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-By Nicolas Confessore
April 23, 2013- A loose coalition of Democratic elected officials, shareholder activists and pension funds has flooded the Securities and Exchange Commission with calls to require publicly traded corporations to disclose to shareholders all of their political donations, a move that could transform the growing world of secret campaign spending.
S.E.C. officials have indicated that they could propose a new disclosure rule by the end of April, setting up a major battle with business groups that oppose the proposal and are preparing for a fierce counterattack if the agency’s staff moves ahead. Two S.E.C. commissioners have taken the unusual step of weighing in already, with Daniel Gallagher, a Republican, saying in a speech that the commission had been “led astray” by “politically charged issues.”
-by Ross Ramsey
April 14, 2013- Bob Perry, a wealthy homebuilder and philanthropist who was among the nation's largest political givers, has died at his home in Nassau Bay, near Houston. He was 80.
His death was confirmed by lobbyist and former state Rep. Neal T. "Buddy" Jones, a family friend and business associate, who said in a statement, "Bob Perry passed away peacefully in his sleep last night. The family asks for privacy right now as they grieve their loss. They look forward to talking with their friends in the coming days."
Jones added a personal note: "Bob Perry was a friend to many, many people all over the United States, and he was a true patriot. He will be sorely missed. Those of us who knew him were blessed by his friendship."
Anthony Holm, a spokesman, also confirmed Perry's death: "Mr. Perry, one of the finest human beings I've ever met, passed away peacefully in his sleep last night."
-By Ian Millhiser
April 5, 2013- Attorney General Eric Holder has a solid record on voting rights, and he’s criticized Republican state lawmaker’s efforts to restrict the franchise in the past — at one point comparing voter ID laws to an unconstitutional poll tax. At a speech in New York yesterday, Holder added a new line to his previous attacks on voter suppression, suggesting that DOJ will respond with legal action if any Republican state lawmakers move forward with their proposals to rig the Electoral College:
Huffington Post: West Virginia House Of Delegates Calls For Citizens United Constitutional Amendment
-By John Celock
March 28, 2013- The Democratic-controlled West Virginia House of Delegates voted Thursday to call on Congress to enact a constitutional amendment overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.
The resolution, which passed 60-39, asks for Congress to draft a constitutional amendment which would allow for corporations to be regulated in terms of how much money they could donate and spend on behalf of political candidates, The State-Journal reported. In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations could not be regulated on campaign spending, deeming that they were covered under the First Amendment to freedom of speech when it came to campaign donations. A number of Democratic lawmakers and others have been seeking to overturn the decision.
-By Peter H Stone
March 24, 2013- California officials have widened an investigation into the source of $11 million that was mysteriously funneled by a few nonprofit groups in 2012 to sway two ballot measures in the state, The Huffington Post has learned.
The state’s election watchdog agency, the Fair Political Practices Commission, which launched the inquiry last November, is working closely with the California attorney general’s office, according to a person familiar with the matter. They have issued about a dozen new subpoenas to individuals and organizations for financial records, according to the person, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the probe.
-By Gil Aegerter
March 18, 2013- An attempt to illegally obtain absentee ballots in Florida last year is the first known case in the U.S. of a cyberattack against an online election system, according to computer scientists and lawyers working to safeguard voting security.
Washington University St. Louis: Voter ID laws posed big hurdle for minority youth in 2012 elections, study confirms
March 14, 2013- At polling places across America in November 2012, Latinos and African Americans under age 30 were disproportionately asked for identification, even in states that do not have voter ID laws, according to a post-election analysis by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Chicago.
“Our study shows that voter ID laws have disproportionately severe consequences for youth of color,” says co-author Jon C. Rogowski, PhD, assistant professor of political science in Arts & Sciences at Washington University.
“Whether the biases are conscious or unconscious, the result of these laws is that people of color are effectively being disenfranchised. Our nation has an obligation to ensure that everyone has equal access to the voting booth.”
The study, released this week by the Black Youth Project, is co-authored by Cathy Cohen, PhD, the David and Mary Winton Green Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago.
-By Gabrielle Dunkley
March 13, 2013- Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) introduced a constitutional amendment on Tuesday, aimed at reversing the Supreme Court's ruling on Citizens United.
Titled "Democracy is for People," the amendment would "stop corporations and their front groups from using their profits and dark money donations to influence our elections," Deutch said in a statement released on Sanders' official website.
-By Erin Fuchs
March 7, 2013- Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was torn to shreds in the media for calling the Voting Rights Act a "racial entitlement" during heated arguments last week.
Section 5 requires part or all of 16 states (mostly in the South) to get permission from the U.S. before changing their election laws, as a way to make sure minorities aren't disenfranchised.