Tuesday, November 6, 2012
"Money Out, Voters In" a New Joint Effort to Protect Democracy Is Launched
The Center for Media and Democracy is joining with more than fifty other organizations to address two critical threats to our democratic system: the distorting effect of money in U.S. elections and the wave of efforts to make it harder for Americans to vote. Under the banner "Money Out, Voters In" the organizations announced that they would be jointly working to mobilize after Election Day to challenge dark money in elections and restore Americans' voting rights.
California Elections Board Peels Back Layer of Dark Money Onion, Finds More Onion
California's election board successfully compelled a "dark money" group that spent $11 million on ballot initiatives in that state to reveal the source of their funding -- but the donors are other dark money groups tied to the Koch brothers and Karl Rove's political machine, which also don't disclose the source of their funds. They managed to peel back one layer of the dark money onion, but discovered little of value -- they only found more onion.
Koch's Americans for Prosperity Brings Ann Coulter to Madison in a Last-Minute Push to Stop "Obama's Failing Agenda"
On Sunday, November 4, Madison's Monona Terrace hosted a rally for the Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a "grassroots" nonprofit founded and funded by billionaire industrialist David Koch. AFP's last-minute Wisconsin rallies are the final move in their sprawling "Obama's Failed Agenda" bus tour, which is criss-crossing the nation with multiple buses and rallies in a final push to mobilize the Tea Party base. Despite the name, AFP has claimed in numerous press releases that their tour is "non-partisan." However, in Madison, AFP counted on three very partisan speakers: Canadian "health care refugee" Shona Holmes, Wisconsin talk-show host Vicki McKenna, and right-wing author and agitator Ann Coulter.
No Retreat, No Surrender: Obama and the Boss in Madison for Final Push for Baldwin
With polls showing Wisconsin Senate candidates Tammy Baldwin and Tommy Thompson in a statistical dead heat, Obama swept into Madison, Wisconsin for an early morning rally on his final day of campaigning. The Obama campaign hopes to lock up the state and give a boost to Baldwin, as the candidates addressed a wildly enthusiastic crowd against a backdrop of blue skies and a white State Capitol building, that looks a heck of a lot like the U.S. Capitol. On the plane with Obama, one of his most effective bridges to those few remaining undecided voters, Bruce Springsteen.
Why Don't We Know What "Dark Money" Groups Have Spent On the Election?
"Dark money groups" that do not disclose their donors not only refuse to be transparent about where they get their money, in many cases they are not transparent about how they spend it. Dark money only accounts for about one-quarter of the over $1 billion in outside election spending reported to the Federal Election Commission, but because of gaps in reporting requirements, the actual percentages -- and the actual totals for outside spending -- are certainly much higher.
Last-Minute Move by Ohio Secretary of State Could Impact Election
An order from Ohio's Secretary of State just four days before the election could jeopardize votes from individuals who cast provisional ballots in this swing state -- and possibly the results of the presidential election: Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, an alum of the American Legislative Exchange Council, issued an order on Friday evening that essentially instructs poll workers to reject provisional ballots if voters make small errors on the supporting paperwork -- specifically on the question about what form of identification a voter showed to election officials.
Koch's AFP Complains about Gas Prices, but Koch Speculation Helps Fuel High Prices at the Pump
At the Mt. View gas station in Wausau, Wisconsin last week, some motorists were able to secure a gallon of gas for $1.84, thanks to a subsidy from David Koch's Americans for Prosperity. These astroturf publicity stunts have taken place at gas stations around the country in recent weeks as part of AFP's effort to mobilize votes for Mitt Romney by drawing attention to an alleged rise in gas prices since President Barack Obama took office. But since most experts attribute the rise in gas prices to long term trends and crude oil commodity speculation, AFP's hijinks only underscore the role of Wall Street speculators -- including the Kochs themselves -- in jacking up critical commodity prices on average Americans.
Outside Election Spending Up at least 400% Since 2008
Reported spending by outside groups like Super PACs and dark money organizations has topped $1.11 billion, a 400 percent increase over total spending in 2008, according to a new analysis from Demos and U.S. PIRG.
Hurricane Sandy Endorses Obama: Storm Provides a Counter-Narrative to Fossil Fuel Campaign Contributions
The fossil fuel industry has paid a hefty price for the privilege of framing the political discourse about America's energy future. Hundreds of millions have flowed into campaign coffers from energy companies attempting to purchase complete freedom to drill, frack, and burn. Huge "dark money" groups, the Koch's, Karl Rove, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, join dozens of oil and gas industry associations in pouring money into television ad campaigns demanding "energy independence," while trashing wind and solar.
Bradley Foundation Bankrolls Controversial Billboards, Treading onto New Ground
Although the Einhorn Family Foundation admitted to being the "private family foundation" behind the controversial "Voter Fraud is a Felony!" billboards that recently appeared in neighborhoods of color in Milwaukee and two Ohio cities, news broke Wednesday they secured the funds for similar billboards in 2010 from the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, a major funder of right-wing organizations that push the voter fraud myth.
"Bainport" Workers Protest Vulture Capitalism; Ask Romney to Stop Sensata from Outsourcing Their Jobs to China
Late in the evening on Halloween about 100 people gather around the campfire in "Bainport," Illinois, marking the 50th day of the encampment. People gather close to warm up as they help each other put on hand-made vulture masks and prepare for an evening rally. Out of the dark comes a procession of Sensata workers, holding letters from the Wisconsin "Overpass Light Brigade" that spell out "Vulture in Chief." Leading the procession is a puppet of Mitt Romney flanked by two huge vultures. They walk past the campfire as their families and supporters join the march in their vulture masks, slowly crossing the road to the parking lot of the Sensata plant, to take a picture of their message in front of their soon-to-be-former place of employment.
Can Democrats Hold on to Hard Won Wisconsin State Senate?
Democrats have a one-seat majority in the Wisconsin Senate after three Republicans lost seats in historic recall elections, but 16 seats are up for grabs in November, and with them the balance of power. In recent weeks, many have focused on the race between Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin and former governor Tommy Thompson, which may determine who holds the majority in the U.S. Senate, but the state Senate races are significant because many Wisconsinites are concerned about having a firewall against embattled Governor Scott Walker's 2013 legislative agenda.
Crossroads GPS Makes Final Ad Buys in U.S. Senate Races
Karl Rove's dark money group Crossroads GPS and Super PAC American Crossroads are spending $10.5 million on Senate ads in the final week of the election, which is likely the largest one week buy from any group this election cycle, Politico reports.
Control of U.S. Senate May Depend on Close Wisconsin Race
New polls show Rep. Tammy Baldwin, the Democratic candidate for Wisconsin's vacant U.S. Senate seat, with a four-point lead over her Republican challenger, former governor Tommy Thompson, in a race which may determine control of the Senate and had previously been considered a lock for Republicans. If Baldwin is elected she would likely follow in the footsteps of Wisconsin's Russ Feingold and be one of the more independent and progressive members of the U.S. Senate.