"When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.'" -- Theodore Roosevelt

Huge number, tiny punishment

NSFWCORP, by David Sirota, 10/21/13

"$13 billion... only a mere 2 percent of the $652 billion JP Morgan Chase raked in since it started committing the alleged crimes in question... Another effect of financialization is Wall Street's power to turn its outsized profits into massive campaign contributions and consequently create an entirely separate legal architecture for itself."  Full story

End of 'dark money'? GOP lawmakers launch initiative for transparency

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, by John S. Adams, 6/5/13

A group of nine Republican state lawmakers and their allies announced the start of a campaign to eliminate anonymous third-party spending in political campaigns. The measure . . . will be on the November 2014 ballot. . . . it will be based on two key sections of Senate Bill 375. That bill, which was backed by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, received bipartisan support in the Senate before dying in a House committee. . . . Buffalo Republican Sen. Jim Peterson, SB 375’s sponsor, said the initiative would require “full transparency” in Montana state elections.  Full story

Montana GOP legislators launch effort to require disclosure of political 'dark money'

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, by Mike Dennison, 6/4/13

Sen. Llew Jones, R-Conrad, who appeared at Monday’s news conference, said there “will never be truth in politics until voters can follow the money.” “Transparency is not a partisan issue,” he said. “It is not partisan that those who speak freely, should have to freely identify themselves. … Lies and half-truths literally were everywhere (in recent election campaigns). This appalled all Montanans, and it brought shame to the process.”  Full story

Shining a light on political donations

Washington Post, by Editorial Board, 5/22/13

"We think openness here is a more valuable public good than is providing a cloak for every fat cat who wants to remain hidden. . . . Now Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has joined with a Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, to offer a fresh attempt at a bipartisan bill, the Follow the Money Act . . . In a political system saturated with cash, transparency is the last, best hope for accountability."  Full story

Billionaires Now Own American Politics

The Progressive, by Andy Kroll, 5/20/13

" . . . [T]he traditional political parties, barred from taking all that limitless cash, seem to be sliding toward irrelevance. They are losing their grip on the political process, political observers say, leaving motivated millionaires and billionaires to handpick the candidates and the issues. "It'll be wealthy people getting together and picking horses and riding those horses through a primary process and maybe upending the consensus of the party," a Democratic strategist recently told me. "We're in a whole new world."  Full story

States Try to Tackle Secret Money in Politics

Los Angeles Times, by Matea Gold, Chris Megerian and Mark Z. Barabak, 5/2/13

Lawmakers in more than a dozen states have proposed legislation to force such groups to disclose their donors. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley signed a measure Thursday requiring independent groups that make election-related donations or expenditures of $6,000 or more . . . to disclose information about their top donors.   Full story

New Koch Brothers Group Revamps Billionaires' Dark Money Operation

Huffington Post, by Peter H. Stone, 4/26/13

The sprawling conservative network backed by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch is being overhauled, with some key Koch operatives moving to a fledgling "dark money" group that is poised to become a chief financing vehicle for the mega donors' political and ideological projects. The new organization, called the Association for American Innovation, is expected to ultimately funnel millions of dollars to other dark money groups nationwide. . . . the association [is] a 501(c)(6) business league . . . allowing some political spending and letting donors remain anonymous . . .   Full story

Reform does work, New York

Hartford Courant, by Denise Merrill and Miles Rapoport, 4/22/13

Connecticut's legislators are able to spend more time focused on the merits of proposals and on the needs of constituents, and less time attending special interest fundraisers . . . . The program is also incredibly popular with both parties. The 2012 election cycle saw a record number of candidates participate: 77 percent of elected legislators used the voluntary program and all statewide offices are currently held by public financing participants.   Full story

N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory, Budget Director Art Pope Aim To End Judicial Public Financing Program

Huffington Post, by Paul Blumenthal, 4/4/13

The governor's first budget proposal, released in March, includes the elimination the judicial public financing program. The inclusion of this provision is raising quite a few eyebrows across the state, as the governor's budget director is retail magnate Art Pope -- who also happens to be the largest political donor in North Carolina.   Full story

Obama Group Organizing For Action Joins New York Push For Campaign Finance Reform

Huffington Post, by Paul Blumenthal, 3/27/13

"The reorganized Obama campaign, now called Organizing for Action, is jumping into the New York state legislative effort, pushed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), to pass campaign finance reform that would include public financing of candidates. . . . the nonprofit OFA will send an email to its 744,000 members in New York on Tuesday endorsing the call for public financing . . ."  Full story

Split Senate backs bill reining in 'dark money'

Associated Press, by Associated Press, 3/25/13

"Republicans supporting the measure said the conservative groups demanded allegiance on certain issues -- and promised harsh and untruthful attacks to candidates that didn't fall in line. 'The most despicable person in westerns is the bushwhacker, the person who sits in the bushes and shoots someone in the back. And that is dark money,' said state Sen. Llew Jones, R-Conrad. 'Dark money is the most destructive thing happening to politics today.'”   Full story

California Officials Turn Up The Heat On Secretive 'Dark Money' Groups

Huffington Post, by Peter H. Stone, 3/24/13

"The involvement of Noble’s group in the California funding chain seems representative of the role it has played in the last two elections. Since its creation in 2009, the center has been a conservative cash conduit with very deep pockets. During the 2010 elections, it funneled almost $55 million to two-dozen other dark money outfits, including the American Future Fund, Americans for Tax Reform and Americans for Job Security. . . . Asked whether the Koch brothers, the company or any of its consultants had any role in funding the fight against the tax hike initiative [Prop. 30], Tappan did not respond."   Full story

Following the (Dark) Money with Matea Gold

NPR, by BillMoyers.com Staff, 3/19/13

" . . . if there is a push for disclosure on one level you kind of run into a wall to find out who the original source is. And that’s exactly what happened in California this year when a group donated $11 million to influence ballot initiatives, and when California regulators tried to follow the trail back they ran into three different (c)(4)s that had been kind of the daisy chain of sources but never the original donor."  Full story

Russ Feingold on the Path to Campaign Finance Reform

Public Campaign, by BillMoyers.com Staff, 3/16/13

"Our agenda is to make it clear to people that we can overturn this [Citizens United] decision. But in the meantime, we can pass disclosure laws. You know, eight to one, the same Court in Citizens United said of course there should be disclosure . . . So getting that through Congress, passing disclosure at the state level, as in California. They’re very close to it."  Full story

Good News: New Mexico Legislature Upgrades Its Public Financing System

Public Campaign, by Adam Smith, 3/14/13

"On Wednesday, the New Mexico State House followed the Senate, by a vote of 68-0, in passing legislation to update the state’s public financing system for judicial and Public Regulation Commission elections. It now heads to Governor Suzanna Martinez’s (R) desk . . ." The legislation is in response to the Supreme Court’s 2011 decision in Arizona Free Enterprise v. Bennett, in which the Court threw out so-called “trigger funds” that were an integral part of “Clean Elections” systems  Full story

Chevron super PAC donation spurs complaint

San Francisco Chronicle, by David R. Baker, 3/6/13

"Chevron's donation supplied roughly 22 percent of the money raised by the super PAC Congressional Leadership Fund for the 2012 election cycle, according to Public Citizen. The fund spent its money on ads attacking Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives."   Full story

Hawaii House Passes Fair Elections Legislation

Public Campaign, by Adam Smith, 3/5/13

"Candidates would be freed from the non-stop chase for campaign cash and accountable solely to their constituents that elected them instead of big money donors. Candidates who don't have access to big money donors or party insiders would be able to run competitive campaigns for office."  Full story

Study shows Super PACs made mockery of campaign law

The Hill, by Taylor Lincoln, 3/5/13

"The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission . . . was not intended to eviscerate laws limiting the size of contributions to candidates and parties. But the data from the 2012 elections show that it has effectively done so."   Full story

Koch World reboots

Politico, by Kenneth P. Vogel, 2/20/13

"The investigation is trying to unmask the original source of a mysterious $11 million donation that was funneled through a key Koch conduit . . . to a California political committee boosting a 2012 ballot measure to restrict union political activity and opposing a separate proposition to raise taxes."   Full story

Non-political nonprofit's spending spikes in election years; "Americans for Job Security" spent millions bashing Obama

Center for Public Integrity, by Dave Levinthal, 2/7/13

"Following an investigation . . . the Alaska Public Offices Commission concluded in a 2009 report that 'Americans for Job Security' has no purpose other than to cover various money trails all over the country.”  Full story

Exposed: The Dark-Money ATM of the Conservative Movement

Daily Kos, by Andy Kroll, 2/5/13

". . . financial underwriters of the climate counter-movement and the conservative agenda writ large give through Donors Trust to wipe their fingerprints off donations . . . 'We just have this great big unknown out there about where all the money is coming from,' he says. And, in the years to come, the unknown will only get bigger."  Full story

Nonprofit spends big on politics despite IRS limitation: American Future Fund has conservative roots

Center for Public Integrity, by Michael Beckel, 1/28/13

"An innocuously named nonprofit, the Iowa-based American Future Fund, proved to be one of the biggest backers of Proposition 32. It is not required to publicly disclose its donors. Its investment in California was part of a nationwide, political advertising spree in 2012 that exceeded $29 million."   Full story

What Democracy Lost in 2012

The American Prospect, by Bob Moser, 1/28/13

Big money goes even further at the state level -- the most important lesson the billionaires learn(ed) from 2012. . . the Koch brothers were zeroing in on state legislatures. In Arkansas . . . still controlled by Democrats, Americans for Prosperity infused upwards of $1 million into legislative races. Voil?: Republicans ended up controlling both legislative chambers.  Full story

Andrew Cuomo, Campaign Finance Reformers See 2013 As The Year For Change In New York

Huffington Post, by Paul Blumenthal, 1/11/13

"In each of his three State of the State addresses, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has given increasing levels of detail to his support for campaign finance reform in the Empire State. He has gone from calling for public financing in 2011 to laying out a comprehensive plan to fix the state's system of funding campaigns, viewed as one of the worst in the nation."  Full story

Billionaire political investors' long game

San Francisco Chronicle, by Robert Reich, 12/28/12

"What's the biggest political lesson of 2012? Some say it's that money doesn't count all that much. Even though billionaires and big corporations poured huge amounts into the 2012 election, they lost big. They learned the lesson and won't try to buy another election. Baloney."  Full story

Big money lost, but don't be relieved

CNN.com, by Richard L. Hasen, 11/9/12

"Those who oppose the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court ruling and the explosion of outside money in politics might be breathing a sigh of relief that more than $1 billion in outside spending did not seem to buy the results. But those concerned about the role of money in politics shouldn't be relieved. Not at all. Here are three reasons to keep worrying."  Full story

Why House races still need small donors

Politico, by Adam Skaggs and Sundeep Iyer, 10/31/12

"To fix our government, we need to empower small donors in federal elections and restore regular voters to their rightful place at the center of our democracy. With the rapid rise of new technology and social media, it is easier than ever for ordinary citizens to get involved in our democracy. Candidates just need an incentive to engage them."  Full story

Secret Political Cash Moves Through Nonprofit Daisy Chain

Bloomberg, by Alison Fitzgerald and Jonathan D. Salant, 10/14/12

An obscure Phoenix-based nonprofit group called the Center to Protect Patient Rights raised $62 million in less than a year that it funneled to other organizations to spend on Congressional campaigns, an example of the growing tactic of using 501(c)(4) non-profits to hide secret sources influencing elections.  Full story

Does GOP campaign literature contain a false statement? Ohio Elections Commission to decide

Cleveland Plain Dealer, by Joe Guillen, 9/20/12

There is probable cause that a piece of anti-Issue 2 campaign literature, distributed by the Ohio Republican Party, violates Ohio election law, members of the Ohio Elections Commission decided on Thursday.  Full story

Fossil Fuel Ads Dominate TV in Campaign

New York Times, by Eric Lipton and Clifford Krauss, 9/13/12

Estimated spending on television ads promoting coal and more oil and gas drilling or criticizing clean energy has exceeded $153 million this year, showing the need for real disclosure on political ads.   Full story

Cynics United: When Did Conservatives Change Their Mind About Campaign Finance Disclosure?

New Republic, by Mark Schmitt, 6/4/12

"A decade ago, when Congress was debating the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, better known as McCain-Feingold, the conservative alternative... proposed to lift all existing regulations on political contributions, and replace them with a regime of immediate and complete disclosure on the Internet."  Full story

Most independent ads for 2012 election are from groups that don?t disclose donors

Washington Post, by Dan Eggen, 4/24/12

Nearly all of the independent advertising being aired for the 2012 general-election campaign has come from interest groups that do not disclose their donors, suggesting that much of the political spending over the next six months will come from sources invisible to the public.  Full story

Serving Shareholders and Democracy

New York Times, Editorial, 8/9/11

US Senate Republicans blocked an attempt by Democrats last year to increase disclosure of campaign donations.  Instead the Securities and Exchange Commission should demand more disclosure of political expenditures to shareholders— as it did with executive pay in the 1990's.   Full story

Perhaps It Was the Campaign Tooth Fairy

New York Times, Editorial, 8/8/11

The secretive world of political giving found $1 million dropped on Mitt Romney’s presidential boosters by a company created solely to make the gift then quickly dissolve.   The gift may violate law against “straw donors” — giving political money in the name of someone else.   Full story

House Dems to Obama: Require contractors to disclose political donations

Washington Post, by T.W. Farnam, 7/28/11

More than 60 House Democrats have signed a letter asking President Obama to order federal contractors to disclose political contributions.  The proposal responds to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which loosened restrictions on corporate campaign donations.  Full story

Rove-Associated Groups Vow $120 Million In Attack Ads, Say More Is Needed

Huffington Post, by Dan Froomkin, Paul Blumenthal, 6/24/11

 The leaders of Karl Rove-associated fundraising groups promise to spend $120 million in the 2012 election cycle, much for attack ads.  Former Republican chairman Duncan said limiting contributions directly to political parties constitutes "restrictions on free speech."  Full story

Advocacy Group Says Justices May Have Conflict in Campaign Finance Cases

New York Times, by ERIC LICHTBLAU, 1/19/11

The progressive good government group Common Cause is trying to get Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Thomas to disqualify themselves from hearing campaign finance cases because they attended conservative fundraising meeting. Common Cause also cited the role of Mr. Thomas’s wife in forming a conservative political group opposed to the Obama administration as grounds for his disqualification.  Full story

Keep Arizona elections clean

New York Times, Editorial, 12/20/10

The Supreme Court has suspended the matching funds portion of Arizona's public campaign finance system. "The court now lets moneyed institutions spend unlimited amounts in politics, so the court must allow this essential part of the Arizona system and mechanisms like it. It must let candidates who need public support have enough public dollars to compete effectively."  Full story

A jury convicts Tom DeLay

New York Times, Editorial, 11/24/10

Texas jury convicts Tom DeLay of money laundering, avoiding a Texas prohibition of corporate contributions to candidates.  Now the Supreme Court allows corporations unlimited contributions to PACs to run ads for or against candidates so laundering is no longer necessary.   Full story

Too much money in politics? Ain't seen nothing yet

Huffington Post, by JIM KUHNHENN, 11/8/10

The next election will bring an explosion of political money – without effective spending limits, a fundraising bar raised sky high by Barack Obama in his presidential campaign in 2008 and multimillion-dollar fuel added by Republican outside groups this year.  Full story

Spending blitz by outside groups helped secure big GOP wins

NBC4-TV, by Michael Isikoff and Rich Gardella , 11/4/10

A coordinated effort by Republican groups, spearheaded by Karl Rove and fueled by tens of millions of dollars in contributions from Wall Street and other wealthy donors, helped secure big GOP victories Tuesday, according to campaign spending figures and Republican insiders.   Full story

In 2012, campaign finance trends expected to grow

Los Angeles Times, by Tom Hamburger and Kim Geiger, 11/1/10

Unregulated, often secret campaign money has transformed the political process, challenged the role of political parties, and sharply increased the power of wealthy groups. Trend will grow in 2012 despite accepted wisdom is that money alone does not win elections.  Full story

Shine brighter light on who?s buying politicians

Kansas City Star, 10/31/10

A record amount of money was contributed to allegedly nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations that became some of the biggest — and nastiest — political advertisers.  One solution being offered is the DISCLOSE Act, which passed the U.S. House this summer, but not the Senate.  Full story

Corporate campaign ads haven't followed Supreme Court's prediction

Los Angeles Times, by David G. Savage, 10/27/10

Because of loopholes in tax laws and a weak enforcement policy at the Federal Election Commission, corporations and wealthy donors have been able to spend huge sums on campaign ads, confident the public will not know who they are, election law experts say.  Full story

Congressional candidates on way to spending record $2 billion, watchdog group says

Los Angeles Times, by By Michael Muskal, 10/26/10

According to the Campaign Action Fund’s analysis, the projection of $1.275 billion in fundraising for the 2010 cycle represents a doubling since the 2000 election.  Full story

Behind the attack ads

Los Angeles Times, 10/19/10

One remedy for the avalanche of anonymous attack ads is the DISCLOSE Act, which would require nonprofits like Crossroads GPS and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (which is covered by a different provision of the tax code) to disclose the names of the companies, organizations and individuals who fund them.   Full story

Is justice for sale?

San Francisco Chronicle, by Susan Gluss , 10/17/10

The perils of expensive, politicized judicial contests are underscored by a new report by the Brennan Center for Justice. The report shows the extent that politics and special interests are infecting judicial races — and the resulting threat to judicial independence and impartiality.   Full story

Groups Push Legal Limits in Advertising

New York Times, by MICHAEL LUO, 10/17/10

After the court’s ruling in the Citizens United case, third-party groups have been doing politcal advocacy ads rather than just issue ads.  In the process, however, the groups are, as never before, pushing the legal limits that enable them to preserve the anonymity of their donors.  Full story

Money Isn?t Everything

Newsweek, by Arian Campo-Flores and Alan Mascarenhas, 10/17/10

Wealthy self-funded political candidates do not do as well as would be expected by their large campaign budgets.  Self-funders typically lack the network of contributors, volunteers, and voters that traditional politicians build up through the years.  Full story

Return of the secret donors

New York Times, by JILL ABRAMSON, 10/16/10

Corporations give secret but legal campaign funds through tax laws that permit a network of nonprofit groups to collect anonymous donations and spend it widely.  Groups include the Chamber of Commerce, American Action Network and Crossroads GPS, linked to Karl Rove.   Full story

Show Me the Donors

Slate, by Richard L. Hasen, 10/14/10

The contibution disclosure laws have prompted groups that want to avoid disclosure choose different organizational forms in the tax code to hide donors.  This campaign season, the action has moved to 501(c)(4)s. This type of nonprofit generally must report contributions above $5,000 to the IRS—but that information is not made public.  Full story

Yes, voters do care about secret cash funding elections!

Washington Post, by Greg Sargent, 10/14/10

A new poll shows that 84 percent of voters say they have a "right to know" who's bankrolling political ads and that a majority are less likely to think a candidate who is backed by "anonymous groups" can be trusted to "improve economic conditions" for them or their families.  Full story

Clean and Open American Elections

New York Times, Editorial, 10/5/10

" According to a report issued Tuesday by the Center for American Progress, a liberal policy group in Washington, the chamber is getting “dues” payments of tens of thousands of dollars from foreign companies in countries such as Bahrain, India and Egypt, and then mingling the money with its fund to advocate for or against candidates in the midterm races."  Full story

Cash-flush groups work outside GOP to back conservatives

Los Angeles Times, by Tom Hamburger and Richard Simon, 9/27/10

American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS have already run millions of dollars in advertising in nine Senate races in California.  And Crossroads GPS is set up to avoid disclosing donor identities and plans to raise more than $50 million.   Full story

Billionaires give 91 percent of funds for Rove-tied group

Salon.com, by Justin Elliott, 9/20/10

New FEC filings show that American Crossroads, the Karl Rove-backed group that is pouring money into attack ads targeting Democrats around the country, continues to be funded virtually entirely by billionaires. In August, American Crossroads raised $2,639,052. Fully $2.4 million of that -- or 91 percent --  came in the form of gifts from just three billionaires  Full story

House passes DISCLOSE Act for new reporting requirements on independent expenditures

Open Secrets, by Summer Lollie, 6/24/10

The House voted to pass H.R. 5175, known as the DISCLOSE Act, an acronym for Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections.

This bill was created in response to Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts on advertisements advocating for or against specific political candidates.  Full story

Poll: Most like public campaign financing

New Haven Register, by Mary E. O?Leary, 1/28/10

A Zogby International Poll has found a large majority of Connecticut residents favor a public campaign financing system.  When the Connecticut Clean Elections program was explained, 79 percent said they favored it.   Full story

Solutions already at hand for campaign-spending excesses

Sacramento Bee, by Daniel Newman, 1/23/10

"Research by MAPLight.org, a nonpartisan nonprofit that reveals relationships between campaign donations and legislative votes, has repeatedly shown that politicians' relentless fundraising has a payoff to interest groups that provide the funds. We find that on issue after issue, how lawmakers vote aligns with the interest groups that fund their campaigns."  Full story

Fair Elections are the answer to Citizens United

Huffington Post, by Nick Nyhart, 1/11/10

"The debates over health care, climate change, and financial industry reform are happening against the backdrop of hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign contributions flooding campaign coffers in hopes of influencing legislation that finally crosses the President's desk."   Full story

Really mig money politics

New York Times, Editorial, 1/3/10

"No one confesses to explicit quid pro quo crudity. But the power of lobbyists as they channel money and urge favor for rich clients is a gripping, and so far immutable, fact of political life. It needs to change."  Full story

Banks and Bailouts: Playing politics?

