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Because of partisan gridlock in Washington, the Supreme Court has become the most powerful and outspoken branch of government – decisions they make shape our democracy’s fate for generations to come. Now, one has only to look at Bush v. Gore, Citizens United, and the Affordable Care Act rulings to understand why some call it a “one-percent Court” -- dedicated by majority rule to preserving the power and influence of a minority of wealthy special interests.
The Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel and Jamie Raskin, constitutional law professor and Maryland state senator, join Bill to discuss how the uncontested power of the Supreme Court is changing our elections, our country, and our lives. The two joined forces for a special upcoming issue of The Nation entitled “The One Percent Court.”
Huffington Post: Senate Races 2012: Conservative Groups Seek GOP Senate Control With Tens Of Millions In Ads
-By Paul Blumenthal
September 13, 2012- WASHINGTON -- All eyes are fixed on the money race between President Barack Obama, Republican nominee Mitt Romney and the outside groups cheering them on with attack ads. That attention may allow one of the biggest money stories in the 2012 election to fly under the radar. In the fight for control of the Senate, a coalition of conservative groups have pummelled Democratic senators and candidates in the nation's closest races for more than a year in an attempt to wrest control of the chamber and make Sen. Mitch McConnell the next Majority Leader.
Since the beginning of last year, these conservative groups have poured more than $50 million into ads -- both those reported to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and so-called "issue" ads that are not -- targeting seven of the closest Senate races in the country, according to sources in Democratic campaigns, other ad-watching sources, and a series of publicly-reported figures and those collected from news reports and press releases. This compares to the slightly more than $20 million spent by liberal-allied groups on ads in these seven races.
-By Dan Froomkin
August 31, 2012- WASHINGTON -- A new report from Congress' nonpartisan research arm suggests that the Internal Revenue Service won't have much patience with the argument from groups like Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS that the ads it buys shouldn't be counted as political campaign activity.
The claim that ads attacking candidates aren't political -- as long as they avoid words like "vote" or "elect" -- is key to the empire of shadowy non-disclosing political groups that Rove, the Koch Brothers and other major political players have created.
By insisting that most of their budget goes toward "issue advocacy," rather than influencing elections, these groups exploit a loophole that allows certain non-political groups to keep their donors secret.
-By Sheelah Kolhatkar
August 31, 2012- On the final morning of the Republican National Convention, Karl Rove took the stage at the Tampa Club to provide an exclusive breakfast briefing to about 70 of the Republican Party’s highest-earning and most powerful donors. During the more than hour-long session, Rove explained to an audience dotted with hedge fund billionaires and investors—including John Paulson and Wilbur Ross—how his super PAC, American Crossroads, will persuade undecided voters in crucial swing states to vote against Barack Obama. He also detailed plans for Senate and House races, and joked, “We should sink Todd Akin. If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!”
Then Rove pleaded with his audience for more money—much more.
-By Peter H. Stone
August 28, 2012- TAMPA, Fla. -- A shift of power from the official Republican party apparatus to an informal coalition of megadonors, super PACs and nonprofit advocacy groups is underway here, as a rising shadow party increasingly drives GOP politics.
Mel Sembler, a Florida shopping mall magnate and a key member of the Romney campaign's finance team, is planning to open his home Tuesday for a few hours to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future to let the group's leaders chat up potential donors on their plans, according to GOP fundraisers who requested anonymity to preserve their relationship with the groups.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday afternoon, top strategists for three powerhouse GOP allies -- the Karl Rove-founded Crossroads groups; billionaires Charles and David Koch, who founded Americans for Prosperity; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- are planning to huddle at a local hotel to coordinate efforts to spend tens of millions more on television ads and voter turnout, according to sources close to the groups, who were not authorized to speak on their behalf.
Huffingrton Post: Awash In Secret Donations, Republicans Reverse Support For Campaign Finance Disclosure
-By Paul Blumenthal
-By Ned Resnikoff
August 2, 2012- Fifty-seven percent of all super PAC donations in this election has come from a small circle of just 47 donors, says a new report by Demos. Those are the donors who have given over $1 million each; those who have given over $10,000 account for 94 percent of all Super PAC fundraising.
"[O]ur research shows that outside spending groups that aggregate unlimited contributions are distorting our democracy, functioning as megaphones for (sometimes unseen) millionaires and moguls," the report says. The authors, Adam Lioz and Blair Bowie, recommend a Constitutional amendment to allow limits on campaign contributions, among other proposed remedies.
-By Jason Easley
July 24, 2012- In his new report, America For Sale: A Report on Billionaires Buying the 2012 Election, Sen. Bernie Sanders named names and called out the billionaires who using Citizens United to buy our democracy.
In front of a Senate panel today, Sen. Bernie Sanders outed the 26 billionaires who are members of 23 billionaire families that are using Citizens United to buy elections. Sen. Sanders estimated that these 26 billionaires are the tip of the iceberg. “My guess is that number is really much greater because many of these contributions are made in secret. In other words, not content to own our economy, the 1 percent want to own our government as well.”
-By Eric W. Dolan
July 25, 2012- A third complaint has been filed with the Federal Election Commission alleging that Crossroads GPS, a group co-founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove, has been unlawfully hiding its donors from the public by masquerading as a “social welfare” organization.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed the complaint on Tuesday, claiming the pro-Republican group failed to report TV ads it ran against three Democratic Senate candidates to the FEC.
“Crossroads GPS wants to have its cake and eat it too. Karl Rove’s secretive 501(c)(4) wants to run political ads without complying with the disclosure rules applicable to such ads,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “By disguising political ads as issue ads, Crossroads is trying to do an end run around the law.”