Tag Archives: Campaign Finance

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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‘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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Sinema Received Over $500K From Private Equity Before Shielding Industry From Tax Hikes

“Remember the days when taking half a million bucks from an industry, and then passing legislation that only benefits that industry, while passing the costs onto everyone else, would be called corruption?” asked one critic. “Today it’s just lobbying as usual.”

By Kenny Stancil  Published 8-8-2022 by Common Dreams

A mobile billboard criticizing Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) is seen in Washington, D.C. on August 7, 2022. (Photo: Patriotic Millionaires)

Senate Democrats passed a pared-backed reconciliation package on Sunday, but only after a pair of widely supported provisions that would have made it harder for Wall Street tycoons to reduce their tax bills were removed at the behest of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema—the right-wing Arizona Democrat who has taken more than $500,000 in campaign contributions from private equity executives during the current election cycle.

“Remember the days when taking half a million bucks from an industry, and then passing legislation that only benefits that industry, while passing the costs onto everyone else, would be called corruption?” Brown University political economist Mark Blyth asked on social media. “Today it’s just lobbying as usual.” Continue reading

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Just 27 Billionaires Have Spent $90 Million to Buy GOP Congress: Report

“They’re counting on that ‘small’ investment in anti-tax Republicans to save them billions in taxes,” said Americans for Tax Fairness, which conducted the analysis.

By Kenny Stancil  Published 7-18-2022 by Common Dreams

Stephen Schwarzman, co-founder and CEO of Blackstone, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 23, 2018. Photo: World Economic Forum/flickr/CC

A few dozen billionaires are spending tens of millions of dollars on the 2022 midterm elections—mostly to support Republican candidates, including many who have parroted the dangerous lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen—in a bid to ensure that Congress is full of lawmakers willing “to make their wealthy benefactors even richer,” according to a fresh analysis.

Titled Billionaires Buying Elections, the report from Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) details how “billionaires are increasingly using their personal fortunes and the profits of connected corporations to drown out regular voters’ voices and elect hand-picked candidates who further rig the nation’s economy—especially the tax system.” 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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