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More transparency in Pittsburgh

On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on the connections between city contracts and campaign contributions. According to their analysis 53 of the top 100 donors to city officials received contracts or special consideration from city officials. These 53 interests have donated $1.3 million to city campaigns since 2005.

While all of the elected officials in the article say there is no quid pro quo, the appearance is troublesome.

Marks for Earmarking

Earmarks have been a hot topic on the Hill of late, and a go-to target for debates on wasteful government spending. How do the major candidates for president stack up when it comes to these controversial spending allocations, the ethics around them, and what about the earmarking process should be changed? The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina, takes a look.

Accountability in Albany

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle isn't pleased that the high cost of campaigning and resultant concentration of power among the small percentage of the population who can make significant campaign contributions. The paper urges Eliot Spitzer to continue in his efforts at a more transparent government, and to support Clean Elections public financing for state races.

Puppet Obstruction

Did Sen. McConnell send Sen. Ensign to do his dirty work? The Senate has been battling over S. 223, the bill that would require electronic filing of campaign finance reports by Senators (the House already does this). Turns out the efforts to obstruct the bill may have been coming from Sen. McConnell's office the whole time.

Strange Contrast

Interesting development: Kentucky state Sen. Damon Thayer (R) has introduced a bill to increase the frequency of campaign finance disclosure reports that candidates must submit in an effort to boost transparency of campaign finances. Incidentally, Thayer is the same Senator who worked to get rid of the public financing program for gubernatorial campaigns that Kentucky had.

His rationale for supporting one measure but not the other is interesting:


Tricky Mitch

Remember Senator Mitch McConnell's efforts to shield the Republican Senator who put an anonymous hold on S.223, a bill to require electronic disclosure of Senators' campaign finance reports, even though McConnell is on the record in support of transparency? Well, it's just gotten stranger.

No More Hold Ups

The Baltimore Sun joins in in calling out Sen. Mitch McConnell and his fellow obstructors for standing in the way of a bill to require Senators to file campaign finance disclosure forms electronically. Electronic disclosure would be a fast, inexpensive way to give voters better access to information about who was giving how much to their Senators (and whether they were getting anything in return).


Transparently Two-Faced

The Louisville Courier-Journal, no friend to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), blasts the longtime opponent of campaign finance reform for saying one thing and doing another: praising campaign finance transparency as the corrective on money in politics, then blocking legislation that would create that very transparency. The Journal expresses its considerable displeasure...


Who's Blocking the Sun?

Which Senator is standing in the way of better campaign finance transparency? The Sunlight Foundation is investigating who is holding up a bill to mandate electronic campaign finance filings. They've identified five Senators who won't say whether they put a hold on the bill, or whether they object to it: these five need to come clean.


Quacks Like a Duck

If he looks like a lobbyist, and talks like a lobbyist, and acts like a lobbyist, but doesn't call himself a lobbyist on campaign finance disclosure reports...then presidential candidates can take his money without having to look like they're taking lobbyist cash, right? The Hill exposes the K Street equivalent of your mother writing "from Santa" on your Christmas presents.