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Tag Archives: money in politics
When I posted Marty Walsh and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Unions the other day I left the impression that the media had cast labor as a baleful presence dragging down the Boston mayoral candidacy of Marty Walsh against John Connolly. Since then I’ve had the chance to review a month’s worth of stories having to do with the candidates, labor, and fund-raising in the Boston Globe. So is the city’s indispensable media institution unfair to labor?
Yes. Sort of.
Today we are pleased to welcome a guest post. John Nichols is the Washington correspondent for the Nation magazine, and Robert McChesney is a distinguished professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They will discuss their new book, “Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex Is Destroying America,” at 7 p.m. at the Old South Meeting House in Boston. The Old South Meeting House is located at 310 Washington St., Boston (at the intersection with Milk Street).
By John Nichols and Robert McChesney
There can no longer be any question that free and fair elections — what we were raised to believe was an American democratic birthright — are effectively being taken away from the people.
The New York Times published two fascinating articles touching on our toothless federal financial regulators on Monday. On the front page was a report Inside the End Of the U.S. Bid to Get Lehman and in the Business section Barofsky, Watchdog to Government Bank Bailout Program, Joins Law Firm. Barofsky was the special inspector general who reported on much shady dealing by government and banks in TARP. Robert Khuzami is a former director of enforcement at the S.E.C. who supported those in S.E.C. who declined to bring any action against Lehman or its former CEO, Richard Fuld. Khuzami left S.E.C. in July to join Kirkland & Ellis, a corporate firm that defends, you guessed it, banks. Barofsky is joining Jenner & Block, a practice with a vigorous practice suing those very banks on behalf of government and corporations.
In late May the Boston Globe’s Andrew Ryan wrote a story Lawyers help fill Daniel Conley’s war chest and I’ve been puzzling over it ever since. The gist of the story was that Suffolk DA Conley, now a candidate for mayor of Boston, had accumulated about $868,000 in his campaign finance account by the end of 2012. That sum included about $330,000 from attorneys since 2005, much of it from defense lawyers who have cases with the Suffolk DA. That is a common practice defended by some prominent and honorable Massachusetts political figures. But still . . .
Congressman Lynch, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
In the Boston Herald today Congressman Stephen Lynch takes a solid whack at the Party Central Committee – excuse me, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee – for showering Congressman Ed Markey with money while blocking contributions to Lynch. Here’s a sample:
“They haven’t been fair,” Lynch said of the national Democrats who he says have funneled donations and some union support Markey’s way. “No they haven’t been fair. I think they’ve done their best to discourage people from sending me contributions from Washington. They’ve basically said Markey’s our guy, don’t give to Lynch.
Princeton Professor Martin Gilens opens his book Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America with a quote from Justice Louis Brandeis: “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”
Professor Gilens does not have good news for us about what the concentration of money in the hands of a few is doing to our democracy.
My UMB colleague Tom Ferguson works on money in politics and he, Jie Chen (also of UMB) and Paul Jorgensen have found that the FEC has been purging so-called “dark money” records from its public access files for the 2007-2008 election cycle. Tom, Jie and Paul write:
Lots of speculation about what centrist issue stuff might have been discussed when President Obama recently had lunch with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Or maybe, just maybe, it was all about the Benjamins. Read my UMB colleague Tom Ferguson’s take here.
Writing at www.Bostonmagazine.com, Steve Poftak asks: Whose Money Talks in Massachusetts Politics? His apparent purpose was to suggest that the folks of “Occupy Boston” might want to be careful of what they wish for on the theory that their complaints about the undue influence of big money on Beacon Hill would unintentionally hurt their own interests.
In another post I suggested that when you are reading a political story and reach the words “A spokesman for (politician X) said” you may safely ignore whatever follows. That may seem out of character with my generally sunny regard for politicians and the folks who work so hard on their behalf (I really do like them). So in order to highlight the fine work done by spokespersons, I offer the following quiz.