Category Archives: Campaign finance

Companies Pushing Weak UN Plastics Treaty Dump Millions Into US Elections

“The only way to curb our catastrophic plastic pollution problem is to cut plastic production, but the industry is spending big to block action at every level to protect their profits,” said one campaigner.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 11-17-2023 by Common Dreams

Hundreds have marched in Nairobi, demanding action against plastic pollution Photo: Emeka Gift Official/X

Major multinational corporations attending negotiations for a global plastics treaty in an effort to weaken the agreement spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbying and political contributions during the 2022 election cycle, revealed an analysis published Friday by the Center for Biological Diversity.

As Common Dreams reported this week, 143 fossil fuel and chemical industry lobbyists registered to attend the third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-3) in Nairobi, Kenya, which is scheduled to run through Sunday. That’s more than the combined delegations from 70 nations, and far surpasses the 38 members of a scientists’ coalition participating in the negotiations.

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Voting Rights Groups Raise Alarm About House GOP Introducing ‘Big Lie Bill’

One critic warned the legislation would “increase the influence of billionaires, corporations, and secret money in our elections while putting up barriers for eligible voters to vote.”

By Jessica Corbett Published 7-10-2023 by Common Dreams

U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Wis.). Photo: Congressman Bryan Steil/Facebook

Voting rights advocates across the United States on Monday responded with alarm to Republicans introducing what its backers called “the most conservative election integrity bill to be seriously considered” in the U.S. House of Representatives in decades.

Dubbed the “Big Lie Bill” by critics, the American Confidence in Elections (ACE) Act is spearheaded by Committee on House Administration Chair Bryan Steil (R-Wis.) and includes nearly 50 standalone bills from the chamber’s GOP members.

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Memo Exposes Renewable Energy Trade Group’s Close Ties to Fossil Fuel Industry

“Despite its name, American Clean Power is yet another fossil fuel lobbying group trying to trick people into believing its greenwashing,” said one campaigner. “Any political leader who claims to care about the planet’s future should shun this organization.”

By Kenny Stancil. Published 4-20-2023 by Common Dreams

​American Clean Power CEO Jason Grumet and Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) at Clean Power on the Hill on April 18 2023. Photo: ​American Clean Power/Twitter

The American Clean Power Association has been billed as “the nation’s top renewable energy trade group,” but lurking beneath its green luster is a dirty reality.

That’s according to the Revolving Door Project, which published a memo on Thursday to expose what is calls ACP’s “close ties to the fossil fuel industry and an ‘all of the above’ energy agenda that allows for massive new fossil fuel development and environmental damage, as long as clean energy also benefits.”

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Investigation Shows Rail Giant Donated to Ohio Governor a Month Before Toxic Crash

If Norfolk Southern “can pay for lobbyists and politicians, they can pay to clean up the mess they made in our community,” said one local group.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 2-20-2023 by Common Dreams

A derailed freight train is seen in East Palestine, Ohio. (Photo: NTSB/Handout via Xinhua)

An investigation published Monday revealed that just weeks before a Norfolk Southern-owned train overloaded with hazardous materials derailed and caused a toxic chemical fire in East Palestine, Ohio, the rail giant donated $10,000—the maximum amount allowed—to help fund the inauguration of the state’s Republican Gov. Mike DeWine.

According to WSYX, the Columbus-based news outlet that conducted the investigation, “This contribution, which is part of $29,000 the Virginia-based corporation has contributed to DeWine’s political funds since he first ran for governor in 2018, is merely one piece of an extensive, ongoing effort to influence statewide officials and Ohio lawmakers.” Continue reading

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GOP House Puts Big Oil’s Revolving Door Into High Gear

These lobbyists are not getting hired to advocate for American energy consumers—they will push an agenda that benefits the new majority’s donors no matter what it costs taxpayers.”

By Brett Wilkins  Published 1-27-2023 by Common Dreams.

Nancy Peele, chief of staff to House Natural Resources Committee Chair Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.), is a former fossil fuel lobbyist for companies responsible for the 2010 Gulf oil spill. (Photo: Nancy Peele/LinkedIn)

An analysis published Friday by the nonpartisan watchdog Accountable.US revealed that numerous former fossil fuel lobbyists are being hired to work for the Republican-controlled 118th Congress, including in high-level positions on the House Natural Resources Committee.

