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Direckshun 09-15-2012 08:10 AM

What Citizens United Has Brought
 
Who could have seen this trend coming.

Color me shocked.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/13/us...tors.html?_r=1

Obama Grows More Reliant on Big-Money Contributors
By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE
Published: September 12, 2012

Kirk Wagar, a Florida lawyer who has raised more than $1 million for President Obama’s re-election bid, had his choice of rooms for the Democratic convention at Charlotte’s Ritz-Carlton or Westin hotels and nightly access to hospitality suites off the convention floor.

Jay Snyder, a New York financier who has raised at least $560,000 for Mr. Obama, was entitled to get his picture taken on the podium at the Time Warner Cable Arena.

And Azita Raji, a retired investment banker who has raised over $3 million for Mr. Obama — more than almost anyone else during the last two years — could get pretty much anything that she wanted last week in Charlotte: briefings with senior Obama officials, invitations to post-speech parties, along with “priority booking” at the city’s finest hotels.

In the race for cash, Mr. Obama often praises his millions of grass-roots donors, those die-hards whose $3 or $10 or $75 contributions are as much a symbol of the president’s political identity as they are a source of ready cash. But his campaign’s big-dollar fund-raising has become more dependent than it was four years ago on a smaller number of large-dollar donors and fund-raisers.

All told, Mr. Obama’s top “bundlers” — people who gather checks from friends and business associates — raised or gave at least $200 million for Mr. Obama’s re-election bid and the Democratic National Committee through the end of May, close to half of the total up to that point, according to internal campaign documents obtained by The New York Times.

The documents provide a detailed look into the intricate world of presidential fund-raising, which Mr. Obama and his team have mastered, and donor-stroking, which some supporters complain they have not. The campaign closely monitors its top bundlers, rating them by how much each individual or couple has raised and donated each year going back to 2007.

Officials used that amount, in turn, to offer donor packages of access and entertainment for the convention last week, themed to the location in North Carolina: “OBX” (bumper-sticker shorthand for the Outer Banks) for those raising at least $1 million, down to “Carolina on My Mind” for those who have donated merely $75,800 to Mr. Obama and the Democratic National Committee, the maximum allowed under federal law.

“It confirms everything we’ve always believed about the role of big money in politics,” said Ellen Miller, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, a watchdog group that tracks political fund-raising. “The more you give, the more you gather, the more you get.”

Each individual or couple is also assigned a lifetime Obama total. Topping the list is Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Hollywood producer, who, along with his fund-raising partner, Andy Spahn, has brought in at least $6.6 million combined for the 2008 and 2012 campaigns, according to the documents.

The top fund-raiser for 2011 and 2012 is Andrew Tobias, a Miami-based author who is treasurer of the Democratic National Committee and a major bundler for Mr. Obama among gay donors. Terry McAuliffe, a former party chairman and Bill Clinton loyalist, shot into Mr. Obama’s top bundler ranks this year after he and Mr. Clinton agreed to hold a Virginia fund-raiser for Mr. Obama. He has raised about $2.2 million for Mr. Obama, according to the documents, more than all but a few supporters.

Because not all of Mr. Obama’s bundlers are represented through the end of May, the documents may understate the total that top supporters have raised for Mr. Obama. But even so, they reveal how dependent even Mr. Obama — whose grass-roots fund-raising machine is unrivaled in political history — is on a relative handful of wealthy individuals raising millions of dollars on his behalf, often while having significant business or legal interests before the Obama administration.

Among the top 10 fund-raisers on the list for 2012, for example, are Steve Spinner, a former Department of Energy official who pushed the White House to approve a $535 million loan guarantee for Solyndra, the failed solar power company.

DreamWorks Animation, the studio Mr. Katzenberg leads, is among several in Hollywood that earlier this year were notified of an investigation into whether entertainment companies had made illegal payments to officials in China in connection with their dealings there.

Mitt Romney has fielded an equally formidable high-dollar fund-raising machine this year and could raise as much or more than Mr. Obama during the election cycle. Like the Democrats, Republicans offered big donors an array of perks at their convention, held in Tampa, Fla., last month, including choice hotel access, boat trips and access to Mr. Romney himself.

Mr. Obama already makes public the names of his bundlers, along with ranges for how much they have raised, a practice not required by law. Mr. Romney has declined to release such information, though monthly disclosures filed by his campaign suggest that he is even more dependent than Mr. Obama on big bundlers and donors who have given the legal maximum.

