The day after TransparencyCamp, Sunlight joined the good folks at the Voting Information Project to host a hackathon. It was... View ArticleContinue reading
Role of “Soft Money” in 2006…Implications for 2008
There's a new study out this morning from the Campaign Finance Research Institute that reminds us -- for all the talk of how much small money Sen. Barack Obama has raised on the Internet -- of the role of big money in politics. It should be sobering to those who think that small donor money obviates the need for fundamental reform of the campaign finance system.
This study just looked at one path of big money: the broad array of nonprofits active in the 2006 election: 527 political organizations, Section 501(c)(4) social welfare groups, (c)(5) labor unions and (c)(6) trade associations, and "taxable" entities that operate as nonprofits. Check it out.Continue reading
Eight Men (Plus) Out
The mid-term elections are over and the people have decided that they want their corrupt members of Congress to come back home. In a Bloomberg article today, Rep. Rahm Emanuel states that eight seats flipped due to the corrupt activities of the current, or recently resigned/indicted/plead guilty, occupant. After reviewing the Bloomberg article and the members of Congress tied to congressional scandals it seems that Rahm has presented a lowball number of congressmen sent home. So let’s take a look at these members of Congress who will no longer be wearing the congressional uniform of solid blue suits, American flag lapel pins, and an unfailing arrogance of power.Continue reading
Exit Polls Show What?
CNN's exit polls are showing that "corruption in Washington" is extremely important for 42% of voters, the highest number for any issue. I know, they're exit polls, but almost every Congress watcher and political reporter wrote off corruption until the Mark Foley scandal broke. Were they wrong the whole time or is this a reaction to the Foley cover-up? We'll find out tomorrow, but all that I know is that these blog posts all sound about right.Continue reading
Will the Levees Hold?
Rain is on my mind these days. Out here on the Oregon coast the seasons abruptly changed last week. We moved from the brisk and sunny days of Septober to the onset of the annual rains. The first wind warning of the season is now upon us. Soon the rain will be slicing down in horizontal sheets, like it often does out here from November to April.
All of which brings to mind, on this election eve, thoughts of Hurricane Katrina. In fact, tomorrow’s election – in the face of a Class IV political hurricane – raises the question that bedeviled New Orleans last summer: will the levees hold?Continue reading
Under Investigation Watch: Do They Really Care About Earmarks?
If there was ever a test case for whether voters cared about the abusive earmarking practice than the race in WV-01 would be it. This year Rep. Alan Mollohan found himself the subject of a federal investigation into his use of earmarks to create a series of nonprofits headed by his real estate partners. Mollohan, like other West Virginians sent off to Washington, is a prolific earmarker and has created an entire technology corridor -- this technology corridor being the reason for the investigation -- in northern West Virginia through earmarks. But will voters punish Mollohan for his earmarking or do they see his perch on the Appropriations Committee as a means of attracting money and jobs to a seriously depressed state economy.Continue reading
Under Investigation Watch: Freezer Burn
Rep. William Jefferson’s, D-La., current race for reelection is being described as “like being in a fight with an octopus”. The nine-term incumbent is currently facing 12 opponents in what is his toughest race to date. Jefferson’s difficulties stem from a federal investigation that has already netted one guilty plea, $90,000 in cash in Jefferson’s freezer, and an unprecedented FBI raid on Jefferson’s congressional office. Absent these factors it is unlikely that most of Jefferson’s opponents would have challenged him.Continue reading
The Season of Sleaze
Here’s another double-edged benefit of the internet: this year, thanks to YouTube and other sites that let users post and share videos, the whole world can see the sort of sleaze that passes for political advertising as Election Day draws near.
In fact, the one-two-three punch of Google, YouTube and a broadband connection means that anyone can do in a few seconds what I did yesterday – learn about offensive ads in a newspaper story, then take a look at them yourself.Continue reading
Kitchen Table Voting
I don’t know what percentage of the ballots filed every election in the state of Oregon have food stains on them, but I’ll bet it’s higher than the national average.
I say that, having splashed a little spaghetti sauce on my ballot at lunchtime yesterday, as I sat filling it out on the kitchen table. I did the same thing the last time I voted, though that time, as I recall, it was gravy.
Chalk it up as an occupational hazard of voting by mail - which is what all of us do here in Oregon every time there’s an election.
My ballot arrived Monday, about a week after the official voter guides. At lunchtime yesterday, I laid out everything on the dining room table and worked my way through the propositions and the candidates one by one, marking my choices on the ballot as I went. In all, I guess it took about 30 or 40 minutes to read everything and fill it all out. Today I’ll drop it off at the post office and be done with it for another two years.
Stupid Economy and Campaign Finance Analysis
After readings Bill's post about this convetional wisdom-bucking Barron's article predicting that the Republicans will hold onto to both Houses I decided to take a look at the same numbers that they were looking at. First let's look at the campaign finance information since that's how they decided to pick the winner of each individual race. Instead of looking at the numbers of every race I decided to use the National Journal's recently released House Race Rankings. I've discounted Democratic seats that they list because we're talking about the Republican Party holding off a Democratic challenge and so I looked the defensive position of the majority party. This is based data released by the FEC on October 20, 2006 and compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.