Press Release, by Michigan Ross School of Business, 12/21/09

Banks with strong political connections were more likely to receive bailout money from the government — and more of it — in the past year than those with weaker ties, say Ross researchers.   Full story

Take the fundraising out of elections

San Gabriel Valley Tribune, by Trent Lange, 11/28/09

There are lots of lessons to be drawn from Gavin Newsom's exit from the gubernatorial race, but one of the more instructive ones is how significant a role money plays in determining how much choice voters have.  Full story

Health Care Debate a Campaign Cash Cow

CQ Politics, by Bennett Roth and Alex Knott, 8/4/09

During the first half of 2009, health industry groups contributed almost $1.8 million to 18 lawmakers overseeing the House side of the action on an overhaul bill.  Full story

Elected Officials Voting Against Health Reform Received 65% More in Campaign Donations From Health and Insurance Interests Than

Public Campaign Action Fund, 7/27/09

A study found that Congressional members who voted against health care reform have received significantly more in campaign contributions from the health and insurance industries than those who voted for reform.  Full story

Who Has Access To Max Baucus?

NPR, by Andrea Seabrook and Peter Overby, 7/22/09

Lawmakers have two constituencies: one, the voters back home; the other, the people and interests that finance much of their re-election campaigns. These donors often live out of state.   Full story

Voter-Owned Elections helps save millions

The Progressive Pulse, by Chase Foster, 7/15/09

The North Carolina Insurance Commissioner was elected with Fair Elections, and then promptly forced insurance companies to return $50 million to consumers, with interest, in addition to reversing a 9.4% rate increase and banning further increases until 2011. Funding races for insurance commissioner only cost the state $800,000 per election cycle -- therefore a payoff of over 6,200% to North Carolinians.   Full story

The Incumbency Problem Has Everything to do with Money

The Hill, by Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, 5/19/09

Our study found that incumbents on average out-raise challengers in campaign funds by a margin of 4-to-1.  Public financing programs improve competition and help challengers by giving them access to adequate funds to run a campaign.  Full story

Investments Can Yield More on K Street, Study Indicates

Washington Post, by Dan Eggen, 4/12/09

In a remarkable illustration of the power of lobbying in Washington, a study released last week found that a single tax break in 2004 earned companies $220 for every dollar they spent on the issue -- a 22,000 percent rate of return on their investment.  Full story

The Best Investment Money Can Buy

San Francisco Chronicle, by David Sirota, 4/11/09

"Feeling sorry for yourself? Struggling to get by? Wondering how you can get a bailout? Well, stop moping, because it's not too late!... In the last decade, the financial industry's $5 billion investment in campaign contributions and lobbyists resulted in deregulation, which generated trillions for executives."  Full story

Fair Elections Now (Or a Donor Strike?)

The Nation, by Katrina vanden Heuvel, 4/9/09

"That's why it's so important that the Fair Elections Now Act has been introduced in both the House and Senate with bipartisan support, and that a savvy coalition is rallying public support for it..."  Full story

Outrageous: Dialing for Dollars

Reader\'s Digest, by Michael Crowley, 3/20/09

"It's infuriating to watch even the best-intentioned people get sucked so quickly into Washington's money-obsessed political culture. In our capital, the fund-raising never stops..."  Full story

AIG: Will We Solve the Underlying Problem?

Huffington Post, by Lawrence Lessig, 3/19/09

"As we all know by now, insurance giant AIG sparked national outrage by paying more than $165 million in executive bonuses after receiving a $170 billion taxpayer bailout. What fewer people know is that AIG gave more than $9 million in campaign contributions to Congress..."  Full story

THE INFLUENCE GAME: Number of PACs hits record

Associated Press, by Alan Fram, 3/14/09

The number of groups contributing money to presidential and congressional candidates has soared to an all-time high with their strongest growth in a generation, reflecting the fervor over last year's presidential race and a desire for access and clout when lawmakers tackle upcoming issues.  Full story

$5 Billion in Political Contributions Bought Wall Street Freedom From Regulation, Restraint, Report Finds

Press Release, by Wall Street Watch, 3/4/09

The financial sector invested more than $5 billion in political influence purchasing in Washington over the past decade, with as many as 3,000 lobbyists winning deregulation and other policy decisions that led directly to the current financial collapse.  Full story

Rell Signs Third Deficit-Cutting Package Since November

Hartford Courant, by Christopher Keating, 3/3/09

After 81% of its legislature was elected with Fair Elections, Connecticut passed a new bottle bill expected to net the state an extra $13 million a year in revenue.  Environmental advocates had unsuccessfully fought for years against influential legislators and well-paid lobbyists to expand the state's bottle deposit rule.  Full story

The Crazy Judicial-Corruption Case that the Supreme Court Should Hear

Slate, by Amanda Frost, 3/2/09

Thirty-nine states in this country elect some or all of their judges. Predictably, judges receive their largest campaign contributions from the lawyers, corporations, and groups that regularly appear before them. All these dollars create the appearance, and sometimes the reality, that justice is for sale.  Full story

Gore Business: 2340 Climate Lobbyists

Politico, by Marianne Lavelle, 2/25/09

More than 770 companies and interest groups hired an estimated 2,340 lobbyists to influence federal policy on climate change in the past year, as the issue gathered momentum and a bill came to a vote in Congress.  Full story

Good Gov't Groups: Are Corporations Using Bailout Money To Fund Political Campaigns?

Huffington Post, by Sam Stein, 2/23/09

Reform groups are blasting letters to congressional committee chairs and the head of the Congressional Oversight Panel, urging an investigation into whether bailout recipients used taxpayer money to benefit political candidates or organizations.   Full story

Bank Bailouts are the Payback for Bankrolling Politicians

American Institute for Economic Research, by Richard M. Ebeling , 2/23/09

Candidates running for Federal office, as well as the political parties and committees supporting them, received $37.5 million dollars from the banks now on the government TARP gravy train.   They have received $305 billion in TARP funds so far.  Full story

'Pay-to-Play,' Part II

USA Today, Editorial, 1/5/09

"Another state, another "pay-to-play" allegation...  There is a better way. Public financing systems in two cities and seven states sharply reduce the power of wealthy donors to lavish money on politicians and create IOUs in the process..."  Full story

'Patriot dollars' to Reform Politics

Los Angeles Times, by Pamela L. Finmark and William D. Chalmers , 1/5/09

"As reformed sinners, we are here to tell you that the current system is not just broken, it is irrevocably broken...  Our money chase for contributions on behalf of clients was endless. Indeed, most politicians are in a state of perpetual campaigning or fundraising."  Full story

'Pay-to-play,' Part II

USA Today, Editorial, 1/5/09

"Another state, another "pay-to-play" allegation...  There is a better way. Public financing systems in two cities and seven states sharply reduce the power of wealthy donors to lavish money on politicians and create IOUs in the process..."  Full story

Spending Doubled as Obama Led First Billion-Dollar Race in 2008

Bloomberg, by Jonathan D. Salant, 12/26/08

Presidential candidates spent $1.7 billion in the 2008 U.S. election campaign, more than double the amount four years ago, Federal Election Commission filings show.  Full story

Dems Rake Cash From Business

Politico, by John Bresnahan and Ryan Grim, 12/11/08

Some of the biggest corporate names in the Washington influence game backed Republican incumbents before the 2008 elections, only to donate to their Democratic vanquishers afterward.  Full story

AIG and Others Donated to Parties

Politico, by Jeanne Cummings, 12/10/08

The government bailout for American International Group came just weeks after the insurance giant poured $1.5 million into the host committee accounts for the two national party conventions.  AIG is just one of a handful of corporate bailout recipients, or bailout candidates, that donated significant funds.  Full story

Federal Bailouts Benefit Some Big Donors to Political Conventions

Wall Street Journal, by Brad Haynes, 12/10/08

Weeks before they came to Washington seeking a financial rescue, corporations and individuals at the center of the nation’s financial crisis contributed a combined $14 million for the Democratic and Republican conventions in Denver and St. Paul.  Full story

Illinois Governor Arrested on Corruption Charges

Bloomberg, by Thom Weidlich, 12/9/08

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich was charged with trying to sell Barack Obama's vacated Senate seat, according to a criminal complaint by federal prosecutors who said the governor had put a “for sale” sign on his administration.   Full story

Report says Obama's Small-Donor Base Claim is Off

USA Today, by Ken Dilanian, 11/25/08

Despite attracting millions of new contributors to his campaign, President-elect Barack Obama received about the same percentage of his total political funds from small donors as President Bush did in 2004.  Only a quarter of Obama's record-shattering campaign account came from donors of $200 or less.  Full story

Tainted Justice

New York Times, Editorial, 11/13/08

"One lesson of the 2008 election season is the escalating threat to the integrity and independence of the justice system from big-money state judicial campaigns."  Full story

What's In It for Me?

Slate, by Ray Fisman, 11/8/08

Financial services companies have contributed many millions to political campaigns in the 2008 election cycle (the top donor, Goldman Sachs, has handed out $4.5 million so far), and the researchers found that lawmakers who benefited the most from this largesse were more supportive of the Wall Street-friendly bailout.  Full story

Groups Press Obama on Campaign Finance Reform

The Hill, by Alexander Bolton, 11/6/08

Seven liberal good-government groups are putting pressure on President-elect Barack Obama and congressional Democrats to create a new public financing system in the wake of an election that cost an estimated $5.3 billion.   Full story

2008 Campaign Costliest in U.S. History

Politico, 11/5/08

The 2008 campaign was the costliest in history, with a record-shattering $5.3 billion in spending by candidates, political parties and interest groups on the congressional and presidential races.   Full story

The Tally on Independent Spending

New York Times, by Leslie Wayne, 11/4/08

More than $180 million will have been spent by so-called "527 groups" in the Presidential election on electioneering from independent groups on the right and the left.   Full story

What Happens to Public Financing, When Obama Thrived Without It?

New York Times, by Michael Luo, 11/2/08

As Senator Barack Obama spends the last of hundreds of millions of dollars donated to his presidential campaign, the debate over how future campaigns will be financed is set to begin in earnest.   Full story

Barack Obama's Slippery Fund-Raising Slope

LA Weekly, by Patrick Range McDonald, 10/29/08

When, or if, Obama wins on Election Day, the millions of small-money donors won’t be the only people expecting certain things from the new president. Big-money supporters, who, according to national media outlets, have increasingly become major players in the Obama cash-production juggernaut, will want payback.   Full story

Connecticut Public Financing Draws a Flock of Candidates

New York Times, by Peter Applebome, 10/22/08

The big story about public financing of campaigns nationally has been Barack Obama’s decision to opt out of the national system. But what’s unfolding in Connecticut may end up being far more influential.  Of the 343 candidates running in General Assembly elections, 258 — about 75 percent — are seeking public financing.  Full story

Analysis: Obama Money Dooms Current Public Finance

Associated Press, by Jim Kuhnhenn, 10/19/08

Obama's campaign announced he had raised more than $150 million in September alone, a previously unimaginable fundraising rate of $5 million a day. Republican rival John McCain, who chose to participate in the public system, has been limited by law to spending only $84 million in September and October.  Full story

Bailout Backlash: Congress Must Examine Its Own House

The Hill, by Kelly Williams and Laura MacCleery, 10/2/08

It has been a long time since there has been such an outpouring of voter outrage on Capitol Hill.  Wall Street routinely doles out large campaign contributions to members of Congress.  Even more worrisome, in hindsight, is how campaign cash from generous industry donors might have influenced the lack of legislation, regulation and oversight.  Full story

Baleful Bundlers

New York Times, Editorial, 8/11/08

"... What is really needed is an overhaul of the public financing system for presidential campaigns, which has not kept pace with the actual costs of running for office. The only sure way to eliminate the baleful influence of private, special-interest money is to make sure that enough public money is available."  Full story

Cleaning Up Connecticut

New York Times, Editorial, 8/6/08

"This election season, Connecticut may finally erase the taint of political corruption... Public disgust led to a law establishing a voluntary public campaign financing system for state officeholders. This is the first full year of the new system, and participation is excellent: only 10 of 225 candidates have indicated that they will not use taxpayer money. ..."  Full story

Connecticut Candidates Line Up for Public Financing

Washington Post, by Susan Haigh, 7/19/08

In Connecticut, about 70 percent of the candidates for General Assembly this year are expected to sign on to a new public financing election program.  "Some objected to it originally, but they're happy with it now," said state Rep. Al Adinolfi, a Republican from Cheshire.  Full story

Obama Raises $52 Million in June, Tops McCain's Haul

Bloomberg, by Kristin Jensen and Jonathan D. Salant, 7/18/08

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama raised $52 million in June, his second-biggest monthly haul and more than double Republican rival John McCain's total.  Last week, he attended 11 fundraisers in Georgia, New York, California and Illinois and came away with more than $12 million. The largest donation was $33,100.   Full story

$400 million for McCain: Who Broke Public Financing?

Huffington Post, by David Donnelly, 7/11/08

"The presidential public financing system is broken. It's not Obama's fault. Nor is it McCain's fault. The blame rests at the doorstep of the Congress and the current President for not fixing it before this election cycle."  Full story

Some Groups Go Easy on Obama for Opting Out

CQ Politics, by Shawn Zeller, 6/29/08

The decision by Barack Obama to opt out of public financing for his general election campaign drew the expected criticism from organizations such as Public Citizen and Democracy 21.  But some other groups that have long lobbied for publicly funded elections have not censured the Illinois senator for his change of heart.  Full story

Dems Who Flipped On FISA Immunity See More Telecom Cash

CBS News, by Chris Frates, 6/24/08

House Democrats who flipped their votes to support retroactive immunity for telecom companies in last week’s FISA bill took thousands of dollars more from phone companies than Democrats who consistently voted against legislation with an immunity provision, according to an analysis by MAPLight.org.  Full story

Obama's Small Donors vs. Congress' Big Money?

Huffington Post, by David Donnelly, 6/24/08

"You can hear editorial boards across the country wringing their hands: Does Sen. Barack Obama's decision to reject public financing for the presidential campaign signal the death of publicly financed elections?"  Full story

The Small-Donor Fallacy

Washington Post, by Jay Mandle, 6/20/08

"... the idea that the Internet and grass-roots donations will somehow reinvigorate our democracy is appealing. But this notion is not borne out by the evidence... even small donors are almost certainly much richer than the average American."  Full story

Obama Opts Out of Public Campaign Funds

NPR, by NPR, 6/19/08

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama said Thursday he will forgo public money to help finance his general election campaign, a move that frees him to raise unlimited funds from private and corporate donors.  Full story

Rendering Justice, With One Eye on Re-election

New York Times, by Adam Liptak, 5/25/08

A Wisconsin Supreme Court judge lost re-election to the Supreme Court after a bitter $5 million campaign in which a small-town trial judge with thin credentials ran a television advertisement falsely suggesting that the only black justice on the state Supreme Court had helped free a black rapist.  Full story

Builder Group Resumes Campaign Contributions

Washington Post, by Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, 5/6/08

The National Association of Home Builders, one of the biggest corporate donors to politicians, has resumed contributing to congressional candidates.  Many K Street lobbyists, however, were not pleased. The decision showed how closely interest groups tie their donations to the actions they hope lawmakers will take on their behalf.  Full story

A Record 7 Hopefuls to Get City Funding

The Oregonian, by James Mayer, 3/6/08

A record-setting seven candidates will collect more than $1 million in public money to run for Portland offices this spring, including businessman Sho Dozono for mayor.  Full story

Pressure Mounts on Indicted Rep. Renzi

Washington Post, by Paul Davenport, 2/26/08

Representative Rick Renzi (R-AZ) has been indicted with 27 counts of federal criminal charges that part of the indictment included conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering.  Other charges including conspiracy, extortion and insurance fraud relate to allegations that Renzi funneled cash from his insurance firm in 2002 to fund his first campaign.  Full story

McCain Loan Raises FEC Questions

Associated Press, by Jim Kuhnhenn, 2/21/08

The government's top campaign finance regulator says John McCain can't drop out of the primary election's public financing system until he answers questions about a loan he obtained to kickstart his once faltering presidential campaign.  Full story

Wilkes Gets 12 Years in Prison for Bribery

San Diego Union-Tribune, by Greg Moran, 2/20/08

Brent Wilkes, once an influential Poway defense contractor, was sentence to serving a 12-year prison sentence handed to him minutes earlier for bribing former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham.  The case has shed light on the relationships between lobbyists and lawmakers.  Full story

GOP Money Problems Grow

Washington Post, by Chris Cillizza, 2/5/08

Among the House campaign committees, the race for campaign cash is not even close. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee collected $67.5 million last year while the National Republican Congressional Committee raised $49.5 million.  Full story

Election System Needs an Overhaul

Ventura County Reporter, by Bill Lascher, 1/24/08

"... we need a workable, public funded campaign-finance system. Such a system would mean candidates are less accountable to private interests and more accountable to voters.   Some believe that public financing of candidates is an unfair subsidy of politicians by taxpayers. We counter that the current system is just as detrimental to the public..."   Full story

Our View on Elections: 5 Reasons for Public Financing

USA Today, Editorial, 12/10/07

"There is an alternative already adopted by seven states. It's called clean elections, or clean-money campaigning...   As in state and local politics across the country, reform will only happen when citizens demand it. What's missing is a high-profile champion willing to lead the charge."  Full story

Jury Finds Wilkes Guilty

San Diego Union-Tribune, by Greg Moran, 11/6/07

A federal jury convicted Poway defense contractor Brent Wilkes yesterday for his role in engineering the biggest bribery scheme in congressional history, a verdict that closed another chapter in the scandal surrounding former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham.   Full story

New Openings for Public Financing

The American Prospect, by Marc Caplan, 10/22/07

"The reality is that the present presidential public-financing system isn't working and that all the leading Democratic contenders have endorsed fixing it... What hasn't made headlines, but should, is substantial activity to enact new comprehensive public-financing systems in several states."  Full story

Dialing For Dollars

Newsweek, by Anna Quindlen, 10/20/07

"OK, I get it: campaign finance reform is the Ambien of issues.  But as the totals have mounted, a few million giving way to tens of millions and then tens of millions more, the business of the American election has become, if not necessarily corrupted, at least swamped by big money..."  Full story

Donor Bundling Emerges as Major Ill in '08 Race

Wall Street Journal, by Brody Mullins, 10/18/07

The bundling of political donations once was an innocuous play in the game book of Washington political operatives. Now, the fund-raising practice has grown so widespread, and some of its practitioners so brazen, that bundling has become the chief source of abuse in the American campaign-finance system.  Full story

Clean Elections: What's Next?

