Post Archive by Month: April,2016

Muzzling a “dark money” watchdog

In a shocking move Thursday, the House Ways and Means Committee approved a bill that would further hinder the IRS from overseeing politically-active nonprofits, or 501(c) “social welfare” groups that are the most active in spending so-called “dark money.” This would “open the door for secret, unaccountable money from foreign governments, corporations and individuals,” into federal elections, according to a

Read More

Congress has a new job description: Whistleblower

On Sunday’s 60 Minutes program, two members of Congress blew the whistle on the “shameful” practice of fundraising 30 hours a week. Imagine that. Thirty hours is a full work-week for most white-collar Americans once you subtract lunch breaks, browsing Facebook and chatting in the breakroom. Rather than doing the job they were elected to do—putting our nation’s fiscal house

Read More

Nation On The Take: Dialing for Dollars in “D.C.’s Sweatshops”

While the 2016 presidential election has breached the $1 billion spending mark, less has been made of another, more damaging, part of our out-of-control campaign finance system: congressional “hard money”  fundraising. The excerpt below, from the recently released book Nation On The Take, takes a deep dive on “dialing for dollars”—the activity that turns Members of Congress into glorified telemarketers

Read More

Speaker Ryan, Bring Ethics Back to Congress

Mr. Speaker, it’s been a year. In 2015, former Representative Porter Goss (R-FL) announced he was stepping down as co-chair of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) after serving for more than seven years. That left the independent ethics review board in the House unbalanced. (Full disclosure: Rep. Goss, who also served as CIA Director under President George W. Bush,

Read More

Something is rotten in Mississippi

Politicians in Mississippi can continue to spend campaign donations on dry cleaning, car insurance, sports tickets and more after they voted down campaign finance reform measures in the House on Tuesday. Making matters worse—this was a voice vote, so constituents who go to the ballot-box on election day don’t know how their representatives voted on the state’s campaign finance reform

Read More

Smells like Government Pork

Earmarks aren’t gone for good. In 2011, Congress enacted a moratorium on earmarks—the carve-outs that members used to direct federal dollars to projects in their states and districts. But it wasn’t the end of pork in the federal budget. There’s still at least $5 billion in wasteful spending across more than 120 earmarks in one large bill, the Consolidated Appropriations

Read More

It’s Good to be in Congress

It’s good to be in Congress. According to a new report released today, more than 240 organizations spent nearly $20 million honoring federal officials and the organizations close to them last year. The Hill analyzed Senate disclosure records and looked at gifts by unions, universities, corporations and other groups. Beyond the money, they also highlighted loopholes in the Congressional gift

Read More

Lights, Camera, Campaign Finance!: Issue One on C-SPAN

Why is national security a money in politics issue? Did the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision really allow for more speech by more people in the political process? What, exactly, are states doing to tackle campaign finance issues in their local elections? These are just a few of the topics on today’s C-SPAN Washington Journal which spent three hours talking

Read More

It’s Time to Call Money in Politics a Crisis

The ReFormers Caucus is kicking off a new campaign urging everyone—from the Beltway to the Heartland—to call money in politics a crisis. Why call money in politics a crisis? Money in politics is not a new problem, but it has gone from a slow burning issue to an out-and-out crisis for a number of reasons—from misguided Supreme Court decisions to

Read More

Read “Why We Left Congress: How the Legislative Branch Is Broken and What We Can Do About It”

Issue One’s new joint report with the R Street Institute examines the legislative branch’s dysfunction through conversations with members who have voluntarily departed in the 2018 cycle. Read the full report and proposed solutions in “Why We Left Congress: How the Legislative Branch is Broken and What We Can Do About Ithere.