Category Archives: Campaign finance

Donating to help women get abortions is a First Amendment right – protected by Supreme Court precedent

An abortion provider in San Antonio had to turn patients away after the June 24, 2022, Supreme Court ruling.
Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Lucinda M. Finley, University at Buffalo

Several Texas abortion funds – which are charities that help people who can’t afford to get an abortion pay for their travel, lodging and medical bills – paused disbursements on June 24, 2022, after the Supreme Court ruled that Americans have no constitutional right to the procedure.

The Lilith, Equal Access, Frontera and other funds said they were taking this step to assess the legal consequences of the court’s ruling in Texas, which already had some of the nation’s strictest abortion laws. Abortion funds in some other states, including Oklahoma, were also reportedly halting their work. Continue reading

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Kagan Pens Scathing Dissent as Supreme Court Kills Another Campaign Finance Rule

“In allowing those payments to go forward unrestrained, today’s decision can only bring this country’s political system into further disrepute,” wrote Justice Elena Kagan.

By Jake Johnson  Published 5-16-2022 by Common Dreams

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz speaking with attendees at the 2019 Teen Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C. Photo: Gage Skidmore.flickr/CC

In a decision Monday that liberal Justice Elena Kagan warned will further corrupt the nation’s money-dominated political system, the U.S. Supreme Court’s right-wing majority struck down a campaign finance regulation limiting federal candidates’ ability to use campaign funds to repay personal loans.

Established by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, the rule barred candidates from using more than $250,000 in campaign funds collected after an election to recoup their loans to their own campaign. Continue reading

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Ted Cruz’s Pro-Corruption Case Gets Supreme Court Review

According to one legal expert, “The statute challenged in Cruz is a matter of common sense: the corruption risk inherent in post-election payments effectively made to candidates themselves is obvious and acute.”

By Andrea Germanos.  Pubished 1-19-2022 by Common Dreams

Senator Ted Cruz speaking with attendees at the 2019 Teen Student Action Summi. Phoyp: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in a case brought by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas that’s been described as “the latest attempt to dismantle federal campaign finance rules.”

At issue in the case—Federal Election Commission (FEC) v. Ted Cruz for Senate—is the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, also known as the McCain-Feingold Act, and a $260,000 loan Cruz made to his Senate reelection campaign just ahead of the 2018 election. Continue reading

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Corporate Donations Poured Into Manchin’s PAC Ahead of Final ‘No’ on Build Back Better

“This is the way things work when democracy has been weakened,” argued one progressive organization. “The powerful get special access to our government, while we’re told, ‘Sorry, we can’t help you.'”

By Jake Johnson.  Published 12-22-2021 by Common Dreams

Screenshot: ABC News

New federal disclosures reveal that major corporations poured donations into West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin’s political action committee in the weeks leading up to his pivotal announcement Sunday that he would oppose the Build Back Better Act, a stance that progressives argue is motivated by the senator’s deference to special interests.

CNBC reported late Tuesday that Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings show that donors to Manchin’s Country Roads PAC raked in 17 contributions from corporations in October and 19 in November as he pared back and repeatedly threatened to tank Democrats’ $1.75 trillion social spending and climate legislation. Continue reading

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Study Confirms How Citizens United Made ‘Mockery’ of Campaign Finance Rules

“We need to pass the Freedom to Vote Act to stop consultants from acting as coordinators between candidates and super PACs.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 12=15-2021 by Common Dreams

Image: Donkey Holey/flickr/CC

As a report published Wednesday revealed that political consulting firms raked in $1.4 billion while simultaneously working for campaign committees and purportedly independent groups during the 2018 and 2020 election cycles, progressives renewed calls for Congress to pass the Freedom to Vote Act to protect and strengthen democracy.

The report—entitled Dual Agents—was published by Public Citizen and further discredits Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commissionthe highly controversial 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling which affirmed that corporations are legal persons and that they, labor unions, and other outside groups could spend unlimited amounts of money to influence the outcome of American elections—as long as they don’t coordinate with candidates or campaigns. Continue reading

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Big Pharma Spent ‘Horrifying’ Sums of Money to Weaken Drug Price Reform

The industry is expected to break its lobbying record after spending tens of millions of dollars to undermine a popular proposal to reduce prescription drug costs.

