Monday, July 31, 2006

, (Republican) Majority Leader in the U.S. House, wants to increase the amount of money that Congresspeoples' Leadership PACs can give to Congressional campaign committees. Leadership PACs are bad all the way around in the first place. Individual members of the House and Senate have them in order to launder money from business, labor, ideological groups and wealthy individuals, to other members and campaign committees to increase their influence. Believe it or not, a major factor in determining who gains leadership positions in the House and Senate, is how much money a leadership candidate's Leadership PAC has doled out thus far. This is corruption at its root-- dirty money influencing owners of Leadership PACs, who with the same dirty money influence other members of Congress and candidates. Is this moral? What happened to serving the people this country?


Sunday, July 30, 2006

If you think that big-money financial support of Congressional campaigns only goes through PACs, 501c's and 527s, and political convention parties, think again. Anticipating a fight over votes from seniors this election season, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching a $10 million television and radio ad campaign thanking mostly Republican lawmakers who backed the Medicare prescription drug program. The business federation plans to air the ads in Connecticut, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Nebraska as well as other states. The money would be divided almost evenly between House and Senate races.


Saturday, July 29, 2006

The CATO Institute, a well-known libertarian think tank in Washington, DC, is against reformers; they think free speech equates with money. I believe the landmark US Supreme Court case that they validate that belief in, Buckley v. Valeo, is dead wrong. Speech is speech, in and of itself-- money is nothing but an extension of speech. Why should anyone individual or group have exclusive free speech as opposed to their American opponents only because they use more money?

Let's take campaign finance donations. Every candidate for public office in theory enjoys unlimited free speech. What does that role have anything to do with financial donations to his/her campaign? If a large district's candidates need to use commercial advertising services in order to speak to potential voters in order to be able to reach them, then an extension, e.g. money, is used.

What are the sources of the candidates' money that are valid, is another debate. I believe that since the electoral process is for offices that are public only, then the extension of free speech required to reach every one of the district's potential voters should be financed by government.


Friday, July 28, 2006

In a letter to the editor to my local, Abilene, Texas newspaper, I cynically suggested that businesses ought to vote in November with the rest of us, considering all of the money they are donating to our incumbent Congressman. My point was that we need public financing of campaigns because of such financial shaninigans that are currently going on, not to let them vote because they donated. Here is the letter:

An inspiration
Letter to the Editor
July 28, 2006

Here is a good reason to publicly finance Congression-al races - U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, as a candidate for this election cycle so far, ending June 30th, he has raised $451,240 from political action committees - 87.6 percent of those funds from businesses!

Now how can we voters compete with that? If businesses are going to vote for U.S. representative with the rest of us, let them vote!

David Weller

It is at,1874,ABIL_7984_4876288,00.html


Thursday, July 27, 2006

As professional association and Better Business Bureau members offer their customers a Code of Ethics, why doesn't our federal legislative branch do the same? This would provide a foundation of responsible conduct on a continual basis, so that the abuse of their offices is not without an automatic deterrent. Something to consider...


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

If you are a Congressional candidate, it pays to have a few special interests in your platform. According to a recent Report by the Campaign Finance Institute and the Urban Institute, CFI analyzed a variety of data, including interviews, concerning the following interest groups: American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Americans for Job Security, Chamber of Commerce of the U.S.A., Club for Growth,, National Rifle Association, National Right to Life Committee, New Democrat Network, Planned Parenthood, Progress for America, Service Employees International Union, and Sierra Club. Among the findings:
eleven of the twelve interest groups had either PAC or 527 campaign financing organizations, but seven used both in federal elections, cumulating financial influence. Nine of the groups also mobilized their 501(c)(4) social welfare, (c)(5) labor union or (c)(6) business league “advocacy” organizations for elections; but only one group consistently reported its political expenditures to the IRS due to inadequate IRS guidance for and monitoring of reports.

A case called U.S. v. Valdes before the U.S. Circuit Court, involves a police officer who accepted cash to mine a database accessible only to law enforcement. A positive decision by the court could have far-reaching implications, further impeding prosecutors’ ability to convict public officials who accept gifts and favors from private parties. The ruling would open a wide window for the legal rewarding of public officials for performing actions available to them because of their position but lacking the “degree of formality” required to meet the statutory definition of official acts or the explicit quid pro quo required by the bribery statute.

