Tag Archives: Newt Gingrich

Michael Snyder ~ $5.25 Million For Senate Hair Care And 21 Other Ways Politicians Are Living The High Life At Your Expense

EconomicCollapse  September 25 2013

If you want to live the high life, you don’t have to become a rap star, a professional athlete or a Wall Street banker.  All it really takes is winning an election.  Right now, more than half of all the members of Congress are millionaires, and most of them leave “public service” far wealthier than when they entered it.  Since most of them have so much money, you would think that they would be willing to do a little “belt-tightening” for the sake of the American people.  After all, things are supposedly “extremely tight” in Washington D.C. right now.  In fact, just the other day Nancy Pelosi insisted that there were “no more cuts to make” to the federal budget.  But even as they claim that things are so tough right now, our politicians continue to live the high life at the expense of U.S. taxpayers.  The statistics that I am about to share with you are very disturbing.  Please share them with everyone that you know.  The American people deserve the truth.

According to the Weekly Standard, an absolutely insane amount of money is being spent on the “hair care needs” of U.S. Senators…

Senate Hair Care Services has cost taxpayers about $5.25 million over 15 years. They foot the bill of more than $40,000 for the shoeshine attendant last fiscal year. Six barbers took in more than $40,000 each, including nearly $80,000 for the head barber.

Keep in mind that there are only 100 U.S. Senators, and many of them don’t have much hair left at this point.

But hair care is just the tip of the iceberg.  The following are 21 other ways that our politicians are living the high life at your expense…

#1 According to Roll Call’s annual survey of Congressional wealth, the super wealthy in Congress just continue to get much wealthier even though they are supposedly dedicating their lives to “public service”…

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) is the richest Member of Congress for the second year in a row, reporting a vast fortune that in 2011 had a minimum net worth surpassing $300 million for the first time.

McCaul is followed by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who reported a minimum net worth of $198.65 million, and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who reported a minimum net worth of $140.55 million. The two lawmakers swapped places since last year’s list.

The lawmakers who round out the top five, Sens.Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), also flipped positions from 2010 to 2011, with Warner’s reported minimum worth rising about $9 million to $85.81 million and Rockefeller’s minimum worth rising slightly to $83.08 million.

#2 Amazingly, the 50th most wealthy member of Congress has a net worth of 6.14 million dollars.

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Paul Craig Roberts ~ Cynthia McKinney On Leadership

Paul Craig Roberts | October 2 2012

Those who have followed the Republican campaign for the presidential nomination and current contest between Romney and Obama know that the United States has no political leadership in Washington.

Billions of dollars have been spent on political propaganda, but not a single important issue has been addressed. The closest the campaign has come to a political issue is which candidate can grovel the lowest at the feet of Israeli prime minister Netanyahu. Romney won that contest. But for the rest, well, it is like two elementary school children sticking their tongues out at one another.

The question of US political leadership has been on my mind for some time. I can remember when political leadership still existed and when bipartisan cooperation could be mustered on enough issues to keep the country and the government functioning.

But no more. It might have been Newt Gingrich who, as Speaker of the House, destroyed bipartisan cooperation by making war on the Democratic Party, warfare that Karl Rove has taken to a new height.

When a country loses leadership, how does a country get leadership back? This is an important question. Without leadership, there is only violence. Once the Romans lost their republic, there was no one to lead them and they were ruled by violence. Will this be our fate?

These thoughts were in my mind when I happened to hear Cynthia McKinney speak. Here was a leader, a person with sufficient fire, knowledge, and compassion for others. Cynthia McKinney served six terms in the House of Representatives as a Democrat from Georgia. In 2008 she was the Green Party’s candidate for president. As a US Representative, Cynthia McKinney defied the cowardly Nancy Pelosi and introduced articles of impeachment against President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

If there had been any leadership in Congress in addition to that of Cynthia McKinney and Dennis Kucinich, the executive branch criminals who violated US law, international law, the US Constitution, and committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, would have been impeached, and today American citizens would be safe in their civil liberties protected by the US Constitution.

But as McKinney and Kucinich stood alone in their leadership, the Constitution is eviscerated and the executive branch is above the law. The US government now routinely commits war crimes and violates all of the traditional, but no longer extant, rights of US citizens.

