FROM James Bopp
Does Campaign Finance Reform Have a Future? By a vote of five to four, the US Supreme Court has taken another swipe at 40-year-old Watergate Era reforms designed to restrain the power of money in politics. An individual donor still can't give more than $2600 to a single candidate in a given election — but the total amount he or she can contribute is now unlimited. The majority says removing some limits on individual donors will strengthen democracy. The dissenters call that a threat to the very integrity of government. Political pros envision more money from mega-rich contributors as soon as this year's campaigns for Congress. Will that mean increased corruption, real or apparent? Will what's left of campaign reform survive the next challenge?
Big Money and Stealth Campaigns Since the US Supreme Court declared that private spending is a form of free speech, political campaigns have been as much about money as anything else. Now, the Obama White House is attacking Republicans for hiding the sources of millions of dollars, suggesting they might be raised illegally overseas. Republican agents like Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie are striking back, accusing Democrats of a government-run smear to divert attention from the economy. Even some Democrats are worried about a backfire. Meantime, as the TV commercials multiply, is this the “year of the Missing Candidate?”
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.
White House budget proposal slashes and burns President Trump's first budget request is considered dead on arrival in Congress — a familiar development in Capitol Hill. We hear what it reveals about the priorities of the new administration. What's likely to die… and what might survive?
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.