NYS Leg. Score Card on DMI: But What About CMCE?

Ah, but this is rich!

Those lovelies over at the Drum Major Institute have taken the time and trouble to grade every single legislator in New York State on thier voting record for Middle Class values.? Bravo!

But not only that, they’ve also opened up a 30-day (and I’m sure, quite expensive) Google AdSense blitzkrieg wherein any Google search that includes the name of a NYS State Legislator will include a Google Ad with DMI’s score for this legislator.? Ha!? Dig that?? (BTW, Susan John got a B.? Who am I to criticize?? I was a solid “C” student, myself)

So what does DMI think of Clean Money, Clean Elections?? Nothing on the blog about it, yet, but let’s hope they’re on the ball for this one.

Sober Statement on Clean Money from LA

Every once in a while, I read something and wish I could write so simply and without bloviating.  Most of the time, I quite enjoy bloviating.

LA Daily News – Opinions

Although few among us like the prospect of our tax dollars paying for political campaigns, the reality is they already do. Politicians trade taxpayer-financed favors to special interests in exchange for campaign cash. And because a few thousand in private campaign donations can end up costing the public millions, public financing of campaigns could possibly save taxpayers a fortune.

CMCE on Claremore Progress

A good, sucinct rant on Clean Money, Clean Elections on the National level
Claremore Progress – Editorials

Even as they’re shouting “reform,” they’re quietly taking checks from the very lobbyists they claim to be reforming. Rep. David Obey, a true reformer, cuts through this hypocrisy: “You can talk all you want about nibbling at the margins about ethics … but unless we deal with the nexus between politics and money, damned little is actually going to change.”

New Clean Money Article on DragonFlyEye.Net

Well, after three days of work, I have completed the article on Clean Money, Clean Elections.? I’m actually quite proud of it.? I kept the word count down to about 1000 words, which is more than I wanted, but less than I feared.? I honestly don’t think I could have done an adequate job with less real estate.? In researching the article, I specifically sought out and found articles which argued against CMCE in some way.? I took the most compelling arguments against it and focused on them as subjects on which to build the article.? I felt that in this way, I could address what are the most common complaints and in this way build a better persuasive argument.

Yep.? Classic “Five Paragraph Theme” writing.? There’s a reason they teach you to do this in high school.

CMCE: The Cost of Doing Business

I’m researching my new article for the MJ newsletter on Clean Money, Clean Elections, and decided I needed to know what the price tag of public campaign finance would actually be. I found the New York State Board of Elections site, which has a lot of great information available for those curious enough to look. I’m thinking that this will be a powerful resource in the years to come, now that I’ve found it.

But back to CMCE. My research involved picking a few semi-random districts for the Assembly and viewing thier total expenditures for thier campaigns. I say semi-random because I made a point to pick districts that were major city districts, reasoning that they would likely be the more expensive districts, and a few smaller districts for the sake of scale. I then added up the totals and divided by the number of districts I grabbed (seven). This number was then multiplied by 150 total districts in New York State to come up with a ball-park average cost of running CMCE for the Assembly. With the governorship added in, I came up with an approximate total cost to taxpayers of about 40 to 50 million dollars per year.

Sound like a big number? Consider this: the much-abused NYS Empire Zones scheme, which sets aside tax-free zones for businesses which are supposed to create jobs for the state (and, as charged by Susan John and Richard Brodsky, is being abused by corporate political donors who are not creating any jobs at all), costs New Yorkers an estimated average of $437 million. Perspective is everything.

Molly, I’d Marry You If I Wasn’t Engaged. . .

Molly Ivins is perhaps the best orator for the movement that isn’t happening in America right now.  I read this peice whilst discussing the CMCE efforts with Jon Greenbaum of Metro Justice last night, and it’s brilliant, if only because it’s so simple.  If you read no farther in this peice, read the statement below:

Enough of the D.C. Dems

We don?t need a lobby reform package, you dimwits, we need full public financing of campaigns, and every single one of you who spends half your time whoring after special interest contributions knows it.

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Metro Justice and DFE Meet About Clean Money, Clean Elections

I am very exited. I came home from work after having been beaten up for the last week with the most hellacious onslaught of calls I think I’ve ever endured on a help desk, not necessarily knowing that I even felt up to meeting with MJ about the Clean Money interview they want to do with Louise Slaughter. Nevertheless, I ponied up and got there on time, and I’m glad I did. It looks now as thought MJ is looking to turn Rep. Slaughter into a proponent of CMCE. Things are developing, sauces are flying. . .

