Countdown to Fiscal Cliff Bill

By: Tuesday January 1, 2013 6:30 pm

In spite of all the strum und drang, the Republicans in the House have managed to dysfunctionally sidewind their way into voting on the Senate’s Fiscal Cliff bill rather than adding amendments that would punt the bill to the next Congress.

 

Corporate Interests Influencing State Legislators via National Conference of State Legislatures

By: Tuesday December 18, 2012 7:22 pm

The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) describes itself as “a bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the nation’s 50 states, its commonwealths and territories. NCSL provides research, technical assistance and opportunities for policymakers to exchange ideas on the most pressing state issues.”

Affiliated with NCSL, is the NCSL Foundation which was created by NCSL as a “nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation that offers opportunities for businesses, national associations, nonprofit organizations and unions seeking to improve the state legislative process and enhance NCSL’s services to all legislatures.”

While the descriptions sound benign, the access to legislators NCSL and the NCSL Foundation provide to fossil fuel interests and other corporate “sponsors” sounds a lot like lobbying.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Ben Freeman, The Foreign Policy Auction: Foreign Lobbying in America

By: Sunday December 2, 2012 1:59 pm

In The Foreign Policy Auction: Foreign Lobbying in America, Freeman unpacks the ways in which governments from around the world attempt to use finance capital to ensure that the sausage factory on Capitol Hill churns out American foreign policy in their favor. The book is unrelentingly thorough, engaging, and sober. “There is no arch-villain here,” Freeman warns at the start, “no dark lord, no one to unmask at the end of the show. There are only politicians seeking reelection, lobbyists seeking more revenue, and foreign governments competing for influence over the most influential government the world has ever known.”

Tallying Up the Revolving Door: Weep Not for Our Ex-Pols

By: Thursday November 8, 2012 11:39 am

In case you were wondering what all those retiring and defeated lawmakers do with themselves once banished from Capitol Hill, I have a simple answer for you: they get paid.

Politicians in a SuperPAC World Won’t Be the Ones to Stop SuperPAC Spending

By: Thursday November 1, 2012 10:37 am

The new report that campaign spending in the 2012 cycle will reach $6 billion has come as depressing news to many despairing over the purchasing of our democracy. Some have held out hope that the sheer numbers will provide a wake-up call to all Americans that something must be done to take this democracy back. I think that’s highly unlikely.

Jeff Connaughton: “The public interest has become so outgunned”

By: Thursday October 4, 2012 12:30 pm

Before last night’s debate, Jeff Connaughton, former chief of staff to Senator Ted Kaufman and longtime aide to Joe Biden and President Clinton, offered some advice to Mitt Romney. He thought Romney should go after Barack Obama’s biggest weakness: the failure to prosecute Wall Street crimes.

In actuality, Romney only submitted a glancing blow with respect to Wall Street, claiming that the Dodd-Frank financial reform law “designates a number of banks as too big to fail, and they’re effectively guaranteed by the federal government… There’ve been 122 community and small banks have closed since Dodd- Frank.”

Here is an edited transcript of our conversation, which covered financial reform, money in politics, and the insidious grip of Big Money over Washington.

The Real Beneficiary of the Moocher Society – Wall Street

By: Thursday September 20, 2012 12:00 pm

The not-as-funny way to make the point Jon Stewart made about the Republican conception of the entitlement society and where it fails to intersect with reality comes from Simon Johnson. The true “moochers” in American life are, not surprisingly, the ones with all the political power and influence, who can grab themselves gifts and goodies from the political class.

Pawlenty Jumps Ship, Takes Top Lobby Job at Financial Services Roundtable

By: Thursday September 20, 2012 7:30 am

Pawlenty isn’t being chosen by the Financial Services Roundtable for his vast knowledge of financial services. He was chosen because he has a familiar name to members of Congress and he can get into offices and lobby them with relative ease. This is the whole point of the revolving door – find someone with contacts and name recognition and use that as a lever to get your lobby’s goals into the Congressional consciousness.

Anti-Union Ads in Chicago Paid for By Hedge Funds, Billionaires

By: Wednesday September 19, 2012 6:30 am

Apparently the above anti-union ad played non-stop on television in Chicago throughout the strike. It’s the product of Education Reform Now, a group that also sometimes goes by Democrats for Education Reform, depending on what pot of money they want to use. Formed in 2005, Education Reform Now has spent millions of dollars over the past few years, whether massaging public opinion or lobbying state legislatures or intervening in school board races.

On Fourth Anniversary of Lehman Collapse, No Fundamental Change on Wall Street

By: Monday September 17, 2012 2:55 pm

Four years later, we have not seen a systematic dismantling of the conditions that created the crisis. We’ve seen trillions in emergency support thrown at the banks that survived the crash, all of whom have grown bigger and more indispensible, even more “Too Big to Fail” than before. We’ve seen cosmetic regulatory changes, many unrelated to the crash at all, which have not yet been tested and in many not yet implemented. And the core problems of a massive financial sector have not been resolved.

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