FROM Tara Malloy
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, Secrecy and Control of the Congress For months, the Tea Party movement has dominated political news but, with a few exceptions, its candidates have not done very well. That trend continued yesterday in primary results from Michigan, Missouri and Kansas. The 800-pound gorilla in November's final elections will be unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions, legalized by the US Supreme Court's ruling this January in the Citizens United case.
Corporate Campaign Fundraising Goes into Overdrive The Tea Party movement has made political headlines, but the big news in this year's congressional races will be money. In January, the Supreme Court legalized unlimited campaign spending by corporations and unions, and corporate America is hoping to change control of the Congress. Right now, Democrats have more cash on hand, but corporate support for Republicans will be massive and contributors can remain anonymous. Money and secrecy can be a potent political combination. We talk about their potential impact on November's mid-term elections.
Getting answers on phone taps, Russia and leaking The Directors of the FBI and the NSA testified on Capitol Hill today there's no evidence for President Trump's claim he was wire-tapped by former President Obama. We'll hear about that and the investigation into Russian tampering with last year's presidential campaign.
Political appointments and the reshaping of the judiciary President Trump has the chance for a long-term impact -- not just on the US Supreme Court, but on the entire federal court system. And his nominees are likely to get the support of a massive spending campaign by donors who don't have to reveal their names. Can President Trump "pack" the federal court system?
America's top diplomat faces challenges in Asia Whatever happened to America's "pivot to Asia?" That's just one of the questions left hanging since Rex Tillerson's first trip there as Secretary of State. Is the Trump Administration hoping to change Foreign Policy or maintain the status quo?
The 'deconstruction' of the administrative state President Trump has failed to fill high-level positions in important agencies — and some people he has named want to phase out the agencies they're supposed to lead. We look at the possible consequences for delivering services and providing security — and at top aide Steve Bannon's plans for "deconstructing the administrative state."