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CREW Calls for Commonsense Earmark Reform

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  • Bipartisan coalition of lobbyists and advocates announces commonsense earmark reform principles.
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  • If lobbyists and good government can find common ground and agree on reform principles, Congress should be able to do the same.
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Citizins for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (CREW)

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Last week (Sep 26 - Oct 2), Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) joined a coalition of fellow good-government groups and lobbyists from both sides of the political aisle, announcing new earmark reform principles that would reduce the disproportionate influence of special interests and save taxpayer money.

Over the past few years, members on both sides of the aisle have engaged in one-upmanship over this hot-button political issue, failing to come up with a long-term workable solution. The coalition has been promoting specific pragmatic reforms in meetings with Congress.  If lobbyists and good government can find common ground and agree on reform principles, Congress should be able to do the same. 

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Read more about the five principles. (.pdf)

AP-GfK Poll: Working-class whites say 'no way' to Democrats

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Though accustomed to trailing among working-class whites, Democrats can hardly afford further erosion from a group that accounts for about 4 in 10 voters nationally.

Alan Fram, Associated Press/Capitol Hill Blue

Desperate for jobs and cool toward President Barack Obama, working-class whites are flocking to Republicans, turning a group long wary of Democrats into an even bigger impediment to the party's drive to keep control of Congress.

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An Associated Press-GfK poll shows whites without four-year college degrees preferring GOP candidates by twice the margin of the last two elections, when Democrats made significant gains in the House and Senate. The poll, conducted last month, found this group favoring GOP hopefuls 58 percent to 36 percent — a whopping 22 percentage-point gap.

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Foreign-Funded ‘U.S.’ Chamber Of Commerce Running Partisan Attack Ads

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  • According to legal experts consulted by ThinkProgress, the Chamber is likely skirting longstanding campaign finance law that bans the involvement of foreign corporations in American elections.
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  • Chamber of Commerce Accused of Tax Fraud
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  • Stop the US Chamber of Commerce
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Think Progress

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The largest attack campaign against Democrats this fall is being waged by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a trade association organized as a 501(c)(6) that can raise and spend unlimited funds without ever disclosing any of its donors. The Chamber has promised to spend an unprecedented $75 million to defeat candidates like Jack Conway, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jerry Brown, Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA), and Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA). As of Sept. 15th, the Chamber had aired more than 8,000 ads on behalf of GOP Senate candidates alone, according to a study from the Wesleyan Media Project. The Chamber’s spending has dwarfed every other issue group and most political party candidate committee spending.

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A ThinkProgress investigation has found that the Chamber funds its political attack campaign out of its general account, which solicits foreign funding. And while the Chamber will likely assert it has internal controls, foreign money is fungible, permitting the Chamber to run its unprecedented attack campaign. According to legal experts consulted by ThinkProgress, the Chamber is likely skirting longstanding campaign finance law that bans the involvement of foreign corporations in American elections.

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Related:

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Chamber of Commerce Accused of Tax Fraud, Joshua Holland,  AlterNet

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  • A watchdog group charges the CoC violated U.S. tax laws by funneling $18 million from its charitable, non-profit arm into lobbying.
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  • How the Chamber of Commerce Allegedly Laundered Millions in Charity Dollars to Beat Back Financial Reform and Reelect Republicans
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  • Stop The US Chamber of Commerce
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A Serious Danger to Effective Self-Government

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  • "We write today because we believe that the Supreme Court's creation of corporate 'speech' rights on which the Citizens United decision rests is contrary to the First Amendment as we understand it."
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  • Corporate America's Favorite Jurists Return
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Steve Cobble, Huffington Post

As the U.S. Supreme Court opened a new session today (Oct 4), more than 50 leading lawyers--former Attorneys General, prosecutors, and constitutional scholars--issued a joint letter calling for the U.S. Congress to consider a Constitutional Amendment to roll back the Roberts Court's ill-advised ruling in the Citizens United case.


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In the very first paragraph of the letter, these leading attorneys state: "...we share one thing: we believe the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was not only wrongly decided but presents a serious danger to effective self-government of, for and by the American people, a danger which must be addressed."


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The letter from the legal scholars also contains this very clear line: "We write today because we believe that the Supreme Court's creation of corporate 'speech' rights on which the Citizens United decision rests is contrary to the First Amendment as we understand it."

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Related:

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Corporate America's Favorite Jurists Return, The Progress Report, Think Progress

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  • The squeeze on workers
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  • Signing away your rights
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