TPM Cafe, by John Bonifaz and Jacob Soboroff, 10/17/07

In 1990, the Minnesota Legislature enacted the Campaign Reform Act, a system of voluntary public financing for congressional candidates in Minnesota.  It was struck down in the Eight Circuit court, but not taken to the Supreme Court.  Full story

CEOs for Clinton

Slate, by Daniel Gross, 10/13/07

"Many well-heeled donors give the maximum to several Democratic and Republican candidates—the way you and I might buy a few packages of Girl Scout cookies and then toss a dollar into the Salvation Army bucket. For hedge-fund managers, maxing out to multiple candidates is a cheap hedge..."  Full story

Public financing of campaigns off to a great start

Connecticut Post, by Bethany Foster & Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, 10/10/07

"More than a special election, this one is historic: it is the first election to apply Connecticut's new public financing system, and the Connecticut Legislature is the first in the country to pass a full public financing law that applies to its own campaigns... The first test of the program appears to be a rousing success."  Full story

5-4 Supreme Court Weakens Curbs on Pre-Election TV Ads

Washington Post, by Robert Barnes, 6/26/07

The Supreme Court yesterday substantially weakened restrictions on the kinds of television ads that corporations and unions can finance in the days before an election, providing special interest groups with the opportunity for a far more expansive role in the 2008 elections.  Full story

Three Bad Rulings

New York Times, Editorial, 6/26/07

"Four years ago, a differently constituted court upheld sensible provisions of the McCain-Feingold Act designed to prevent corporations and labor unions from circumventing the ban on their spending in federal campaigns by bankrolling phony “issue ads.”... Yet the Roberts court shifted course... It opened a big new loophole in time to do mischief in the 2008 elections."  Full story

Legislative Candidate Fined For Misusing Public Campaign Funds`

Boston Globe, 5/18/07

"...Of the 313 legislative candidates who relied on public financing during the 2006 campaign, only five were cited for mishandling Clean Election funds..."  Full story

Circuit Court Dismisses Clean Elections Complaints

Arizona Republic, by Matthew Benson, 5/10/07

"...The unanimous ruling is the latest victory for Clean Elections, approved by Arizona voters in 1998 to help level the playing field for state elections..."
  Full story

City Council Hopefuls Try Public Financing

Albuquerque Tribune, by Peter Rice, 5/5/07

"...Four City Council candidates are taking on the role of political guinea pigs, pursuing public financing in the debut year of the program..."  Full story

Governor Signs Bill Passed In Special Legislative Section

The Free New Mexican, by Deborah Parker, 5/1/07

"...Gov. Bill Richardson has signed into law a bill that allows statewide judicial candidates to get public financing for their campaigns..."  Full story

Gov. On 'Apprentice' ; Trump Later Donates

Los Angeles Times, by Times Staff, 4/29/07

"...Billionaire Donald Trump gave $10,000 to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to help pay off his campaign debts, a little more than a month after the governor guest-starred on Trump's TV show..."  Full story

Why We Can't Wait

The Nation, by James Hansen, 4/23/07

"... It seems to me that it will be difficult to solve the global warming problem until we have effective campaign finance reform, so that special interests no longer have such a big influence on policy-makers..."
  Full story

An Asterisk To Obama's Policy On Donations

Los Angeles Times, by Dan Morgan, 4/22/07

"...While pledging to turn down donations from lobbyists themselves, Sen. Barack Obama raised more than $1 million in the first three months of his presidential campaign from law firms and companies that have major lobbying operations in the nation's capital..."
  Full story

California Rep. Doolittle Resigns Committee Post After Home Searched In Corruption Probe

San Diego Union-Tribune, by Erica Werner, 4/19/07

"...Rep. John Doolittle, whose house was searched by the FBI in an influence-peddling investigation, said Thursday he will step down temporarily from the House Appropriations Committee..."   Full story

The New Arms Race: Money

Townhall.com, by Armstrong Williams, 4/16/07

"... Clean campaigns will eliminate many of the abuses that we currently see in American politics. So much of the paybacks, waste, bribery, buying and selling of votes, and general corruption will immediately be put to sleep..."  Full story

Campaign Donor's Cash Arrived With Real Baggage

Los Angeles Times, by Chuck Neubauer and Robin Fields, 4/15/07

"...The Justice Department charged a Pakistani businessman of illegal fundraising on behalf of Hillary Clinton and others.  He has now fled and is on the FBI's "featured fugitives" list.  It offers a window into the frenetic world of modern political fundraising, where candidates are so hungry for cash to compete that they ask few questions about those able to raise it..."  Full story

Making Elections Fair

The Nation, by Ari Berman, 4/12/07

"...The answer to the current problem is more, not less, public funding, they say. That's why Illinois's senior Senator, Dick Durbin--the number-two Democrat in the Senate--has introduced the first bipartisan bill to publicly finance federal races, modeled after successful "clean election" laws at the state and local levels..."  Full story

Clinton Backs Public Funds For Campaigns

Washington Post, by Jeffrey Gold, 4/2/07

"A day after her campaign announced a record-breaking fundraising haul, Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday she would support public funding of campaigns if elected president next year..."   Full story

Campaign Reform? Try Campaign Inflation

Los Angeles Times, by Jonah Goldberg, 3/27/07

"...the McCain-Feingold law, passed in 2002, was supposed to have gone a long way toward fixing the system by regulating the amount of money going into, and coming out of, the political process...It merely skews the market, making it harder for rookies and amateurs to get in and easier for the pros and incumbents to game the system..." 

  Full story

The Fair Elections Now Act

Daily Kos, by Adam B, 3/21/07

Yesterday morning, Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) introduced the Fair Elections Now Act, a bipartisan bill to bring voluntary public financing to U.S. Senate elections.   Full story

Clean Elections Bill a Sham, Critic Says

Trenton Times, by George Amick, 3/19/07

New Jersey is about to run another test of using public money to fund campaigns for the Legislature. But for one of the state's most fervent supporters of the so-called Clean Elections concept, it's a big step backward.   Full story

House Lawmakers Push Election Changes

Arizona Republic, by Matthew Benson, 3/6/07

House lawmakers gave preliminary approval Monday to the most significant changes to Arizona's state's Clean Elections system since voters approved it in 1998.  The revisions would mean a boost in funding for statewide candidates to get out their message.  Full story

Death Knell May Be Near for Public Election Funds

New York Times, by David D. Kirkpatrick, 1/23/07

The public financing system for presidential campaigns, a post-Watergate initiative hailed for decades as the best way to rid politics of the corrupting influence of money, may have quietly died over the weekend.  Full story

Senate Approves Major Overhaul of Ethics Rules

Los Angeles Times, by Richard Simon, 1/19/07

Seeking to repair Congress' tarred image, the Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed the toughest new ethics rules since the Watergate era.  Even some of the bill's supporters, however, were skeptical about whether it would prevent corruption.  The bill does little to address the source of lobbyists' greatest influence: campaign contributions.  Full story

Ex-Ohio Rep. Ney Sentenced to 30 Months

Washington Post, by Matt Apuzzo, 1/19/07

Former Rep. Bob Ney was sentenced Friday to 2 1/2 years in federal prison for trading political favors for gifts and campaign donations from lobbyist Jack Abramoff.  Full story

Foyle's Impact Resonates Offcourt

Hoops World, by Preetom Bhattacharya, 1/14/07

Adonal Foyle, center for the Golden State Warriors and founder of Democracy Matters, considers Clean Elections to be the solution.  Student members of Democracy Matters have made an impact on elections across the country.  Full story

When Sunlight Doesn't Disinfect

Slate, by Timothy Noah, 1/12/07

"... Don't get me wrong. I still think campaign finance disclosure is a reform well worth preserving. I'm just a tad chagrined that the lobby industry has done such an effective job at turning what was once envisioned to be an instrument of shame into an advertising tool."  Full story

Top Dem Wants Public Campaign Financing

TPM Cafe, by Paul Kiel, 1/9/07

On the Senate floor today, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), while speaking about the Dems' ethics package, said that the next logical step is public financing, and that he would be introducing such a bill in a matter of weeks.  Full story

Ms. Speaker, After 100 Hours, Let's Enact "Democracy Funding" of Campaigns

Huffington Post, by Mark Green, 1/5/07

"... As for the fretting of the George Will's that a billionaire might god-forbid be inhibited from giving or spending even more money for their favored candidates, exactly how does it advance First Amendment values to allow a few very wealthy people or interests to spend millions of dollars to drown out the voices and contributions of millions of average citizens?"  Full story

How to Finish off the GOP Machine

Washington Monthly, by Zachary Roth, 1/4/07

"... That?s why any serious effort to clean up Washington must break the connection between money and elections. The only way to do that is to provide candidates for office with public revenue to run their campaigns..."  Full story

Governor Announces Plan for Ethics Reform

Ruidoso News, by Dianne Stallings, 12/26/06

Last week, Gov. Bill Richardson (New Mexico) announced a comprehensive ethics reform package for the state that includes the establishment of an independent ethics commission, limitations on gifts and campaign contributions and public financing for judicial candidates.  Full story

Court Overturns Limits on Political Ads, Part of the Campaign Finance Law

New York Times, by Kate Phillips, 12/21/06

A three-judge panel on Thursday overturned a key segment of the campaign finance law that banned issue advertisements paid for by corporate or union money in the critical weeks before federal elections.   Full story

Maine's Public Campaign Funding Needs Tougher Standards

Bangor Daily News, Editorial, 12/20/06

"The Maine Ethics Commission staff has been reviewing the standards for qualifying for public funding. It should prepare Maine for challenges likely to appear in 2010, during the next race for governor.  One of those challenges is to determine how difficult Maine should make qualifying for the public funding..."  Full story

Governor Raises $640,000 For His Inaugural

Los Angeles Times, by Peter Nicholas, 12/16/06

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has raised about $640,000 in private donations to cover part of the costs of his two-day inaugural celebration next month, tapping lobbyists, well-heeled campaign supporters, insurance companies and businesses that depend on state action as part of a fund-raising campaign that is still underway.  Full story

Clean Elections Bill Clears Assembly Committee

Asbury Park Press, by Jason Method, 12/8/06

"A bill that provides for publicly-funded state legislative elections in three districts next year passed a key Assembly committee.."  Full story

Bill Would Give Public Financing of Elections a 2nd Chance in'07

New Jersey Star-Ledger, by Joe Donohue, 12/5/06

Intent on proving that public financing of legislative elections can work after a pilot project floundered, Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts (D-Camden) introduced a bill yesterday that would try again in next year's elections.  Full story

Democrats' Victory Is Felt On K Street

Washington Post, by Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, 11/24/06

Interest groups, in general, are not concerned about the changes the election has brought. "We lost many friends in this election," said Steven C. Anderson, president of the Republican-leaning National Restaurant Association. "But that doesn't mean we can't make new friends, and that's what we'll do."  Full story

Lou Dobbs Joins the Chorus

Common Cause, by Josh Zaharoff, 11/2/06

Over the years I've examined dozens of ideas and proposals to weaken the grip of big money and special interests in our electoral and legislative processes.  I've come to the conclusion that the only way we'll ever see their power substantially diminished, and the common good and national interest fully represented in Washington, is through the complete public financing of all elections. ... Lou Dobbs
  Full story

Stop ExxonMobil From Squeezing Us Dry

CommonDreams.org, by Ralph Nader, 7/31/06

"...What to do now, given that the corporate environment in Washington is bent on leaving consumers defenseless? ...[P]ass Proposition 89, the Clean Elections Initiative on the November ballot in California. This would provide public funding and place limitations on lobbies passing out money in campaign contributions to lawmakers..."  Full story

Court Rules Correctly on Clean Money

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 6/29/06

"..Whether Breyer is right about Vermont's limits, Congress and the states can still impose reasonable limits on contributions. But limitations on spending — unless candidates voluntarily accept them, in exchange for public financing — remain off-limits. Buckley's distinction between expenditures and contributions is still the law of the land. That's good news for both clean elections and free speech..."  Full story

Effect of Recent Supreme Court Decision on CA Campaign Reform Initiative

The Rest of Us, by Ned Wigglesworth, 6/28/06

The question is: how will the Court's decision affect current or prospective campaign finance reforms?  The short answer, at least as to the Nurses' initiative, is not much.   Full story

Give Candidates Option of Public Financing for Races

USA Today, Editorial, 6/26/06

"... Choice works: Let politicians choose how to finance campaigns. Let voters choose whether money from the public or from special interests provides cleaner government."  Full story

The Speaker's Hard Lesson in Reform

New York Times, Editorial, 6/25/06

"...the farce of an ethics reform bill now being fumbled around by the House and Senate. The measure offers no hope for a true earmark crackdown and totally avoids the core Capitol scandal — the lobbying industry's freedom to woo grateful lawmakers with bundles of corporate campaign contributions..."  Full story

Politics Begins at Home

New York Times, Editorial, 6/16/06

"The nation is fortunate that a sudden attempt to kill one of the hallowed anticorruption reforms from the Watergate scandal — the option of public financing in presidential elections — was smoked out in the House this week..."  Full story

Reform the System or Lose the Democracy

TruthDig, by Molly Ivins, 5/30/06

"We need to reform the political system, or we’ll lose the democracy. I don’t think it’s that hard. It doesn’t take rocket science. We’ve done it before successfully at the presidential level and tried it several places at the state level. Public campaign financing isn’t perfect and can doubtlessly be improved upon as we go. Let us begin."  Full story

Misconduct Taints the Water in Some Privatized Systems

Los Angeles Times, by Mike Hudson, 5/29/06

In recent years, cities across the U.S. have turned over a vital public service — providing safe drinking water — to private enterprise. Over the last decade, major water firms have made more than $4 million in federal campaign contributions, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. The industry also has given generously to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.  Full story

Clean Elections

The Press of Atlantic City, Editorial, 5/25/06

The Clean Elections Commission just unveiled its plan to reshape and expand last year's clean-elections experiment. The recommendations are slightly different from the proposals in Blee's bill, which was introduced last month. But both seek to expand the program and make it easier for candidates to qualify for public funding.   Full story

Delay On The Big Screen

TomPaine.com, by Mark Birnbaum and Jim Schermbeck, 5/19/06

Mark Birnbaum and Jim Schermbeck are Texas- based documentary filmmakers who’ve spent the last three years making The Big Buy; Tom DeLay’s Stolen Congress.  Full story

Soft on sleaze?

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 5/15/06

"...In passing separate "lobbying reform" bills, both houses of Congress have done too little to address the corrupting coziness between legislators and lobbyists that Abramoff came to symbolize..."  Full story

Concept is Sound, But Law Needs Work

Portland Tribune, by James Saxon, 5/9/06

"...In Arizona’s statewide Clean Money system, fraud and misuse of funds have been put to the test and the voters were the winners. With a representative ejected from his office and a felonious act punished, Arizona’s Clean Money system has truly cleaned up elections, providing a level playing field and a dynamic government..."  Full story

Campaign Finance Compromise Passes in Final Minutes

Newsday, by Susan Haigh, 5/4/06

State lawmakers, in dramatic fashion, passed a major agreement on fixing flaws in last year's campaign finance reform law with only minutes to go before Wednesday's midnight adjournment of the legislative session.   Full story

The Money Machine Remains

TomPaine.com, by Chellie Pingree, 5/4/06

"...That Congress needs better ethics rules and oversight is beyond question. But Walker is right to include public financing in the discussion here because, in some ways, the current debate about ethics reform (which should not end with today's passage of a weak House reform bill) is missing the forest for the trees..."  Full story

Shut Up and Vote

Willamette Week, by Willamette Week Editorial Staff, 4/26/06

"... Despite Emilie Boyles, public financing is successful at reducing big bucks in local politics. Portland's controversial publicly financed city campaign program is working... public financing is doing what it's supposed to do: keeping big special-interest money on the sidelines..."  Full story

House Backs Limits on Donations to `527' Committees

Los Angeles Times, by Joel Havemann, 4/6/06

"...The Republican-controlled House on Wednesday narrowly approved amending the 2002 campaign finance law to ... impose limits on individual contributions, which have reached into the millions of dollars, to committees that work on behalf of political candidates but independently of the candidates and their campaigns..."  Full story

Money for Nothing

New Republic, Editorial, 4/5/06

"..Public financing might not end the war over money in politics, but it could dramatically reduce the stakes..."  Full story

The New Enemies of 'Soft Money'

Los Angeles Times, by Jonathan Chait, 4/2/06

"Where are all the conservative defenders of unlimited political donations hiding these days? For years they made a crusade of opposing the McCain-Feingold law, which banned unlimited donations to political parties... But now that their side is pushing a ban that's way more draconian, the conservatives ... are nowhere to be found..."
  Full story

Victory for K Street

TomPaine.com, by David Donnelly, 3/31/06

On Wednesday, a federal judge in Miami sentenced disgraced and convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff to 70 months in prison. Within a few hours, some 900 miles away, the U.S. Senate passed a lobbying “reform” bill that sentenced America to ongoing scandal.  Full story

Congress Avoids Lobbyists' Fundraising in U.S. Ethics Debate

Bloomberg, by Jonathan D. Salant, 3/31/06

``They're addicted to campaign money,'' Celia Wexler, vice president for advocacy at Washington-based Common Cause, said of the lawmakers. ``And the lobbyists are the people who provide it for them.''... ``The only way to get at lobbyist fundraising is to get at public financing of campaigns,' said Martin Meehan, 49, a Massachusetts Democrat.  Full story

Last Year's Landmark Law For Election Reform Is Booby-Trapped

New London Day, by Nick Nyhart, 3/20/06

"... Connecticut legislators must have the will to prove them wrong by fixing the law this legislative session. If lawmakers abandon the Clean Elections law now, they will face the ire of Connecticut's voters, who e-mailed, phoned, faxed, and demonstrated for the law..."  Full story

More Firms' Political Ties Put Online

Los Angeles Times, by Jonathan Peterson, 3/20/06

Under pressure from shareholder activists, a small but growing number of major U.S. companies have agreed to disclose their political donations on their corporate websites.  Campaign contributions are a matter of public record, but getting a complete picture of a company's political giving is difficult.  Full story

Congressman Doolittle, Wife Profited From Cunningham-linked Contractor

San Diego Union-Tribune, by Dean Calbreath, 3/19/06

Representative John Doolittle of Sacramento received direct monetary benefit from contributions from two defense contractors who bribed Rep. Duke Cunningham.  Doolittle assisted them in getting at least $37 million contracts.  His wife received at least $14,4000 in "commissions" from them.   Full story

Money's Going to Talk in 2008

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall and Chris Cillizza, 3/11/06

Most analysts believe the 2008 presidential race will involve sums vastly larger than those spent on previous presidential campaigns and that raising $100 million over the next 22 months is the price of admission for candidates who want to establish credibility and compete on an equal footing.  Full story

Enough of the D.C. Dems

The Progressive, by Molly Ivins, 3/1/06

"... Look at their reaction to this Abramoff scandal. They’re talking about “a lobby reform package.” We don’t need a lobby reform package, you dimwits, we need full public financing of campaigns, and every single one of you who spends half your time whoring after special interest contributions knows it..."  Full story

Freedom of Speech Becomes Measure of Politicans' Wealth

San Francisco Chronicle, by Ernest F. Hollings, 2/26/06

"There is a cancer on the body politic: money...  The result of this nonsense is that almost one-third of a senator's time is spent fundraising... Every evening there is an average of three receptions or fund-raisers, followed by three breakfasts or fundraisers the next morning..."  Full story

GOP Senator Eyes Public Financing Bill

The Hill, by Elana Schor, 2/24/06

Sen. George Voinovich, Ethics Committee chairman and a sometime gadfly to Republican leadership, is warming to Democratic-backed proposals for public financing of federal elections.  “Maybe it is the answer,” Voinovich said.  Full story

Restoring The Public Trust

TomPaine.com, by Bill Moyers, 2/24/06

"... There are no victimless crimes in politics. The price of corruption is passed on to you.... Think about this: Californians could buy back their elected representatives at a cost of about $5 or $6 per California resident. Nationally we could buy back our Congress and the White House with full public financing for about $10 per taxpayer per year..."   Full story

Clean Election Law Keeps Politicians Focused on People

Kennebec Journal, Editorial, 2/23/06

"...Politicians talk often about the importance of the common man or woman, but all too often, it appears that the money... is the most important lubricant in our national political machine. As our Congress grapples with the very real corrupting influence of money in politics, Maine's Clean Election program, imperfections and all, is something we can all be proud of..."
  Full story

No More Skimping on the Clean Election Fund

Portland Press Herald, Editorial, 2/21/06

"...Maine's Clean Election Fund is more popular than ever... This year, about 90 percent of announced candidates for the Senate and 85 percent running for the House have pledged to use public money for their campaigns... For critics of big-money, pay-to-play politics across the country, Maine's program has been a guiding light..."
  Full story

Two Dems Seek Money for Elections

The Hill, by Alexander Bolton, 2/9/06

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin and Sen. Chris Dodd, the ranking Democrat on the Rules Committee, said yesterday that they will push for public financing of federal elections.  The revelations follow public financing proposals that two senior House Democrats unveiled late last month.  Full story

Panel Sees Promise in State's Campaign Finance Experiment

Newsday, by Jeffrey Gold, 2/7/06

The panel assessing the state's experiment to remove big money from elections on Tuesday said last year's effort showed promise to sanitize New Jersey's "culture of corruption" and should be adjusted in time for the 2007 legislative elections.   Full story

Poll: Portlanders Support Public Financing, Schools Plan and Tram

Portland Business Journal, by Portland Business Journal Staff, 2/7/06

A new survey by Riley Research Associates of Portland found that most people support public financing of elections. The Riley survey found that 44 percent of those surveyed support the public campaign financing program, which would allot funds to those who collect $5 donations from 1,000 voters. Another 27 percent do not support the program; 27 percent are undecided.  Full story

Congress Catches Case Of Ethics

Hartford Courant, Editorial, 2/3/06

"... The scandal involving Mr. Abramoff underscores the point that Congress needs fundamental, systemic changes in the way it conducts business. The creation of a strong and independent ethics commission overseeing both chambers would be one step in that direction. So would public financing of congressional campaigns."  Full story

Betraying the Voters

Boston Globe, Editorial, 2/3/06

"... The answer is simple: public financing of congressional campaigns. If the taxpayers are the donors, then the members' indebtedness runs exactly where it should: to their constituents..."  Full story

A Threat to the Campaign Law

New York Times, Editorial, 1/25/06

Just when the American public - outraged by the growing lobbying scandals - is calling for more regulation of money in politics, the Supreme Court has opened the door for a move in the other direction. Its brief 9-to-0 ruling this week is technical in nature, but carries the potential to undermine campaign finance reform.   Full story

The Second Wind of a Citizen Politician

Palo Alto Online, by Jay Thorwaldson, 1/22/06

Republican former California Congressman Pete McCloskey says, "[It's] clear that public financing of campaigns may be cheaper (for the public) than having paid lobbyists control Congress. There are huge amounts of money being pumped in by lobbyists.”  Full story