In other words, if a public official receives money from a citizen for performing a particular act while on the job a court would deem outside the formal work of the official, it would not be against the law. This is a very weak position to take, especially for Congresspeople, for the loophole would be able to be abused very easily. Why should we allow an easy way to curry favor for an individual act from a public servant while on duty? That public servant is a representative of the people, not a favor for an individual citizen!


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Several reform groups are urging the US House and US Senate to publicly announce their support for ending the use of leadership PACs by members of Congress and to support legislative efforts to ban leadership PACs, such as those contained in H.R. 5839, legislation introduced last week by .

I support this ban. What kind of leadership qualities for Congressional leadership positions is in giving money to other candidates' campaigns? If a major factor in voting for a leadership post in the House or Senate is how much money is dispersed to fellow party members, then we have a very small concern for personal values in the legislative branch.


Monday, July 24, 2006

Federal investigators are turning their attention from former US Rep. Duke Cunningham, convicted for political bribery charges, to . Apparently, the same people who bribed Cunningham may have done similar illegal dealings with Harris, and several other current members of Congress.

Accepting large campaign contributions from businesses and then earmarking federal contracts to those contributors later in Congress, may, however, be more prevalent than even the several officials in the present case. Many large companies and corporations give hundreds of thousands of dollars every election cycle to Political Action Committees (PACs), who turn around and give that money to Congressional and Presidential campaigns. And giving to PACs is just one way businesses directly support campaigns for higher office in this nation of, by and for the people.


Friday, July 21, 2006

Many of the corruption scandals we see in the newspapers originate in unethical people. When a Congressman is charged with a corrupt act, it is usually just one instance of an ongoing strain from the individual involved. That is why the recent Republican Leader position in the US House was so important-- that powerful party position is more susceptable to a person who already has a history of ethics abuses.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Interested in supporting a local candidate for state representative this year? If you are rooting for the Democrat, be comforted in knowing that that local race may be financially influenced anyway by a 527 organization based in Washington, DC. A report from that covers the second quarter period of 2006 includes this 527:

"The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee reported raising $1,294,257 and spending $1,107,226. Major donors were Deborah Rappaport (CA) $100,000; Peter Lewis $65,000; SEIU $50,000; Jon Stryker $50,000; Harrah’s Entertainment $50,000; Int’l Union of Painters $50,000. "

I'll be since the Democrats have a fundraising committee for state legislative candidates, that the Republicans have one too! The game is to be the first one to find a loophole in our swiss cheese campaign finance laws, regulations and opinions among the states.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Of all the political "stuff" being thrown at the voters today, the most worthless are the polls. Today's polls, a mere snapshot of a moment, have no relevancy to the voter. The hourly and daily polls create media frenzy, but they are truly meaningless to the voter. ...

I agree-- the only poll on people's minds is several months in the future-- the general election in November, if they haven't had their primaries yet.

Ralph Reed, candidate for Georgia Lieutenant Governor, was defeated during the primary elections yesterday. He was targeted by Public Campaign and other reformers for his ethics abuses in the past in relation to his dealings with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Reformists are not concerned about ideology or to a great extent one's platform; they believe that public servants must earn the trust of their constituents, by conducting their official duties with high ethics and morals.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I just read a revolutionary article in the August 2006 National Geographic magazine. It was about the need for a new environmentalism to heal our earth's quickening global warming illness. The author convincingly stresses the urgent nature of our atmospheric condition, and convincingly stresses for a renewed medicine of closer community to help lower the amount of CO2 pollution from fossil fuels. The urgency is real, and I will do my part to move this change from individualism to community (farmers markets, smaller houses, less driving etc), the best way I know how (as a political reform libertarian for my new community/nation/world).


