Public Citizen’s Money and Democracy Update

11 Dec
Issue #89 • December 9, 2011

“Money and Democracy Update” is Public Citizen’s weekly e-newsletter about the intersection of money and politics. It is part of our ongoing campaign to track the results of — and ultimately overturn — the U.S. Supreme Court’s reckless decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allows for-profit corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to support or attack political candidates. We’ll update you regularly with select news stories and blog posts, legislative developments and ways to get involved.

Stunning Statistics of the Week:

  • 42: Number of billionaires who have donated to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign
  • 30: Number of billionaires who have donated to President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign
  • 20: Number of billionaires who have donated to GOP presidential contender Rick Perry’s campaign
  • 12: Number of billionaires who have donated to GOP presidential contender Jon Huntsman Jr.’s campaign

It’s not too late to sign up for Dec. 15 organizing parties
Public Citizen and other groups are coordinating house parties next week to plan for actions around Jan. 21, the two-year anniversary of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that let corporations spend as much as they want to sway elections. The Dec. 15 house parties will feature Jim Hightower, national radio commentator, writer, public speaker and author. Sign up now!

Mass. AG backs constitutional amendment
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley this week became the first state attorney general to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

Speaking of firsts: Los Angeles is first big city to call for constitutional amendment
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously called this week for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Los Angeles is the largest of a growing number of municipalities to call for the abolition of corporate personhood.

STOCK Act hits a hurdle
Legislation to make congressional insider trading illegal, which has been steaming through the legislative process, has hit a bump. It had a hearing this week before the House Financial Services Committee and was scheduled to be considered again on Dec. 14. But GOP leadership stepped in and cancelled the hearing. Good government groups are crying foul.

Protesters swarm nation’s capital, pay visit to top lobbying firm
Occupy protesters this week shut down K Street – where many well-heeled corporate lobbying firms and restaurants they patronize are located – and swarmed other parts of the nation’s capital. They stood outside fundraising events, conducted sit-ins at congressional offices and even paid a visit to the Podesta Group, a top lobbying firm. “K Street is the place to be if you’re going to stop the moneybags who are corrupting our government,” a 75-year-old Tennessee minister told The Washington Post.

ALEC draws protests
The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) held its national convention at a plush resort in Scottsdale, Ariz., this past week. The little-known, but extremely influential corporate-backed membership organization and policy clearinghouse for state legislators was met with inspired counter-protests by a diverse array of activists and ground.

Dollars and Cents (even more news bites):

… U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has introduced a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United

… Bloomberg has identified 60 lobbyists who are raising money for three GOP presidential contenders …

… GOP contender Newt Gingrich’s apparent mixing of book selling and fundraising is raising eyebrows.

Visit DemocracyIsForPeople.org to learn more!

To get regular e-alerts about opportunities for activism and other ways to help with Public Citizen’s work, sign up for the Public Citizen Action Network. To unsubscribe, go to http://action.citizen.org/unsubscribe.jsp.
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