Pombo at Core of Ethics Debate

The Raw Story, by Lisa Vorderbrueggen, 1/22/06

Representative Richard Pombo (R-Tracy) has come under ethics fire for having received $500,000 from American Indian interests, some of whom used Jack Abramoff, and voting in favor of their interests.  His staff takes industry-funded trips. He hires family on his campaign.  All are legal.  But are they ethical?  Full story

Blunt Instrument

New Republic, by Ryan Lizza, 1/21/06

"It boggles the mind that GOP members are about to make Roy Blunt their majority leader... Think of just about any current scandal involving a Republican in Washington and Blunt is at the center of it..."  Full story

System Failure

New Republic, by John B. Judis, 1/21/06

"Publicly financed campaigns are, of course, a hard sell...  But there isn't really another kind of reform that promises to break the connection between money and politics that has given us the K Street Project, Abramoff, and DeLay. Anyone who thinks that passing a gift or travel ban will do the trick is simply deluding himself..."  Full story

Some House Democrats seek election public funds

Washington Post, by Richard Cowan, 1/20/06

Public financing of elections for the U.S. House of Representatives, not lobbying reform, is the best way to end ethic scandals, a top Democrat said on Friday. Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin said he and fellow Democrat Barney Frank of Massachusetts would offer legislation this month requiring that general elections for the 435 House seats be financed purely with public funds.  Full story

A Donor Who Had Big Allies

Los Angeles Times, by Richard A. Serrano and Stephen Braun, 1/9/06

In a case that echoes the Jack Abramoff influence-peddling scandal, two Northern California Republican congressmen, Reps. John Doolittle and Richard Pombo, used their official positions to try to stop a federal investigation of a wealthy Texas businessman who provided them with political contributions.  Full story

A Washington Tidal Wave

Newsweek, by Michael Isikoff, Holly Bailey and Evan Thomas, 1/9/06

Members of Congress rushed to give back money. DeLay stepped aside. Reformers pledged to fix the system. Can anything change the Capitol's money-hungry ways? Behind the Abramoff lobby scandal.  Full story

Change Is Coming: The Question Is Just How Much

Washington Post, by Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, 1/9/06

"Skeptics consider the American system of funding elections a form of legalized bribery... The recent guilty pleas of Jack Abramoff and his partner Michael Scanlon, however, threaten that tidy description..."  Full story

The End of Influence

New York Times, by Michael Waldman, 1/6/06

"...In the long struggle to strengthen democracy, reform sometimes follows scandal...last year Connecticut passed a full public-financing system for legislative and statewide elections after a series of scandals, including one that forced the resignation of Gov. John Rowland and his guilty plea to a conspiracy charge..."   Full story

Don't Be Fooled by the Abramoff Scandal - Corruption Is Here To Stay

American Chronicle, by Joel S. Hirschhorn, 1/6/06

"Will Senators and Representatives immediately take advantage of this monumental embarrassment and truly and effectively stop the sale of our government?  Will they rally behind ending all private campaign financing by backing Clean Money/Clean Elections legislation?..."  Full story

On the Verge of Political Reform

San Francisco Chronicle, by David Sirota, 1/5/06

"The successful efforts in Connecticut and Arizona to eliminate the system of legalized bribery and replace it with publicly financed elections are clearly motivating others. Assembly member Loni Hancock is leading a group of Democratic legislators pushing a bill in the upcoming session that would create a public-financing system for legislative and gubernatorial campaigns..."  Full story

Lobbying and Laziness

Slate, by John Dickerson, 1/5/06

"... The lobbyist's first point was that the dance of influence is subtler than people think... he more effective scenario, for everyone concerned, involves the lobbyist becoming friendly with members of the Congress member's staff, who research issues and advise him or her what to do and how to vote..."  Full story

FBI Follows Money in Tribe's Beltway Success

Los Angeles Times, by Richard A. Serrano and Judy Pasternak, 12/24/05

Rep. Richard W. Pombo (R-Tracy), chairman of the influential House Resources Committee, has received tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from a group of Native Americans living in Massachusetts, and has championed their cause since.  The same tribe contributed to Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist embroiled in a Washington corruption scandal.   Full story

A Steady Flow of Financial Influence

San Diego Union-Tribune, by Jerry Kammer, 12/23/05

Close ties make Rep. Lewis, lobbyist Lowery a potent pair  Full story

Campaign Finance Reform Becomes Law

Hartford Courant, by Mark Pazniokas, 12/8/05

Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed into law one of the nation's most sweeping campaign finance bills.  Rell chose the Old State House, sitting at a table beneath a Gilbert Stuart portrait of a watchful George Washington, for a ceremony marking the unlikely passage of a bill hailed as a national model of reform.  Full story

Voters Take Back Elections

USA Today, Editorial, 12/6/05

"While Congress wallows in the ethical swamp where money and politics meet, one more state just found a way out. Voters there will pay for campaigns, which might be the bargain of the century.."  Full story

Rell Exults After Vote

Hartford Courant, by Mark Pazniokas, 12/2/05

Gov. M. Jodi Rell celebrated the passage of far-reaching campaign finance reforms Thursday, even though fellow Republicans largely abandoned her on the issue and a court challenge is possible.   Full story

The Good-Government State

Hartford Courant, Editorial, 12/2/05

"There's plenty of credit and praise to be passed around now that the General Assembly passed landmark campaign finance reform legislation this week... For the first time in what seems like eons, the "Corrupticut" nickname can be retired and Connecticut can look forward to being called the land of clean government..."  Full story

It Takes a Statehouse Scandal

New York Times, Editorial, 12/2/05

"The Connecticut Legislature has become the first in the nation to set campaign finance restrictions on its own initiative... The commendable result is an instant model for other statehouses where incumbents have long shown meager impulse to bite any insider's hand that feeds them."  Full story

Conn. Lawmakers Crack Down on Campaign Finance

Fox News, by Associated Press, 12/1/05

Connecticut lawmakers passed some of the nation's toughest campaign finance laws early Thursday, placing strict limits on contributions and creating a publicly funded election system for all statewide races.   Full story

Use Congress's Corruption to Inspire 'Clean Elections'

Allentown Morning Call, by Flavia Colgan, 12/1/05

"... to change the culture in Washington, politicians must fundamentally change the system itself. It is a golden opportunity for the Democrats... Democratic leaders should then announce that their first act under a Democratic-controlled Congress would be to pass real campaign finance reform — Clean Elections..."  Full story

Campaign Finance Reforms Approved by Connecticut Legislature

New York Times, by William Yardley, 12/1/05

The Connecticut legislature early Thursday gave final approval to broad campaign finance reforms, including a new, voluntary system of state financing for political races.  Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a Republican who has pushed for many of the same reforms, said she would sign the measure “and make Connecticut a role model for the nation.”  Full story

Legislature Passes Reform Package

Hartford Courant, by Mark Pazniokas and Christopher Keating, 12/1/05

The Conneticut General Assembly approved the nation's most sweeping campaign finance reforms early today.  The legislation bans contributions by lobbyists, their spouses, and state contractors, limits political action committees, closes a loophole that permits corporate donations and creates a voluntary system of public financing.   Full story

Reform Proposal Headed For Vote

Hartford Courant, by Mark Pazniokas, 11/30/05

The Connecticut General Assembly will be asked today to approve legislation that would ban contributions from lobbyists and state contractors, while creating a voluntary system of publicly financed campaigns and spending limits.  Full story

A Growing Wariness About Money in Politics

Washington Post, by Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, 11/29/05

"...The indictments and the investigations have strengthened the feeling that people have that in fact there's too much money in Washington and that the money is being used to influence official decisions..."  Full story

Congressman Admits Taking Bribes, Resigns

Washington Post, by Charles R. Babcock and Jonathan Weisman, 11/29/05

Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.) resigned from Congress yesterday after tearfully confessing to evading taxes and conspiring to pocket $2.4 million in bribes, including a Rolls-Royce, a yacht and a 19th-century Louis-Philippe commode.  Full story

Finance Reform Gains Backing in Connecticut

New York Times, by William Yardley, 11/28/05

Leaders of the Democratic-controlled legislature said on Monday that they had reached an agreement on what would be the nation's most far-reaching campaign finance reforms, prohibiting political contributions from lobbyists and contractors, among others, while creating a new system for financing campaigns with state money.  Full story

Questions on the Legality of Campaign Fund-Raising

New York Times, by Carl Hulse, 11/25/05

The American system of underwriting political campaigns is often derided as legalized bribery. Now the Justice Department is contending that it can amount to illegal bribery as well.  Full story

Report: Bush fundraisers got $1.2 billion in public funds

Associated Press, by AP Staff, 11/1/05

Thirty Ohioans who raised a combined $4.1 million for President Bush's re-election campaign have received more than $1.2 billion in public funds for their companies and clients.  Since Bush took office in 2001, the federal government has given those companies more than $447 million in subsidies while Ohio state government has awarded them about $800 million.  Full story

Clean sweep: 400 'Nobodies' Rally Against Corruption at Capitol

Madison Capital Times, by David Callender, 10/28/05

More than 400 broom-toting "nobodies" invaded the State Capitol on Thursday to sweep out a corrupt system that they say puts monied special interests ahead of ordinary citizens.  The Wisconsin People's Legislature, as the group calls itself, is pushing for full public financing of campaigns.  Full story

Clean Elections Work in Maine

Hartford Courant, by Jim Annis and John Brautigam, 10/24/05

"...We are legislators from Maine, a Republican and a Democrat... We are happy to say that public funding has given us the freedom to spend more time with our constituents discussing important issues. We are no longer stuck in the "dialing for dollars" game... We have seen direct results from this severing of ties between special interest donors and the Legislature..."  Full story

Taking Our Government Back

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, by Mike McCabe, 10/22/05

"There is a cancer growing in Wisconsin government and it is spreading daily, and the best they can do is prescribe the political equivalent of acne cream... It is up to the people of Wisconsin to take matters into their own hands..."  Full story

Hiding Behind Katrina

New York Times, by New York Times Editorial Board, 10/21/05

"...It takes gall to use Hurricane Katrina as cover to undermine the democratic process, but that's what conservative ideologues are attempting in the House. Among their budget-cutting proposals - being sold as "tough choices" for America to pay for the Gulf Coast recovery - is a startling plan to kill public financing in the presidential election system...."   Full story

Ulster Legislature endorses “Clean Money, Clean Elections”

Hudson Valley News, by Hudson Valley News Staff, 10/11/05

The Ulster County Legislature is the first county governing body in New York State to endorse legislation pending in the state legislature, calling for public funding of major election campaigns.  Democrat legislators Susan Zimet and Hector Rodriguez introduced a resolution, with support from Republican Majority Leader Michael Stock as a co-sponsor.
  Full story

Ready Already

Hartford Courant, by Governor M. Jodi Rell, 10/10/05

Republican Governor of Connecticut M. Jodi Rell speaks out demanding the legislature prepates a Clean Money bill for her to sign.  "...I am ready for real reforms - not cosmetic tweaks. I am ready for ending the steady flow of special interest money into campaigns - and doing it immediately... I believe the people of Connecticut are ready, too."
  Full story

Voter ID, Public Financing Get Thumbs Up

Albuquerque Tribune, by Susie Gran, 10/5/05

By an overwhelming margin, voters in the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico passed a reform measure to provide full public funding of election campaigns for qualified candidates running for city offices.   Full story

Take Private Money Out Of Public Elections

Hartford Courant, by Kay J. Maxwell and Nicholas Nyhart, 10/4/05

"...As the leaders of national organizations that promote common sense governmental reforms, we've heard plenty from people across the country about cleaning up elections. It's time for Connecticut to lead by example - close the door on payoff politics and open the door to equal-opportunity elections."  Full story

DeLay Helped Cement GOP Ties to Lobbyists

Los Angeles Times, by Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten, 9/30/05

Whether or not Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) returns to power, few industry lobbyists in the nation's capital are likely to forget the lesson he once taught the electronic manufacturers: Support the Republican Party — or else.  Full story

Conn: State Campaign Finance Debate Resumes Oct. 11

Waterbury Connecticut Republican-American, by Seth McLaughlin, 9/30/05

On Thursday, Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell called for an Oct. 11 special legislative session dedicated to working out a final version of the state's Clean Money campaign reform bill for her to sign into law.   Full story

Mrs. Rell Trumps Democrats

Hartford Courant, Editorial, 9/30/05

"...Gov. M. Jodi Rell's call Thursday for an Oct. 11 special session of the legislature should concentrate the minds of those Democratic leaders. The governor has again shown herself to be decisive. She urged lawmakers to pass a bill that will cleanse Connecticut politics of special-interest influence by adopting voluntary public financing of elections..."  Full story

DeLay Indicted in Campaign Finance Probe

Associated Press, by Larry Margasak, 9/28/05

A Texas grand jury on Wednesday charged Rep. Tom DeLay and two political associates with conspiracy in a campaign finance scheme, forcing the House majority leader to temporarily relinquish his post.  Full story

Supreme Court to Decide Campaign-Spending Limits

Reuters, by James Vicini, 9/27/05

The U.S. Supreme Court said on Tuesday it would decide the constitutionality of a state law that strictly limits how much money political candidates can spend, an important campaign-finance issue that it last addressed nearly 30 years ago.  Full story

Poised To Cut The Strings

Hartford Courant, by Joan Claybrook and Chellie Pingree, 9/23/05

"...The moment of reckoning is here. The political leaders of Connecticut have the chance to show the kind of courage former President Kennedy wrote about, and to take a sensible step that will be remembered, and rejoiced, in the history books..."  Full story

A Noble Push For Campaign Reform

Hartford Courant, by Michele Jacklin, 9/18/05

After 10 meetings, one public hearing, testimony from four constitutional experts, discussions with politicians in Arizona and Maine and negotiations for the better part of three months, the General Assembly's Campaign Finance Reform Working Group was gearing up to receive congratulations on a job well-done.  It turns out that would be premature.   Full story

Rell Weighs In With Reform Plan

Hartford Courant, by Mark Pazniokas, 9/14/05

Gov. M. Jodi Rell surprised legislators of both parties Tuesday with a proposal to break an impasse over how to curtail the influence of special interests in Connecticut politics.  Full story

Candidates cough up - for their opponents

Philadelphia Inquirer, by Kaitlin Gurney, 9/9/05

Showing that the "clean" nature of the campaign is rubbing off on New Jersey's notoriously dirty politics, (Democrats) Greenwald and Lampitt pledged yesterday to help their Republican opponents JoAnn Gurenlian and Marc Fleischner qualify for the state's Clean Money public-financing experiment.  Full story

Firm Says "No" to Pay-to-Play

Asbury Park Press, Editorial, 9/6/05

"...Removing business interests from the election financing game just might force political parties to reduce the cost of running a campaign. It might also hasten the implementation of public financing of all state and county elections, using the Clean Elections model emphasizing numerous small donations to qualify for state funding..."  Full story

Summer of Scandal for Politicians in U.S.

Washington Post, by Andrew Taylor, 8/22/05

Ohio Gov. Bob Taft is hardly the only politician these days to be hit by scandal. He's just the only one to admit he was wrong.  House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, is fighting ethics charges. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is too. And two federal lawmakers are under investigation over financial dealings.  Full story

Business Effort Fights Campaign Finance Law

The Oregonian, by Anna Griffin, 8/18/05

A coalition of business owners has filed the paperwork to begin collecting signatures in hopes of repealing Portland's new public campaign-financing program.  Portland City Council members decided this spring to give qualifying candidates taxpayer help in running for municipal office.   Full story

Loss Leader

New Republic, Editorial, 8/15/05

"Revelations about DeLay's questionable foreign travels and his association with disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff have provided Democrats with their best opportunity in years... And yet Democrats have yet to file a second ethics complaint against DeLay.... "Democrats have just as much liability on all this as Republicans.''..."  Full story

N.C. Suit Filed Over Judge Vote Financing

Los Angeles Times, by Gary D. Robertson, 8/8/05

A lawsuit filed Monday contends that North Carolina's public financing system for judicial races limits free speech and puts candidates who don't participate at a disadvantage.   Full story

Why Are the Dems Caving in on Cox?

Los Angeles Times, by Jamie Court, 7/25/05

"The nomination of Rep. Christopher Cox (R-Newport Beach) to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission ... offer a perfect opportunity to decry Wall Street's looting of Main Street... Cox's campaigns have collected more than a quarter of a million dollars from the securities and investment industry he soon may be regulating..."  Full story

Donors' Motives Varied

Orange County Register, by Ronald Campbell, 7/24/05

An Orange County Register analysis found that the top 100 donors gave more than $150 million to candidates and political committees in 2003 and 2004. Their money, targeted at a handful of races, shaped the state's political agenda – and to a large degree the nation's.  Full story

Voters Believe Money Influences Courts, Support Bold Reforms, Says New Study by N.C. Center for Voter Education

U.S. Newswire, Press Release, 6/28/05

North Carolina voters overwhelmingly support the preservation of the state's unique system of public financing for judicial campaigns, and may back broader reforms.  Full story

Sixth District to Help Test Public Campaign Financing

Philadelphia Inquirer, by Kaitlin Gurney, 6/28/05

Camden County's Sixth District will be one of two legislative districts to test public campaign financing this year under a new state program.  Under the program, candidates will receive $100,000 in state campaign financing if they collect 1,500 donations of $30 or less.  Full story

Report: Judical Election Spending Soars

Los Angeles Times, by Robert Tanner, 6/27/05

Campaign spending for state supreme court races across the nation soared in 2004, with $24.4 million poured into television ads as elections to the bench drew increased attention from interest groups and political parties, according to an analysis released Monday.   Full story

The Road to Riches Is Called K Street

Washington Post, by Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, 6/22/05

Lobbying firms hire more, pay more, charge more to influence government  Full story

Clean Elections Law Tested Today

Arizona Republic, by Robbie Sherwood, 6/22/05

Arizona's Clean Elections law faces its biggest test to date today when a lawmaker accused of overspending his public campaign funds goes before a judge to fight for his political life.  Full story

Vote Yes to Public's Financing of City Races

Albuquerque Tribune, Editorial, 6/14/05

"... Later this month, the City Council and mayor should support giving voters the opportunity to take back their voice, by deciding for themselves in a referendum Oct. 4 what kind of Albuquerque they want - we hope one where voters, not the highest bidders, call the political shots. "  Full story

Tammany Fall

New Republic, by John B. Judis, 6/10/05

When Tom DeLay became majority whip in January 1995, he and Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, initiated the K Street Project, a plan to force lobbyists to hire only Republicans and raise money only for Republican candidates.   Full story

The Myth of Small-Donor Clout

The Nation, by Nick Nyhart, 6/9/05

"... the analyses of commentators and academics would lead one to believe that a revolution in small-donor fundraising occurred, wresting election funding--and the clout in Washington that goes with it--from the grasp of fat-cat donors. If only that were true..."  Full story

Competing Bills Pass

Hartford Courant, by Mark Pazniokas, 6/8/05

The state Senate and House of Representatives passed competing campaign finance reform bills early today, each seemingly destined to die when the General Assembly adjourns its 2005 session tonight at midnight.  Full story

Credit For All If Reform Wins

Hartford Courant, Editorial, 6/7/05

"Lawmakers are finding it hard to cut their lifeline to all the campaign cash that lobbyists and their clients can provide. At the Capitol Monday, some lobbyists were said to be trying to scuttle reform and thus preserve their influence.  It would be a shame if they prevailed..."  Full story

Toward an Accord on Campaign Finance in Connecticut

New York Times, by Stacey Stowe, 6/6/05

With the legislative session ending on Wednesday, Connecticut lawmakers are trying to reach agreement on a bill that could provide the most sweeping controls on campaign finance in the nation.  No other state has both public financing and restrictions on "pay to play".  Full story

Campaign Reform Looms At Capitol

Hartford Courant, by Mark Pazniokas, 6/5/05

The proposal to publicly finance campaigns is filling the state Capitol with exhilaration and dread.  Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Democratic lawmakers are daring each other to adopt the concept; if they come to terms, Connecticut will see radical change in how it elects its governor and legislature.  Full story

Time To Take The State Back

New London Day, Editorial, 6/5/05

" Public financing would remove much of the insidious power of lobbyists from our state government, where they have been entrenched for far too long.   Republicans are backing Gov. Rell's plan.... It's past time to take the state back for the people. Gov. Rell has demanded that the legislature do the right thing, and we should, too."  Full story

Rell Rattles the Cage

Journal Inquirer, Editorial, 6/5/05

"Imagine candidates freed from the need to "campaign" mostly by phone, for dollars, and, when in the public light, by pander and with a shamed, bent posture.  Imagine a politics of self-respect... "  Full story

Sweet Victory: Rell Vows to Clean Up Connecticut

The Nation, by Katrina vanden Heuvel, 6/5/05

"This would be the strongest campaign finance reform bill ever passed," says David Donnelly of Public Campaign, "and the fact that this initiative came from within the legislature is unprecedented."  Full story

All Aboard For Campaign Reform

Hartford Courant, by Mark Pazniokas, 6/4/05

Senate Democrats in Connecticut, after two glum days watching Gov. M. Jodi Rell and Republican legislators run away with the Democratic bedrock issue of campaign finance reform, got into the game Friday.  Full story