“As the Republicans majority begins the new Congress, former oil industry lobbyists will have new and growing influence as top staffers for congressmen on key committees,” the analysis states. Continue reading

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House GOP Scraps Consumer Protection Panels in ‘First of Many Gifts’ to Wall Street

Republican Chair Patrick McHenry “wasted no time seeking payback on behalf of his biggest donors by scrapping key subcommittees dedicated to consumer protection and preventing industry discrimination,” said Accountable.US.

By Julia Conley  Published 113-2023 by Common Dreams

Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) speaks at the Brookings Institute in 2017. Photo: Brookings Institution/flickr/CC

The U.S. committee tasked with overseeing the financial sector on Thursday “dispelled any doubt of their intent to do the bidding of the financial industries over the interests of everyday families,” said a government watchdog group as the panel signaled it will significantly scale back its efforts to push for consumer protections on Wall Street.

House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) Chair Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) announced the new Republican subcommittee chairmanships, with new panels including the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Monetary Policy—tasked with overseeing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)—and the Subcommittee on Digital Assets, Financial Technology, and Inclusion, headed by pro-cryptocurrency Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.). Continue reading

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Pentagon Fails Another Audit, Yet Congress Poised to Approve $847 Billion Budget

“This isn’t using our taxpayer dollars wisely,” said the National Priorities Project. “It’s robbing programs that we need, like the discontinued child tax credit that cut child poverty by half.”

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 12-1-2022 by Common Dreams

F-35A Lightning II drops a 2,000-pound GBU-31 bomb. Photo: Public Domain

Anti-war advocates blasted U.S. lawmakers on Thursday, one day after it was reported that Congress is expected to pass an $847 billion military budget for the coming fiscal year even though the Pentagon recently failed its fifth consecutive annual audit and nearly 40 million people nationwide are living in poverty.

Last month, “the Pentagon once again failed to pass a basic audit showing that it knows where its money goes,” the National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies said in a statement. “And instead of holding out for any kind of accountability, Congress stands ready to give a big raise to an agency that failed to account for more than 60% of its assets.” Continue reading

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The US Christian Right groups actively involved in voter suppression

OPINION: Religious and anti-abortion groups are trying to restrict voting rights ahead of the midterm elections

By Annika Brockschmidt  Published 11-3-2022 by openDemocracy

Occupy Wall Street joined the NAACP as thousands marched in midtown Manhattan on December 10, 2011 to defend voting rights. Photo: Michael Fleshman/flickr/CC

Anyone who wants a future in today’s Republican Party must openly claim that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump, or at least dance around the question of electoral fraud enough to appease their dear leader.

Meanwhile, a coalition of conservative dark money groups with strong ties to the religious Right have made it their mission to curb voting rights in potentially election-deciding swing states. They are using allegations of Democratic voter fraud and ‘election integrity’ as tactics to engage in voter suppression. Continue reading

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‘Drowning Our Democracy’: US Billionaires Have Pumped Nearly $900,000,000 Into Midterms

“Billionaires represent 0.000002% of the American population, but they’re responsible for 7.4% of all political donations so far this cycle,” according to Americans for Tax Fairness.

By Jessica Corbett  Published 11-3-2022 by Common Dreams

Peter Thiel speaking with attendees at the 2022 Converge Tech Summit at The Waste Management Phoenix Open at the Skybar at TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/CC

With under a week until the U.S. midterm elections, Americans for Tax Fairness revealed Thursday that billionaires have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into campaigns this cycle, largely to benefit Republican candidates.

“A torrent of billionaire cash is drowning our democracy,” declared Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF). “Money talks when it comes to influencing candidates and winning elections, and the loudest voices by far are billionaires pushing for lower taxes so they can accumulate even greater wealth and have even more power and influence.” Continue reading

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‘Earth Is Now Our Only Shareholder’: Founder Gives Away Patagonia to Save the Planet

“Hopefully this will influence a new form of capitalism that doesn’t end up with a few rich people and a bunch of poor people,” said Yvon Chouinard. “We are going to give away the maximum amount of money to people who are actively working on saving this planet.”

By Jessica Corbett  Published 9-14-2022 by Common Dreams

“We needed to find a way to put more money into fighting the crisis while keeping the company’s values intact,” Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard wrote in a letter explaining his family’s ownership decision. (Photo: Patagonia/Facebook)

Patagonia founder and “reluctant billionaire” Yvon Chouinard just raised the bar for corporate action on the fossil fuel-driven planetary emergency.

The 83-year-old, his wife Malinda, and their adult children, Fletcher and Claire, gave away the company, valued at about $3 billion. The rock climber-turned-businessman explained the decision in an interview published Wednesday by The New York Times, along with a letter on the outdoor clothing retailer’s website. Continue reading

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