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 11-5-2021 by Common Dreams

Photo: Daniel Foster/flickr/CC

While progressive advocates are still optimistic that a limited drug pricing provision will be included in the Build Back Better Act, the Washington Post on Friday detailed the “massive, months-long advertising, lobbying, and political donation blitz” that Big Pharma and its allies carried out to kill a stronger and overwhelmingly popular proposal that would have done more to protect Americans from the industry’s deadly price gouging.

As Common Dreams has reported, pharmaceutical corporations and private health insurers spent $171 million on lobbying through the first nine months of the year, the most of any industry. Big Pharma’s 1,600 lobbyists outnumber members of Congress by a ratio of three to one. Continue reading

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‘Complete Attack on Our Democracy’: FEC Rules Foreign Corporations Can Donate to Influence US Elections

“Foreign donors shouldn’t be influencing our elections, no matter whether it’s at the federal, state, or local level, said Rep. Katie Porter.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 11-2-2021

Photo: Ted Eytan/CC

Democracy defenders expressed concern Tuesday in response to new reporting on a Federal Election Commission ruling that affirmed foreign entities—including overseas corporations—can fund U.S. state-level ballot campaigns.

“This is egregious,” tweeted former Ohio congressional candidate Nina Turner. “A complete attack on our democracy.”

Axios reported on the FEC’s 4-2 July ruling that concerned a Montana ballot initiative on hardrock mining regulations and accusations that a Canadian subsidiary of Australian company Sandfire Resources violated federal campaign law by funding a campaign opposed to the measure. Continue reading

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Secret IRS Files Reveal How Much the Ultrawealthy Gained by Shaping Trump’s “Big, Beautiful Tax Cut”

Billionaire business owners deployed lobbyists to make sure Trump’s 2017 tax bill was tailored to their benefit. Confidential IRS records show the windfall that followed.

by Justin Elliott and Robert Faturechi. Published 8-11-2021 by ProPublica

Image: Pixafree.org/CC BY-SA 3.0

 

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In November 2017, with the administration of President Donald Trump rushing to get a massive tax overhaul through Congress, Sen. Ron Johnson stunned his colleagues by announcing he would vote “no.”

Making the rounds on cable TV, the Wisconsin Republican became the first GOP senator to declare his opposition, spooking Senate leaders who were pushing to quickly pass the tax bill with their thin majority. “If they can pass it without me, let them,” Johnson declared. Continue reading

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Report Reveals Major Corporations Are Funding Lawmakers Behind Anti-Democracy Bills

“It is now more urgent than ever to build a just transition away from fossil fuels and fight off attacks against protest and our freedom to vote, so that we can have a planet our communities can thrive on.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-10-2021

Washington, DC erupts in celebration following the defeat of Donald Trump. Photo: Heartland Alliance

Numerous corporations have funded the political action committees of state lawmakers backing the recent spate of anti-voter and anti-protest bills, even as many of the companies have spoken out in defense of voting rights and democracy, a report published Monday by Greenpeace USA revealed

The report (pdf)—entitled Dollars vs. Democracy: Companies and the Attack on Voting Rights and Peaceful Protest—says that 44 state lawmakers sponsored at least one anti-protest bill and one anti-voter bill in the past year. It also reveals that 53 of the 100 top corporate donors to lawmakers sponsoring anti-voter bills also rank among the top 100 contributors to anti-protest measures. Continue reading

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Democratic Lawmakers Urge Barrett to Recuse Herself From Koch Dark Money Case

The members of Congress note that Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-funded advocacy group, mounted a “full-scale campaign” in support of the justice’s confirmation.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-20-2021

Amy Coney Barrett during her confirmation hearing. Screenshot: C-SPAN

Three Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday urged U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett to recuse herself from a pending case revolving around the nonprofit arm of Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-funded political advocacy group that spent heavily to ensure Barrett’s confirmation to the bench last October.

In a letter (pdf) to Barrett, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) argue that Americans for Prosperity’s big spending campaign in support of the newest justice’s confirmation casts serious doubt on whether she can be impartial in Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Rodriquez. Continue reading

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