campaign contributions

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Bad Congress, No Money for You

That sound you hear? The death rattle of the "campaign contributions don't buy policy" argument courtesy of this article on the decision by the National Association of Home Builders to stop giving campaign contributions to members of Congress because they didn't get the provisions they wanted in a recent bill.

Headed for the Small Time

One of the interesting peripheral stories on the presidential campaign has been the innovative online donation strategies of candidates like Sen. Barack Obama and Rep. Ron Paul to recruit small donors to their effort. This Los Angeles Times story talks about what that shift in strategy has yielded for Obama, and what it means for a move away from traditional big donors politics.

Bopp Backwards

I could scratch my head until I hit grey matter and I still wouldn't understand this one. James Bopp Jr., a lawyer with a history of challenging campaign finance limits, has filed suit alleging that New York City's new limits on donations from industries that do business with the city is discriminatory against...minority candidates. Points for creativity, Mr. Bopp, but the logic leaves something to be desired.

Word on the Street

Looming recession hasn't scared Wall Street away from investing in the presidential race -- perhaps it's even motivated their giving as they look to shoring up their alliances with whomever comes to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. next year. The big firms are covering their bases with the blue chip candidates and ensuring their calls are taken.

Picking Your Pocket

Good news drivers of the world! That small fortune you've been handing over every time you buy a tank of gas has reached those most in need: Big Oil. Exxon reports a record $10.7 billion profit this quarter, beating their previous third-quarter record by nearly a billion. Guess they'll have even more cash on hand to pour into campaign coffers this year on top of the $400,000+ they've already given.*

House Parties

Into every law a little loophole must fall but in the case of the most recent set of laws limiting lobbyist/lawmaker contact the loophole is a three-storied, red-bricked, bay-windowed monster of a problem with a dollar sign stamped on top. This USA Today article shows why business will go on as usual so long as lobbyists can raise money for lawmakers and pay handsomely for that special access to Congress.

Lay Off the Lobbyists

In this Boston Globe article Susan Milligan and a handful of campaign finance watchdogs dissect the "lobbyists suck" line that has become shorthand for a general sense of unease over whose interests are getting attention in Washington. Lobbyists per se aren't the problem. Money, and the varied routes that carry it from the pockets of a few to campaigns around the country, is the problem.

Problems of a Feather

Oh, this is awesome. Larry Abrams, who has written for public radio for many years, gets to the heart of the vicious circle that is corporate lobbyist/elected official relationship and why we need public financing of our campaigns to break the cycle.

Cash Up Front

It appears that not running for re-election is a lucrative side business for Utah state legislators. That is, even in a year when they're not running for office they're collecting hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions from the usual special interest suspects and converting it for personal use all the while denying that financing your lifestyle with money from pharmaceutical companies in any way influences your decisions as a lawmaker.

Give and Bear It

You think you have trouble getting Congress to pay attention to your problems? Try being a polar bear. Yeah, polar bears are cute and if a bear has the good fortune to be born in a Berlin zoo lots of teenage girls will line up to take his picture and purchase t-shirts bearing his likeness but for the average bear hunting seals in Alaska, the outlook is grim. And his congressional representation isn’t helping.