Rell Tries a Little Quid Pro Quo

Waterbury Connecticut Republican-American, by Trip Jennings, 6/3/05

Scrambling the politics of campaign finance reform Thursday, Gov. M. Jodi Rell vowed to abandon her longtime opposition to taxpayer-funded political campaigns if the Democrat-controlled Legislature agreed to ban campaign money from lobbyists and state contractors.  Full story

Gov. Rell's Dramatic Initiative

Hartford Courant, Editorial, 6/3/05

"Gov. M. Jodi Rell caught legislative Democrats flat-footed in proposing the boldest-yet campaign finance reform initiative on Wednesday... It's encouraging that many of her fellow Republicans - previously skeptical, like her, of public financing - are signaling their support..."  Full story

Rell Offers Reform Package

Hartford Courant, by Mark Pazniokas, 6/2/05

Gov. M. Jodi Rell has made a dramatic offer to revive stalled campaign finance legislation, proposing full public financing of campaigns for offices ranging from the General Assembly to governor beginning in 2010.  Full story

Portland OKs Campaign Cash

The Oregonian, by Anna Griffin, 5/19/05

Starting with the 2006 election, candidates for Portland mayor, commissioner and auditor can receive taxpayer money for their campaigns.  The Portland City Council voted 4-1 Wednesday to become the first city in the nation to offer comprehensive public campaign financing similar to the Clean Money systems used in Arizona and Maine.  Full story

Smith Vows to Fight to Keep Seat

Arizona Republic, by Robbie Sherwood, 4/22/05

A Republican lawmaker who was ordered to step down last month for overspending his campaign funds defiantly vowed Thursday to fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep his office.   Full story

"Clean Money" Plan Revised to Avoid Abuses

Portland Tribune, by Jennifer Anderson, 3/29/05

Portland's “voter-owned elections” proposal is up for review by the City Council on April 7.  The major changes in Commissioner Erik Sten and City Auditor Gary Blackmer’s proposal, formerly called “clean money,” includes the section addressing safeguards against potential abuse, which many in the community were wary of.
  Full story

Mopping Up

Arizona Republic, Editorial, 3/29/05

"The Citizens Clean Elections Commission picked up the legal broom last week and made the right move. The commissioners voted unanimously to sweep state Rep. David Burnell Smith, R-Scottsdale, out of office for overspending public campaign limits..."  Full story

Court Says Karmeier Can Hear Donor's Case

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, by Kevin McDermott, 3/21/05

In a decision that could affect Illinois' debate over campaign reform, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Justice Lloyd Karmeier can't be disqualified from a case because one of the parties has contributed $350,000 to his political campaign.  Full story

Voters Win With Rise in Clean Elections

Arizona Daily Sun, Editorial, 3/13/05

"The clearest measure of Clean Elections success is in the popularity of the system... This means most people elected to the Legislature and the Corporation Commission in 2004 stepped into office beholden to no one but to the people who gave them the required number of $5 individual donations and to the Clean Elections fund..."  Full story

McCain Allies Want Reform (and Money)

New York Times, by Carl Hulse and Anne E. Kornblut, 3/8/05

The Reform Institute, a nonprofit organization devoted to overhauling campaign finance laws, works to promote Senator John McCain's crusade against special interest money in politics.  The institute raised about $1.3 million last year, which Mr. McCain, the institute's most prominent spokesman, points out are a necessary part of advocacy work.  Full story

Fund Maryland Campaigns

Washington Post, Editorial, 3/7/05

"... this is the right time for Maryland's legislature to combat the perception of money's influence over political decision making by adopting a volun-tary system of public funding for legislative campaigns..."  Full story

Dirty Politics, Foul Air

The Nation, by Rebecca Clarren, 2/24/05

The electric utility industry gave Bush nearly $1.4 million. In 2000 the industry spent more than $78 million on lobbying. In return, they've been handed Clear Skies, which ultimately would save power companies $3.5 billion more than the EPA's original plan for meeting the Clean Air Act's public health standards.  The costs to public health would be far more substantial.  Full story

State Weighs Funding Campaigns

The Olympian, by Brad Shannon, 2/6/05

While debates swirl over the integrity of Washington's election system after a razor-close governor's race, lawmakers are quietly looking at another side of the elections: the river of money that flows into the system.   A Senate committee hearing discussed a proposed Clean Elections sytem for Washington.  Full story

A Win for Campaign Reform

Washington Post, by David S. Broder, 2/3/05

"As one who has been skeptical of the claimed virtues of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, I am happy to concede that it has, in fact, passed its first test in the 2004 campaign with flying colors..."  Full story

House G.O.P. Voids Rule It Adopted Shielding Leader

New York Times, by Cal Hulse, 1/4/05

Stung by criticism that they were lowering ethical standards, House Republicans on Monday night reversed a rule change that would have allowed a party leader to retain his position even if indicted.  House majority leader Tom Delay is currently under a campaign finance investigation in Texas that has resulted in charges against three of his associates.  Full story

Opinions Differ on Health Plan

Maine Today, by Josie Huang, 1/1/05

Gov. John Baldacci's nationally touted health insurance program swings into effect today with 1,800 Mainers signed up as the first card-carrying members of DirigoChoice.  In the year ahead, skeptics will search for holes in the program. Supporters will do what they can to help the governor make good on his pledge of universal health care in five years.  Full story

Public Campaign Finance Needs Only a Tune-Up

Arizona Daily Sun, Editorial, 12/28/04

"In a very political year, one of the more remarkable stories is one that didn't occur: Arizona's Clean Elections law did not get dismantled or amended to death... Clean Elections deserve to be supported in the Arizona Legislature..."  Full story

Women Make Big Gains at Legislature Through Clean Elections

Arizona Clean Elections Institute, Press Release, 12/13/04

Women running as participating Clean Elections legislative candidates in Arizona made impressive gains in the 2004 Arizona general election.  The current Legislature (2003-04) has 9 women who ran as Clean Elections candidates.  The new Legislature (2005-06) will have 17, an increase of 89%.  Full story

Cleaning Up, One State At A Time

TomPaine.com, by Micah L. Sifry, 12/6/04

Recent reports have proven what it seems politicians have known all along: money wins elections. But it doesn't have to be that way, says money-in-politics expert Micah Sifry. In Maine and Arizona, the percent of candidates agreeing to "clean election" rules and accepting only public funding has jumped in the past few election cycles...  Full story

DNC Edges GOP in Fund Raising

Seattle Post Intelligencer, by Associated Press, 12/3/04

The Democratic National Committee raised $402 million from January 2003 through Nov. 22 of 2004. The RNC said it took in $385 million.  John Kerry raised a Democratic record $249 million for his primary campaign fund.  Bush ended his private fund raising with $273 million collected, far exceeding the then-record $106 million he raised for his 2000 primary campaign.  Full story

Even With Campaign Finance Law, Money Talks Louder Than Ever

New York Times, by Glen Justice, 11/8/04

The McCain-Feingold law got its first real-world test in this year's election.  While it did stop candidates from asking for six figure contributions, it didn't stop the presidential candidates together from raising $851 million.  National parties raised more than $1 billion.  527 committees raised more than $350 million.  Full story

Kerry's California Coddling

Los Angeles Times, by Anne-Marie O'Connor, 10/27/04

A rarefied group of Democratic Party fundraisers has backstage passes to the Kerry campaign.  They have helped touch off an avalanche of more than $102 million in political donations from Californians to Kerry, liberal groups and Democratic Party causes.   Nearly 500 fundraisers who gather $250,000, dubbed "trustees", have signed up, 80 of them in California.  Full story

Once Again, Big Donors Find New Ways to Skirt the Rules

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 10/26/04

"Defenders of the status quo deride public financing as welfare for politicians. Catchy. But also hooey. Even the highest estimate of the cost of Maine-style public financing at the federal level is only $10 per taxpayer — trivial compared with the cost of payoffs to special interests..."   Full story

Judicial Races in Several States Become Partisan Battlegrounds

New York Times, by Adam Liptak, 10/24/04

Judicial elections, which used to be staid and decorous affairs, have been transformed this year into loud and vicious fights, fueled by money, venom and television.  Campaign spending has skyrocketed. In one Illinois race, two vying candidates have raised $5 million. In West Virginia, a group financed by business interests is spending $2.5 million to defeat a sitting State Supreme Court justice.   Full story

Campaigns Accentuate the Negative

Los Angeles Times, by Janet Hook, 10/17/04

The 2004 election cycle has evolved into one of the most relentlessly negative political campaigns in memory, as attacks on a candidate's character, patriotism and fitness for office have become routine.  80% of TV ads run by sources other than the candidates were attack ads.  Ads are more misleading than ever, too.  Full story

Super Rich Step Into Political Vacuum

Washington Post, by James V. Grimaldi and Thomas B. Edsall, 10/17/04

8 dollars out of every $10 collected from individuals by Democratic-leaning 527 groups have come from donors who have given at least $250,000 each. $9 out of every $10 collected by the GOP groups have come from people who have given more than $250,000.  Full story

After Late Start, Republican Groups Jump Into the Lead

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall, 10/17/04

Since August, 527s raised six times as much as Democrats  Full story

Keeping Elections Clean

CNN.com, by Lou Dobbs, 10/12/04

Voters in Arizona and Maine approved "Clean Elections" laws in the late 1990s, allowing candidates for state-level offices to receive full public funding for their campaigns.  Proponents hope to move beyond McCain-Feingold to bring Arizona and Maine's campaign-finance reforms to a national level...   Full story

Links Between Lobbying, Fundraising, Legislation Laid Out

Washington Post, by Dan Morgan, 10/8/04

Westar Energy Inc. gained influence in Washington by contributing $25,000 to a Texas political fund affiliated with DeLay, and Westar employees donated $33,200 to various congressional campaign committees.   DeLay then added a provision that Westar considered vital to a corporate restructuring plan to a pending energy bill.  Full story

'Old Granny D' Just Keeps On Walking -- Into a Race for Senate

Los Angeles Times, by Elizabeth Mehren, 10/5/04

Doris "Granny D" Haddock, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, delivers this message: Nearly all evils born in Washington — lopsided tax policies, economic disparity, an ineffective healthcare system, even the war in Iraq — are caused by "career politicians who are funded by the special interests that they are supposed to be regulating."
  Full story

Bill Fine-Tunes Campaign Finance

Washington Times, by Brian DeBose, 9/22/04

The four authors of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law introduced a measure yesterday they say will finish the job that they started.  Political committees would be subject to several funding limitations, including a $5,000 cap on donations from individuals per year and a ban on contributions from corporations and unions.  Full story

Bush Drew Record $259 Million During Primaries

New York Times, by Glen Justice, 9/21/04

President Bush raised roughly $259 million in the primaries, shattering the record for presidential fund-raising and collecting millions more than his opponent.  In addition, the campaign got a boost worth millions in August thanks to the timing of Mr. Bush's transition to public financing.  Full story

Judge Strikes Down 15 FEC Rules on Campaign Finance

Washington Post, by Carol D. Leonnig, 9/21/04

A federal judge has struck down rules governing campaign fundraising, concluding that the regulations undermine a two-year-old campaign finance law and allow political activists and candidates to dodge it.  Full story

In New Law's Wake, Companies Slash Their Political Donations

Wall Street Journal, by Jeanne Cummings, 9/3/04

Corporations have dramatically cut their giving to political causes from corporate coffers since McCain-Feingold passed, with very few giving to the new 527 partisan groups.  However, they've re-invigorated their use of employee PACS, with contributions totalling $111 million in 2003, nearly $20 million more than was reported in the entire 2001-2002 political cycle.   Full story

Pols Just Wanna Have Funds

Los Angeles Times, by Patt Morrison, 9/1/04

"George Bush and John Kerry and their parties have already spent a billion dollars on this election — about twice what the federal government devoted to Alzheimer's research this year. And that's just the "hard money," not the tens of millions that "independent" supporters can collect and spend."  Full story

Outsourcing CEOs Get Big Pay Hikes

Forbes, by Dan Ackman, 8/31/04

U.S. companies that outsourced the most jobs in 2003 also offered well-above average pay increases to their chief executives, according to a new study released this morning. Companies that made outsized political contributions to either the Democratic or the Republican parties also paid their CEOs unusually well, the study finds.  Full story

White House Puts the West on Fast Track for Oil, Gas Drilling

Los Angeles Times, by Alan C. Miller, Tom Hamburger and Julie Cart, 8/25/04

Placing a heavy emphasis on energy production in the American West, the Bush administration has moved aggressively to open up broad areas of largely unspoiled federal land to oil and gas exploration.  The oil and gas industry gives more than 80% of its campaign contributions to Republican candidates, up from 63% in 1994.   Full story

Appeals Court Says Vermont Can Limit Campaign Spending But Returns Case to Lower Court

Newsday, by Larry Neumeister, 8/18/04

A divided federal appeals court reiterated its approval of limits in Vermont on how much political candidates can spend even if they aren't getting public funding.   Full story

City Council Questions Campaign Finance Plan

The Oregonian, by Henry Stern, 8/18/04

The proposed use of a Clean Money public money system for Portland candidates faced continued questions on Tuesday from the City Council about where the money will come from and how to avoid inequities among candidates who qualify for taxpayer cash.   Full story

'Nonpartisan' Swift Boat Ad?

Washington Post, by Terry M. Neal, 8/13/04

A proliferation of outside, "independent" groups known as "527's" (named for the section of the tax code that governs their activities), have been pouring millions of dollars into advertising campaigns designed with the obvious purpose of influencing the November elections  Full story

Clean Elections Challenge is Off Ballot For Nov. 2

Arizona Republic, by Robbie Sherwood, 8/13/04

An initiative to overturn Clean Elections, the state's voter-approved system for publicly financing campaigns, is off the Nov. 2 ballot.  The state Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a lower court's ruling to dump Proposition 106 because it violated the "single-subject rule" for making changes to the state Constitution.   Full story

Supreme Court Knocks Clean Elections Off Ballot

Arizona Republic, by Paul Davenport, 8/12/04

The state Supreme Court on Thursday ordered that an initiative to dismantle Arizona's "Clean Elections" system for publicly funding candidates' campaigns be kept off the November ballot.  The justices upheld a ruling that Proposition 106 violated the Arizona Constitution's ban on including more than one subject in a proposed constitutional amendment.  Full story

They Can't Stomach Drug-Firm Baloney

Los Angeles Times, by Steve Lopez, 8/11/04

  Full story

Clean Elections Can't Go On Ballot, Judge Rules

Arizona Republic, by Associated Press, 7/29/04

A judge ruled Thursday that an effort to undo Arizona's system of public funding for political candidates can't go on the November ballot.  Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Margaret H. Downie ruled the initiative violated the Arizona Constitution by posing two separate questions in one measure.  Supporters are appealing to the Arizona Supreme Court.  Full story

Financially Competitive?

The American Prospect, by Robert Kuttner, 7/28/04

"So the 527 groups, plus rare Democratic unity, have created more financial parity than expected -- for the presidential contest. But there are still far more rich conservatives than rich liberals. And the Democrats' effort to retake the Senate could still be the victim..."  Full story

After All, It's a Multiparty System

Los Angeles Times, by Micah L. Sifry and Nancy Watzman, 7/27/04

Corporate cash has been pouring into the coffers of the nonprofit host committees for the Democratic and Republican conventions.  Despite McCain-Feingold, these donations are still completely unlimited.   Together, the two party committees are expected to raise more than $100 million from private sources — more than 12 times as much as they raised in 1992.   Full story

Democrats Outraising The GOP This Year

Washington Post, by Jim VandeHei and Thomas B. Edsall, 7/21/04

John F. Kerry and the major Democratic Party committees have collectively outraised their Republican counterparts this year, blunting one of the GOP's biggest and longest-standing political advantages, new Federal Election Commission reports show.  Republicans still hold an edge overall including last year's fundraising.  Full story

Pro-GOP Groups Outpaced In Funds

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall, 7/16/04

Independent pro-Republican 527 groups only raised $2.3 million in the second quarter of 2004, dramatically out-raised by pro-Democratic groups which raised over over $20 million combined.  Full story

Campaign Finance Plan Detailed

The Oregonian, by Scott Learn, 7/16/04

Portland Auditor Gary Blackmer and Commissioner Erik Sten have nailed down details of their "clean money" plan to pay for political campaigns with public dollars, estimating that taxpayers would spend $1.3 million a year to level the electoral playing field.   Full story

Kerry Camp Dominates in Ads

Los Angeles Times, by Ronald Brownstein and Kathleen Hennessey, 7/13/04

Sen. John F. Kerry and groups supporting his election spent more than three times as much on television commercials in the last month as President Bush and his allies, widening the surprise Democratic advantage in paid advertising.   Full story

Some Democrats Urge Kerry to Forgo Public Campaign Financing

New York Times, by Jim Rutenberg and Glen Justice, 7/9/04

Some Democratic fund-raisers and strategists are calling on Senator John Kerry's campaign to forgo public money and to continue to rely on private donations in the general election.  Such a move would enrage advocates of campaign finance reform.  Kerry could conceivably raise more than the $75 million in public funds, but would have to spend much time fundraising.  Full story

Political Gifts for Host City

Washington Post, by Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, 7/8/04

Private donors are pouring more than $103.5 million into the Democratic and Republican national conventions this summer, nearly double the amount raised for the conventions four years ago, according to a nonpartisan campaign fundraising research group.  Full story

Campaign Money Flows Amok

New York Times, Editorial, 7/7/04

"This presidential election has already proved to be such a fund-raising bonanza that the parties are facing a crisis: what to call a fat-cat bundler who outstrips any of the current honorifics..."  Full story

Extra-Special Interest in Political Conventions

Los Angeles Times, by Lisa Getter, 7/6/04

With most other avenues for corporate political spending cut off, this summer's Democratic and Republican conventions are gushing with special-interest money. It's flowing in two ways: a record amount of direct donations to the host committees putting on the conventions, or via the private bashes Keelen is advising his clients to sponsor.  Full story

Republicans Name 62 Who Raised Big Money

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall, 7/1/04

The Republican National Committee yesterday disclosed the names of 62 "Super Rangers" -- the new elite of fundraisers who have replaced the high-dollar corporate, union and wealthy donors of the past.  Super Rangers must have raised at least $300,000 for the Republican Party.  Full story

Nation Watching Arizona's Battle Over Clean Elections

Arizona Republic, by Chip Scutari, 6/24/04

Starting today, Arizona officially becomes America's battleground over public money in state politics.  The nation will be watching the fight over the future of Arizona's popular yet controversial system of publicly funding politicians' campaigns. Both sides will spend up to $3 million to kill or keep the system known as Clean Elections that has sparked similar efforts in dozens of states.  Full story

A Politician Looking for Funds? Here Are Two Useful Addresses

New York Times, by Glen Justice, 6/23/04

Two buildings have provided more donations to President Bush and Senator John Kerry and their parties than any others in the United States through April.  Executives in a building in Los Angeles have given a total of $297,000 to President Bush and the Republican Party.  Residents of a building in New York gave $192,000 to Senator Kerry and the Democratic Party.  Full story

Clean Elections Law Under Attack

Arizona Republic, by Chip Scutari, 6/20/04

The plan is simple: Get rid of Arizona's publicly funded elections.  That's the crux of an initiative to end Arizona's successful yet controversial system of public campaign funding, known as Clean Elections.  The initiative's supporters deep-pocket contributors read like a who's who of industry.  Full story

Kerry Breaks Bush Record For Pace of Fundraising

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall, 6/17/04

Since locking up the Democratic nomination on March 2, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) has raised more than $100 million, or over $1 million a day -- a pace breaking all presidential campaign records, including those set by President Bush.  Full story

Conservatives Attempt to Kill Clean Elections in Arizona

Working For Change, by Molly Ivins, 6/17/04

"No sooner do we win a long struggle to clean up politics and restore democracy in this country than we find the whole thing under attack, and we have to go out and re-fight the same battle all over again. Good thing we're not easily discouraged..."  Full story

Dirigo Hailed as Count of Uninsured Swells

Maine Today, by Bart Jansen, 6/17/04

Dirigo Health aims to cover all Mainers by 2009 through health plans that would be priced based on ability to pay. Subsidies would be available to people living under 300 percent of the federal poverty level - about $28,000 a year for a single adult and $56,500 for a family of four.
  Full story

No Winks or Nods

Washington Post, Editorial, 6/14/04

"When it comes to the big political checks known as "soft money," the corporate spigot, if not completely shut off, seems to have slowed to a trickle of its formerly copious flow... If this corporate parsimony persists -- and that's an open question -- that would augur well for the effectiveness of the new campaign finance law..."  Full story

Nader Had Campaign Office at Charity

Washington Post, by James V. Grimaldi, 6/13/04

Since October, Ralph Nader has run his campaign for president out of the same downtown Washington offices that through April housed a public charity he created -- an overlap that campaign finance specialists said could run afoul of federal laws.  Full story

Republican 'Soft Money' Groups Find Business Reluctant to Give

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall, 6/8/04

Republican operatives attempting to compete with Democratic groups for large sums of unregulated presidential campaign funds have run into a number of roadblocks, including reluctance on the part of many corporations to contribute to new independent groups.  Full story

