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-By Dan Froomkin
March 12, 2012- WASHINGTON -- CEOs may think twice before making what they intend to be secret campaign donations from their corporate treasuries, now that a progressive reform group is offering a $25,000 reward to the first employee who rats one of them out.
"We think there are a lot of big corporations on the bubble about whether they're going to use corporate funds to try to affect the outcome of the election," said Bob Creamer, a consultant with Americans United for Change, the group offering the bounty.
"And we want to make it clear that they cannot take that kind of action without the risk of economic consequences."
A key factor for CEOs, Creamer said, will be whether or not they are confident that their corporate contribution will remain secret.
Sarah van Gelder on a record season of corporate-funded political advertising and what it means for the 99 percent.
February 27, 2012- Campaign season is in full swing, especially in key states, where residents may see twelve political campaign ads in an hour of television viewing—many of them attack ads aimed at the sponsoring party's opponent. It is estimated that in 2012 $3.5 billion will be spent on political advertising.
Sarah van Gelder, YES! Magazine's executive editor, was interviewed on Free Speech TV's new show Occupy the Media about the effects of Citizens United on corporate spending, political advertising, and what it all means for the 99 percent.
February 23, 2012- The presidential primary season is being brought to you by a handful of multimillionaires and companies who have propped up the candidates with enormous donations to their “super PACs.” Just two dozen or so individuals, couples and companies have given more than 80 percent of the money collected by super PACs, or $54 million, according to disclosure forms released on Monday.
Freed of nearly all regulations or good sense by Citizens United and other court decisions, the super PACs are raising money in ludicrously large sums. The $10 million from Sheldon and Miriam Adelson to Winning Our Future, which has sustained Newt Gingrich’s trailing campaign, is the biggest single donation to a candidate. But every candidate now has his own millionaire supporter, and the concentration of wealth in the campaign is growing.
This story is part of a larger profile appearing in the March 12th, 2012 issue of FORBES magazine. The complete cover story will appear online beginning Wednesday, February 22nd.
-By Steven Bertoni
February 21, 2012- Sheldon Adelson plays as stubbornly in politics as he does in business. So the criticisms that he’s trying to personally buy the presidential election for Newt Gingrich are met with a roll of the eyes. “Those people are either jealous or professional critics,” Adelson tells me during his first interview since he and his wife began funneling $11 million, with another $10 million injection widely expected, into the former speaker’s super PAC, Winning Our Future. “They like to trash other people. It’s unfair that I’ve been treated unfair—but it doesn’t stop me. I might give $10 million or $100 million to Gingrich.”
Adelson, the 78-year-old CEO of casino giant Las Vegas Sands, certainly can afford to: With a net worth of roughly $25 billion, that $11 million, which jolted Gingrich’s flatlining presidential bid back to life, equates to 0.044% of his fortune. For someone with a $1 million net worth, the equivalent would be $440, or a two-night stay at Adelson’s Venetian casino. Adelson could personally fund an entire presidential campaign—say, $1 billion or so—and not even notice.
Sasha Issenberg: "From a technological perspective, the 2012 campaign will look to many voters much the same as 2008 did. There will not be a major innovation that seems to herald a new era in electioneering, like 1996's debut of candidate Web pages or their use in fundraising four years later; like online organizing for campaign events in 2004 or the subsequent emergence of social media as a mass-communication tool in 2008. This year's looming innovations in campaign mechanics will be imperceptible to the electorate, and the engineers at Obama's Chicago headquarters...may be at work at one of the most important. If successful, Narwhal would fuse the multiple identities of the engaged citizen--the online activist, the offline voter, the donor, the volunteer--into a single, unified political profile."
-By Richard Lardner
February 13, 2012- WASHINGTON — Despite criticism of Fannie Mae by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, his campaign accepted nearly $280,000 in donations raised by a registered lobbyist who once represented the government mortgage giant and whose clients now include a private equity firm and the drug company Pfizer.
Yet Romney has not identified all of his so-called fundraising "bundlers" who have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, even after President Barack Obama's re-election campaign released the names of his top fundraisers. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich also haven't disclosed their bundlers. Ron Paul's campaign has said it doesn't use them. For more than a decade, since the election of George W. Bush in 2000, presidential campaigns have identified their bundlers.
Washington Post: Supreme Court blocks Mont. court ruling upholding ban on independent campaign spending
Fevruary 17, 2012- WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday blocked a Montana court ruling upholding limits on corporate campaign spending. The state court ruling appears to be at odds with the high court’s 2010 decision striking down a federal ban on those campaign expenditures.
The justices put the Montana ruling on hold while they consider an appeal from corporations seeking to be free of spending limits. The state argues, and the Montana Supreme Court agreed, that political corruption gave rise to the century-old ban on corporate campaign spending.
In the 2010 Citizens United case, a sharply divided Supreme Court ruled that independent spending by corporations does “not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a dissenter in Citizens United, issued a brief statement for herself and Justice Stephen Breyer saying that campaign spending since the decision makes “it exceedingly difficult to maintain that independent expenditures by corporations ‘do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.’”