New details are emerging about how a multi-millionaire used shell corporations to funnel money to the Super PAC associated with embattled Tea Party group FreedomWorks for America -- and how those laundered contributions may have violated federal law.
Despite Wisconsin residents overwhelmingly voting for Democrats in the 2012 elections -- sending progressive powerhouse Tammy Baldwin to the U.S. Senate and reelecting President Barack Obama by 6.8 points -- five of the state's eight newly-drawn congressional districts voted out of sync with the majority of Wisconsinites and went for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. This is largely because the GOP reworked congressional maps to their party's benefit during the redistricting process that followed the 2010 census and elections. Now, Republicans in Wisconsin are discussing plans to allocate the state's electoral college votes according to these new Congressional districts, giving the GOP a chance for victory in a state that has elected Democrats in each of the past seven Presidential elections.
Despite two separate Wisconsin courts striking down the state's voter ID law as an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote, the state legislature's incoming Assembly Leader, Rep. Robin Vos, has pledged support for amending the state constitution to require ID at the polls -- despite hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin residents not having ID and no significant evidence of voter fraud in the state. Vos is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) State Chair for Wisconsin; Wisconsin's voter ID law, like many of those introduced in recent years, echoes the ALEC "model" voter ID Act.
After some early success helping far-right candidates in the Republican primaries, Super PACs and dark money nonprofits failed to eke out many victories on election night 2012. But these groups are seeking to make up for lost ground by influencing policy through lobbying, issue advocacy, and the threat of attack ads against Republican legislators who compromise, particularly on negotiations over the "fiscal cliff."
Failed presidential candidate Mitt Romney was caught on tape in another candid moment with big dollar donors. In an attempt to explain his stunning loss, Romney alleges that President Obama bribed the electorate with "gifts":
Now that the most expensive election in history is over, an increasing number of Americans are demanding action to reduce the influence of money and corporations in our political system -- and reformers are offering solutions.
Wisconsin State Senator Alberta Darling said that Mitt Romney could have won the state if Wisconsin's voter ID law had been in place for the November 6 election, despite zero evidence of voter fraud -- but also admitted she and other Republicans may not be "dealing with the real reality."
Despite Americans overwhelmingly rejecting Mitt Romney and his plans to "repeal Obamacare on day one," an effort to nonetheless thwart the federal health care law on the state level is underway, led by the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity and Cato Institute, with help from American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model legislation. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is a key holdout and has not indicated whether he will continue to actively block the health care law.
With most voter ID laws blocked before the 2012 elections and local election officials and civic groups prepared for True the Vote's intimidation tactics, some of the worst fears about voter disenfranchisement were averted in Tuesday's vote. But partisan voting laws and continued confusion over election administration led to long lines -- prompting President Obama to note "by the way, we have to fix that," in his acceptance speech.
Presidential Candidates Ran Three Times as Many Trade-Related Ads as in 2008; 30 States' Congressional Race Ads Featured Criticism of Trade Status Quo; Composition of the Senate Shifts in Favor of Fair Trade