A Better Campaign Finance System

Washington Post, by E. J. Dionne Jr., 6/4/04

"The system regulating presidential primaries is entirely antiquated, one reason Bush and Kerry both dropped out of it. It worked well for a long time, but now it needs fixing... federal candidates should get the "clean money" option that allows politicians in Arizona and Maine to virtually eschew private fundraising."  Full story

Republicans Rush to Form New Finance Groups

New York Times, by Glen Justice, 5/29/04

After months spent trying to shut down Democratic advocacy groups that have raised tens of millions of dollars in unlimited contributions to support Senator John Kerry, Republicans are scrambling to set up similar organizations to collect donations to help President Bush.  Full story

The Big Money Election

The Nation, Editorial, 5/27/04

"That's why those who want to keep comprehensive campaign-finance reform moving forward should pay attention to the fight quietly under way in Arizona, one of a handful of states (including Maine) with some form of Clean Elections systems..."  Full story

Wall Street Firms Funnel Millions to Bush

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall and Jonathan Weisman, 5/23/04

The finance and insurance sectors have given $12.14 million to President Bush's campaign.  Wall Street has stepped up to the plate in support of Bush, and Bush has sponsored legislation producing billions of dollars in revenue on Wall Street.  Full story

In April, Kerry's Fundraising Nearly Doubled Bush's

Washington Post, by Paul Farhi, 5/21/04

Sen. John F. Kerry's fundraising receipts surged strongly ahead of President Bush's last month, with the presumptive Democratic nominee pulling in almost twice what the president raised.  Kerry's fundraising haul of $30 million in April compared with the Bush campaign's $15.6 million.  The two candidates have more than doubled the money Bush and Gore raised before their conventions.   Full story

EPA Relied on Industry for Plywood Plant Pollution Rule

Los Angeles Times, by Alan C. Miller and Tom Hamburger,, 5/21/04

Pushing aside new scientific studies of possible health risks, the Environmental Protection Agency approved an air pollution regulation this year that could save the wood products industry hundreds of millions of dollars.  The wood products industry donates millions of dollars a year, mostly to Republicans.   Full story

Fundraiser Denies Link Between Money, Access

Washington Post, by James V. Grimaldi and Thomas B. Edsall, 5/17/04

Richard T. Farmer is one of America's richest men and a Bush Pioneer by virtue of having raised at least $100,000 for the 2000 campaign with a $2.7 billion industrial-laundry company. The EPA provided industrial-laundry lobbyists with an advance copy of a portion of the proposed rule, which the lobbyists edited and the agency adopted.  Full story

Pioneers Fill War Chest, Then Capitalize

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall, Sarah Cohen and James V. Grimaldi, 5/16/04

Since 1998, Bush has raised a record $296.3 million in campaign funds, giving him an overwhelming advantage in running against Vice President Al Gore and now Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.). At least a third of the total -- many sources believe more than half -- was raised by 631 people.   Big donors, Republican and Democrat, have always received benefits from the administrations that received their largess.   Full story

Fresh Air From Arizona

Pasadena Star-News, by Larry Wilson, 5/15/04

"John McCain is one of the Arizona supporters of a state campaign-finance reform act that is deeply controversial there but that has stood as the law of the state since 1998... predictably, the developer-funded opposition campaign tugs at heartstrings by calling itself "No Taxpayer Dollars for Politicians.'"  Full story

Lobbyists Spread Campaign Cash

Washington Post, by Jeffrey H. Birnbaum, 5/6/04

Registered lobbyists gave President Bush $1.8 million and Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) $520,000 in campaign contributions from Jan. 1, 1997, through March 31 this year, according to a study by the Center for Public Integrity.  The study also hints that both presidential candidates may be influenced by the lobbyist-donors in ways that go beyond the basic statistics.   Full story

Keep Clean Elections Law Intact

Arizona Republic, by John Scudder, 5/6/04

"Rather than wasting time attacking Republicans and Democrats - and they are both guilty of letting donations influence decisions - let's start with a different premise: The old campaign-finance system is broken and it must be fixed..."  Full story

Corruption's Enablers

Hartford Courant, by Michele Jacklin, 5/5/04

"With the legislative session drawing to a close and most of the major ethics bills headed for the scrapheap, I've got a suggestion for a new state motto: Connecticut - Corrupt and Proud of It!..."  Full story

Bush, Kerry Awash in Money

Los Angeles Times, by Lisa Getter, 5/4/04

This year's presidential race — fueled by more than a million donors, including many who have never given before — is well on its way to becoming the country's first $1-billion political campaign, experts say.   Full story

Bush 'Rangers' Sniff Out Dollars For GOP

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 5/1/04

President Bush's elite backers, the "Rangers" who helped his re-election campaign break fund-raising records this year, have a new mission: Raise even more money for the Republican Party.  If they get their friends, relatives and business associates to kick in $300,000 for the Republican National Committee's Victory 2004 fund, they can become a "Super Ranger".  Full story

Encouraging Sin in Order to Tax It

Sacramento Bee, by Molly Ivins, 4/29/04

"The only way to fix this is to fix the way campaigns are financed. The public needs to pay for political campaigns. The oldest saying in politics is: "You got to dance with them what brung you." We need to fix the system so that when people get elected, they don't owe anyone but us, the people."   Full story

'The Shame' That Lincoln Steffens Found Has Not Left Our Country

New York Times, by Adam Cohen, 4/11/04

"Steffens believed ... that the shame of corruption lay not with those who engaged in it, who could hardly be expected to act otherwise, but with the cities, which is to say their citizens, for not actively stepping in and putting a stop to it..."  Full story

Clean Elections

Tallahassee Democrat, Editorial, 4/8/04

"But unless citizens express their disgust with the current system, don't expect state lawmakers to lead the charge. Tell your state lawmakers how you feel about SB 1230, the "Clean Money" bill sponsored by Sen. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami..."  Full story

Criticism of Clean Elections Ignores the Facts

Tucson Citizen, by Barbara Lubin, 4/7/04

"The real story about the success of Clean Elections in the 2002 election wasn't how many Clean Elections candidates won, although the numbers were impressive.  The story was that there was far more competition for elective offices than before; voter turnout jumped by a stunning 23 percent..."  Full story

An Easy Way to Get More Political Bang for 3 Bucks

Los Angeles Times, by J. Kenneth Blackwell and Vic Fazio, 4/5/04

Last year only 11% of tax filers checked off the $3 checkoff of whether they wanted $3 of their federal tax to go to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, down from a high of 29% in 1978.   Full story

Kerry Funds Signal Hope for Party

Washington Post, by Jim VandeHei, 4/2/04

Friday, April 2, 2004; 5:15 PM Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) announced today that his presidential campaign has raised more than $50 million in the first three months of this year, smashing Democratic Party records and signaling a party-wide fundraising resurgence for Democrats, according to top party officials.  Full story

Changing All the Rules

New York Times, by Bruce Barcott, 4/2/04

The Bush administration effected a radical transformation of the nation's environmental laws, quietly and subtly, by means of regulatory changes and bureaucratic directives.  Changes in new-source review have allowed power plants not to clean up.  Executives, lawyers, and lobbyists for power companies gave President Bush's campaign millions of dollars.   Full story

GOP Complaint Cites Pro-Democratic Groups

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall, 4/1/04

The Bush campaign and the Republican Party filed charges yesterday with the Federal Election Commission accusing the Kerry campaign and seven "independent" organizations of conducting a criminal conspiracy to inject large amounts of "soft money" into the 2004 election.  Full story

Clean Election Benefits Are Clear

Arizona Republic, by Marc Spitzer, 3/31/04

"... principled fiscal and social conservatives have benefited from Clean Elections... many quality Republican candidates have opted to forego the lobbyist wine-and-cheese circuit - and found Clean Elections (rather than raising money from those later seeking legislation) consistent with their conservative views. "  Full story

Democrats' Ads in Tandem Provoke G.O.P.

New York Times, by Jim Rutenberg, 3/27/04

Senator John Kerry's advertising campaign is so closely complemented by those of two major liberal groups running commercials against President Bush that Republicans are accusing the Democrats of trying to evade campaign finance laws.   Full story

Kentucky Race Studied as Test Run of New Law

Washington Post, by Spencer S. Hsu, 3/27/04

In results sifted through by pollsters, media consultants and party strategists, Chandler's Feb. 17 victory over state Sen. Alice Forgy Kerr (R) ushered in a new day in U.S. electoral mechanics in which the flow of money is crimped and political parties face new barriers against coordinating with their candidates, even as they are freer to attack the opposition.  Full story

Big Money Out to Buy Elections

Arizona Republic, by Bill Searle, 3/26/04

"... A proposed amendment to the state Constitution called "No Taxpayer Money for Politicians." The unbelievable assumption: We'd just love to go back to tainted private interest bucks corrupting state politics...."   Full story

I'd Like a Tuna on White -- Hold the Mercury!

Salon.com, by Arianna Huffington, 3/24/04

"After a recent medical checkup, I was shocked to discover that I have elevated levels of mercury in my bloodstream — as do my sister and four of my closest girlfriends...  In the case of the administration's proposed mercury rules, no less than a dozen paragraphs were directly lifted... from memos prepared by lobbying and advocacy groups representing power and energy companies..."  Full story

Kerry Campaign Relying On Help of Groups' Ads

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall and Sarah Cohen, 3/21/04

The general election campaign began in March with President Bush holding $110 million in the bank, 46 times as much as his all-but-certain Democratic opponent, Sen. John F. Kerry.  Two pro-Democratic groups, the Media Fund and MoveOn.org, have spent a little less than $10 million.   Full story

Kerry Capitalizing on Party Resources to Fill Coffers

Washington Post, by Jim VandeHei and Thomas B. Edsall, 3/19/04

Sen. John F. Kerry is setting the stage to raise as much as $100 million for his presidential campaign by seizing control of his party's fundraising machinery, winning the support of top money people for vanquished rivals, and attracting thousands of new small donors via the Internet, according to officials inside and outside his campaign.  Full story

Check Bounce

New Republic, by Christopher Hayes, 3/17/04

The McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill has provision called "the millionaire's amendment", which raised the cap on personal donations for candidates running against self-funded millionaires.   Barack Obama won the primary for his senate seat in Illinois against a security trade worth $500 millioin after his cap was raised.  $2 million of the $5.6 million he raised was due to the increase.  Full story

Mercury Emissions Rule Geared to Benefit Industry, Staffers Say

Los Angeles Times, by Tom Hamburger and Alan C. Miller, 3/16/04

Political appointees in the Environmental Protection Agency bypassed agency professional staff and a federal advisory panel last year to craft a rule on mercury emissions preferred by the industry and the White House.  Since 1999, coal and electricity companies and executives have donated $40 million to Republican candidates and committees.   Full story

Soft Money Slinks Back

New York Times, Editorial, 3/11/04

" We are now engaged in the first federal election contest under the new campaign finance law prohibiting open-ended donations from corporations, unions and wealthy individuals in federal elections. Already, political insiders are carving a giant loophole that the Federal Election Commission must swiftly close..."  Full story

Democrats Forming Parallel Campaign

Washington Post, by Dan Balz and Thomas B. Edsall, 3/10/04

A coalition of Democratic Party interest groups has already raised about $75 million, mostly in soft money contributions, in an effort to defeat President Bush.  The Bush campaign calls it a blatant circumvention of the new McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill.  The coalition says its important to match the $150 that the Bush campaign has already raised.  Full story

Many Major Kerry Donors Actually Give More to Bush

New York Times, by Glen Justice, 3/10/04

Senator John Kerry is beginning his drive to compete financially against President Bush with a disadvantage: almost half of his campaign's largest sources of money have given more money to Mr. Bush, according to a new study.   Full story

How Industry Won the Battle of Pollution Control at E.P.A.

New York Times, by Christopher Drew and Richard A. Oppel Jr., 3/6/04

The Bush administration has weakened a number of environmental rules on energy policy, increasing pollution energy companies are allowed to produce.  There were more executives from energy than from any other industry group among Mr. Bush's most elite fund-raisers, called "Pioneers," who each generated more than $100,000 in donations.   Full story

Reining In Anti-Bush Groups

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall, 3/5/04

The Federal Election Commission yesterday set in motion regulatory proceedings that could severely restrict new pro-Democratic groups seeking to defeat President Bush.  "527" groups may be forced to spend only "hard money," consisting of contributions of $5,000 or less from individuals, or to spend a mix of hard and soft money, with 50 percent or more of it hard money.   Full story

Ponying Up for Ted

Washington Post, Editorial, 3/5/04

"When foundations like this are set up for the benefit of sitting lawmakers, requests for contributions have the inevitable air of a shakedown: What lobbyist with an interest in appropriations matters would fail to give to Mr. Stevens's charity?..."  Full story

Kerry's Focus Is Fundraising

Los Angeles Times, by Lisa Getter, 3/4/04

President Bush has a $100-million cash advantage over Sen. John F. Kerry.  They're setting up a joint account with the Democratic National Committee, so that a donor could write one check for $27,000 — a $2,000 donation for Kerry and $25,000 to the DNC, the maximums now allowed by law.  Full story

Kerry Fund-Raisers Look To Raise Millions Quickly

San Francisco Chronicle, by Sharon Theimer, 3/4/04

John Kerry will embark on a 20-city fund-raising tour this month in hopes of collecting a quick $15 million or more as he reaches for a Democratic money record of $105 million.  The Bush-Cheney campaign reported cash on hand of $104 million as of Feb. 1 -- with no debt -- and the president continued to raise money Thursday in California.   Full story

Bush Campaign Ads Brought to You by Special Interests; Industries That Give to Bush Get Their Money’s Worth

Public Citizen, Press Release, 3/3/04

As President Bush prepares to launch a multimillion-dollar campaign ad blitz, Public Citizen today released a report outlining who helped pay for the campaign ads and what favors they have received during his presidency.  Full story

So Far, So Good on Campaign Finance Reform

Washington Post, by Thomas E. Mann and Norman Ornstein, 3/1/04

"Reformers did want to end the shakedown schemes and access-peddling officeholders and parties used to raise money from corporations, unions and wealthy individuals. This was real corruption...  With the link to elected officials broken, the pressure to give has greatly diminished."  Full story

Utah Oil and Gas Leases Stir Criticism

Washington Post, by Juliet Eilperin, 3/1/04

The Bush administration has moved ahead with its plan to auction oil and gas leases on environmentally sensitive lands in Utah.  A study found that the leases were purchased by contributors to President Bush's reelection campaign at below-market rates.  Full story

Group Seeks the Names of Edwards' Backers

Los Angeles Times, by Lisa Getter, 2/27/04

Sen. John Edwards declined a request to release the names of his top presidential fundraisers before Super Tuesday.  The Bush campaign lists 165 "Rangers" — supporters who have raised at least $200,000 — and 251 "Pioneers," those who have brought in at least $100,000.  The Kerry campaign last October named 32 fundraisers who had collected $100,000 and 87 who had raised at least $50,000.   Full story

Governor Has Star Power On East Coast

San Jose Mercury News, by Jim Puzzanghera, 2/25/04

Gov. Schwarzenegger was expected to raise about $800,000 Tuesday to help pay for last-minute advertising to try to persuade voters to approve Propositions 57 and 58 next week.  The biggest event was a fundraiser at the Trump Tower condominium of billionaire Robert Wood Johnson IV. Guests paid $50,000 and up to rub elbows with Schwarzenegger.   Full story

Congress' Family Values

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 2/24/04

"At least 11 House members and 17 senators have relatives who lobby or consult Congress on issues that members have favored through legislative or other action... The list of behind-the-scenes connections at work in Washington is long, and it subverts open government."  Full story

N.C. Senator Needs Money to Remain Competitive

Washington Post, by Paul Farhi, 2/19/04

John Edwards's outside hopes of winning the Democratic nomination are starting to boil down to a critical question: Does the North Carolina senator have enough cash for the final dash?  While Edwards's chief rival, John F. Kerry, continues to build up a big lead in fundraising, Edwards has been scrambling to pull in enough money to remain competitive.  Full story

FEC Moves to Regulate Groups Opposing Bush

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall, 2/19/04

The FEC voted 4 to 2 to warn Americans for a Better Country that activities that "promote, attack, support or oppose" a federal candidate must be paid for with hard money, a type of political donation that, unlike soft money, has tight restrictions on sources and amounts. This is a broader standard than used in the past.  Full story

Politicking on Kids' Backs

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 2/18/04

"[House Majroity Leader Tom DeLay (R)] has made plans to use a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable foundation created by him and operated by his daughter and several of his associates to fund political events at the Republican National Convention over Labor Day weekend... DeLay certainly leaves the impression of trading influence for money..."  Full story

Realtors Spend Big On Costa Campaign

Fresno Bee, by Michael Doyle, 2/11/04

Some deep pockets are opening up for the increasingly contentious San Joaquin Valley congressional race, with a Realtors group contributing more than $270,000 to Democratic candidate Jim Costa's campaign.   Full story

Too Young to Vote, Old Enough to Donate

New York Times, by Glen Justice, 2/10/04

Contributions from children are often used by adults as a way around laws restricting how much an individual can give to a campaign.  People who are too young to drink, drive or vote can again contribute to presidential and Congressional campaigns.  Donations have been made in the names of children less than 2 years old.   Full story

Bills Target Clean Elections, No Hearings Scheduled

Arizona Capitol Times, by Daniel Burnette, 2/9/04

"Clean Elections" bills in Arizona are designed to make life easier for privately funded candidates. Amongst other changes, they change the requirement that traditionally funded candidates file as many as 40 campaign finance reports, even if they face no publicly funded opponents. House Speaker Jake Flake, an opponent of Clean Elections, is not allowing the bills to go forward.   Full story

Fire Away

New Republic, Editorial, 2/8/04

"Smith, a Republican representative from Michigan, said that, with the fate of the bill uncertain in the wee morning hours of November 22, unnamed GOP leaders desperate for a couple more votes approached him with an explicit quid pro quo. Support our bill, they said, and we'll steer $100,000 to your son's campaign..."   Full story

Developers Push To Ban Public Funds For Clean Elections

Arizona Daily Sun, by Howard Fischer, 2/7/04

Developers, insurance companies and other businesses are contributing thousands of dollars to kill the state's voluntary system of public financing.  New reports filed with the Secretary of State's Office shows that the main organization pushing repeal has collected $144,900 to push the measure that would virtually repeal the 1998 voter-approved law  Full story

Business Figures Chip In To Repeal Public Campaign Finance

Arizona Republic, by Paul Davenport, 2/6/04

An initiative drive to dry up funding for Arizona's system of public campaign financing is getting five-figure contributions from developers and other big names in Arizona business.  The  "No Taxpayer Money for Politicians Act" reported $144,900 in contributions through Dec. 31 - four-fifths of it in contributions of $5,000 or more.  Full story

Tickets to Schwarzenegger Fundraiser in New York Will Cost Up to $500,000

Los Angeles Times, by Dan Morain, 2/5/04

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is taking his fundraising machine to Manhattan for a dinner with a top price tag of $500,000 a plate.  The event is to help pay for the governor's campaign promoting two measures on the March 2 ballot.  Jim Knox, director of California Common Cause, called the $500,000 solicitation "staggering."
  Full story

Clean Elections Adopts Rules Changes, Public Has 60 Days To Comment

Arizona Capitol Times, by Arizona Capitol Times staff, 2/3/04

The Citizens Clean Elections Commission has tentatively adopted a host of rules changes, but because comments from the public were incorporated in those proposals, they are subject to 60 days of public comment.  Full story

Rowland The Reformer?