“Our major volunteer fund-raisers, as well as the ranges of contributions they raised, were previously made public because unlike Governor Romney, we disclose them on our Web site,” said Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for Mr. Obama.

Mr. Obama’s publicly disclosed categories stop at the $500,000-and-up level, however. The internal documents show that at least 60 individuals and couples reside in an even more elite club, having raised more than $1 million for Mr. Obama and the party.

They include Frank White Jr., a technology entrepreneur who has raised $2.3 million for Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign; Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue, who has raised $2.7 million; Robert Wolf, a former executive at UBS Americas, the banking company, who has raised about $1.3 million; and Reshma Saujani, a lawyer who is running for New York City public advocate next year and is active among young larger donors, who has raised about $1 million.

About 260 of the bundlers did not raise any money for Mr. Obama during his 2008 campaign, according to the document. That reflects the extraordinary effort Mr. Obama made to recruit new fund-raisers for his re-election effort, as former supporters lost enthusiasm or moved on to other pursuits.

But it also reflects the number of former fund-raisers whom Mr. Obama appointed to ambassadorial and other posts, leaving them barred from political activities.

Lightrise 09-15-2012 08:27 AM

Citizens United is indeed a mess and I do not think the national movement to get this changed with constitutional amendment will succeed, in spite of the quickly growing support. There are too many stupid states that will get in the way, Texas, LA, MS, AL, WY, OK... It's a shame really. What will be amusing is how much Koch pours down the drain this year. I think if the poll numbers continue to slip the big money will vanish from Mitt's campaign.

BigRedChief 09-15-2012 08:54 AM

I still remember the state of the union. When Obama said that the Citizens United decision would lead to corperations and individuals being able to give unlimited anounts of money to campaigns. You have a Supreme Court justice shake his head and mouth "thats not true". Republicans jumped all over him, He's a justice, Obama was just a proffesor of Constitutional law. He doesnt know shit in the real world. Wellll we all know who was right.

This has corupted our political system. The ability of the rich and corporations to give umlimited money secretly has changed our political system so much that it will eventually endanger the whole process.

Corporations are not people. Giving money secretly is not free speech. You say money is speech, fine. If you speak out with your money, you should not be able to do that secretly.

This will eventually take the individual out of the political equation. I understand that already exists in some form. But, this will only end badly.

Question for the R's, how do you feel about foreign countries and foreign corperations being allowed to give unlimited secret money to political campaigns? Do you not see the harm that could do to our system?

BigRedChief 09-15-2012 06:34 PM

And another thing that is pisses me off about the SCOTUS decision was that now our elected leaders are going to spend more and more time courting rich people and corporations instead of working on legislation..................:hmmm: maybe that is a good thing.

Baby Lee 09-15-2012 06:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigRedChief (Post 8911381)
I still remember the state of the union. When Obama said that the Citizens United decision would lead to corperations and individuals being able to give unlimited anounts of money to campaigns. You have a Supreme Court justice shake his head and mouth "thats not true". Republicans jumped all over him, He's a justice, Obama was just a proffesor of Constitutional law. He doesnt know shit in the real world. Wellll we all know who was right.

This has corupted our political system. The ability of the rich and corporations to give umlimited money secretly has changed our political system so much that it will eventually endanger the whole process.

Corporations are not people. Giving money secretly is not free speech. You say money is speech, fine. If you speak out with your money, you should not be able to do that secretly.

This will eventually take the individual out of the political equation. I understand that already exists in some form. But, this will only end badly.

Question for the R's, how do you feel about foreign countries and foreign corperations being allowed to give unlimited secret money to political campaigns? Do you not see the harm that could do to our system?

thanks for omitting 'including foreign corporations.'

Makes my rage all the more righteous.

BigRedChief 09-15-2012 06:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baby Lee (Post 8912529)
thanks for omitting 'including foreign corporations.'

Makes my rage all the more righteous.

Thats my question to the R's? How can they be for allowing foreign countries and corporations to give unlimited amounts of secret money to American political candidates?

Does no one beside me see the hazard of this practice?

Baby Lee 09-15-2012 07:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigRedChief (Post 8912559)
Thats my question to the R's? How can they be for allowing foreign countries and corporations to give unlimited amounts of secret money to American political candidates?

