30 Aug 2011

Why is the University of North Texas Donating to Republicans

The University of North Texas is usually considered a liberal university, The school is especially known for its environmental program and its emphasis on the environment. A study from the early 2000s found: “More than half (57 percent) strongly or somewhat agreed same sex couples should have the right to

29 Aug 2011

Does a Tax-Cheat Lawyer have Power over the Super-Committee?

A few years ago, David Cay Johnston profiled (in his book “Perfectly Legal”) one of the most prominent tax lawyers in the country: “Few Americans have heard of Blattmachr (pronounced BLOT-machur). But among the 16,000 other lawyers in America who specialize in trusts and estates, which is to say in

28 Aug 2011

Anonymous Donors and Corporate Power

For those concerned about transparency in campaign finance, recent times have been very frustrating. Congress recently passed a bill that would make it illegal for the government to make laws requiring campaign donors to be revealed. 18 Democrats (mainly blue dogs, but Peter Defazio, someone who is popular with many

20 Aug 2011

The (Anti-) Abortion Lobby

There probably isn’t a more contentious, culture war, dividing issue than the issue of abortion. One side argues on the side of life, usually quoting scripture or arguing that they are protecting the helpless. The other side usually argues for women’s rights, that women should be able to make their

19 Aug 2011

The Power of Bank of America

Fortune reports that the US Government gave Bank of America a 500 million dollar bailout last week. According to an audit last month, the Federal Reserve gave 16 trillion dollars worth of emergency loans within a 3 year span. Much of it went to foreign banks, but Bank of America

17 Aug 2011

The Big Money Behind the Verizon Fight

45,000 Verizon workers are currently on strike. Verizon is asking their workers for 1 billion dollars in concessions, while simultaneously receiving a billion dollars in subsidies. In situations like this, it is always important to view the political clout of the two sides, because many times that is how these

15 Aug 2011

Rick Perry the Money Maker

While most of the press was busy making the announcement that Texas Governor Rick Perry was running for President, the Washington Post reported that Perry was doing the most important thing in American politics, drawing up plans for fundraising. The campaign has announced different levels of power and benefits for

14 Aug 2011

The Law and Lobbyists

The American Bar Association has released a statement insisting that laws need to be tightened against lobbyists. They would still support money being given by lobbyists but argue that the definition of lobbyist needs to be broadened and that the process should be more transparent. The Texas Attorney General, on

13 Aug 2011

Standard and Poor, and Broken Government

Standard and Poor has been a major topic in the news recently, thanks to their decision to downgrade the US credit rating. Credit Rating agencies, like Standard and Poor, have spent 1.76 million dollars on lobbying so far this year. Most of this lobbying has been on laws applying to

12 Aug 2011

Super-Congress: House Democrats edition

Lobbyists and special-interests have given over $3 million to the super-committee members’ campaigns over the past 5 years. These special-interest groups include defense contractors, health-care companies, and unions, all groups very interested in the super-committee’s task of cutting a trillion and a half dollars from the Federal budget. The Business