Cynthia McKinney survived brickbats, but she did not survive the Israel Lobby. She spoke up for the Palestinians, a taboo in American politics, and Israeli money got her evicted from the House of Representatives.

Recently, I had an opportunity to speak with Cynthia McKinney, and I asked her about leadership. She replied that at the local level in the black communities there is leadership. It no longer gets media coverage, but it is there.

At the elected political level, she said the public confuses leadership with election to office. But many elected politicians are sycophants for the powers who control the existing order. Real leaders are those with the courage to dissent and to resist. It is the act of resistance that transforms an elected person into a leader.

What Cynthia McKinney was telling me is that politics is a virtual reality, full of paper cutout props, pretending to be leaders, while the few real leaders are demonized, redistricted, and disposed of. McKinney, who was brave enough to take on all the forces of evil, also took on Israel for its crimes against the Palestinians.

This shamed almost every other member of Congress, both House and Senate, cowards who sit silently while Israel oppresses the Palestinians and steals their land. McKinney’s moral conscience resulted in the Israel Lobby putting her on the extermination list. McKinney’s constituents had not seen a leader in so long that they were unable to recognize one, and the Israel Lobby got away with it. She told me: “The Anti-Defamation League wanted me out of Congress and filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court case to dismantle the District that sent me to Washington, D.C.”

From the Washington Establishment’s point of view, Cynthia McKinney was extremely dangerous. She spoke for the people, not for the monied interest groups. In Washington, this is impermissible behavior. And on top of it all, she challenged the government’s official story about 9/11.

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Bill Moyers ~ The Vast, Corrupting Power Of Money In Politics

Moyers & Company | RS_News | June 23 2012

OPINION ~ When it comes to the vast, corrupting influence of money in politics, historian Thomas Frank has sounded the alarm loudly and often. In “It’s a Rich Man’s World,” one of his recent essays for Harper’s Magazine, Frank writes, “Over the course of the past few decades, the power of concentrated money has subverted professions, destroyed small investors, wrecked the regulatory state, corrupted legislators en masse, and repeatedly put the economy through the wringer. Now it has come for our democracy itself.”

Bill talks with Frank about the power of concentrated money to subvert democracy.

Frank’s book, “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” was a best seller and his latest, “Pity the Billionaire,” asks how Tea Partiers and their allies can make heroes of the rich and mighty who ran us into a ditch.

Bill Moyers: This week on Moyers & Company …

Thomas Frank: We have just come through this sort of extraordinary real world demonstration of the folly of our financial system, of all the stuff that we’ve been doing, the deregulation of the last 30 years, the setup of the Federal Reserve system, however you want to put it, it has all failed us.

Bill Moyers: And …

Monika Bauerlein: You no longer really have one person, one vote. You have one person, one vote, one million dollars.

Clara Jeffery: So essentially you can create the regulatory landscape that you want if you can, essentially, buy elections.

Bill Moyers: Welcome. If you’re visiting a candidate this summer and looking for a thoughtful house gift, might we suggest a nice super PAC? Thanks to the Supreme Court and Citizens United, they’re all the rage among the mega-wealthy. All it takes is a little paperwork and a wad of cash and presto, you can have, as “The Washington Post” describes it, a “highly customized, highly personalized” political action committee.

It’s easy – super PACs come in all amounts and affiliations. You don’t have to spend millions, although a gift that size certainly won’t be turned aside. Cable TV tycoon Marc Nathanson got a super PAC for his friend, longtime Democratic Congressman Howard Berman from California, and all it cost was $100,000. Down in North Carolina, Republican congressional candidate George Holding received a handsome super PAC that includes $100,000 each from an aunt and uncle and a quarter of a million from a bunch of his cousins. Yes, nothing says family like a great big, homemade batch of campaign contributions.

George Holding: 2012 is the most important election we’re ever going to have.

Bill Moyers: You can start a super PAC on your own or contribute to one that already exists. Super PACs are available for every kind of race – presidential, congressional or statewide. But there are other ways you can help buy an election. Look at the Wisconsin recall campaign of Republican Governor Scott Walker. At least fourteen billionaires rushed to Walker’s side. He outraised his Democratic opponent by nearly eight to one. Most of his money came from out of state. More than sixty million dollars were spent, and $45 million of it for Walker alone. Here are just a few of the satisfied buyers:

Wisconsin billionaire Diane Hendricks contributed more than half a million dollars on Scott Walker’s behalf. Fearful the United States might become “a socialistic ideological nation,” she’s an ardent foe of unions – and against, in her words, “taxing job creators.” True to her aversion to taxes, she paid none in 2010, despite being worth, according to “Forbes Magazine,” about $2.8 billion dollars. Before he launched his crusade against the collective bargaining rights of working people, Governor Walker held this conversation with Diane Hendricks.