Hartford Courant, by Claudio Gualtieri and Drew Warshaw, 2/1/04

"This is bigger than John G. Rowland. This is about protecting Connecticut from future abuses and corruption, not simply the current problem... Three years ago, the legislature passed a clean-money campaign-reform bill that would have addressed head-on the demand for campaign contributions by substituting private money with public money..."  Full story

Boxer's GOP Rivals Under the Radar

Los Angeles Times, by Jean O. Pasco, 1/31/04

The major Republican candidates hoping to unseat U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer have been able to do little advertising.  "We're too busy dialing for dollars," explained a consultant for one.  Boxer has raised nearly $9 million for her campaign through December. Her fundraising prowess and incumbency dissuaded half a dozen Republicans with better name recognition from taking her on.  Full story

Democrats Assail, and Tap, 'Special Interests'

New York Times, by Glen Justice and Join Tierney, 1/31/04

The Democratic presidential hopefuls have been crossing the country this week promising to drive "special interests" and "influence peddlers" out of the White House.  But campaign finance reports show some contenders benefit significantly from the lobbyists and special interests that they attack.   Full story

Kerry Leads in Lobby Money

Washington Post, by Jim VandeHei, 1/30/04

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who has made a fight against corporate special interests a centerpiece of his front-running campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, has raised more money from paid lobbyists than any other senator over the past 15 years, federal records show.   Full story

Senator Seeks Ethics Review on Lobbying

Los Angeles Times, by Judy Pasternak, 1/29/04

Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Ethics Committee, has requested a formal review of lobbying practices in the chamber to determine whether tighter restrictions are needed.  Reid was among several senators who sponsor legislation or take other action to help special interests that pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to their relatives in lobbying or consulting fees.  Full story

Lawsuit Seeks to Stop Public Financing of Elections

Arizona Daily Sun, by Howard Fischer, 1/29/04

The Institute for Justice wants a federal judge to void provisions in Arizona's voter-approved Clean Elections law which gives additional cash to publicly funded candidates when their privately financed foes raise additional cash.   A series of prior challenges to the Clean Elections Act have been rejected, twice by the state Supreme Court and once by the U.S. Supreme Court.  Full story

Democrats Spend $3.5 Million on N.H. Primary Ad Blitz

Los Angeles Times, by Nick Anderson, 1/27/04

The Democratic presidential candidates spent $3.5 million on television advertisements in New Hampshire during a one-week blitz leading up to today's primary, with Howard Dean accounting for nearly a third of that total.  Since June 1, Dean has spent $2.7 million there on TV. Kerry, who like Dean opted out of public financing, has spent about $2.6 million.  Full story

End Of Election Fund Goal Of Insight Chief

Arizona Republic, by Chip Scutari, 1/27/04

Eric Crown is leading the voter initiative to end Arizona's popular yet controversial system of publicly funding politicians' campaigns. Crown said the group plans to raise about $500,000 to cover the cost of gathering 184,000 signatures by July. So far, they have raised $150,000.   Full story

Gearing Up for a Fight

Hartford Advocate, by Dan Levine and Chris Harris, 1/22/04

A clean elections bill is being suggested by the Connecticut legislature's Government Administration Elections Committee after a series of corruption scandals.  A conservative Republican official from Arizona who got elected on clean money will testify in front of a legislative hearing Feb. 2.   Full story

Journalists Not Loath to Donate To Politicians

Washington Post, by Howard Kurtz, 1/18/04

More than 100 journalists and executives at major media companies, from NBC's top executive to a Fox News anchor to reporters or editors for the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, CBS and ABC, have made political contributions in recent years.  Full story

Decapitating Appalachia

New York Times, Editorial, 1/13/04

"The Interior Department is quietly gutting yet another legal safeguard against the wholesale pollution and burial of streams in Appalachia by the strip-mining industry... It may be a coincidence that the new rule comes as Republican fund-raisers are priming the campaign donation pump."  Full story

GOP Urges Wider Ban on 'Soft Money'

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall, 1/13/04

The Republican National Committee plans to ask the Federal Election Commission today to ban the raising of $300 million or more in "soft money" by pro-Democratic groups seeking to pay for voter mobilization and TV ads in this year's elections.  The request marks a reversal of traditional Republican opposition to regulating political money.   Full story

Energy Firms Paying Tab For GOP Trip

USA Today, by Jim Drinkard, 1/7/04

A dozen or more congressional Republicans will gather at a resort in balmy Phoenix this week to hear the legislative wish lists of Western coal, power and mining companies - and raise money from them.   Full story

Political Fundraising in Texas Is Target of Probe

Los Angeles Times, by Scott Gold, 1/3/04

Authorities are conducting a criminal investigation into whether corporate money, including hundreds of thousands of dollars linked to U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, improperly financed the Republican Party's takeover of the Texas Capitol.   Full story

Dean a Resounding Winner in 'Money Primary'

Los Angeles Times, by Nick Anderson, 1/1/04

Howard Dean has now raised $40 million in his run for the White House, including over $15.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2003.  Retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark was expecting more than $10 million in fourth-quarter contributions.  Since 1980, no major-party presidential candidate who led in donations received by Jan. 1 of an election year has failed to clinch the nomination.  Full story

Bush Sees Donor Potential in Democratic 'Attacks'

Los Angeles Times, by Associated Press, 1/1/04

President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and surrogates including Bush relatives have raised about $120 million for his reelection — money that must officially be spent in the primary, in which he faces no opponent. He is well on his way to banking his goal of $170 million, and resumes his fundraising schedule on Monday in St. Louis.  Full story

On Da' Soros Ad: No?

Slate, by Mickey Kaus, 12/27/03

"The institutionalized shakedown of corporations for unilimited sums has been ended, at least temporarily. And while it may not be impossible for a candidate to shake down George Soros it's at least harder if the candidate and his campaign can't ask the shakee for the money and if the candidate can't collect and spend the money himself..."  Full story

Soros, Groups Target Bush

CNN.com, by Reuters, 12/26/03

President Bush's campaign claim that anti-Bush soft-money groups such as MoveOn.org and America Coming Together threaten to spend as much as $400 million, justifying the Bush primary-season goal of raising a record $170 million.   Campaign finance experts say there is little chance of Bush being outspent.   Full story

Kerry Lends Campaign $6.4 Million

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall, 12/24/03

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) announced yesterday that he borrowed $6.4 million to lend to his financially strapped presidential campaign with less than a month to go to the crucial Jan. 19 Iowa caucuses.  Kerry aides did not rule out additional borrowing, depending on campaign needs.  Full story

Candidates Turn to Web to Keep Cash Flow Constant

Washington Post, by Brian Faler, 12/24/03

The ad was only hours old when the Dean campaign put out the call: "Dean attacked in despicable ad that uses images of bin Laden," the campaign wrote, in a text message sent to supporters' cell phones. "The bat is up -- don't tread on Dean!"  Full story

Study: Campaign Contributions Outside Maricopa County Increase

Arizona Capitol Times, by Daniel Burnette, 12/22/03

More Arizonans took part in the electoral process in 2002 than in 1998 — if participation is measured by how many people outside Maricopa County gave a campaign contribution, a new study shows. The Clean Elections Institute’s study, released Dec. 15, shows that public campaign funding “greatly increased the geographic area from which candidates collected campaign contributions.”   Full story

Bright Light Must Shine on Energy Policymaking

Los Angeles Times, by Carl Pope and Paul Rauber, 12/21/03

"Voices as diverse as the Wall Street Journal and the Nation magazine, the Sierra Club and the Cato Institute blasted the Bush administration's omnibus energy bill as a massive betrayal of the public trust... But we can be certain, given the powerful economic forces poised to reap billions of dollars in subsidies and environmental giveaways from it, that the bill will be back..."   Full story

Special Interests Unfazed by New Campaign Limits

New York Times, by Glen Justice and Jim Rutenberg, 12/20/03

Special interest groups are finding ways around McCain-Feingold rules devised to spare voters a deluge of advertisements, many of them anonymous, generated by unlimited special-interest spending. Other groups say they are using different techniques to adjust to the ban on advertisements bought with soft money 30 days before a primary season.   Full story

Senator's Way to Wealth Was Paved With Favors

Los Angeles Times, by Chuck Neubauer and Richard T. Cooper, 12/17/03

Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has wielded extraordinary power in Washington for more than three decades, eventually holding sway over nearly $800 billion a year in federal spending.  In 1997, he got serious about making money. And in almost no time, he too was a millionaire — thanks to investments with businessmen who received government contracts or other benefits with his help.
  Full story

Color Of Money

TomPaine.com, by Micah L. Sifry, 12/17/03

"Private financing of elections effectively excludes racial and ethnic minorities—as well as people of modest means—while providing disproportionate power and access to wealthy and white neighborhoods. In short: Campaign finance reform is a modern-day civil rights issue..."  Full story

Forget Theory -- Finance Law Fails To Work in Practice

Wall Street Journal, by Alan Murray, 12/16/03

"Leave it to lawyers and high-minded pundits to debate whether the new campaign-finance law violates the First Amendment. I have a more basic concern: It doesn't work."  Full story

Dean Woos Wealthy Contributors

Los Angeles Times, by Matea Gold, 12/14/03

Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean — who heralds small donors as the backbone of his campaign — is spending much of this month appealing to well-heeled contributors in a series of high-priced, celebrity-studded fundraisers expected to generate $3 million.  Full story

Money Talks, and the Court Listens

Washington Post, by E. J. Dionne Jr., 12/12/03

"In upholding reforms in the campaign finance system this week, the Supreme Court did not mince words, split differences, rewrite legislation or sidestep issues....  The Supreme Court has declared that we are entitled to something more than the best democracy money can buy. In so doing, it has struck a blow for freedom."  Full story

Court Ruling Affirms New Landscape of Campaign Finance

New York Times, by Glen Justice, 12/11/03

The Supreme Court's decision to uphold most of last year's campaign finance law quashed any final hopes politicians and their parties had about returning to the days when unlimited contributions flowed freely into their hands.  What's left is a system in which regulated contributions known as "hard money" of up to $2,000 per candidate are the official coin of the realm in federal politics.   Full story

Wealthy Campaign Donors Stifle Minority Voices

USA Today, by Antonio Gonzalez and Stephanie Moore, 12/11/03

"Americans still should be decrying what amounts to a new poll tax: the current system of privately financed election campaigns. Because the system implicitly relies on an elite group of wealthy, white donors to fund most campaigns, it discriminates against people of color and other underserved communities that don't cough up as much money..."   Full story

Reformers, Cheer While You Can

Los Angeles Times, by Richard L. Hasen, 12/11/03

"[McConnell vs. FEC] brushed aside Buckley's single-minded 1st Amendment concern that campaign spending should remain unlimited to allow for "uninhibited, robust" political debate. The court's attitude now is one of significant deference to Congress over the appropriate role of money in politics....But the celebrations will not last for long."  Full story

Big Money Loses One

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 12/11/03

"The U.S. Supreme Court's divided but surprisingly strong opinion upholding much of the 2002 campaign finance reform law signals an overdue recognition of the power and the danger big money poses in federal elections and public policy..."  Full story

A Campaign Finance Triumph

New York Times, Editorial, 12/11/03

"The Supreme Court delivered a stunning victory for political reform yesterday, upholding the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law virtually in its entirety... The court's strong endorsement of Congress's authority to regulate money in politics should be seen as an invitation to further reform... More, and more creative, approaches are needed."  Full story

Justices Uphold Campaign Finance Law

Washington Post, by Charles Lane, 12/11/03

The Supreme Court endorsed the key provisions of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law yesterday.  Rejecting opponents' claims that McCain-Feingold stifles free speech, a slender but emphatic five-justice majority upheld both the law's ban on "soft money" and its new rules limiting campaign-season political advertising.   Full story

Fundraising Specialists, Independent Groups Gain

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall, 12/11/03

The McCain-Feingold campaign finance law affirmed by the Supreme Court locks in place the Republican Party's fundraising advantage over the Democrats and could hasten what partisans and election experts see as a major transformation of the political system.  Full story


Washington Post, Editorial, 12/11/03

"In upholding virtually all of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation yesterday, the Supreme Court issued one of its most important decisions in a generation... It affirms, in other words, that the Constitution does not require a broken democracy in which the government is impotent in the face of a culture of influence peddling."  Full story

McCain-Feingold Ruling Angers Activists on Both Left and Right

Washington Post, by David Von Drehle, 12/11/03

Both the National Rifle Association and the American Civil Liberties Union hated yesterday's unexpectedly broad ruling by the court to uphold the major provisions of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.  Some denounced the campaign finance law as "an orgy of incumbent protection."   Full story

Stick to Strict Mercury Controls

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Editorial, 12/9/03

"The energy lobby ... has wielded millions in campaign contributions to cozy up to the Bush administration. Their strategy is working: almost every industry wish, including mercury trading, has become EPA's solemn command.?  Full story

Bush Signs Law Aimed at Fighting Identity Theft

Forbes, by Mark Felsenthal, 12/4/03

U.S. President George W. Bush on Thursday signed legislation on credit cards and privacy which overrides the stronger privacy protection law passed in California.  The bill allows affiliates of financial services companies to share information about consumers.  Ed Mierzwinski of the U.S. Public Interest Research Group called them "unfair, permanent limits on state rights."  Full story

Hollywood Political Event Stirs Up Storm

Los Angeles Times, by Anne-Marie O'Connor and Ronald Brownstein, 12/3/03

A gathering in Hollywood of deep-pocketed entertainment industry liberals was held to build support for the Media Fund, a group which hopes to raise as much as $80 million to fund an independent advertising campaign for the eventual Democratic presidential nominee.  Campaign finance reform advocates worried that it exemplified efforts to dodge new campaign finance laws banning unlimited political contributions.  Full story

The Politics of Payoff

Washington Post, by E. J. Dionne Jr., 12/2/03

"Disgorging public money to your friends makes political sense. By recycling a small fraction of the cash back to Bush and his party in the form of campaign contributions, those friends are financing the construction of a mighty political machine. It's a weird form of public financing of campaigns -- confined to one party."  Full story

Upping the Campaign Ante

New York Times, Editorial, 11/29/03

"...let the record show that the decision by former Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts to abandon publicly subsidized campaign spending limits — so tinged with high-minded regret — was really all about outspending and annihilating each other in the opening Democratic nomination rounds in Iowa and New Hampshire..."  Full story

The Hightower Report

Austin Chronicle, by Jim Hightower, 11/28/03

"Pundits and other political cynics scoff at citizens' efforts to reform America's money-corrupted political process.... if the cynics would only lift their eyes from their myopic focus on Washington, they would see something big taking place in such diverse states as Maine and Arizona ... public financing of elections."  Full story

Campaign Financing

New York Times, by Cy Shain, 11/28/03

"Your Nov. 24 editorial "Public Campaign Financing Collapses" brought a note of deep regret and sadness that a pillar of campaign financing reform had crumbled at a time when public indignation over the obligatory repayment cesspool that characterizes such contributions is at its height."  Full story

How to Fix Financing

Washington Post, by E. J. Dionne Jr., 11/28/03

"Opponents of campaign finance reform have a bad habit. They say over and over that reducing the potentially corrupting influence of money in politics is an impossible task. And then they turn around and oppose any measures that could make reasonable regulations work... The first example is the system of partial public financing for presidential candidates during the primaries."  Full story

GOP Pulled No Punches in Struggle For Medicare bill

Chicago Sun-Times, by Robert Novak, 11/27/03

On the House floor, Congressman Nick Smith (R) was told business interests would give his son $100,000 in return for his father's vote on the medicare bill.  After he voted no, other Republicans taunted him that his son was dead meat.  Major contributors told other conservative Republican lawmakers that they would cut off funding if they didn't vote yes.   Full story

Nursing a Fragile Energy Bill

Washington Post, by Dan Morgan, 11/24/03

Senators in both parties delivered harsh attacks on the liability waiver for MTBE in the energy bill last week.  The largest domestic producer of MTBE, Lyondell Chemical Co., formerly Arco Chemical, has a PAC which has spent $900,000 on lobbying activities in the first half of this year on top of nearly $2 million in 2002.  Full story

Public Campaign Financing Collapses

New York Times, Editorial, 11/24/03

"With  not a vote yet cast, the election of 2004 is already notable for ushering in the collapse of Watergate-era restraints on special-interest money in presidential politics.... The nation urgently needs to repair a public finance system that served voters well until its limits became dated."  Full story

Rep. Tierney Introduces Comprehensive Campaign Finance Reform Bill For Congress

Public Campaign, Press Release, 11/24/03

The executive director of Public Campaign, Nick Nyhart, issued the following statement hailing the reintroduction of H.R.3641, the “Clean Money, Clean Elections” bill by Representative John Tierney (D-MA) on November 21, 2003.  Full story

Mr. Soros's Millions

Washington Post, Editorial, 11/23/03

"[George Soros has] given $10 million to America Coming Together, a Democratic voter mobilization group aimed at defeating President Bush.... This is campaign finance reform? Wasn't the whole point of the new campaign finance law to get big checks of this kind out of politics? Are these huge donations healthy for small-d democracy, not just big-D Democrats?"  Full story

2 Bills Would Benefit Top Bush Fundraisers

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall, 11/22/03

More than three dozen of President Bush's major fundraisers are affiliated with companies that stand to benefit from the passage of two central pieces of the administration's legislative agenda: the energy and Medicare bills.  The energy bill provides billions of dollars in benefits to companies run by at least 22 executives and their spouses who have qualified as either "Pioneers" or "Rangers."  Full story

A Hard Road for Democrats in a Day of No 'Soft Money'

New York Times, by Glen Justice, 11/20/03

Democrats provided most of the backing for last year's campaign finance law, which bars national political parties from taking unlimited "soft money" checks, and their party was hardest hit when it took effect.  Nine months into the first campaign under the new rules, national Democratic Party committees are being surpassed by Republicans, 2 to 1, in raising money.   Full story

Depleted Energy

Washington Post, Editorial, 11/18/03

"Tucked away in the 1,000-plus pages of the energy bill that a House-Senate conference produced yesterday are subsidies, loan guarantees and other spending measures worth about $100 billion.... The oil and gas industry [...] would receive more than a quarter of the tax breaks and incentives in this bill. No wonder Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has described this as a "no lobbyist left behind" bill."  Full story

Medicare Monstrosity

Washington Post, by E. J. Dionne Jr, 11/18/03

"They went in to design a prescription drug benefit for seniors and came out with an aardvark.... They want medical savings accounts, a tax cut for the wealthy in disguise... The bill includes $12 billion for what Kennedy calls a "slush fund" to subsidize the private insurers. That's not capitalism or competition. It's corporate welfare."  Full story

Revamp Campaign Funding

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 11/14/03

"Neither Bush nor Dean should be blamed for responding to the ineffectiveness of a system that hasn't been amended since 1974. It's fine to blame the parties. But if they won't change, the system must. The $49-million cap should be doubled. At the same time, candidates who reject public funds and spending limits for the primary should be denied funds for the general election."  Full story

Follow the Money

Washington Post, by Howard Kurtz, 11/13/03

"I can't fault Howard Dean for opting out of a broken system.... Why Congress allowed the system to atrophy is another question. The $45 million spending limit for the primaries is way too low....  And hamstringing one candidate while another vacuums up fat-cat cash is just plain undemocratic.... But we are back to the bad old Nixon days."  Full story

Bush's Fund Raising Closes in on 2000 Record

San Francisco Chronicle, by Sharon Theimer, 11/12/03

Just six months into his re-election campaign, President Bush is poised to top the record $106 million he raised for the primaries in 2000.  As he did in the last election, Bush is rejecting public financing and its spending limits for the primaries.  Howard Dean is also bypassing public financing in the primaries.  Sen. John Kerry and Wesley Clark also are considering opting out of the Watergate-era system.   Full story

Soros's Deep Pockets vs. Bush

Washington Post, by Laura Blumenfeld, 11/11/03

George Soros, one of the world's richest men, has a new project: defeating President Bush.  On Monday, he and a partner committed up to $5 million to MoveOn.org, a liberal activist group, bringing to $15.5 million the total of his personal contributions to oust Bush.   Full story

Dean Threat May Help Bush Up Fundraising Ante

Washington Post, by Mike Allen, 11/11/03

With President Bush's reelection fundraising nearing the $100 million mark, several advisers said Monday that the new financial threat posed by former Vermont governor Howard Dean should encourage the president's donors to vault his campaign well past its ambitious fundraising goal of $170 million.  Full story

Bankrolling a New Path to the Primary

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall, 11/10/03

The decisions of President Bush and former Vermont governor Howard Dean to forgo public financing will reshape future presidential contests, encouraging ideological candidates and weakening prospects of moderates, according to strategists and observers.   Full story

Playing Fair

Washington Post, Editorial, 11/10/03

"Now that Howard Dean has decided to decline federal matching funds so he can raise unlimited amounts for his primary campaign, the former Vermont governor should demonstrate a real commitment to campaign finance reform.... Mr. Dean should promise to stay within the spending limits until he emerges as the Democratic nominee."   Full story

Parties Agree on State-Financed Elections

Korea Herald, by Joo Sang-min, 11/10/03

The three major opposition parties in Korea agreed yesterday to adopt a "public election management system," in which the state pays all candidates' election expenses, as part of an effort to bring about clean politics, parliamentary sources said yesterday.  Full story

Kerry to Decide Soon on Public Funds

Washington Post, by Jennifer C. Kerr, 11/9/03

Look for a decision this week from Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on whether he will reject public campaign financing now that rival Howard Dean has decided to turn aside taxpayer money and the spending limits that come with it.   Full story

Dean's Bold Choice

San Francisco Chronicle, by Ronald Brownstein, 11/9/03

Breaking with a nearly 30-year tradition, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean on Saturday announced he would become the first Democratic presidential candidate ever to opt out of the system for publicly financing elections.   Full story

Shrinking From Campaign Reform

New York Times, Editorial, 11/7/03

"Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont thinks that he had best drop out of the publicly subsidized campaign financing system... While his retreat is understandable, Dr. Dean should show his commitment to principle by pledging right now that he will voluntarily spend no more than the $45 million limit in campaigning against other Democrats, and save the rest of his private funds for challenging Mr. Bush."  Full story

White House to End Power Plant Probes

Washington Post, by Eric Pianin, 11/6/03

The Bush administration confirmed yesterday that it will close pending investigations of 70 power plants suspected of violating the Clean Air Act and will consider dropping 13 other cases.  Environmentalists and congressional Democrats said the decision is a favor to utilities and refineries that contributed heavily to the Republicans.  Full story

Dean May Opt Out Of Public Financing

Washington Post, by Dan Balz and Thomas B. Edsall, 11/6/03

Howard Dean made an impassioned case that he should abandon public financing of his presidential campaign because the only way to compete against the $170 million Bush plans to raise is to forgo public financing, as Bush has done.  Campaign finance proponents warn that that probably would doom presidential public financing in future elections unless it were made far more attractive.  Full story

Senate Privacy Bill OK'd

San Diego Union-Tribune, by Toby Eckert, 11/6/03

A key part of California's landmark financial privacy law appeared headed for the dustbin after the Senate approved legislation yesterday that would override the state safeguard.  The bill would pre-empt provisions in the state's law that allow consumers to prevent banks and other financial services companies from sharing information about them with affiliated businesses.   Full story

Dean Considers Plan to Forgo Public Financing

New York Times, by Jodi Wilgoren, 11/4/03

Howard Dean is planning to poll his supporters about whether he should abandon the 30-year-old public-financing system in the primaries.  Many campaign-finance experts say the system, which matches individual contributions up to $250 and restricts state-by-state spending through the primaries, then gives each party's nominee about $75 million for the general election, is underfinanced and outdated.  Full story

Rules Circumvented on Huge Boeing Defense Contract

Washington Post, by R. Jeffrey Smith and Renae Merle, 10/27/03

President Bush and members of Congress have lobbied hard to win federal backing for a lucrative new military airplane contract with Boeing, despite the Office of Management and Budget having just reported that the plan would squander billions of dollars.  Boeing and its employees have given $925,000 to members of Congress that handle defense matters and gave $100,000 for Bush's inauguration.   Full story

Once at Arm's Length, Wall Street Is Bush's Biggest Donor

New York Times, by Glen Justice, 10/23/03

A study to be released today shows that the financial community has surpassed all other groups, including lawyers and lobbyists, as the top industry among Mr. Bush's elite fund-raisers.  "All these guys are totally in Bush's camp," said a politically active executive, adding that "people are not hedging their bets at this point. There's not a lot of fund-raising being done for Democrats right now."  Full story

Feinstein Criticizes Financial Industry

San Francisco Chronicle, by Edward Epstein, 10/22/03

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, struggling to win a vote to save California's new landmark financial privacy law, accused the financial industry on Tuesday of acting in bad faith by agreeing to the new law in Sacramento -- then quickly trying to undo it in Congress.  Privacy advocates agreed with Feinstein's charge against the financial institutions, which have spent millions of dollars lobbying against the new state law in Congress.   Full story

Privacy Fight -- Where's Arnold?

