Posted 9 months ago on Aug. 19, 2012, 5:05 p.m. EST by LeoYo
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Washington's Wall Street Sugar Daddies
Sunday, 19 August 2012 10:03 By Hillary Lehr, Yes! Magazine | Report
The finance, insurance and real estate industries spend approximately $1,331 a minute on influencing our leaders. A new tool makes it easier for you to find out which ones.
How much is democracy worth to you?
If you’re like most people, it’s priceless. But for the hedge funds and insurance companies on Wall Street, it does have a price tag. And now, thanks to a new report by Global Exchange, we know the number on it: approximately $4.2 billion. That’s how much the Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate (F.I.R.E.) sector has invested in political influence through campaign contributions and lobbying since 2006. That comes to $1,331 a minute spent on political power.
The new report is called “Meet the F.I.R.E. Sector: How Wall Street Is Burning Democracy.” It was developed by Elect Democracy, a nonpartisan effort by Global Exchange to expose and challenge the impact of corporate money in U.S. politics. The report contains extensive research tracking Wall Street’s investment in political power, and analyzes exactly how Wall Street has secured what Global Exchange calls “industry-loyal voting practices” in Congress: by shoveling stacks of campaign cash in the direction of Congressional hopefuls from both major political parties.
That money lets these industries get what they want in Washington. The F.I.R.E. sector contributed $879 million to members of Congress since 2006, and took positions on 383 bills during the 112th Congress. For instance, they supported Free Trade Agreements with Korea, Panama, and Colombia in 2007, and backed the bailout in 2008. Bills they opposed include the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009, the Limited Homeowner and Investor Loss in Foreclosure Act of 2010, and the Stop Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act of 2011.
At every turn, the F.I.R.E. sector demands special treatment for Wall Street while consumers, homeowners, and students get stuck with the bills. As Senator Bernie Sanders put it an interview with MSNBC this May, "Wall Street is extraordinarily powerful. Congress doesn't regulate them. The big banks regulate what Congress does." That’s no exaggeration. The Wall Street banks that received the lion’s share of the $700 billion bailout in 2008 comprise the most vocal and deep-pocketed opposition to regulation of risky financial practices.
New Nationwide Study of Election Fraud Since 2000 Finds Just 10 Cases of In-Person Voter Fraud
Sunday, 19 August 2012 09:29 By Brad Friedman, The Brad Blog | Report
Exhaustive analysis finds fraud that might be deterred by polling place photo ID restrictions "virtually non-existent."
A new nationwide analysis of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases since 2000 shows that while fraud has occurred, the rate is infinitesimal, and in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tough voter ID laws, is virtually non-existent.
In an exhaustive public records search, reporters from the investigative reporting project "News21" sent thousands of requests to elections officers in all 50 states, asking for every case of fraudulent activity including registration fraud, absentee ballot fraud, vote buying, false election counts, campaign fraud, casting an ineligible vote, voting twice, voter impersonation fraud and intimidation.
Analysis of the resulting comprehensive News21 election fraud database turned up 10 cases of voter impersonation. With 146 million registered voters in the United States during that time, those 10 cases represent one out of about every 15 million prospective voters.
10 cases. 10 cases of in-person voter impersonation that might have been deterred by polling place Photo ID restrictions --- restrictions which, according to study after study, could keep as many as 22 million perfectly legal eligible voters from being able to cast their legal vote.
Ohio Secretary of State Removes Democratic Members of Election Board for Supporting Weekend Voting
Sunday, 19 August 2012 09:17 By Judd Legum, ThinkProgress | Report
In a dramatic move, Ohio Secretary of State John Husted immediately suspended two Democrats on a county election board after they voted to allow weekend voting.
Earlier, Husted issued a directive canceling weekend voting statewide. In 2008, Ohio offered early voting on the weekends and thousands of voters cast their ballot during that time.
Husted issued an ultimatum to Dennis Lieberman and Tom Ritchie Sr., members of the Montgomery County Eleciton Board, to withdraw their resolution to maintain weekend hours or face suspension. The Dayton Daily News has more:
But in their afternoon meeting, Lieberman, an attorney and former county Democratic Party chair, refused to withdraw his motion, arguing both that his motion did not violate the directive, and that it was best for local voters. He acknowledged that the move could cost him his BOE job.
“I believe that this is so critical to our freedom in America, and to individual rights to vote, that I am doing what I think is right, and I cannot vote to rescind this motion,” Lieberman said. “In 10 years, I’ve never received a threat that if I don’t do what they want me to do, I could be fired. I find this reprehensible.”
The Obama campaign has filed a law suit in federal court to restore weekend voting.
Originally published on ThinkProgress