Does no one beside me see the hazard of this practice?

Citizens found 2 USC 441(a) regarding corporate contributions unconstitutional, but kept 441(e) EXPRESSLY unmolested

Quote:

Originally Posted by 441(e)
(a) Prohibition It shall be unlawful for - (1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make - (A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election; (B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or (C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 434(f)(3) of this title); or (2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national. (b) "Foreign national" defined As used in this section, the term "foreign national" means - (1) a foreign principal, as such term is defined by section 611(b) of title 22, except that the term "foreign national" shall not include any individual who is a citizen of the United States; or (2) an individual who is not a citizen of the United States or a national of the United States (as defined in section 1101(a)(22) of title 8) and who is not lawfully admitted for permanent residence, as defined by section 1101(a)(20) of title 8.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Citizens
We need not reach the question whether the Government has a compelling interest in preventing foreign individuals or associations from influencing our Nation’s political process. Cf. 2 U. S. C. §441e (contribution and expenditure ban applied to “foreign national[s]”). Section 441b is not limited to corporations or associations that were created in foreign countries or funded predominately by foreign shareholders. Section 441b therefore would be overbroad even if we assumed, arguendo, that the Government has a compelling interest in limiting foreign influence over our political process. See Broadrick, 413 U. S., at 615.


Mr. Kotter 09-15-2012 07:24 PM

But, but....

Money, oodles and ooodles of MONEY....are, in fact, "speech!!!" Especially since it's usually from rich dudes/corporations.

So saith the Conservative retards on the S.C., who want to ban pron. Just sayin'...

BigRedChief 09-15-2012 07:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baby Lee (Post 8912588)
Citizens found 2 USC 441(a) regarding corporate contributions unconstitutional, but kept 441(e) EXPRESSLY unmolested

My point is that if the SuperPac is able to kep its donors secret, why couldnt a forign corporation or entity work with a front in the USA to acieve their goals.

I'm not saying Karl Rove is or will do that but anyone can set up one of these and keep all its donors completely secret.

And what we do know is happening is that corporations are giving millions to advance their own agenda that is good for their corporation but not neccessarily good for the USa. And I'm okay with that part as long as they have to take the PR hit. We have a right to know who is trying to buy elections.

Baby Lee 09-15-2012 07:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigRedChief (Post 8912677)
My point is that if the SuperPac is able to kep its donors secret, why couldnt a forign corporation or entity work with a front in the USA to acieve their goals.

You get that USC stands for United States Code, which are a set of LAWS? Enforcement is a side-discussion, but you're essentially saying 'why can't they break the law,' to which the SC would probably say something along the lines of 'when it actually, provably happens, we'll assess. Until then it is a premature question.'

Mr. Kotter 09-15-2012 07:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baby Lee (Post 8912719)
You get that USC stands for United States Code, which are a set of LAWS? Enforcement is a side-discussion, but you're essentially saying 'why can't they break the law,' to which the SC would probably say something along the lines of 'when it actually, provably happens, we'll assess. Until then it is a premature question.'

Well, we ought to have multiple cases...soon. Very soon. Heh.

BigRedChief 09-15-2012 08:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Baby Lee (Post 8912719)
You get that USC stands for United States Code, which are a set of LAWS? Enforcement is a side-discussion, but you're essentially saying 'why can't they break the law,' to which the SC would probably say something along the lines of 'when it actually, provably happens, we'll assess. Until then it is a premature question.'

It's not a premature question. It's relevant right ****ing now.

Why does the donors have to be secret?

RINGLEADER 09-15-2012 08:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigRedChief (Post 8911381)
I still remember the state of the union. When Obama said that the Citizens United decision would lead to corperations and individuals being able to give unlimited anounts of money to campaigns. You have a Supreme Court justice shake his head and mouth "thats not true".

That's not what happened.

RINGLEADER 09-15-2012 08:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigRedChief (Post 8912677)
My point is that if the SuperPac is able to kep its donors secret, why couldnt a forign corporation or entity work with a front in the USA to acieve their goals.

Because it's illegal?

Baby Lee 09-15-2012 08:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BigRedChief (Post 8912852)
It's not a premature question. It's relevant right ****ing now.

Why does the donors have to be secret?

You need to bone up on SC precedent, in a nutshell 'the SC doesn't rule on hypothetical questions.' I'll leave it to you to discover the underlying rationale.


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