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I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material there. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. (Please let me know if you do not get such an invitation.) I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:
To post questions or comments about the readings before we discuss them in class;
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To post relevant news items or videos.

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Campaign Finance Post "Citizens United"

In his State of the Union, President Obama assailed the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizen's United v. FEC so much that he got a verbal response from Associate Justice Alito. Now, Obama, along with Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), are pushing legislation that they believe would remedy some of the dangers to campaig finance restrictions posed by the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizen's United. Obama is arguing that the ruling will unleash the full potential of special interests to crowd out the American people in Washington, unless Congress acts quickly. Some Republicans have expressed interest in passing the legislation, though the Republican leadership opposes it.

Some aspects of the prososal include: full disclosure by corporation and unions of their political spending (including donations to other groups that then run ads); top corporate or union officials who approved the money for the ad may need to appear in the ad approving it; contractors that receive more than $50,000 and companies (and subsidiaries) with more than 20% of their stock controlled by foreign nationals would be forbidden from sending ads; companies that have not repaid all their TARP funding cannot sponsor ads.

This seems to be important for Democrats on policy and political grounds. Many of their supporters like the idea of transparent government. They also need some disclosure to protect them from intense blowback around healthcare and financial reform. Republicans tend to like disclosure, but not limits.

See the following links for more information: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/01/nation/la-na-obama-radio-20100502 ; http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-05-01/obama-urges-congress-to-enact-new-campaign-finance-regulations.html ; http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/05/obama-calls-for-support-of-campaign-finance-reform-bill-post-citizens-united-ruling.html

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