Diane Hendricks: Any chance we’ll ever get to be a completely red state, and work on these Unions?

Scott Walker: Oh yeah.

Diane Hendricks: And become a right-to-work? What can we do to help you?

Scott Walker: Well, we’re going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill. The first step is we’re going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer.

Bill Moyers: And so he did. Walker also hauled in checks from the Texas oligarch Bob Perry for nearly half a million. Perry made his fortune in the home building business and is best known nationally for contributing four and a half million dollars to the Swift Boat campaign that smeared the Vietnam War record of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry back in 2004.

Then there’s casino king Sheldon Adelson, who gave Scott Walker’s cause $250,000. Of course, that’s a drop in the old champagne bucket compared to the $21 million Adelson’s family gave to the super PAC that kept Newt Gingrich in the race long after the formaldehyde had been ordered. Adelson did not long mourn Gingrich’s passing, and is now giving as much as $10 million to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future.

Next up on Scott Walker’s list of beneficent plutocrats: Rich DeVos, owner of the Orlando Magic basketball team and co-founder of the home products giant Amway, which, thanks to Republican leaders in Congress, once shared in a $19 million tax break after a million-dollar DeVos contribution to the Republican Party. He’s a long-time member of the secretive Council for National Policy, a who’s who of right-wing luminaries.

And Louis Moore Bacon, the billionaire founder of the hedge fund Moore Capital – which in 2010 was fined $25 million for attempted commodities manipulation. A big backer of Romney, he, too came to Walker’s aid in Wisconsin.

I could go on and name more, but you get the picture. These are the people who are helping to fund what the journalist Joe Hagan describes as a “tsunami of slime.”

FEMALE: Newt Gingrich: too much baggage.

Bill Moyers: Even as they are afforded respectability in the value-free world of plutocracy, they can hide the fingerprints they leave on the bleeding corpse of democracy.

And that’s how the wealthy one percent does its dirty business. They want to own this election. So if there are any of you left out there with millions to burn, better buy your candidate now, while supplies last.

This is no time to mince words and thank goodness, Thomas Frank never does so. In a recent essay in Harper’s Magazine – “It’s a rich man’s world” – he wrote: “Over the course of the past few decades, the power of concentrated money has subverted the professions, destroyed small investors, wrecked the regulatory state, corrupted legislators en masse, and repeatedly put the economy through the wringer. Now it has come for our democracy itself.”

Strong stuff, and typical of Thomas Frank, the historian and journalist. His book, What’s the Matter with Kansas? was a best seller about how we so willingly allow money and ideology to subvert government, against our own self-interest. Now, we have his latest – Pity the Billionaire, in which the worst economy since the l930s has led to a revival of power for the very people who brought it about. Thomas Frank, welcome.

Thomas Frank: It’s my pleasure to be here.

Bill Moyers: This week Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase testified before the Senate Banking Committee on how his bank got it wrong on risk management. What would you think if I told you that seven members of the Senate Banking Committee have been big recipients of money from JPMorgan Chase?

Thomas Frank: I would not be surprised, not in the least. That’s obviously where JPMorgan would be spending its lobbying dollar would be on the, you know, giving to the campaigns of the people on that committee. That’s the wisest strategic choice for them.

Bill Moyers: And get this. The bank has been the second largest contributor to Senator Tim Johnson, Democrat, the chairman of the committee.

Thomas Frank: And I got news for you. They also, I mean, you know this already, they also were one of the biggest donors, or their, I should say their employees, to President Obama’s campaign in 2008 and also to, I believe, to John McCain’s campaign in 2008. This is the nature of what they do. They spread their spread the wealth around, you know.

Bill Moyers: And there’s more. One of Senator Johnson’s former staffers is now one of JPMorgan’s chief lobbyists. And the chairman’s present top assistant used to be a lobbyist for a law firm that worked for JPMorgan. I mean, this wasn’t a hearing. This was a reunion of the Gambino family.

