We hope you enjoy this issue of Public Citizen’s e-newsletter about the intersection of money and politics. This is part of the campaign we developed following the disastrous Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts supporting or attacking political candidates. We’ll update you regularly with select news stories and blog posts, legislative developments and ways to get involved.

Stunning Statistic of the Week:

  • $75 million: The liability cap for BP for the Gulf oil spill, for damages such as lost wages and economic suffering
  • $5.6 billion: BP’s first-quarter profits, a 135 percent increase over the first quarter of 2009

U.S. Supreme Court got its facts wrong, ProPublica finds
When the U.S. Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decided to allow corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to sway elections, it noted the openness and accessibility of campaign finance records. The folks at ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative journalism outfit, decided to test the premise by reviewing campaign filings made by lawmakers who held fundraisers last year at two Bruce Springsteen concerts. Turns out, information about who gave what was pretty sketchy. Hmm. Maybe the Supreme Court should rethink that decision?

Disclosure of election spending is crucial for democracy, Public Citizen tells Congress
In a congressional hearing Thursday on the DISCLOSE Act (which stands for Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections), Public Citizen’s Craig Holman told lawmakers that they should swiftly pass legislation to lift the veil of secrecy on campaign spending before the 2010 elections. The DISCLOSE Act is a great first step to reining in the corporate power expected to take over elections, Holman said. But it must be strengthened.

Radio personality calls Citizens United decision a black-robed coup
Author and radio personality Jim Hightower talked recently about populism with journalist Bill Moyers. Hightower said populism isn’t about overthrowing government but taking it back from the corporate power that pulls the strings of government. Hightower also took a shot at the Citizens United decision, calling it a “black-robed coup by five men on the Supreme Court.”

Obama warns of money swamping elections, calls for Congress to act
In his most recent weekly radio address, President Barack Obama warned of corporate money overwhelming the November elections and called on Congress to act.

Election spending by third parties and special interest groups is up dramatically
Spending by independent and third-party groups on TV ads for seats in the House of Representatives and the Senate are nearly four times the amount from four years ago – $48 million vs. $11.2 million, reports the Campaign Media Analysis Group, an organization that tracks political spending. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is one of the big spenders, as is the conservative group Americans for Job Security.

Colorado House passes disclosure law
In response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, the Colorado House of Representatives has voted 131-10 to beef up disclosure of campaign spending. The measure requires disclaimers and reports to be made about money spent on campaign ads by corporations. The Senate votes next.

Visit www.DontGetRolled.org to learn more!