Sunrise (3/29/11)

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MONEY NEVER SLEEPS, MONEY ALWAYS WINS

Paul Waldman: “[T]he Supreme Court will be hearing arguments in the case of McComish v. Bennett, which will decide the fate of Arizona’s “clean elections” law and similar ones in a few other states. It seems likely that the Roberts Court, where protecting the interests of the wealthy and powerful so often trumps any other consideration, will strike down the Arizona law. … In response to a series of corruption scandals, Arizona voters passed a public-financing law in 1998 that uses a clever system to open up the political process without infringing anyone’s free speech rights. If a candidate gets a substantial number of $5 donations, she receives public financing. But if her opponent decides to stay out of the public-financing system and begins to outspend her, she will receive more financing to stay competitive. The result is a system in which people without lots of money can run for office, and elections are reasonably competitive. … We spent the entire decade of the 1990s arguing about how we can make our elections more fair, more responsive to the public, less twisted by the influence of big money. But it’s as though all that never happened. The Roberts Court is constructing our electoral system now, at both the state and federal level. And the system they’re building is one in which money always wins.”

iLOBBY

LAT: “In February, the company boosted its forces by hiring the high-powered Washington lobbying firm of Fierce, Isakowitz & Blalock. And Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs has met with President Obama twice in the last five months, unusual forays into the political arena for the company’s co-founder. … Those moves help Apple make its case to policymakers and regulators on issues that affect it, as well as help the company learn about potential problems and pending legislation before they become public. … Still, Apple remains a surprisingly small-time player inside the Beltway. … Its lobbying expenses last year were dwarfed by the nearly $7 million that tech rivals Microsoft and HP each spent. Apple’s lobbying budget ranked 21st in the industry, behind much smaller companies, such as Expedia Inc. and EBay Inc., according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.”

NETFLIX TEAMS UP WITH CONSUMER GROUPS

The Hill: “Netflix is cozying up to some of the city’s leading consumer advocacy groups as it builds up its lobbying presence in Washington. … The fast-growing media company, which hired its first in-house lobbyist earlier this year and has seen its share value go through the roof, is trying to build partnerships with telecom reform gurus in the advocacy world. … The company is meeting frequently with prominent consumer advocates, according to public interest sources. … Among other issues, Netflix and consumer groups — including Free Press, the Media Access Project, Public Knowledge and Consumers Union — have a common interest in fighting overage fees on Internet users who access a high volume of data.”

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