The Chronicles of Money, Politics, and Election 2012: The Year of the Billionaire?

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Here's a recap of Public Campaign and Public Campaign Action Fund's (PCAF) work from January 20 through March 9, 2012.

  • Keystone co-opt? The Senate voted yesterday on an amendment that would have fast-tracked the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Supporters of the amendment raked in a huge amount of Big Oil campaign cash. The measure was defeated, but Big Oil money made it very close. And earlier this year, 44 Senators wrote a letter to Pres. Obama urging him to go forward with the Keystone pipeline. Not surpringly, they got a whole lot of Big Oil money.
  • Romney a slut for coal money??? Given his, ahem, less than forceful response to Rush Limbaugh's hateful words last week, one would think that Mitt Romney is more or less on board with the use of four letter words. Well, not when it's "coal." And not when he's gotten so much campaign cash from the coal industry.
  • The new normal. President Obama recently reached his 100th fundraiser for this election cycle. Given the fastly rising cost of running for office, this kind of fundraising will continue from the President all the way down to Congress.
  • Big money v. democracy and Montana v. Supreme Court. Here's an editorial memo from PCAF detailing the rise of the individual wealth funding the super PACs, and what the developments in Montana might mean for our democracy. And one of those billionaire funders, Sheldon Adelson, a true champion of campaign finance reform (is there a sarcasm emoticon???), claims that he's “against very wealthy people attempting to or influencing elections.” Well, Sheldon, do something about it.
  • "Politicians here...get your politicians here!" PCAF's David Donnelly responded to an absurd New York Times article entitled: “A Better Way to Buy Politicians.” This sounds crazy, but we don't think politicians should be bought in any way, shape, or form.
  • It's only a conflict of interest when the other guys do it. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) sent a letter to President Obama raising questions about the possible conflict of interest coming from the decision to allow cabinet secretaries like Kathleen Sebelius to appear at events held by the Obama-aligned super PAC and attended by the committee’s big donors. He has a point, but he does the same thing every day.
  • Just another day at the office for Rep. Jeb Hensarling. Take Wall Street money. Check! Bash Wall Street reform. Check!
  • Right on! Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) speaks out against the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision and advocates for the Fair Elections Now Act.
  • Taking stock of Congress' ties to the security and investment industry. With the passage of the STOCK ACT last month, our friends at MapLight.org detail security and investment donations to members of Congress.
  • A problem this big requires some presidential muscle. Public Campaign issued this press release urging President Obama to provide a muscular plan to save our ailing democracy.
  • Maine became the first state in the nation to adopt a Clean Elections law. This op-ed shows just why it's so valuable.
  • Up is down. PCAF responded to Karl Rove, whose PAC, Crossroads GPS criticized “an economic ecosystem where participants are rewarded not for what they know, but for who they know; a lucrative spoils system.” In a memo, they call Washington “a financially hollow economy” built on “business deals pushed by political donors and lobbyists.”
  • A pirate's bounty. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and his leadership PAC received at least $45,250 in contributions from supporters of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the last three months of 2011, according to preliminary analysis of newly-released FEC filings by Public Campaign Action Fund.
  • Newt Gingrich's super PAC isn't only the one benefitting from the Adelson family fortune. House Speaker Boehner has seen some love too.
  • In late January, PCAF lauded the agreement between Massachusetts candidates, Sen. Scott Brown (R) and Elizabeth Warren (D), to limit the influence of outside money.
  • One small step, but much more is needed. After President Obama's State of the Union address, Public Campaign offered this response.

As always, be sure to keep up with all the latest news on money-in-politics. Here's a link to our daily clips.

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