Democratic Senators continue to raise money in politics as a key concern in their decision about Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen met with Judge Gorsuch and indicated that she’s unlikely to vote in support of his nominations, citing among other things, money in politics according to US News: “She also expressed concern about the dramatic increase of secret money in politics in the wake of the Citizens United decision”
Yesterday, 108 national civil rights groups sent a letter urging senators to oppose Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court for a number of reasons including his troubling history on money in politics and record of defending the rights of corporations and the wealthy instead of everyday people.
Every Voice’s statement on signing the letter and opposing Gorsuch: “Americans need and deserve a Supreme Court that will act as the last line of defense from wealthy special interests and unaccountable politicians, not another advocate for the wealthy and powerful or a rubber stamp for Trump’s increasingly special-interest ridden administration. To add Gorsuch’s voice to the Court would be to silence and shut of the voices of the majority of Americans who are deeply concerned that government works for the few, not the many.”
Campaign Finance/Election Law
Washington Post: Do voter identification laws suppress minority voting? Yes. We did the research.
DOJ head Jeff Sessions has opposed the Voting Rights Act, but as these 3 professors explain, the truth is it’s needed: “All told, a total of 33 states — representing more than half the nation’s population — have some version of voter identification rules on the books. As we detail below, our research shows that these laws lower minority turnout and benefit the Republican Party.” E.J. Dionne calls sessions a “voting rights nightmare”
The Courier-Journal: DeVos family among McConnell’s biggest donors
Betsy DeVos’ role as a political donor is still making headlines following her confirmation as Secretary of Education. DeVos and her family have given $2,280,300 to Sen. Mitch McConnell’s super PAC — Senate Leadership Fund — making them the eighth largest contributor to McConnell’s political causes.
This letter to the editor in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle also raises DeVos’ donations as a potential reason for why Sen. Daines is refusing to release data regarding public comments he received about the nomination: “What is Sen. Daines hiding? According to the Federal Election Commission, Daines received $46,800 from the DeVos family during his 2014 Senate campaign. Could it be that Daines is voting in support of the out-of-state Republican donor class and against the wishes of his constituents? Montanans deserve answers.”
Wall Street Journal: One of Government’s Largest Landlords Pays Millions Each Year to Trump Company
Yet another example of Trump’s conflicts of interest: “President Donald Trump’s company receives tens of millions of dollars a year from Vornado Realty Trust, which relies on the federal government for a significant portion of its revenue and is vying for new work from Mr. Trump’s administration.”
Need a hero these days? This woman has found one in Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub!
The New York Times: White House Plans to Have Trump Ally Review Intelligence Agencies
Billionaire private equity executive Stephen Feinberg is not only a Trump ally, but as this article neglects to mention, he donated $5,400 directly to Trump and $1.4M to a Trump-aligned super PAC.
Huffington Post: Flynn Scandal is First of Many Trump Presidency Will Have
Fred Wertheimer: “The Trump presidency is headed for multiple scandals unless the president divests his ownership of his global business enterprises and makes fundamental changes in his approach to governing the country.”
Ambassadorships are not just going to big donors, but also may go to those with business ties to Trump’s family members: RT @POLITICO_Steve Jeffrey Loria may have a deal to sell the Marlins to Jared Kushner’s brother — and may now be ambassador to France
USA Today: Pro-Trump lobbyist lands big clients for new D.C. office
Drain the swap: “A prominent Florida lobbyist who raised money for President Trump’s campaign and his inaugural committee this week landed a slew of corporate clients, eager to tap those connections to help them navigate the new administration.”
BuzzFeed: Corey Lewandowski’s Potential Clients Say He’s Bragging About Access To Trump’s Twitter Account
What does it say about Trump’s “drain the swamp” promise if it’s true his former campaign manager is now a lobbyist and maintains this kind of access? “The former campaign manager for President Donald Trump’s White House bid has told prospective lobbying clients that he has access to Trump’s Twitter account, four sources told BuzzFeed News.”
Coincidence or no? RT @RebeccaBallhaus Last wk: Trump dined w/megadonor Adelson, critic of 2-state solution … Now: U.S. drops insistence on 2-state solution
Center for Responsive Politics: Pro-Israel interests upped contributions, lobbying in 2016
Trump and Netanyahu met yesterday to establish their diplomatic relationship, but “the broader ties between the U.S. and Israel date back decades, and have been bolstered by pro–Israel interests that are active political donors and haven’t hesitated to press their views on issues affecting the mostly Jewish nation. Since the 1990 election cycle — the earliest one recorded by the Center for Responsive Politics — contributions by pro-Israel interests have favored Democrats. In 2016, their federal donations set a new record at more than $17 million.”
Albuquerque Journal: ‘Dark money’ may get new rules
“Independent “dark-money” groups that spend to influence New Mexico’s elections would face new requirements to disclose their donors under a bill adopted by the state Senate on Wednesday.”
Lexington Herald Leader: More money? No problem. Senate passes bill to increase contribution limits
Good for big donors, not so good for everyday people: “Lawmakers in Kentucky are looking for more of that sweet, sweet cash. A bill that would double the amount donors can contribute to a campaign passed the Senate Wednesday on a party-line vote after it got out of the Senate State and Local Government Committee committee earlier in the day.”
New Haven Register: Regulators look to clean up Connecticut’s clean election laws
“The federal investigation ended with no charges being brought, but Connecticut’s election regulators are trying to quickly close a loophole that allows banned state contractors to give money to publicly financed candidates.”
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