Sunrise (3/23/11)

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DEMS RAISE $$ FROM LABOR

Sunlight: “As governors and legislators in many states attempt to curb public sector union benefits, congressional Democrats have turned to organized labor for campaign donations at Washington, D.C., fundraisers. … Since February, when the state labor disputes gained national attention, Democrats have scheduled at least 15 events that were either targeted at labor donor or hosted by unions, Party Time records show. There are at least four such fundraisers on tap next week, which would mean a total of 19 over a two-month span. … Democrats turned to labor at least as many times during the same period last year, Party Time files show, but the fundraisers are more relevant this year when unions could use a lawmaker’s support in legislative battles back in their home state.”

COURT ORDERS MORE TRANSPARENCY FROM FED

Bloomberg: “A Supreme Court order that forces unprecedented disclosures from the Federal Reserve ended a two- year legal battle that helped shape the public’s perceptions of the U.S. central bank. … The high court yesterday let stand a lower-court ruling compelling the Fed to reveal the names of banks that borrowed money at the so-called discount window during the credit crisis. The records were requested by Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News. In July, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank law, which mandated the release of other Fed bailout details. … Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke “now must finally understand that this money doesn’t belong to the Federal Reserve, it belongs to the American people and the American people have a right to know how their taxpayer dollars are being put at risk,” said Senator Bernard Sanders, a Vermont Independent who wrote Fed transparency provisions in Dodd-Frank. … The high court’s order means the Fed will have to reveal an unprecedented level of detail about its discount window lending during the financial crisis — including borrowers’ names and amounts. Officials are preparing to comply, said David Skidmore, a spokesman for the central bank. He declined to elaborate.”

AT&T: DOUBLE-BARRELED, FULLY LOADED

Reuters: “AT&T’s high-powered lobbying operation — on steroids even by Washington standards — will be critical in persuading regulators to approve its $39 billion bid to buy Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile. … Tough as this deal will be to get through regulators, AT&T commands a formidable armada of lobbyists, has deep roots in Washington, and connections in the White House — chief of staff William Daley used to lobby for SBC Communications, which became AT&T. … One of the lobbyists working on the 1996 act was Jim Cicconi, who at the time was working for law and lobbying firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. … AT&T hired Cicconi in 1998, and he now heads AT&T’s lobbying operation in Washington that boasts 93 outside lobbyists and donates to a long list of lawmakers from the most powerful to the most obscure. … AT&T is one of the biggest political donors, giving $46 million since 1989 to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics which tracks political spending.”

NEW ETHICS RULES AT INTERIOR

The Hill: “The Interior Department’s top offshore drilling regulator is planning to broaden ethics rules in an effort to ensure firewalls between federal and industry personnel. … Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) Director Michael Bromwich said Tuesday that an expansion of the agency’s recusal policy to avoid conflicts of interest — issued last August — is in the works. … The policy is one of several implemented in the wake of last year’s BP oil spill. The disaster revived scrutiny of Interior’s long-troubled Minerals Management Service, which the Obama administration restructured and re-branded as BOEMRE.”

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