Tag Archives: money in politics

What John Cook and John Walsh Mean for Democracy

The candidates are churning to the primary finish line and have even come to the attention of a few sentient voters. Yet candidates may not be the most important people in their parties. The Boston Globe’s Stephanie Ebbert contributed an excellent piece in last week’s “Capital” on John Cook, perhaps the most important man in the Massachusetts Republican Party: he’s the GOP’s Fundraising Guru.

That caught my eye because in a 2012 HuffingtonPost article my colleague Professor Ubertaccio declared then Massachusetts Democratic Party Chairman John Walsh The Most Important Person for Democrats in Massachusetts.

I’m sure Cook and Walsh are very important people but their true importance is in what they symbolize for the conduct of American politics. It’s bigger than either of them. And it goes to whether we have a true democracy or not.

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What Worries a Political Scientist

Edge.org recently published an edited volume, What Should We Be Worried About: Real Scenarios that Keep Scientists Up at Night. Using that volume as inspiration let me offer three things that especially worry this political scientist: money in politics, environmental degradation, and privacy.

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Politics in the Blogosphere, 4/9/2014 Edition

How about a quick visit to the blogosphere on the topic of money in politics? UMass Boston’s Black Student Center hosted a forum on the topic yesterday featuring Senator Jamie Eldridge, who was somewhat more optimistic than me on the topic. So what are the best academics saying about the Supreme Court’s recent decision on campaign finance, and does plutocracy bring any policy consequences – like government subsidies for too big to fail banks, for instance?

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Battle for Democracy: New Populism vs. Dark Money

My UMB Colleagues Tom Ferguson and Jie Chen with their collaborator Paul Jorgenson are just out in Salon with a dire caution: Big money is destroying American populism. They find some reason for optimism in the elections of Bill de Blasio in New York and Marty Walsh in Boston, driven forward by union money. Nonetheless, their research shows that our partisan politics is largely a contest of different factions of the one percent, more in the Republican Party than the Democratic Party. Still, populist Democrats have to confront the realities of their party’s funding sources.

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Yes It’s Corrupt: Marty Money and Connolly Cash

The other day I posted AFT Proud and argued that the American Federation of Teachers secret half-million dollar expenditure on behalf of Marty Walsh’s campaign for mayor of Boston should be considered an emblem of a corrupt campaign finance system. Some fellow Twitterers were dismayed that I would use the word corruption but I stand by the word and its meaning.

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AFT Proud

CSI Campaign Finance, aka Wesley Lowery of The Boston Globe, continues to unravel the mystery money spent on behalf of Marty Walsh by independent expenditure groups. On December 27 Lowery published American Federation of Teachers revealed as funder behind mysterious pro-Walsh PAC during campaign. Oddly the AFT spokespersons seem very proud of their secret $480,000 contribution to democracy. Their conduct suggests something other than pride; it reveals the corruption at the heart of our campaign finance farce-ocracy.

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Boston Globe: Unfair to Labor?

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.

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Money Trumping Democracy

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.

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The Cowardly Lion: Your Financial Regulators at Work

cowardly lionThe 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.

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Are Dan Conley’s Campaign Finance Givers Irrational?

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 . . .

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