San Francisco Chronicle, Editorial, 10/22/03

"California's two U.S. senators are engaged in a determined but uphill battle to save the state's new financial privacy law from federal pre-emption.... Why isn't Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger, who campaigned as a champion of the people's interest over special interests, going to bat to preserve Californians' individual privacy rights?"  Full story

3 Candidates' Spending Tops Funds Raised in Quarter

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall, 10/16/03

Three prominent contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination spent more than they raised during the last quarter.  Howard Dean set a record for Democratic presidential fundraising in a quarter, collecting $14.8 million and spending $8.8 million.  Gen. Wesley Clark Clark, who entered the race in the closing two weeks of the quarter, raised $3.5 million.  Full story

Bush Campaign Raises A Record $49.5 Million

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall and Sarah Cohen, 10/15/03

President Bush's reelection campaign yesterday reported raising $49.5 million in the third quarter, a decisive record for a three-month period. Since launching his fundraising effort in May, Bush has collected $83.9 million.  $38.5 million or more was driven by just 285 men and women, many of whom were beneficiaries of Bush administration policies.  Full story

Bush to Boost War Chest With State Trip

Los Angeles Times, by Edwin Chen, 10/15/03

When President Bush appears at two California fund-raisers today, a luncheon in Fresno and a reception in Riverside, he will be padding a campaign war chest already bulging with $70 million and well on a pace toward an all-time record.  Full story

Bush Campaign to Keep Its War Chest Lid Closed

Los Angeles Times, by Edwin Chen, 10/8/03

President Bush ends an address to the Republican Party's annual black-tie, fund-raiser gala here tonight, the GOP expects to be $10 million richer, thanks in part to an unprecedented number of $2,000-per-head donors, including many first-time contributors.  The Bush-Cheney campaign has already raised $80 towards its stated goal of rasing $170 million to $200 million.  Full story

Louder Bark For Watchdog

Madison Capital Times, by David Callender, 10/8/03

The Wisconsin Democracy Campaign presses for campaign finance reform using political theater and direct attacks on those in power.  Critics say that in adopting these new tactics, the group has undermined its ability to work with lawmakers and Gov. Jim Doyle to shape whatever campaign finance reform bill is ultimately enacted.  Other lawmakers see it differently.  Full story

Clean Elections Advocate On Go

Arizona Republic, by Elvia Díaz, 10/5/03

Barbara Lubin is one of the most passionate advocates of the state's popular but contentious method of public funding for elections. She believes the Clean Elections system, which funnels public money to state political candidates, opens the doors for many more people to seek a public post without worrying about returning favors to financial backers.
  Full story

Clean Elections - Making a Difference

Yes! Magazine, by Micah Sifry, 10/1/03

In Maine and Arizona, a broad coalition united to do something no one thought possible: free elected officials to enact health care reform, pollution reduction, and other laws that benefit ordinary people.   Full story

Maine Fights For Universal Health Care

Northeast Action News, by Eric Palmer, 10/1/03

On June 18, 2003, the struggle to provide universal health care for the citizens of Maine took a major step forward when Governor John Baldacci signed into law “Dirigo Health,” the nation’s first universal health-care access plan.  Full story

Bush Far Outpaces Dean in Donations

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall, 9/30/03

President Bush raised between $48 million and $50 million during the past three months, more than triple the amount raised by the top Democrat hoping to run against him, Howard Dean.  In less than six months, Bush has raised at least $82.5 million, putting him well on his way toward his goal of raising $170 million to $200 million for his reelection campaign.   Full story

A Threat to a Lifeline in Arizona

Los Angeles Times, by Julie Cart, 9/25/03

The San Pedro River, one of the last free-flowing rivers in the Southwest and an oasis for hundreds of species of migratory birds, could be seriously depleted if Congress agrees to exempt a nearby military installation from water restrictions.  Pushing for the exemption at Ft. Huachuca is Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.), whose father is an executive at a firm with contracts worth more than $450 million at the post.  The company was also the largest contributor to Renzi's 2002 congressional campaign.  Full story

Energy's Pals in High Places

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 9/15/03

"The energy industry's multibillion-dollar wish list survives intact in the national energy act being hashed out in a congressional conference committee.... [Other proposals] deserve legislative respect even though they aren't accompanied by obscenely large campaign contributions.  The current energy plan is largely a pile of favors to powerful supporters of the Bush administration."  Full story

Wall St. Fails to Learn Its Lessons

Los Angeles Times, by Tom Petruno, 9/14/03

"The New York Stock Exchange and the mutual fund industry seem to be in a competition this month: Which one can trigger more serious outrage from the investing public?... Public anger over huge executive compensation packages has been bubbling over since 2000, as investors have lost trillions in stock market value while many executives have continued to receive giant pay awards."   Full story

Public Financing of Judicial Campaigns Holds Promise

North Carolina Pilot, by Florence Gilkeson, 9/14/03

A provision of North Carolina’s Judicial Campaign Reform Act went into effect Sept. 1, giving candidates for the appellate courts the opportunity to participate in the new public financing system. "The new system promises to tone down the arms race for political cash,” said Jesse Rutledge, associate editor of the Center for Voter Education.   Full story

Justices Split on Campaign Finance

Washington Post, by Charles Lane, 9/9/03

With the first caucuses and primaries of campaign 2004 bearing down on them, the justices of the Supreme Court convened yesterday for an unusual late-summer oral argument on campaign finance law, and when it was over, the four-hour debate seemed only to have injected a new element of uncertainty into the looming political season.   Full story

Reform's Day in Court

Washington Post, Editorial, 9/9/03

"A long line of cases supports the constitutionality of McCain-Feingold. Opponents of the law have long railed against its consistency with the Constitution, but it was carefully drafted to fit within the constitutional principles the court had previously laid out....  Past Supreme Court decisions upholding campaign finance laws make no sense if Congress cannot close loopholes of the magnitude of those that pervade election law."  Full story

Schwarzenegger Woos Key Corporate Donors

San Francisco Chronicle, by Robert Salladay, 9/7/03

Arnold Schwarzenegger began his campaign with an indictment of special interests, vowing to self-finance his campaign for governor, but now spends much of his time raising money and collecting endorsements from some powerful corporate players.   The Republican candidate has collected at least $2.5 million from individual donors, attorneys, business interests, venture capitalists and California companies.   Full story

Industry Fights to Put Imprint on Drug Bill

New York Times, by Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Gardiner Harris, 9/5/03

In the thick of the 2000 presidential campaign, executives at Bristol-Myers Squibb, one of the nation's largest drug companies, received an urgent message: donate money to George W. Bush.  Today, a Republican-controlled Congress is preparing to send a Republican president a measure that is tailor-made to the industry's specifications.  Full story

Judging Campaign Finance

Washington Post, Editorial, 9/2/03

"[The U.S. Supreme Court] will decide how much of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law is to be allowed to remain in force.... The case deals with the most fundamental aspects of American democracy.... The reform act, for all the rhetoric of those who oppose it, represents nothing more than a modest effort to restore the badly eroded principle that candidates must raise and spend only contributions from individuals."  Full story

Campaign Portrays Bush as Funding Underdog

Salon.com, by Sharon Theimer, AP, 8/28/03

President Bush's campaign -- expected to dwarf Democratic hopefuls by raising $200 million or more for the primaries, with no GOP rival -- is appealing for donations by portraying Bush as a fund-raising underdog who won't have enough cash to defend himself against Democratic attacks.   Full story

Presidential Campaign Law Is Beginning to Show Its Age

Wall Street Journal, by Jeanne Cummings, 8/26/03

The three-decades-old law governing the financing of presidential campaigns appears to be breaking down, with the evidence of its collapse littering the 2004 campaign trail.  The leading exhibit is President Bush, who will repeat his strategy of the previous election by declining to take public matching funds and instead finance his 2004 primary effort solely through individual donations   Full story

On The Record: Baldacci Talks Universal Health Care

Stateline.org, by Erin Madigan, 8/26/03

Maine, a state with the over half of its legislature and over three-quarters of elected "clean", is now poised to provide universal health care for its residents.  The voluntary plan focuses on health care access, quality and cost control.  It passed the Legislature June 13 and was signed by Gov. John Baldacci (D) five days later.   Full story

Rebuffed but Resolute

Los Angeles Times, by Jube Shiver Jr., 8/25/03

Rep. W.J. 'Billy' Tauzin lost a battle -- a rarity -- blindsided by outrage over FCC's media ownership rules. But he still sees how he can get his way.  In his reelection campaign last year, Tauzin was aided by big corporate contributions from the many companies he oversees as chair of the House Commerce Committee.committee oversees.   Full story

The Sway of Cattails and Politics

Los Angeles Times, by John-Thor Dahlburg, 8/23/03

Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida signed a new state law changing the rules on cleanliness of water flowing into the Everglades.  Environmentalists, a federal judge and even some in Bush's own Republican party oppose it, calling it a virtual license for Florida's sugar barons to keep discharging polluting farm residue.  In Florida politics, sugar is one of the heavyweight players.  The sugar industry made more than $13 million in political contributions in Florida during 2002 alone.   Full story

Utility Officers Gave to Bush

Washington Post, by Mike Allen, 8/19/03

The top two executives of FirstEnergy Corp., the Ohio-based utility that is a focus of investigations into last week's cascading blackouts, are key financial supporters of President Bush, according to campaign records.   Full story

Mr. Dean and Campaign Money

Washington Post, Editorial, 8/18/03

"[Howard Dean] is flirting with the idea of opting out of the public financing system...  Mr. Dean's comments underscore how outmoded the current financing system has become and the need for Congress to fix the system..."  Full story

Campaign Finance Plan Ahead

Washington Post, by Helen Dewar, 8/10/03

The nation's campaign finance law overhaulers are at work again. Now they are working on legislation to revamp the public financing system for presidential elections, calling for more funding and higher spending limits for primary campaigns. They hope to have a new system in place for the 2008 elections.   Full story

Broadcasters Bank on a Combination of Interests

Washington Post, by Thomas B. Edsall and Sarah Cohen, 8/10/03

Executives and employees of companies seeking federal approval of a controversial merger that would create a Republican-controlled Hispanic media giant are pouring contributions into President Bush's reelection campaign.   Full story

Clean Elections Levels the Field For Candidates

Tucson Citizen, by Autumn Southard, 8/5/03

"With the Federal Elections Commission recently giving Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake the green light to lead the charge against Arizona's Clean Elections Act, the debate has intensified regarding the campaign finance reform measure first enacted by Arizona voters in 1998. "  Full story

Massachusetts Organizers Wonder What Went Wrong With Clean Elections Experiment

San Francisco Chronicle, by Jennifer Peter, 8/5/03

Five years ago, Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly approved a Clean Elections law designed with the lofty goal of diminishing the influence of big-money special interests. But the turbulent political experiment fizzled to an end in June, leaving organizers pondering why a law that has been so successful in Maine and Arizona was such a spectacular failure here.   Full story

Well-Heeled 'Rangers' Oil Bush Reelection Machine

Los Angeles Times, by Mark Fineman, 8/4/03

There is a growing corps of financial field generals in a campaign poised to shatter all known U.S. benchmarks for political giving.  Bush campaign gives the title of "ranger" to any supporter who accounts for at least $200,000 in contributions.  A closer look at rangers in Georgia and the fund-raiser they organized reveals much about how this new cash machine works.   Full story

Speaker Says Politics a Club for All to Join

West Virginia Herald-Dispatch, by Dave Lavender, 8/4/03

Cecilia Martinez, the former executive director of the Clean Elections Institute in Arizona, one of two states that has publicly-funded elections, will speak talk to West Virginians and their legislators about Clean Elections.  Janet Fout, the coordinator of Citizens for Clean Elections, a nonpartisan coalition of 25 groups that supports the concept of Clean Elections in West Virginia, will also speak.   Full story

Advocate For Clean Elections Speaking Throughout Area

West Virginia Herald-Dispatch, by The Herald-Dispatch, 8/3/03

Cecilia Martinez, a nationally known advocate for clean elections, will be making several appearances in West Virginia today and Monday. There will also be a special video message to West Virginians from Sen. John McCain (R-Az.)  Full story

Capitol Hill Cross-Fire

New York Times, Editorial, 8/2/03

"The gun lobby in Congress, as brazen as it is shameless, recently scored an alarming coup among compliant lawmakers by jamming a routine appropriations bill with amendments to undermine federal laws that track illicit firearms.... Of course, the smell of campaign money can be as pungent as the smell of burnt gunpowder..."  Full story

Who Made Tom DeLay King?

Seattle Post Intelligencer, by Jan Jarboe Russell, 8/1/03

"A friend asked the other day, "Who the heck made Tom DeLay king?  It's a good question, one that all Americans ought to be asking themselves now that DeLay is using obscene amounts of money as well as his position as House majority leader to win more seats in Congress next year for the right wing of the Republican Party."   Full story

These Fundraisers Have Bundles Of Friends With Oodles of Cash

Washington Post, by Mark Leibovich, 8/1/03

In the McCain-Feingold world, presidential candidates rely on "bundlers," people committed to gathering donations of up to $2,000 each from friends.  Candidates spend large amounts of personal time and build "friendships" on the bundlers that can raise the most money.  Many trips by candidates out to California involve no public appearances at all, only private meetings with fundraisers.   Full story

Tucson Has Experience With Public Funding of Elections

Tucson Citizen, by David Pittman, 8/1/03

City of Tucson has public financing providing a dollar-for-dollar match to money raised by candidates, approved in 1985.  Tucson City Clerk Kathy Detrick said the city election financing system was controversial when first implemented, but has grown in popularity as Tucsonans became accustomed to it.   Full story

Refusing Public Money Perhaps Sank Salmon

Tucson Citizen, by David Pittman, 7/30/03

Republican candidate for Arizona governor Matt Salmon lost to Democrat Janet Napolitano, who took Clean Elections public funding.  Clean Elections critic Clint Bolick says that was because "Matt Salmon had to spend an enormous amount of time and money raising money, while Napolitano had to spend virtually none".  Full story

Clean Elections Supporters Look to Revive Bill

Associated Press, by Jennifer Peter, 7/26/03

Massachusetts Voters for Clean Elections plans to place a retooled version of their Clean Elections law on the ballot again in 2006.  The law was repealed by the Massachusetts state legislature without a recorded vote after opposition led by House Speaker Tom Finneran (D-Boston).  "I do think it will come back again," said Lou DiNatale, a Democratic policy analyst at the University of Massachusetts. "Because people do not like the influence of money in politics."  Full story

GOP Seeks Lasting Majority

Los Angeles Times, by Janet Hook, 7/21/03

Republicans dream of a political dominion.  They're claiming Democratic ideals, raising millions and targeting lobbyists.  President Bush raised almost $34.5 million during the three months ending June 30, more than the combined total for all nine Democratic presidential candidates.  Republican House and Senate campaign committees also are outpacing their Democratic counterparts in the money chase.   Full story

Money, Politics and the Undoing of Stan Lee Media

Los Angeles Times, by Michael Cieply and James Bates, 7/20/03

A fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton triggered events that contributed to the Web firm's collapse. In the fallout, several may face prison terms.   Full story

Bush Kicks Off Weekend of Fund-Raising in Texas

Reuters, by Adam Entous, 7/18/03

President Bush on Friday kicked off a weekend of fund-raising expected to take him over the $40 million mark and bring in almost as much money in two days as Democratic candidate Howard Dean raised in three months.   Full story

Democrats Question Fund-Raising by Appeals Court Nominee

New York Times, by Neil A. Lewis, 7/18/03

The vote on William H. Pryor, the Alabama attorney general nominated to an appeals court judgeship by President Bush, was postponed after Democrates said he may have been untruthful about his his role in soliciting political donations from tobacco, drug, energy and banking corporations.   Full story

Dollar-Sign Journalism

Washington Post, by Howard Kurtz, 7/18/03

"It now seems as though the only qualification for being president of the United States is getting people to write checks. Preferably large ones. And to get them to get their friends to write checks.... In which case maybe we should just declare the presidential race over."   Full story

Bush Mines Deep Vein of Fund-Raising Resources

Los Angeles Times, by Nick Anderson, 7/17/03

President Bush has raised $34.4 million through June 30. 10 of the top 20 groups of donors who supported his reelection fund drive were from the financial services industry. The nine Democrats divide up the the base of traditional Democratic donors. Senator Kerry raised the most among Democrats,with a total of $13.3 million raised.   Full story

'Patriot Dollars' Put Money Where the Votes Are

Los Angeles Times, by Bruce Ackerman and Ian Ayres, 7/17/03

Give everyone $50 to spend on the candidates of their choice.  Full story

Gephardt Is Lagging Behind in Democrats' Fund-Raising

New York Times, by Adam Nagourney, 7/16/03

Representative Richard A. Gephardt is struggling to raise campaign money this year, lagging behind some less-established Democratic competitors.  These fund-raising reports tend to take on outsized influence in shaping the perception among party leaders about the strengths of the candidates   Full story

Kerry Leading in Dollar Race

Los Angeles Times, by Nick Anderson, 7/16/03

Democrat collects $10.9 million after six months of fund-raising, as Gephardt falters.  Full story

Boxer adds $1.2 million for campaign

Contra Costa Times, by Associated Press, 7/15/03

Still lacking a well-known challenger, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., added another $1.2 million to her campaign bank account in the past three months, her staff said Monday.   Full story

State Takes on Health Care Crisis

Baltimore Sun, by Marego Athans, 7/13/03

Maine takes first step in a path to universal health coverage.   Law passed, effective in July of next year, foresees tapping public and private sources to provide health coverage to all Maine residents within five years while reducing care costs.  Over half the state assembly and over three-quarters of the state senate was elected Clean, having accepted no campaign money from hospitals, insurance companies, or other special interests.  Full story

A Good Day's Work on Health Care

Boston Globe, by Ellen Goodman, 7/6/03

Maine has just become the first state in the union to approve a plan to provide universal access to affordable health insurance.  Over half of the state assembly and over three-quarters of the state senate in Maine was elected Clean, having accepted no campaign money from hospitals, insurance companies, or other special interests.   Full story

Drawing the Line

Arizona Republic, Editorial, 6/18/03

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, first ever governor elected "Clean", draws strong reviews for her independence.  "We have a governor, not a potted palm, on the ninth floor of the state Capitol.  So no one should be surprised that Gov. Janet Napolitano used her authority to make line-item vetoes in the Legislature's budget.  And it's a better package..."   Full story

The Dash for Cash

Los Angeles Times, by Nick Nyhart and Joan Claybrook, 4/27/03

"In every presidential race since 1984, the candidate who had raised the most money by the end of the year prior to the election — before a single primary vote had been cast — went on to win his party's nomination..."  Full story


   Become a Clean Money Member