In 2010, the late Justice John Paul Stevens wrote a scathing dissent in Citizens United v. FEC, an infamous Supreme Court ruling that gave corporations and special interest groups unprecedented power to spend on American politics. In that dissent, Stevens chided his fellow Justices for failing to recognize that corporations “are not themselves members of ‘We the People’ by whom and for whom our Constitution … Continue reading Senate Dems Introduce Amendment to Erase the Dark Legacy of Citizens United
The saga of Boeing’s failed 737 Max has been continuously in and out of the news since the horrible crashes involving the aircraft in Ethiopia and Malaysia. This is somewhat unusual for a media environment with such a short attention span, but there’s a reason Boeing’s failure is the story that just won’t go away. The more that investigators and journalists dig into the crashes, … Continue reading Negligence, Corruption, and the 737 Max: Boeing Shows the Rot in Our Regulatory System
“Ultimately, progress must come from all corners of society.” Those words came from an unlikely source on Tuesday, when Genna Gent, Vice President of Government Relations for McDonald’s, sent a letter to the National Restaurant Association announcing that the fast-food behemoth would no longer lobby against minimum wage increases at federal, state, or local levels. Instead, she said, the company would move to “advance – … Continue reading The Golden Arches Stand Down in the Fight for $15
There is no amount of money that equals the worth of a human life. This should be the preface to every debate we have about our gun laws in this country, and the only afterword to every mass shooting. It is what we should remind ourselves of, shamefully, when our government does absolutely nothing to stop the next shooting because of the stranglehold that the … Continue reading Campaign Finance Reform Will Literally Save Lives
This blog is one in a series on HR 1, the For The People Act. Corporate Spending on Elections As their first order of business, House Democrats introduced HR 1 as soon as the new 2019 Congress came into session. An anti-corruption, pro-democracy reform bill, the For The People Act is aimed at improving our democracy for all Americans by limiting the corrupting influence of … Continue reading What’s in HR 1? Corporate Spending on Elections
This week, Senator Mitch McConnell authored a piece in the Washington Post where he falsely portrayed HR 1, the House Democrat’s sweeping anti-corruption, pro-democracy reform bill, as a partisan attack on political freedom. In the process, McConnell revealed just how little he or his Republican colleagues actually care about the core tenets of our democracy, and how blatantly he’s willing to lie to preserve whatever … Continue reading Why is Senator Mitch McConnell Against Improving Our Democracy?
We’re a month into the government shutdown, and many working Americans, small businesses, and local communities are starting to feel the the economic strain from a lack of crucial government services. Contrary to popular belief, Washington, DC isn’t the only city affected – rural communities across the country are feeling the pressure, particularly those that rely on visitors to federal lands that are suffering from … Continue reading The Shutdown is Hurting Rural Communities
This week marks the ninth anniversary of the Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (FEC) ruling. In the 5-4 decision on January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court drastically altered the influence of money in American politics, and absolutely none of it for the good. (Check out last year’s blog for an in-depth recap of the case.) Ultimately, that ruling in Citizens United’s favor decided that … Continue reading HR 1 Is the Campaign Finance Reform We’ve Been Waiting For
We’ve all seen the ongoing breakdown in the Wisconsin political system caused by Republicans in the WI statehouse. Rather than respect the outcome of this November’s election, legislators are working to undermine the incoming Democrat governor-elect, Tony Evers. This has earned widespread outrage at the state’s Republican legislators, but what few people know is that they’re not acting alone. Walgreens is financially supporting the power … Continue reading Money in Politics in Wisconsin
Restaurant employees across the nation are facing a serious threat to their wages, pushed by the legal arm of the National Restaurant Association, or “the other NRA.” Just as the National Rifle Association is a front group for weapons manufacturers (they are majority-funded by them, not concerned citizens), the National Restaurant Association is a front group for restaurant owners. They routinely oppose policies that would … Continue reading Show Up Against Wage Theft
It’s hard to deny that our democracy is in crisis. Two years after the 2016 Presidential election, we’re still uncovering bits and pieces of the fraud, foreign interference, and fake news that brought us this administration.
In her recent piece in the New Yorker “Gospels of Giving for the New Gilded Age,” Elizabeth Kolbert rightly calls out the American donor class for their underwhelming philanthropic leanings. Too many ultra-wealthy Americans spend millions of dollars on efforts that may purport to make the world a better place, but that in many instances do nothing but serve to further their own ideological vision for what our society should look like.
What’s happening to our country? The Supreme Court just upheld President Trump’s travel ban. The Trump administration is determined to reduce all categories of immigration, including those seeking refuge and asylum from horrible conditions in their countries. Just this quarter, the administration has separated immigrant children from parents at the border, creating a massive outcry across our country. Uniquely a country of immigrants, starting with … Continue reading Blaming Our Woes on Immigrants is Fake News
Since 1984, when CoreCivic got the first contract to operate a for-profit prison, there has been a massive increase in private corporations finding ways to enrich themselves off mass incarceration. While it is unclear whether private interests or tough-on-crime public policy first fueled this epidemic, the result is that the U.S. has five times as many inmates as any other country. Unfortunately, this crisis touches … Continue reading Prisoners Can’t Support Their Families, But They Can Make Investors Rich
Since our country’s founding, dynastic wealth has threatened to upend the democratic principles promoted in the constitution. The influence of money in politics was first seen in the three-fifths compromise, and its pervasive nature has not been fully challenged since. Tax Day provides us with a moment to reflect on how our democracy is funded, and with the ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, the … Continue reading Tackling Dynastic Wealth will be the Challenge of Our Generation
Are you afraid? I cannot believe that you, members of the NRA, are not shaken to the core by the relentless occurrence of mass murders in this country. Whether you are moved by frustration, anger, or humaneness, isn’t it time for you to do something about it? To be blunt, you have the power! If you really are the five million NRA members who … Continue reading Dear NRA Members
A careful read of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission would appear to indicate that the only way to preserve our democracy is to avoid any means of disproportionate influence — which the Supreme Court (SC) has failed to do. My first blog on the Citizens United decision argued that a gross imbalance of money on one side of two … Continue reading Is it Time For the Public Financing of Elections?
Since the Citizens United vs Federal Elections Committee ruling over 8 years ago, the amount of money in politics has grown exponentially. Contributions from the National Rifle Association (NRA) are no exception. With the alarming number of mass shootings taking place in this country, it’s time we take a closer look at what we are sacrificing as a country by allowing these contributions to continue … Continue reading Money, politics, and the NRA
Does this decision support a level playing field in the marketplace of ideas? The whole point of the constitutional founders was to keep the marketplace of ideas open to all. Had the Supreme Court drawn a parallel with what actually happens in the marketplace of products and the corresponding promotional budgets among the competing products, they may have reconsidered. A marketplace of products in terms … Continue reading The Utter Morass of the Citizens United Decision
After the Supreme Court decided that George W. Bush won the 2000 election in which thousands of Black voters were purged from Florida’s voter registry because of similar names to actual criminals, a reporter named Greg Palast wrote a book titled “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy” in which he asserted that the election had been stolen by such shenanigans perpetrated by the Rich and … Continue reading Creating a Corporatocracy