Clean Money and “Income”

The continuing saga of California’s Clean Money, Fair Election legislation continues in the editorial pages.  Berkeley Daily has an interesting OpEd, and while I disagree with much of what he says about the Clean Money framework, there is this interesting tid-bit:

Berkeley Daily Planet

Up until two weeks before it passed the Assembly, AB 583 had two major components, each with profound impacts on how politics in Sacramento would be financed. The first major component of AB 583 was a simple but extremely effective change in the current law. It classified campaign contributions in excess of $500 as ?income? for purposed of the Political Reform Act of 1974. As a result of this change, legislators could not vote on and the governor could not veto legislation that would affect their large contributors (i.e. their sources of income), eliminating any influence these donors might have on the legislative process. It cost the taxpayer nothing and I did not oppose it. However, one week before AB 583 was passed by the Assembly, it was amended and this component was deleted. It was independent and separable from this bill?s other provisions, and the only truly effective way of ending the ?pay to play? politics in Sacramento that supporters of AB 583 oppose.

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The CMCE Debate Continues

Debate appears to be lively on the other coast. The Tracy Press has an editorial peice arguing for AB 583, the Clean Money, Fair Elections legislation in CA. When will this same debate reach our state in full swing? MetroJustice is meeting with Jenn Wisneski of Citizen Action, NY next weekend, Saturday, March 11th to keep the momentum up.

Tracy Press, Tracy CA

Dan Walters misunderstands Assembly Bill 583, the Clean Money Act, and the system of publicly financed campaigns it would set up.First, because the clean money system is voluntary there actually are no Bill of Rights or free speech issues, as several courts have already held. . .

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More on Slaughter and Clean Money

Uh-oh. This doesn’t look like Louise Slaughter is really going for the CMCE thing. Her opinion, at least from the article, seems to be that people hold politicians in such low esteem that they would never support public financing of elections.

Of course, she’s a representative, and a good one. Perhaps if the right people have her ear, she’ll prick up. At the moment, her opinion seems a bit jaded, especially since many states are currently switching to the CMCE model and doing quite well from the initial reports. More thoughts on this over at Kevin Drum’s blog.

Let’s hope for the best from Congresswoman Louise Slaughter. It looks as though I might be playing some role in MJ’s interview with said Congresswoman, and hopefully will have something to bring back to the site.

Medicare and the Lobbyists

I’m reading through Louise Slaughter’s report (PDF) on the record-setting period of corruption we find ourselves in, specifically through the Medicare portion at the moment, and running through the list of denied amendments to the bill. If ever there was a damning case for corruption, this list should suffice:

  1. An amendment by Rep Brown of Ohio requiring the Medicare subcontractors to abide by the same regulations as every other government subcontractor.
  2. A revision of the reimportation clauses that would require the Secretary (presumably of HHS?) to provide specific reasons for each denial in writing.
  3. A mandated report on the effects of foreign markets on our own drug costs
  4. A provision to allow seniors to pay a monthly copay option in exchange for free generic drugs, assuming they suffer one or more of five major ailments that commonly affect seniors. NOTE: this would have created *the only* generic drug option in the plan.

The list continues, but you get my point. Not only did Big Phara write this bill, but they did so in a way that would ensure the highest possible profit for them, right down to striking the generic drugs market right out of the loop. Don’t miss the big picture, here: by forcing the generic market out of the seniors rackett, they effectively strangle the generic drugs industry, thus paving the way for increased profit margins in perpetuity.

Representative Slaughter’s “America For Sale”

I’m barely 20 pages into Congresswoman Slaughter’s “America For Sale“(PDF) report, and if I thought I knew what sleazy business went on during the passing of the Medicare bill, I was sorely mistaken. I’m making a quick pass through to check what there is to offer in the report, but for now I would recommend anyone with any interest in salvaging democracy in the US take a gander.

So is Congresswoman Louise Slaughter in favour of Clean Money, Clean Elections? No word yet, but the folks over at MetroJustice.org are looking into it, and perhaps DFE will get a taste. We shall see. . .