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?”
What is Trump's plan for Middle East peace? On his first foreign tour, President Trump has promised "peace" between Israel and the Palestinians. Are there any details for re-starting talks that have been stalled for the past three years?
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?
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
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.