Republic Report: Congressman Who Blasted “Corporate Control Of Our Democracy” Attends Fundraiser Hosted By AT&T Lobbyist
-By Zaid Jilani
March 1, 2012- Republic Report’s Suzanne Merkelson also contributed reporting to this piece.
Last November, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) introduced the Outlawing Corporate Cash Undermining the Public Interest in our Elections and Democracy (OCCUPIED) constitutional amendment, which would effectively ban corporate money in the campaign finance system. “I introduced the OCCUPIED Amendment because …of…corporate control of our democracy. It is time to return the nation’s capital and our democracy to the people,” said Deutch in a statement as he introduced his amendment. And earlier last month, Deutch tweeted about the need to “ban corporate $$ in elections“:
February 23, 2012- The presidential primary season is being brought to you by a handful of multimillionaires and companies who have propped up the candidates with enormous donations to their “super PACs.” Just two dozen or so individuals, couples and companies have given more than 80 percent of the money collected by super PACs, or $54 million, according to disclosure forms released on Monday.
Freed of nearly all regulations or good sense by Citizens United and other court decisions, the super PACs are raising money in ludicrously large sums. The $10 million from Sheldon and Miriam Adelson to Winning Our Future, which has sustained Newt Gingrich’s trailing campaign, is the biggest single donation to a candidate. But every candidate now has his own millionaire supporter, and the concentration of wealth in the campaign is growing.
The people writing these outsize checks are committed to defeating President Obama, but their interests don’t stop there. Many are involved in businesses or ideological causes that have clear policy agendas with the federal government. Their huge influence on individual candidates demonstrates the potential for corruption inherent in the super PAC era. Among the biggest givers:
This story is part of a larger profile appearing in the March 12th, 2012 issue of FORBES magazine. The complete cover story will appear online beginning Wednesday, February 22nd.
-By Steven Bertoni
February 21, 2012- Sheldon Adelson plays as stubbornly in politics as he does in business. So the criticisms that he’s trying to personally buy the presidential election for Newt Gingrich are met with a roll of the eyes. “Those people are either jealous or professional critics,” Adelson tells me during his first interview since he and his wife began funneling $11 million, with another $10 million injection widely expected, into the former speaker’s super PAC, Winning Our Future. “They like to trash other people. It’s unfair that I’ve been treated unfair—but it doesn’t stop me. I might give $10 million or $100 million to Gingrich.”
Frank VanderSloot's business practices and anti-gay activism--as well as his history of bullying journalists and bloggers--have brought the Romney backer lots of attention.
-By Joan McCarter
February 19, 2012- In a column sure to rain lawsuit threats down upon him, Glenn Greenwald exposes many of the scandals surrounding Mitt Romney's national finance co-chair, Idahoan Frank VanderSloot. VanderSloot is a billionaire whose deep pockets have funded no small number of Idaho's political figures. As Greenwald details, his business practices have drawn plenty of unwanted attention, as has his involvement in numerous far-right causes, particularly his anti-gay activism, including running a billboard campaign against Idaho Public Television for running a documentary about teachers talking about lesbian and gay issues in age-appropriate ways. His wife, Belinda, donated $100,000 to California's Prop 8 campaign.
-By Adam Peck
February 11, 2012- Foster Friess, the multi-millionaire financial investor who—until recently—was practically single-handedly bankrolling Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign, has a long history supporting Republican candidates and conservative causes. And unlike some of his fellow mega-donors like the Koch brothers or Sheldon Adelson, Friess has never tried all that hard to hide his intentions or methods.
On his personal YouTube page, more than a dozen sparsely-viewed videos show Friess discussing his philanthropic endeavors as well as his thoughts on President Obama, health care reform and the cause of the economic crisis. Here’s a look at some of the more interesting things about Friess that you may not know:
-By Rudi Keller
February 13, 2012- Opponents of conservative education proposals want politicians who took Rex Sinquefield’s campaign donations to return the money after a lecture in which Sinquefield seemed to embrace the idea that public schools were created by the Ku Klux Klan.
Sinquefield apologized for his remarks but not before foes jumped on the statement.
Rep. Mary Still, D-Columbia, called on Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, to return a $5,001 contribution he received from Sinquefield in 2010. Still intends to challenge Schaefer for the 19th District Senate seat.
Sinquefield “represents a right-wing agenda that does not recognize the value of our public schools,” Still said. “I believe Kurt Schaefer, by aligning himself with that right-wing agenda, is ignoring and not being respectful of the challenges of the outstanding work of our public school teachers.”
Schaefer said the contribution was unsolicited and that he does not intend to return it.
“I think that is ridiculous,” he said. “If Mary would focus on passing legislation instead of gotcha politics, she would get her first bill passed in her time in the General Assembly.”
-By Peter Henderson and James Pomfret
February 8, 2012- It's never good for the candidate when a big donor runs afoul of the law - as President Barack Obama learned this week: his campaign returned large donations from Chicago's Cardona brothers after it was reported that a third brother is a fugitive from U.S. drug and fraud charges.
Some Republican candidates for president could find themselves similarly embarrassed if criminal investigations against casino mogul Sheldon Adelson's Las Vegas Sands for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act come to fruition before November.
Probes by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission focus on the casino company's operations in Macau, the world's biggest gambling hub, court documents show. A former executive in Adelson's empire, whose allegations are believed to be central to the probe, cites potential illegal dealings with a public official, as well as a tie to an organized crime figure. (That link was first reported by Reuters in a 2010 special report: High-rollers, triads and a Las Vegas giant - link.reuters.com/dyg56s)