The "Occupy" movement has been inspired in part by the increasingly outsized political power of the top 1%, which has made elected officials more responsive to deep-pocket donors than those they were elected to represent. In response to the other 99% being left politically and economically disempowered, former MSNBC host Cenk Uygur has announced plans to work toward amending the U.S. Constitution to get big money out of politics and restore representative democracy.
Wisconsin's American Legislative Exchange Council-inspired voter ID law, which will make it harder for students and people of color to vote, is being challenged under the state constitution by the League of Women Voters.
The law requires potential voters to show a valid state-issued driver's license or identification card before they can cast a ballot, rendering many state residents ineligible to vote. Wisconsin, like thirteen other states, passed the law earlier this year based on the ALEC "model" voter ID bill.
As the "Occupy" protests spread across the country with the slogan "we are the ninety-nine percent," two reports released this week demonstrate how the top one percent are playing an increasingly outsized role in American elections.
The New Yorker reports on a conservative multimillionaire's successful efforts to buy North Carolina's elections, and a report from campaign finance reform groups describe how an elite group of donors have laundered unlimited contributions to presidential campaigns. Much of this influence was made possible by the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, and anger over corporate influence in politics is helping fuel the populist uprisings in Manhattan, D.C., and around the country.
Executives from major American corporations are calling for greater transparency in election spending, alleging the shadowy, secretly-funded groups that spent hundreds of millions on the 2010 elections are distorting the democratic process. Groups like Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, they say, will spend an increasing amount in future elections and political scandal will follow. Meanwhile, Wisconsin leaders promote even greater election secrecy.
MADISON -- The president of the group alleging the University of Wisconsin discriminates against whites debated a law professor Tuesday night on the merits of race-based university admissions policies. Hundreds of students rallied and attended the debate.
Wisconsin Republicans are pushing a bill to prohibit the state elections board from passing any rules regulating corporations, as part of an effort to thwart rules that would show how corporate interests are laundering election spending through front groups. Lawmakers only meet one day this month (Tuesday, September 13) and plan to take up the bill during that brief window.*
CNN Online has published a story titled an "angry electorate helps sustain tea party," ignoring the clear evidence the "movement" is only sustained by thinly-veiled religious zeal and wealthy funders like the Koch brothers.
Leaked audio from the Koch brothers' June donor meeting in Vail, Colorado reveals connections between the Kochs and a wealthy Wisconsin funder whose hundreds of thousands helped elect Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson and Governor Scott Walker.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday in a Tea Party challenge to proposed election spending disclosure rules. While billed as a case involving free speech and a possible response to the post-Citizens United campaign landscape, the outcome may be decided on more mundane grounds of whether the state elections board acted within its statutory authority.
The Center for Media and Democracy has joined a diverse coalition of groups in an online protest of the made-up notion that "money is speech" and that corporations have a "free speech right" to distort democracy with unlimited spending.