Monday, July 17, 2006

Just when our Congress passes the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law and some Congresspeople introduce new ethics legislation, word comes that an alliance of millionnaires and billionnaires wants to secretly financially contribute to left-leaning think tanks and activist organizations. I believe this is just another build up of the Democratic/Republican two-party system already seeped in the media, activist and governmental sectors of our nation. Most Americans are near the center of the political grid, and that grid is not just left and right, but upper and lower (authoritarian/libertarian). It scares me to think that this already red/blue nation as the two major parties see it becomes even more separate.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

Why do smaller political parties have a hard time raising money? They don't have name recognition like the Democrats and Republicans. The two parties raise money by hiring fundraising companies. As long as there are only red and blue newspapers, news networks, columnists, pollsters, radio stations and legislators, the two major parties will have the recognition status to hire private companies to call strangers on the phone and ask them for financial help. An example from

[For an unspecified period] The College Republican National Committee, a 527 organization, reported raising $359,708 and spending $1,248,855. The committee paid Infocision Management Corp (OH) $821,634 for fundraising.

They're floating in money not because of a performance or unit of work, but because they can rely on their party's recognition status.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Doesn't everyone want honesty in government? Why does that sentiment change with many public officials once they open the capitol doors? The daily newspapers are rife with spin quotes from politicians-- here is an example from the OMB Watch Blog:

When the president repeats his mantra "cut the deficit in half by 2009", one could reasonably assume that the downward trend in deficits would continue past 2009 - as if "half in 2009" was a milestone of sorts. But, au contraire! The "half in 2009" is not a just a milestone but a turning point - the point where deficits start growing again. It’s right there in black and white in the president’s FY2007 budget, but it’s starkly absent in his speech.

Especially when it comes to statistics, it pays to be honest about the numbers!


Friday, July 14, 2006

The second quarter Federal Election Commission filings by Congressional candidates should be coming out soon to the general public in the form of information from a few money in politics websites. Don't look for much data coming soon from US Senate candidates, though, as they still don't have to report electronically! (Unless, of course, some of them feel their respective campaign's contribution numbers that quarter would advertise their campaigns.)


Thursday, July 13, 2006

There is just out a journal article on reforming some of our electoral system's great problems by adding amendments to the US Constitution. The author argues that the Founding Fathers wrote the constitution before political parties, organized on the state level, became prominent.

Issues such as the presidential primary race in the states and campaign finance reform can be considered nationally and debated with the certainty and continuity of a national constitution in mind.

I was discussing how much government should help large companies when in trouble, or should regulate them on pollution, etc. As important these issues are, the issue of corruption should be dealt with first, as the practice of very large campaign contributions by companies for favorable treatment legislatively muddies up the government/company relations questions. You have to clean up the system before you can conform it to the best interest of the nation.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

From the Public Campaign Action Fund

Georgia's primary is six days away and Ralph Reed just loaned his campaign $500,000 from his personal accounts. Reed became wealthy from contracts he got through convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
Reed is pulling out all the stops, and so are we. Tomorrow we will air a new television ad that uses Ralph Reed's own words against him to expose who he really is.
Please consider helping us with a contribution today.
Reed spun his relationships with Christian organizations into personal gold by using them as fronts for Abramoff's sleazy clients. Now he's taking that money to try to buy an election. Let's not forget that his money came from lobbying for casinos and for the Northern Marianas Islands where employers forced their female workers to have abortions and to become prostitutes.
And that's exactly the message we will deliver to Republican voters in the TV ad that begins tomorrow. We've purchased 633 individual 30-second cable television spots in some of the most Republican counties in the state. Every $50 helps us buy another.
Please fund this effort to expose the real Ralph Reed.
Polls show many Republican voters are still undecided about their pick for the Lieutenant Governor nomination. Ralph Reed has sidestepped the tough questions all through his campaign, and he's hoping voters don't care. It's time to lay the facts bare.
Please give what you can to keep our ad on the air through primary election day.
Thanks in advance for your help.
David DonnellyNational Campaigns Director
P.S. If you'd prefer to send a check in the mail, send it to Campaign Money Watch, 1320 19th Street, NW, Suite M-1, Washington, DC 20036. Contributions are not tax deductible, and please include your employer and occupation with donations of $200 and above. Campaign Money Watch cannot accept anonymous contributions.
P.P.S. Mac users may have trouble accessing the links in this email. To make a donation please copy and paste the link into your browser window:

For a Christian disciple, the more faithful you are, the more is expected of you. The same is true for federal office-holders-- the more powerful a position you have in Congress, the more is expected of you ethically. Unfortunately, we see too often in the news headlines of members of the powerful House Appropriations Committee abusing their position for personal gain.

