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?”
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?
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
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.
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.