Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Latest Sneaky Attempt to Increase Corporate Political Power
"It’s a tried and true strategy of the wealthy and their legislative allies, and, while Donald Trump’s destructive antics continue to hold America’s attention with the same unyielding grip he uses on foreign dignitaries’ hands, there are a lot of boring things ambling through Congress with corporate favors crammed deep inside. And so it is with the House’s appropriations bill, which includes riders that would further pare back campaign finance rules that have already been decimated over the last decade, in large part through Supreme Court decisions such as Citizens United and McCutcheon v. FEC. These rulings and a Congress hell-bent on deregulating the campaign finance system has lead to increasingly expensive elections, with the money that helps candidates win often pouring in from anonymous interests. Watchdog groups and journalists call these billions from shadowy sources “dark money.” The riders attached to the appropriations bill take aim at how the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) enforce campaign finance law. In the case of the two aimed at the IRS and the SEC, Republicans are seeking to keep the agency from increasing transparency. The politicians behind these measures want to make sure the IRS never cracks down on the wealthy interest that are anonymously passing money through tax exempt non profit groups — groups that are only allowed to hide the names of their donors under the assumption that they won’t get involved in politics. This is a clear flouting of tax law, but the IRS has been slow to act — and one of these riders aims to ensure that it never will. The SEC-related rider would make sure that that agency — Washington’s top cop on the financial beat — never forces corporations to disclose to their shareholders when they are using their money to fund political candidates or causes."

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