Recently, as Jonathan Weisman and Jeffrey Birnbaum report in the Washington Post, Congressman John Doolittle has paid his wife some $170,000 from his federal political committees over the last several years for fundraising. Julie Doolittle performs fundraising services for him; she gets paid for every single donation received by Doolittle's PAC. An analysis by TheRestofUs, a reform org., shows that nearly 60% of the donations for which Julie Doolittle received a commission in 2004-5 came from people or groups who were already Doolittle donors. More than half the battle in fundraising is finding donors.

The general public looks up to leaders in Congress; it is expected that those leaders look to their consciences from time to time in their daily public duties.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Libertarian Party just had their national convention last week for this election year, but most of the work conducted was party business, such as electing new party officers, updating the party platform and revising party bylaws. They and other third parties will conduct another convention in presidential election year 2008, where they will conduct the same business again, but also nominate their party's president/ vice-president ticket.

On the contrary, the Republican and Democratic parties are taking bids for their 2008 respective national conventions, which will be only campaign advertisements during that presidential election year.

Awaiting their choices are six cities bidding to host and the corporations that will sponsor what will be a multi-day campaign advertisement. Private contributions for these political party conventions have increased from $1.1 million in 1980, to an estimated $103.5 million in 2004.

Now tell me, which party's candidates would you vote for-- those whose parties conduct business using their own internal funds, or those whose parties conduct only political rallies for their candidate nominees paid mostly by outside sources?


Monday, July 10, 2006

There is a lot of talk on which companies, unions or rich individuals give large amount of money to individual candidates; not as much is said in the press about the billions of dollars that are spent each year by the lobby industry on just the White House and Congress in order to influence legislation and policy.

Do any of the of the names of the organizations listed below sound familiar from the political news we get every day at home? The reason they do is because of the very large amount of money they spend influencing your representatives in Washington, DC.

According to the 7/10/2006 report from

Federal lobbying of the legislative and executive branches totaled $1.2 billion ($1,201,255,222) during the last six months of 2005. This is the first period lobbying expenditures have averaged over $200 million a month. For all of 2005 the total spent was $2,363,102,190.

Top Industry Sectors:
Health Care $183,324,757
Communication/Technology $158,841,159
Finance/Insurance $155,734,737

Top Organizations Spending:
Chamber of Commerce of the US $10,540,000
General Electric $10,360,000
AT&T Inc & SBC $10,360,000
US Chamber of Commerce Inst. For Legal Reform $10,250,000
American Medical Assn $9,720,000
AARP $8,472,064
Northrop Grumman $7,507,000
PhRMA $7,220,000
American Hospital Assn $7,080,000
Southern Co $7,020,000


Saturday, July 08, 2006

At the Third Party Watch blog recently, Chris Rouhier interviewed a Reform Party USA National Committee Chairman Charles Foster. An ex- TCU man as myself, Charles follows the general ethics in the world mentality; that is why he is so passionately political right now. He has what I believe is, presently, an insurmountable task of returning the Reform Party to a leading third party. I served in the party locally, statewide and nationally for six years before leaving in 2005 due to major fracturing of the party nationally. I do see hope, however, for the Reform Party, but it will take some time before it speeds ahead. I believe having reachable goals against the current two-party system, and keeping the party's eyes on those goals without strong individualism, can rebuild that party. But it must come from a stable organization to start with-- Mr. Foster must work with his party members to establish that foundation.

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled in a final step of an impeachment process that a state officeholder had violated one of its campaign finance laws. It is refreshing to see a government enforcing its campaign finance laws legally and legislatively.

Most states are behind in their fair campaign laws; states as diverse politically as Maine, Arizona and Nebraska say that levelling the playing field among candidates financially is possible in most states.