Thomas Frank: Well, look, this is what we call in Washington the revolving door, okay. And this, if your viewers haven’t heard of this they need to learn about it right away because this is how Washington D.C. works is that people go back and forth from, typically from Capitol Hill staffs to working for lobby firms or directly for these, you know, the clients of the lobby firms that have to do with the interests that they used to work on when they were on Capitol Hill.

And then they go back and lobby to their former boss, right, and convince him or her to vote one way or the other. And that’s how you get ahead in lobbying is you start out working for someone on Capitol Hill, a powerful senator on a given committee. And then you go and essentially sell that expertise, sell that, you know, the fact that your friends with that guy to, you know, to a lobbying firm or to a bank or to whoever. That’s totally how it works.

Bill Moyers: It’s an interlocking cartel and it’s serious business. How can we claim to have a representative government when they really are representing the people who bought the campaigns and not the voters who voted for them? It’s a serious question.

Thomas Frank: Well, there are people who, I’m going to get cynical on you here, Bill. There are people who believe that the more money we have in politics the closer we become to a democracy. They think it’s better for there to be more money in politics.

Why do they think that? Because they think that the market is a democracy, that markets are democracy and that government is, when government interferes in the economy it’s illegitimate by definition. And so the more money we get in there the more it allows entities like JPMorgan to defend themselves against the sort of, you know, the heavy-handed meddling of some, you know, Washington bureaucrat.

Bill Moyers: But what does it say when members of the Senate Banking Committee have received $13 million over the last few years from the financial services industry? And these are the guys who are supposed to protect the common folks out there from the predatory lenders. I mean, what happened?

Thomas Frank: They haven’t done a very good job, have they?

Bill Moyers: That’s the answer.

Thomas Frank: They’ve done exactly the opposite. I mean, you can look over their record over the last 20 years, all the amazing ways in which they deregulated the financial industry, I mean, this is the story of our time.

And they deregulated this aspect, the other aspect, everything, you know, overturned the Glass-Steagall rules, you know, that’s the biggest example. But my favorite one, actually this wasn’t the Senate that did this, this was the Bush administration. A lot of states have laws against predatory lending and were enforcing those laws.

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Ralph Nader ~ Romney’s Campaign Of Inanity

Common Dreams | June 14 2012

Ralph Nader

Mitt Romney’s daily dittohead assertions make one wonder what he got out of the law and business degrees he received from Harvard University. One of his regular blasts blames Barack Obama for the daily reports of bad economic indicators. Unemployment increases – blame Obama. Retail sales decline – blame Obama. Profits not rising – blame Obama. Housing crisis continues– blame Obama.

At the same time, Mr. Romney will be the first to tell you that government doesn’t create jobs. In the same breath he’ll brag about creating thousands of jobs as a one-term governor of Massachusetts.

Are there contradictions here?

Welcome to the land of “Republican-speak” and the media dutifully headlining every absurd charge or claim made by the foregone Republican nominee for president in 2012.

First, government can both create jobs and cost jobs. Public works programs by state and federal government have created jobs in America for over 200 years. So do long-overdue safety and health regulations such as those requiring seat belts and air bags and smoke stack scrubbers, which can all be manufactured by American workers.

On the other hand, the “government – global corporate alliance” that created one-sided tax and trade policies like those advanced under NAFTA and through the World Trade Organization have cost millions of net American jobs. After all, the massive annual trade deficits recorded by the United States over the last thirty years have meant a net export of both blue and white collar jobs.

Mr. Romney correctly scoffed at then rival candidate Newt Gingrich last January when the latter claimed that he (as Speaker of the House of Representatives) and Bill Clinton created 11 million jobs. Mr. Gingrich and, in his day, Mr. Clinton took credit for this job surge which really was the result of the tech boom out of Silicon Valley and Seattle which lunched off past government research and development programs.

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Carl Gibson ~ FCC: Break Up the Big Media Monopoly

Reader Supported News | May 8 2012

OPINION ~ Houston rapper Pimp C of UGK had a phrase that he frequently used for Texas rappers whom he felt inadequately represented his state.

“You embarrassin’ us.”

The same could be said for today’s spineless, weak-kneed, irrelevant mainstream media.

