

He described the landmark 2010 Citizens United court decision, which equated campaign spending with free speech, as an “erroneous ruling”.

Speaking after the Iowa caucuses, in which Republican candidates spent $43m on TV advertising and Democratic candidates spent $16.8m, Carter said the domination of money in politics represented the biggest change since he was elected president in 1976.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I didn’t have any money. Now there is a massive infusion of hundreds of millions of dollars into campaigns for all the candidates. Some candidates like Trump can put in his own money but others have to be able to raise a $100m to $200m just to get the Republican or Democratic nomination. That’s the biggest change in America…”

Carter said: “The erroneous ruling of the supreme court, where millionaires, billionaires, can put in unlimited amounts of money, give legal bribery the chance to prevail, because all the candidates, whether they are honest or not, or whether they are Democratic or Republican, depend on these massive infusions of money from very rich people in order to have money to campaign…”

“As the rich people finance the campaigns, when candidates get in office they do what the rich people want. And that’s to let the rich people get richer and richer and the middle class get left out. All the statistics show that the middle class are stagnant or going down in their income for the work that they do.”

He added: “When I ran against Gerald Ford, or later Ronald Reagan, we didn’t raise a single penny to finance our campaign against each other … nowadays you have to have hundreds of millions of dollars to prevail.”

There is so much about American elections that is corrupt – and corrupting – it’s difficult choosing where to start. The primary process ties you to the 2-party choice. Limits you to choosing from a pool of candidates who believe either of the two parties best represents the future of this nation.

The buying and selling of campaigns at the primary and national electoral level is already well documented. Along with gerrymandering just another election trick – for both parties.

Conservative packing of federal courts combined with states rights folderol allows for the wave of laws and regulations moving backwards the individual right to vote by decades. All the way up to the Supreme Court – so far.

Pick and choose where you want to start, folks. I’m supporting activists here in New Mexico fighting for open primaries. These can easily be regulated down to one person, one vote, at primary time. Our courts are passing the buck to the state legislature – which is about as chickenshit as any other in the nation. So, expect nothing but nothing.

Poisonally, I’d like more of a Euro-style opportunity, an open primary with any number of candidates from all avenues – followed by a runoff if no one exceeds 50% in the popular vote. The California model comes closest.

Limited campaign time, limited campaign expenses.

The US Is an “oligarchy with unlimited political bribery” says former president

Former president Jimmy Carter said Tuesday on the nationally syndicated radio show the Thom Hartmann Program that the United States is now an “oligarchy” in which “unlimited political bribery” has created “a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors.” Both Democrats and Republicans, Carter said, “look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves.”

Carter was responding to a question from Hartmann about recent Supreme Court decisions on campaign financing like Citizens United.

HARTMANN: Our Supreme Court has now said, “unlimited money in politics.” It seems like a violation of principles of democracy. … Your thoughts on that?

CARTER: It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and congress members. So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s over. … The incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody’s who’s already in Congress has a lot more to sell to an avid contributor than somebody who’s just a challenger.

Just in case you feel good about the snow job we get on a daily basis from the leaders of the two old parties in the White House and Congress. They fill the air with blather and bluster about our constitutional tradition, free speech in action, the benefits we enjoy as a free people.

It has as much legitimate content as the average infomercial on network TV sold as filler in between fictional cop shows, comedies about fools and so-called reality TV. If you believe any of it – you are the fool.

Jimmy Carter continues to get my vote as the leading ex-president over the last century. He has the courage to tell the truth about everything from our phony foreign policy to criminal behavior in Congress.

Republican hack gets 2 years for directing Super Pac fund$ for candidate


One of his regular appearances on Fox News

A former Republican political operative was sentenced Friday to two years in prison and another two years of probation in the first criminal case of illegal coordination between a campaign and a purportedly independent political ally.

The reason for “former”, of course, is that he got caught.

Tyler Harber, convicted in February, told the court he knew he was guilty when he created and helped arrange for the super Pac National Republican Victory Fund to buy $325,000 in ads to help Republican Chris Perkins’ 2012 House campaign. He received $9,100 for setting up the deal. He had pleaded guilty to one count of coordinated federal election contributions and one count of making false statements to the FBI…

Prosecutors said he used an alias and other means to deflect inquiries by a political party official. He also admitted that he told multiple lies when interviewed by the FBI.

Federal prosecutor said Harber’s guilty plea and sentencing was “an important step forward in the criminal enforcement of federal campaign finance laws.”

It’s also the only conviction for a crime as common as white bread. The laws were re-written by rightwing flunkies on the Supreme Court. Existing standards for the Federal Election Commission are so wimpy as to hardly exist.

Getting rid of the Citizens United decision is one of the many tasks Congressional conservatives consider unimportant. Not that they work very hard at anything an American citizen might consider dutiful.

The response from leading Republicans like, say, Jeb Bush, is a call to set aside that portion of the law that calls for separation from anonymous donors and candidates for elected office.

Tyler Harber’s PAC? The National Republican Party Victory PAC.

StampStampede


Click to enlarge – it still won’t be worth more!

1) money is not speech; and Why do we need a constitutional amendment declaring that: 2) corporations are not people.

