Monday, April 7, 2014

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Supreme Court does away with limit on how much individuals can give candidates and political parties

Supreme Court ruling gives small number of wealthy donors new ways to drive campaigns
By Matea Gold
April 3, 2014

An elite class of wealthy donors who have gained mounting influence in campaigns now has the ability to exert even greater sway. A Supreme Court decision Wednesday does away with an overall limit on how much individuals can give candidates and political parties.

This opens the door even wider for a narrow universe of donors to expand their giving by writing single checksfor as much as $3.6 million that could flow directly to candidate and party committees. That development gave new influence to billionaires such as conservative industrialists Charles and David Koch and liberal former hedge-fund manager Tom Steyer, who are expected to spend tens of millions of dollars this year.

“The Supreme Court is turning our representative system of government into a sandbox for millionaires and billionaires,” said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a group that advocates for reducing the role of big money in politics.

If the overall limits had been lifted for the 2012 campaign, about 1,200 wealthy donors who hit or came close to the limit on giving to candidates and party committees could have poured an additional $304 million into federal political committees, according to an analysis by the liberal groups Demos and U.S. That nearly equals the $313 million that 4 million small donors gave to the campaigns of President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney that cycle.

President Ronald Reagan on Puerto Rico

Should Puerto Rico Consider Joining The Russian Federation?

Ralph Benko

Puerto Rico’s biggest problem in dealing with Washington is of the same nature as that increasingly shared by too many Americans. We citizens much too often find ourselves in the position of supplicants to Washington rather than, at minimum, as dignified peers. Might there be a way to change this?

Puerto Rico is in the terribly awkward position of territorial status. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. Yet they are not entitled to vote for president. They have a “resident commissioner” to, not a full Member of, Congress. They have no Senators.

Some prominent Puerto Rican leaders are advocating recognition of Puerto Rico as America’s 51st State, with full dignity. Congress recently appropriated, and President Obama approved, $2.5 million to fund a referendum by Puerto Rico on whether its people wish for statehood.

There is something out there that really would snap Puerto Rico out of supplicant status and command Washington’s attention. It might actively consider affiliation with a sovereign entity other than the United States.

Such as Russia.

If the leaders of the Puerto Rican statehood movement reallywanted to galvanize America into making Puerto Rico the 51st state they could seek a dialogue with Vladimir Putin. Might Mother Russia, currently in an expansive mood, welcome Puerto Rico as its 86th political division. (Let us leave it to the Puerto Ricans whether they would prefer the status of oblast, republic, krais, autonomous oblast, or autonomous okrug.)

Imagine, if you will, the look on secretary of state John Kerry’s face one fine morning upon learning of a Puerto Rican delegation meeting with Vladimir Putin to open a conversation — just an inquiry, mind you — about whether Russia might wish to offer Puerto Rico statehood.

Should Puerto Rico Consider Joining The Russian Federation?: