Category Archives: Campaign finance

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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Series:
The Secret IRS Files

Inside the Tax Records of the .001%

 

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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‘A Big Deal’: Lawmakers Reintroduce Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

“We cannot allow the wealthiest individuals and corporations to flood our elections with cash through complex webs of super PACs and dark money groups that put special interests above the will of the American people.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-21-2021

Occupy Tampa displays signs at the 2012 Republican National Convention. Photo: Liz Mc/Wikimedia Commons/CC

n a bid to reverse the outsize influence of corporations and the wealthiest Americans over the nation’s electoral process, a bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers on Thursday reintroduced a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

The reintroduction of the Democracy for All Amendment in the 117th Congress—led by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), John Katko (D-N.Y.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.)—occurred on the 11th anniversary of Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commissiona 5-4 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 U.S. elections. Continue reading

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‘The Corruption Is Bottomless’: Documents Reveal Chair of Postal Service Board Is Director of McConnell-Allied Super PAC

“Can the GOP’s takeover of USPS be any more blatant?”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-1-2020

Robert Duncan, former chairman of the Republican National Commiteee, was appointed to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors by President Donald Trump in 2017. (Image: Rep. Carolyn Maloney/Screengrab of Republican National Convention)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s deep and longstanding ties to U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors chairman Robert Duncan are coming under heightened scrutiny after corporate paperwork filed Monday listed Duncan as a director of a major GOP super PAC closely aligned with the Kentucky Republican.

The new filing (pdf) with Virginia’s State Corporation Commission—an independent regulatory agency that oversees political action committees—names Duncan as one of three directors of the Senate Leadership Fund, a massive super PAC that has spent nearly $18 million in support of Senate Republicans thus far in the 2020 election cycle. Continue reading

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‘Just Comes Out and Says It’: Trump Declares Postal Service Can’t Handle Mail-In Voting Because He’s Blocking Funding

“This is crazy by any standard. The president of the United States is actively trying to sabotage the election.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-13-2020

President Donald Trump answers a reporter’s question during a news conference Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. Photo: White House/flickr

President Donald Trump proclaimed Wednesday that the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t have the capacity to handle an unprecedented increase in mail-in ballots because it lacks funds that his administration is blocking, remarks that were immediately viewed as an open admission of election sabotage by a president who has previously called USPS “a joke.”

During his daily Covid-19 briefing Wednesday evening, Trump dismissed Democratic congressional leaders’ demands for $3.5 billion in election assistance for states and $25 billion for USPS as “ridiculous” and vowed to continue blocking the funds. While USPS leadership insists it has “ample capacity” to meet election needs, postal workers have warned that without emergency funding, the agency could struggle to deliver mail-in ballots on time in November. Continue reading

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‘A Conspiracy to Steal the Election, Folks’: Alarms Sound After Postal Worker Reports Removal of Sorting Machines

The removal of key equipment from Post Offices should be viewed as nothing less than “sabotage,” said one observer.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-12-2020

Flat sorter machine. Photo: USPS

The head of the Iowa Postal Workers Union alleged Tuesday that mail sorting machines are “being removed” from Post Offices in her state due to new policies imposed by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major GOP donor to President Donald Trump whose operational changes have resulted in dramatic mail slowdowns across the nation.

Asked by NPR‘s Noel King whether she has felt the impact of DeJoy’s changes, Iowa Postal Workers Union President Kimberly Karol—a 30-year Postal Service veteran—answered in the affirmative, saying “mail is beginning to pile up in our offices, and we’re seeing equipment being removed.” Continue reading

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As Biden Embraces More Ambitious Climate Plan, Fossil Fuel Execs Donating to Trump ‘With Greater Zeal’ Than 2016

“We’ve seen a pretty huge transformation in Biden’s climate plan,” said Varshini Prakash, co-founder and executive director of the Sunrise Movement.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-3-2020

ExxonMobil facility near Chicago. (Photo: Richard Hurd, Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

With presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s climate platform becoming increasingly ambitious thanks to nonstop grassroots pressure, fossil fuel executives and lobbyists are pouring money into the coffers of President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign in the hopes of keeping an outspoken and dedicated ally of dirty energy in the White House.

The Houston Chronicle reported Monday that oil and gas executives “are writing checks to President Donald Trump with greater zeal than they did four years ago, as Biden campaigns on a climate plan that seeks to eliminate carbon emissions by mid-century.” Continue reading

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Watchdog Groups Demand Probe Into ‘Voter Suppression Tactics’ by Postal Service Chief—and Major Trump Donor—Louis DeJoy

“In his first month on the job, the postmaster general has already taken steps that could undermine efficient voting by mail in November.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-31-2020

Screenshot: YouTube

Government watchdog groups are demanding that the Senate launch an investigation into “potential voter suppression tactics” by recently appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a major GOP donor whose operational changes at the U.S. Postal Service have slowed mail delivery across the nation and sparked concerns about mail-in ballots in upcoming elections.

“In his first month on the job, the postmaster general has already taken steps that could undermine efficient voting by mail in November,” wrote Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and Common Cause Wisconsin in a letter (pdf) to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which has jurisdiction over USPS. Continue reading

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“F-35s Don’t Help Families Pay Their Bills”: GOP Under Fire for Slipping $30 Billion Pentagon Gift Into Coronavirus Plan

“Just how twisted is the Senate GOP coronavirus bill you ask? It includes $686 million for new F-35 fighter jets.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-28-2020

F-25. Photo: Forsvarsdepartementet/flickr/cc

In a floor speech late Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the GOP’s newly released coronavirus stimulus package as a “carefully tailored” plan to provide financial relief to desperate Americans.

But a look at the legislative text (pdf) released by Senate Republicans shows the HEALS Act is replete with massive gifts to the Pentagon and defense contractors that would do nothing to aid the unemployed, provide nutrition assistance to hungry children, prevent an avalanche of evictions, or stop the spread of coronavirus. Continue reading

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