Well, the 2010 Supreme Court ruling under Citizens United has gotten a lot of coverage this election season, and for good reason. Unlimited donations by billionaires and corporations to SuperPacs have drowned out the voice of ordinary Americans…

Alternatively, a constitutional amendment has been drafted that would require all federal elections to be funded exclusively through public money. When some people first hear of the idea of public funding of elections their immediate reaction is “What? No way I’m going to give those politicians even more money.” But the reality is that the amount of money needed would be less than $2 Billion. That’s about .02% of the federal budget. It could be paid for by closing offshore tax loopholes for corporations.

But the big thing is “You buy ‘em, you own ‘em.” Right now elections are paid for by corporations and the super rich. And politicians do what the people who paid them want. When “we the people buy ‘em, we own em” and the politicians do what we want…

It’s important to note that no other major democracy in the world allows for the unfettered spending on elections by private individuals or corporations. Most countries allow for relatively small contributions from individuals and beyond that public dollars are used to pay for elections. Sure, wealthy individuals and large corporations still wield undue influence in those societies. But the only chance any of us have of government acting as a counterweight against that undue influence is to ensure that politicians need our support more than they need the support of a tiny percentage of wealthy individuals.

Every little bit helps. You will not be breaking the law by using your own personal stampstampede stamp to decorate our currency. You will be passing along a message to everyone who gets that dollar bill after you. Yes, other denominations are cool.

This stamp and several others are sold at cost to keep the campaign rolling. Click the link in the article and see which design suits your personal sense of humor. I like this one – it fits my cynicism.

Pension fund sues Qualcomm for records of investors’ money used to fund political campaigns

New York State’s $150-billion public pension fund has sued Qualcomm, seeking to force the chipmaker to reveal its political spending, according to the state comptroller.

The suit was filed late on Wednesday in Delaware Court of Chancery, after Qualcomm refused the request by the New York State Common Retirement Fund — a Qualcomm shareholder — to inspect records detailing the use of corporate resources for political activities, said state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who oversees the fund.

“Without disclosure, there is no way to know whether corporate funds are being used in ways that go against shareholder interests,” DiNapoli, a Democrat who is up for re-election in 2014, said in a statement.

The suit opens a new front in the fight over corporate political spending, which has risen dramatically since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United.

That decision lifted restrictions on corporate political spending and led in part to an unprecedented $6 billion of spending on the recently held U.S. elections.

While other companies have agreed to increase their disclosure of political spending, Qualcomm has not…

Since at least August 2012, the pension fund has repeatedly attempted to get the information from Qualcomm, but the company has refused to divulge it, the suit claimed.

New York’s pension fund is “concerned that it cannot determine whether senior executives and directors of Qualcomm are spending corporate resources to support their favored political candidates” or on causes that aren’t focused on boosting shareholder value, the complaint said.

Other sources show that in 2012, Qualcomm spent more than $4.7 million on federal lobbying efforts, according to the complaint.

Delightful. Glad to see this approach/attack getting started.

Ever since the conservative flunkies on the Supreme Court decided “corporations are people, too” – and started the tsunami of corporate cash flowing into the coffers of SuperPACS – the American electorate has been stymied by Congressional hacks. This tactic is one that has been considered as having the potential to lift the veil of secrecy the same “justices” obediently handed over.

RTFA for the details.

A memo from the boss – Vote the way I say or lose your job!

Imagine getting a letter from the boss, telling you how to vote.

Until 2010, federal law barred companies from using corporate money to endorse and campaign for political candidates — and that included urging employees to support specific politicians.

But the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has freed companies from those restrictions, and now several major companies, including Georgia-Pacific and Cintas, have sent letters or information packets to their employees suggesting — and sometimes explicitly recommending — how they should vote this fall…

Dave Robertson, the president of Koch Industries, sent an information packet and letter this month to more than 30,000 employees of a subsidiary, Georgia-Pacific, a paper and pulp company. The letter attacked government subsidies for “a few favored cronies” as well as “unprecedented regulatory burdens on businesses.”

The letter added, “Many of our more than 50,000 U.S. employees and contractors may suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation and other ills.”

The Georgia-Pacific letter, first reported by In These Times, included a flier listing several candidates endorsed by the Koch brothers, the conservative billionaires, beginning with Mitt Romney, as well as opinion articles that the brothers had written.

Travis McKinney, a forklift driver for Georgia-Pacific in Portland, Ore., said the company’s political packet had spurred widespread discussion. “It leaves a bad taste,” Mr. McKinney said. “I won’t even wear my Obama pin to work because of the mailer…”

Mr. Romney has himself urged business owners to appeal to their employees. In a conference call in June organized by the National Federation of Independent Business, he said, “I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections.”

The scumbags who voted the Supreme Court majority decision for this case are as out of touch with the needs, feelings problems and life of working people as Romney, himself. To equate the political voice, the political power of an employee with their employer is not only absurd – it is criminal.

This past week, Chevron set a new record – donating $2½ million to the SuperPAC run by John Boehner. The dollars and dime donated by oilfield workers ain’t about to equal that sort of clout in decades. The thugs at the top just write a check from petty cash.