In a functioning democracy, the media is the people’s voice, and the entity responsible for holding power accountable. Without a free media fairly scrutinizing the decisions of political and economic power brokers and bringing important events to light, elected officials and corporate CEOs would be corrupt and unaccountable to the people.

It doesn’t take a genius to look around and see that power is clearly corrupt, the voice of the people is being silenced, and that the media has become the voice of the power they’re supposed to hold accountable.

The media isn’t reporting on the fact that the FDA, the federal agency charged with inspecting the food that ends up on the shelves at our stores, has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of agribusiness giants. Monsanto gets their hazardous GMO crops sped through FDA approval processes to increase their sales revenue while potentially hurting all of us. And, despite dangerous amounts of E-coli and other diseases coming up in poultry, the FDA is letting chicken processing plants inspect their own product. Instead of informing the public of what they were eating, mainstream news pundits were busy obsessing over the latest of many outrageously stupid remarks that came out of Herman Cain/Rick Perry/Rick Santorum’s mouth.

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Greg Hunter ~ Weekly News Wrap-Up 4.27.12

USA Watchdog | April 27 2012

The mainstream media is constantly pushing the so-called “recovery” story, and this week was no exception.  On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chief Ben Bernanke raised his forecast for growth and said the economy was improving.  Really?  Bernanke reaffirmed near zero percent interest rates through 2014 and said, this week, that more bond buying or money printing “remain very much on the table.”  Is that the sign of a good economy?  How about the record number of Americans that are on food stamps?  How about the latest Case-Shiller report that showed housing prices down—again? How about the recent unemployment report that was not so hot?  If unemployment was measured the way it was by Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1994 and earlier, it would be north of 22%.  That’s right where it’s been for months, and we still have a “recovery”?

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Greg Hunter ~ Weekly News Wrap-Up 3.16.12

USA Watchdog | March 16 2012

Israel and Iran are, once again, the big stories this week.  The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, basically said he doesn’t need the blessing of the U.S. to attack Iran’s nuclear sites.  Meanwhile, the U.S. has given Iran a “last chance” ultimatum to work out a peace deal with its nuclear program or be attacked by the end of the year.  Can war be far away?

Fuel prices are heading higher according to Edmunds.com and many other oil market analysts.  The national average is approaching $4 a gallon, but it’s already $5 a gallon in certain areas on the East and West coasts.  Experts expect to see a $5 per gallon national average this year, but if there is war in the Middle East, all bets are off.  The sky is the limit.

There is still no clear winner in the GOP for the presidential nomination, but Santorum and Romney appear to be fighting it out at the top.  Some Republicans want Newt Gingrich to step aside, and the MSM is now nearly ignoring Ron Paul.

The Greek debt deal was hammered out last week, but is it really over?  The CME is signaling there is trouble brewing with the credit default swaps that insure the toxic bonds.  This week, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange voluntarily asked that it be removed as a derivatives clearing organization in Europe.  The bondholders took a nearly 75% loss to get the new Greek debt deal done and are likely going to be looking for the CDS “insurance” to pay the difference.  Could it all blow up soon?  I don’t think the CME stopped doing business in Europe because it was going to be making too much money in commissions.

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Ron Paul Hints at Suspicion of Election Fraud

Raven Clabough | The New American | March 13 2012

Supporters of GOP presidential contender Ron Paul have adamantly asserted that the election is being stolen from their candidate of choice. Prior to the start of the primary process, Texas Congressman Paul won numerous straw polls and broke records with campaign contributions, boasting passionate grassroots energy that helped build a momentum unparalleled by any other contender. But one by one as the caucus results began to be unveiled, Paul’s supporters declared that Ron Paul’s position has been usurped by the establishment candidates. Dr. Paul remained relatively silent on the issue until this week, when he told his supporters that he was very suspicious of the outcomes of caucuses.

“Quite frankly I don’t think the other candidates get crowds like this, and we get them constantly,” Paul said to reporters, after he had spoken to yet another crowd of over 2500 supporters in Missouri. “You would get the perception that we would be getting a lot more votes. Sometimes we get thousands of people like this and we’ll take them to the polling booth, yet we won’t win the caucus,” he commented, adding, “A lot of our supporters are very suspicious about it.”

