Saturday, May 2, 2009

Fair Elections... Supreme Court Justice... News and Views... Activism... Via Links... Opportunities

["Sam Waterston on ABC News On-Line on Fair Elections Now Act"; as submitted to You Tube by publicampaign on April 08, 2009;]

Re. the "Fair Elections Now Act" [Passing This On...]

"Groups accept Obama rules - for 1 night" (By KENNETH P. VOGEL & CHRIS FRATES | 4/20/09 7:24 PM EDT):

"The DCCC and DSCC agree to forego lobbyist and PAC cash in order to land Obama as the keynote speaker... The two major Democratic congressional fundraising committees agreed to forego lobbyist and political action committee cash at a June fundraiser in order to land President Barack Obama as the keynote speaker...

During the campaign, Obama used his pledge to assert he wasn’t beholden to the special interests he derided as controlling Washington... And sources involved in setting up the arrangement between the White House and the DSCC and DCCC said the groups decided not accept money from lobbyists and PACs anytime Obama is involved in a fundraising effort out of deference to his campaign trail pledge.

'Our understanding is that the president's restrictions will apply to any of his direct fundraising,' said a Democratic aide familiar with the arrangement... That’s in contrast to the arrangement Obama dictated to the Democratic National Committee, which will not accept lobbyist or PAC contributions as long as Obama’s at the helm of the party.

Nonetheless, the one-night restriction could turn out to be a big concession for the DCCC and the DSCC. They typically reap lots of money from lobbyists and PACs seeking to cozy up to sitting members of Congress, who control the fate of legislation upon which their livelihoods and those of their clients often depend.

In January and February, the period covered by their most recent electronically available filings, the DCCC raised $990,000 from PACs and $4.8 million from individuals – a tally that includes contributions from lobbyists. The DSCC, meanwhile, had raised $2.6 million from PACs and $2.7 million from individuals.

One Democratic Party source said the White House had dictated the conditions of Obama’s appearance at the joint congressional fundraiser in June. And a Democratic operative familiar with the pre-conditions predicted the restrictions wouldn’t impact the haul at the event.

Whether it affects the groups’ bottom line or not, the arrangement is just window dressing, asserted Ken Spain, spokesman for the DCCC’s rival, the National Republican Congressional Committee.

'It’s a one night conversion. It is the height of hypocrisy for President Obama to headline a dinner for the very same campaign committees that oppose his position of refusing lobbyist donations,' Spain said. 'This was a lose-lose situation for them. Both the DCCC and the DSCC were forced to decide between incurring a major P.R. hit and undercutting the president’s anti-lobbyist platform or cutting off a significant money source.'

Obama has been consistent on the issue, said DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse.

'If he’s going to be involved in a fundraiser, he’s going to maintain the restrictions that he had for his own campaign and that he has for the DNC – that he not raise PAC or lobbyist money,' Woodhouse said.

Obama in February rejected an invitation to headline a fundraiser thrown by the Democratic Governors Association, which - as a so-called 527 organization –is outside the reach of many federal election laws, allowing it to reap huge donations exceeding federal limits from not only PACs and lobbyists, but also from corporations, which are barred from contributing to federal campaigns" ["Groups accept Obama rules - for 1 night"; Kenneth P. Vogel and Chris Frates;;]

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From Today's Emails:

1. "Honoring the Ban"

"During his campaign, President Obama set a standard of not accepting donations from registered lobbyists or Political Action Committees (PACs). While somewhat symbolic, he did so to let the public know he was serious about tackling the undue influence of money in politics. 'I’ve sent a strong signal in this campaign by refusing the contributions of registered federal lobbyists and PACs...They do not fund my campaign...And they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I’m President of the United States,' Obama said in June of 2008.

Upon becoming the Democratic nominee, Obama convinced the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to follow his lead and not take donations from PACs and registered lobbyists as well... The two other Democratic fundraising committees, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), did not take that same pledge until now, but only for the one night when President Obama will appear at a gala fundraising event on June 18th.

In a recent letter to the Democratic campaign committees, Change Congress asks these groups to keep the ban in place without exception:

'For 364 days a year, your rules would allow members of Congress to leave a hearing about regulating Wall Street and then walk straight to the DSCC and DCCC offices to ‘dial for dollars’ from Wall Street lobbyists who want more bailout money and less accountability to taxpayers. Most Americans would find that conflict of interest repulsive.

'We call on you to ban PAC and lobbyist contributions 365 days a year, just as President Obama did.'

The letter is signed by a number of activists and bloggers, including Nick Nyhart, president and CEO of Public Campaign; David Donnelly, national campaigns director of Public Campaign Action Fund, David Arkush, director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch; and Lisa Gilbert, democracy advocate at US PIRG.

The letter has made a splash in the media. A number of news outlets, including The Huffington Post and Politico, have covered this letter. The New York Times blog rightly points out, 'Part of the goal here is to restore and expand public campaign financing in elections.'" [This was sent by Nick Nyhart of the Public Campaign Action Fund]

To sign the letter go to (Copy and Paste):


"The Fair Elections Now Act is gaining traction. Since the introduction of the legislation a month ago, a slew of new co-sponsors from the House of Representatives have signed onto the bill. In total there are now 22 House sponsors and co-sponsors. We are encouraged by this progress, but we still need your help... Please take a few moments to call and ask your member, Rep. Maurice Hinchey, at (202) 225-6335, to join the list of sponsors of the Fair Elections Now Act!" [This was sent by Nick Nyhart of the Public Campaign Action Fund]

["Reaction: Who should fill Souter's seat?"; as submitted to You Tube by UPIVideo on May 01, 2009;]

From Today's Emails:

"President Obama will soon nominate a new Supreme Court justice now that Justice David Souter has announced his retirement from the Court... Please [sign our petition] urging him to name another woman like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is a proven advocate for equality and fair treatment under the Constitution... Ginsburg said she can't help but wonder what people think when they visit the Court and see only one woman out of the nine justices. 'There I am all alone, and it doesn't look right,' said Ginsburg, noting that women bring a life experience to the court that men can't... Please help balance the scales of justice by nominating a woman who stands for equality and justice to join Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Encourage your friends to sign, too -- NOW will hand deliver every 10,000 signatures to the White House." [This was sent by the National Organization for Women Action Center]

To Sign the Petition Go (Copy and Paste) To:

Note: These e-mail notices / activism opportunities (via noted links) have been minimized and modified for inclusion here.


Peace, Love, Equality and Humane Justice,


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