FROM Dave Levinthal
Big Money Still Talks at the Conventions Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned as chair of the Democratic National Committee in part because of leaked emails revealing the role of big money in this year's campaign. But while Hillary Clinton and others denounced the role of the US Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling in opening political floodgates to corporate money, corporations — and individual donors — were part of the action in Philadelphia, just as they were in Cleveland. Dave Levinthal is senior reporter at the Center for Public Integrity .
Clinton’s $40 Million v. Trump’s $1 Million Trump may be rich, but according to recent filings with the Federal Election Commission, he started this month with just a little more than $1 million in his campaign account. Clinton’s campaign was about $40 million dollars richer. Trump’s campaign staff is made up of about 70 people; there are about 700 people working for the Clinton campaign. What does this mean for the upcoming campaign between the two?
The GOP and the Road to the White House Three freshman Senators are already campaigning for next year's Republican presidential nomination — but they won't be lonely. Nine others are likely to compete against Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz from Texas -- and now, Florida's Marco Rubio . Yesterday, when Rubio announced his run for the Republican presidential nomination, he didn't mention Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton — by name. He didn't have to. "This election is a generational choice about what kind of country we will be. Just yesterday a leader from yesterday began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday. Yesterday is over" We hear where they differ so far and how each might play with Latino Voters, moderates, mega-donors — and the base of the Republican Party.
In This Year’s Mid-Term Elections, It’s Big Money versus Big Money The US Supreme Court has taken the lid off campaign spending limits. Super PAC’s can spend as much as they want to. The result is that almost $4 billion will have been spent on campaigns for the Senate and Congress by the time the voting is over. Some races aren’t even controlled by the candidates any more. The real players are big spending “outsiders, ”some of whom can contribute in secret. And it turns out that Democrats are so much a party of rich donors they’re sometimes beating Republicans at their own game. But, while everybody says they hate being inundated by TV spots, most voters learn what they know from political advertising.
Montana, Citizens United and Government Corruption Two years ago, the US Supreme Court took the limits off campaign spending by corporations and wealthy donors in the case Citizens United versus the Federal Elections Commission . That's raised a firestorm over the influence of money in politics. The State of Montana calls that an invitation to government corruption and the Supreme Court of Montana has decided to keep the state's contribution limits in effect. Will the high court take another look? We hear from the Governor of Montana and others.
Free Speech and Government Corruption The US Supreme Court has ordered Montana to abolish historic limits on campaign contributions to comply with its 2010 Citizens United decision . Montana says, "No," insisting that money is already corrupting state politics for the first time in 100 years. Reformers claim Citizens United created this year's Super PAC's and billion-dollar campaigns funded by corporations and wealthy people. Will the Supreme Court take another look, or are "reformers" trying to impose limits on free speech they just don't like?
After Iowa: What's Next for the GOP Race? The Iowa caucuses failed to produce a clear winner, and it’s on to New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida before the end of this month. Rick Santorum came within 8 votes of 1st-place Mitt Romney, and Ron Paul was not far behind. But nobody got more than 25% of the vote. A dismal finish drove Michelle Bachman out of the race—but Rick Perry may still be a contender. Newt Gingrich says he’s not ready to quit.
Iowa’s Over. Let the Campaign Begin… The Iowa caucuses failed to produce a clear winner, and it’s on to New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida before the end of this month. Rick Santorum came within 8 votes of 1st-place Mitt Romney, and Ron Paul was not far behind. But nobody got more than 25% of the vote. A dismal finish drove Michelle Bachman out of the race—but Rick Perry may still be a contender. Newt Gingrich says he’s not ready to quit.
FEC Approves Stephen Colbert's SuperPAC After a hearing today before the Federal Election Commission , one reporter said, "Even a gifted comedian can't make campaign-finance law funny." But Stephen Colbert did get at least part of what he asked for, permission to form the Colbert SuperPAC , or Political Action Committee, so he could collect and spend campaign money, without being required to disclose where it came from. Dave Levinthal is communications director for the Center for Responsive Politics, and edits its website, OpenSecrets.com .
Money and Influence on Capitol Hill Two court rulings mean that corporations, unions and other special interests can now spend unlimited amounts of money for and against candidates for the Senate and Congress. If they organize as non-profits, donors don’t have to reveal their names.
Money and Influence on Capitol Hill Supreme Court decisions have unleashed a tide of corporate and special-interest spending that is setting records for mid-term election campaigns. Conservatives and liberals are both using new rules to raise buckets of money, but Republicans are getting three times more than Democrats are. For the most part, it's perfectly legal, but what's the message about the integrity of the Senate and Congress? Are contributions directly related to votes on Capitol Hill? Has the dependence on money eroded public trust in the second branch of government?
Big Money, Political Influence and the Right to Free Speech Three weeks before its next session is scheduled to open -- with Justice Sonia Sotomayor on the bench for the first time, the US Supreme Court today heard a case that could change 100 years of campaign finance laws. Last year, the Federal Elections Commission banned the broadcast of Hillary: The Movie , because it was funded by a corporation. Today's unusual hearing was called for arguments on whether the ban on corporate contributions violates the constitutional right to free speech.
Big Money and the Right to Free Speech In 1907, trust-busting President Teddy Roosevelt persuaded Congress to ban corporations from contributing to political campaigns. Today, three weeks before its next session is scheduled to open -- with Justice Sonia Sotomayor on the bench for the first time, the US Supreme Court heard a case that could reverse more than 100 years of finance laws that now cover unions as well as corporations. Last year, the Federal Elections Commission banned the broadcast of the video Hillary: The Movie because it was funded by a corporation. Today's unusual meeting was called for arguments on whether the ban on corporate contributions violates the constitutional right to free speech. The ACLU and the National Rifle Association advocate letting them spend, in the interests of unlimited free speech. Democrat Russ Feingold and Republican John McCain warn that a flood of money will drown the voices of ordinary citizens.
Galveston and Houston Try to Pick Up the Pieces Hurricane Ike has passed over Texas, but the storm is hardly over with 30 people now dead in eight states along the Gulf Coast and in the Midwest. It's been more than 48 hours since Ike struck Houston and Galveston. Nobody knows how many people are missing, and it may be weeks before many are allowed to return to what's left of their homes. We get an update from Terri Langford of the Houston Chronicle and Dave Levinthal of the Dallas Morning News .
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?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.
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.