South Carolina is again considering a bill from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to limit access to the ballot box. A nearly identical version of an ALEC voting bill is moving through the state Senate and comes on the heels of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) blocking South Carolina's ALEC-inspired voter ID law as discriminatory against people of color.
Mitt Romney's 2010 tax returns show that in 2010, Romney and his wife, Ann, paid an effective tax rate of 13.9 percent on $21.6 million in income -- much lower than the 35 percent the country's top wage-earners pay -- and hold millions of dollars in multiple offshore accounts in the Cayman Islands, a notorious tax haven. The official spin is that the Cayman accounts provide no particular tax advantage, that they pay higher interest rates and help "attract foreign investors." Romney's campaign counsel, Ben Ginsburg, assured journalists that Romney was in full compliance with U.S. tax laws, and Brad Malt, who operates the Romneys' blind trust, said Romney's Cayman funds are fully taxable and reported to the IRS. That may be so, but Rebecca Wilkins, a tax policy expert with Citizens for Tax Justice, points out that the federal government loses about $100 billion a year to just such foreign tax havens. Wilkins affirmed that the primary advantage to investors of setting up funds in places like the Cayman Islands is to help people avoid taxes. Jack Blum, a Washington, D.C. attorney who specializes in offshore banking and tax enforcement, said offshore investment vehicles allow investors to "avoid a whole series of small traps in the tax code that ordinary people would face if they paid tax on an onshore basis."
January 21 marks the second anniversary of Citizens United v. F.E.C., where a narrow majority of the U.S. Supreme Court asserted that the Constitution prevents Congress from limiting the amount of money that can be spent influencing our elections. The Center for Media and Democracy is working with a constellation of groups in support of amending the Constitution to reverse the decision and address the distortion of the democratic process.
January 20 marks the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's disastrous decision in Citizens United v. F.E.C., where a narrow majority of the Court asserted that the Constitution prevents Congress from limiting the amount of money that can be spent influencing our elections. A series of events are planned this week to mobilize opposition to the decision and to generate support for a constitutional amendment to reverse it.
Editor's note: This quick snapshot about who is behind the pro-Romney "Super" PAC is a summary of CMD's recent analysis of the problems with Super PACs.
In the Iowa caucus race, the pro-Mitt Romney Super PAC called "Restore Our Future" massively outspent the candidate's official presidential campaign on advertising. The Restore Our Future PAC spent over $3 million in ads, primarily negative ads against Newt Gingrich, who was the target of more than 1,200 negative ad spots from this PAC and others in the span of about a month.
Contrary to most press accounts, there was a decisive winner in the Iowa caucuses last night, and it was neither Rick Santorum nor Mitt Romney. The "winner" was the so-called "Super" PACs (political action committees), the mutant front groups for political candidates that were "created" in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision that unleashed corporations and billionaires to spend unlimited money influencing elections.
The U.S. Department of Justice has rejected South Carolina's voter ID law, which was inspired by an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model, as discriminatory against people of color.
Color of Change has launched a campaign encouraging corporations that rely on business from African-Americans to stop funding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which promotes voter ID legislation that suppresses the black vote.
A federal appellate court has used the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United v. F.E.C. decision to strike down a Wisconsin law limiting how much a person can donate to "independent expenditure" political groups.
The NAACP is calling the wave of Voter ID laws passed in 2011 a "coordinated and comprehensive assault" on the right to vote for people of color and the poor, singling out the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as the source of the outbreak. The organization is taking its case to the United Nations this week.
Rev. William Barber, President of the NAACP North Carolina State Conference, says "Jim Crow used blunt tools. James Crow, Esquire uses surgical tools, high paid consultants and lawyers to cut out the heart of black political power."