When Paul was informed that Rick Santorum won the Kansas caucus, he remarked, “That reminds me of a picture I just looked at. I had four thousand people and he had a hundred and fifty. So who knows.”

The Congressman did not wish to elaborate on his suspicions, but did say, “It’s just instinct and hearsay stories, verbal stories that you hear and the kind of things that we heard about up in Maine.”

“They said we can’t have a recount because they just write these numbers down on pieces of paper and then throw them away afterwards. So it’s that kind of stuff that makes you suspicious,” Paul noted.

For some critics, the Iowa Caucus was a clear-cut example of this. As noted on the Daily Paul, Ron Paul was “winning by 1 percent over Mitt Romney and 7 percent ahead of Santorum” during CNN’s “entrance” polls. Once the vote grew to 11 percent, however, the vote was “flipped” and Ron Paul moved to third, where he stayed for the rest of the night.

According to the American Action Report, the voter fraud in South Carolina was a bit more rampant. First, the machines by which the votes were cast in South Carolina were programmed by a company that has been found guilty of criminal behavior in the past.

Following the South Carolina primary, the American Action Report notes:

The Internet is buzzing with talk that 953 posthumous ballots were cast in the recent South Carolina Republican Party primary. Actually, this news item was based on a letter that S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson wrote to U.S. Attorney two days before the primary. He wrote that 953 such ballots had been cast in “recent elections.” Additionally, he wrote that 4,965 ballots had been cast by voters who were no longer qualified to vote because they had moved from the state. We’re talking about a total of 5,918 illegal ballots. Wilson was concerned that this may also happen in the 2012 Republican Party primary.

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Super Tuesday’s Big Winner Is Already Settled

Katrina vanden Heuvel (Washington Post) | Common Dreams | March 6 2012

The polls haven’t closed, but here’s one thing we already know: The big winners of Super Tuesday are the super PACs and big-money politics. In the run-up to Tuesday’s vote, the super PACs’ farcically described “independent expenditures” were far greater than the spending of the candidates’ campaigns.

A Las Vegas billionaire single-handedly has kept Newt Gingrich in the race. Mitt Romney’s “vulture capitalist” biography may raise doubts in some voters’ minds, but it has helped him sweep the money primary. And while Romney has found it hard to win significant support from Republican voters, his “independent” super PAC — Restore Our Future — has used that dough to carpet-bomb with negative ads any opponent who has risen to challenge him.

The supposed “independence” of the super PACs reaches barely a legal fiction. Former aides or fundraisers run the entities. The campaigns alert donors as to which “independent” entity is designated for support. President Obama is delegating Cabinet and White House officials to attend fundraisers for Priorities USA Action, his “independent” super PAC. His 2008 campaign director, David Plouffe, now coordinating messaging in the White House, is out helping to raise the money.

Ahead of Super Tuesday, the Romney campaign spent little money outside of Ohio. Not surprisingly, his “independent” super PAC ramped up its spending in the other states to spearhead the Romney attack. The Gingrich campaign took this to the point of absurdity, running no advertising in the Super Tuesday primaries while his super PAC, Winning Our Future — funded almost entirely by one donor — carried the banner, spending $3.7 million in the primary states.

The alleged independence of the super PACs lets them do the dirty work without the candidate taking responsibility. The result is an increasingly ugly campaign, deluged with negative attack ads. In Ohio, a key battleground state, the groups associated with Romney, Gingrich and Santorum spent about $4 million in advertising. Of the 11 presidential election commercials run on Ohio TV since February 1, all but one were negative attack ads, according to the Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group.

What we’ve seen, however, is merely the first glass before the bender, the blowout that will come this fall. The fall election will feature an estimated $3 billion in negative ads, many purveyed not by super PACs, which at least have to reveal their donors, but by associated “advocacy groups” that are not required to do so. That is where the corporations and the Wall Street barons are likely to play. The candidates will know who anted up the big money, but the voters will not.

The infamous Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC, ruling that corporations as well as individuals could give unlimited amounts to “independent” expenditure entities, opened the floodgates. Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony Kennedy ruled that corporations had the same rights as people to speech, and thus to unlimited expenditures in campaigns. That right might be balanced, he admitted, by the public concern about corruption of elections and officials. Then he bizarrely concluded — without bothering to offer any evidence — that independent corporate expenditures in elections, even in secret, “do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”

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