Elizabeth Warren has a great idea for making Tax Day less painful - "She's taking on TurboTax and other predatory companies." [more inside]
Foundation: Public Goods and Options for the Bottom Billions - "Human beings just don't handle the very long run well" and that's where government increasingly comes in... (via) [more inside]
When lobbyist Richard Berman gave a speech to the Western Energy Alliance, he was seeking to raise millions from energy companies for his Big Green Radicals campaign attacking groups like the Sierra Club and NRDC. What he didn't know was that one of the executives in the room would be so offended that he would secretly record the talk and hand it to the New York Times. The transcript (pdf) reveals Berman's strategies for creating non-profit groups to influence public debate and policy. [more inside]
Where Have All the Lobbyists Gone? (SL The Nation). Daschle, a “policy adviser” to a range of corporate interests and a close confidant of many top Democrats, has become one of the most famous unregistered lobbyists in the city. In fact, his escapades as a consigliere and go-between for business leaders and politicians, including President Obama, are so well known that among ethics watchdogs, the technicality in the law that allows lobbyists to evade registration has become known as the “Daschle Loophole.”
E.U. Data Protection Directive has many proposed amendments that MEPs cut and pasted directly from American right-wing lobbyists group and ALEC member the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (previously). [more inside]
"You want to be a pitchman for warlords? You want to carry the Devil's water in Washington? Go for it. But just don't tell me how to fucking talk" - Jon Lovett responds to Lanny Davis, in the aftermath of the Corey Booker's comments defending private equity
The top 10 federal contractors related in a sociogram displaying the network of overlapping lobbyist hires.
The Business Plot of 1933 has reached a logical conclusion: the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations may spend freely (pdf) to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress.
Follow the money. I'll keep you in the right direction if I can, but that's all. Just... follow the money.
It's time to find out who owns your democracy, and how they bought it. Do you feel like US campaign finance is hopelessly shrouded in mystery? Fear not citizen, there's a website for that: The Center for Responsive Politics has made available a well-organized, highly detailed database of their analysis of US campaign finance to shine a bright nonpartisan light on the green underbelly of US democracy. [more inside]
Conservative Republican California State Assemblyman Michael Duvall (Orange County) didn't realize his mic was live, moments before the start of a legislative hearing this past July. So when the 54-year-old married father of two began describing his ongoing affairs with two different women in very graphic detail for the benefit of a colleague seated next to him, he had no idea that he was being recorded. The story was picked up by KCAL, who cited unnamed sources that said Duvall was describing affairs with two married lobbyists. [more inside]
Can You Spot a Lobbyist? Who made up the bulk of the audience when Congress began work on health care reform legislation? Lobbyists, according to this photo ID-crowdsourcing project, part of Dollar Politics, a new NPR investigative series. Bill Moyers shines some sunlight too, with Some Choice Words for 'The Select Few.'
ABC reporter arrested in Denver on a sidewalk after filming senators and VIP's at a private meeting with big-money donors. Video here. Asa Eslocker, the reporter in question, is now remaining mum, though he has been working on stories about the influence of lobbyists who throw some pretty lavish parties, including a private performance by Kanye West.
The lavishly-furnished custom Boeing 727 figures in the current tempest over his relationship with female lobbyist Vicki Iseman who provided and flew with McCain on the plane. Lots of colorful background in this investigative report by Daniel Hopsicker, the best muckraker since Gary Webb [more inside]
So, you represent a country whose leader renamed the month of January after himself? We'll take the job!
"Even the best-endowed regimes need help navigating the shoals of Washington, and it is their great fortune that, for the right price, countless lobbyists are willing to steer even the foulest of ships." Journalist Ken Silverstein poses as a representative of the government of Turkmenistan to see if Washington lobbying firms will take on the job of making a country with a considerably less-than-stellar human rights record more palatable. The Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials calls Silverstein's work disingenuous; others disagree.
Abramoff is negotiating a possible deal with the Justice Department, in which he would agree to plead guilty and cooperate in the wide-ranging political corruption investigation focused on his dealings with members of Congress and executive branch officials, people familiar with the talks said last night. Abramoff's entry in the Wikipedia. WaPo's chart outlining Abramoff's dealings. A dKos diary pointing out some omissions in the chart. [Newsfilter]
Think of the children! Is the crayon-toting lobbyist the next big thing in politics? Is this a legitimate political strategy or despicable behaviour on the part of the teacher? Charles Helwig at the University of Toronto has some evidence that elementary school age children have some understanding of democracy and freedom of speech and "can use those concepts to evaluate political systems". How old does a person need to be to voice an opinion? (via plastic)