"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Have House Republicans Tossed Transparency Under the Bus?

Looks like there is little transparency in the Republican Party today -- it left with this election when the Wall Street and wealthy donors took over the Republican Party for their own special interests with Romney and his millions heading the ticket.  Guess they like paying less than 15% taxes, no problem if they want to keep millions offshore, donate to a Super PACs and have your identity hidden, and now this.

No public disclosure who is behind these campaign ads on TV thanks to Republicans in the House is a total lack of transparency.  The dumbest comment I saw at The Hill said the Obama thugs will target big donors to Republicans.  The demonization of Obama and his supporters is continuing with the Romney paid hacks posting all over the net.

Don't agree with Obama's agenda or his liberal views but he has as much right to them as I do to mine which are more conservative.  This idea we have to all think alike is ludicrous.  That is what I am seeing out of Romney supporters today on-line and in my community.  If you haven't signed on to Romney you are attacked and called names like RINO -- Republican in Name Only and a lot worse in some cases.  I have been a Republican and a conservative a lot longer than Mitt Romney who was an independent from 1976 until 1994 when he decided it was easier to take on Kennedy in the general election then the primary. I voted Republican for Richard Nixon in 1968 my first time to vote for President and have voted for a Republican every time since then for President.  This will be my first time to vote for someone other than a Republican.  Although if you stop to think about it, Former NM Republican Governor Gary Johnson who is running as a Libertarian has been a Republican longer then Romney as well but the RNC didn't think he was worthy of being in debates.  Might damage the Romney brand if he, Perry, and Huntsman all Governors with conservative records were on stage at the same time with the flip flopper?

Romney has his little minions in the House doing his bidding now like he has the RNC.  The lack of transparency and taking full advantage of the Citizens United ruling which did not say you could hide donors names has become the way of life for Romney and his pals at Wall/K Streets.  These are the people who tanked our economy that are best buds with Romney now after helping give us Obama in 2008 when they tanked McCain.  Yet Republicans yell foul that Obama is collecting donations from Hollywood and the Gay Community.  Guess in the Romney Republican Party no Democrat is allowed to raise money -- only Romney Republicans.

Why are Republicans trying to hide who is paying for the ads on the TV?  I say we have a right to full disclosure on who is behind every ad that appears on my TV, and I should not have to visit my local station to find that information.  Also have a right to full disclosure for everyone who gives even one penny to a candidate or Super PAC.  We also have a right to know when a candidates loans himself money or when he takes contributions that are not allowed to show that he has a better fundraising month even if he has to return them.

Now we have a Republican House subcommittee who doesn't believe in transparency with lame excuses?  What has happened to the Republican Party as it has morphed into the Romney Republican Party?

This article from The Hill has the details of what is happening in the House and paints a picture of Republican members of the House being in the hip pocket of special interest.  Are they trying to catch up with their Democrat counterparts in one election?
House Republicans move to block FCC’s political ad rule
By Erik Wasson and Brendan Sasso - 06/06/12 12:47 PM ET  
House appropriators voted Wednesday along party lines to block a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulation that would require television stations to disclose political ad buyers online. 
Republicans included a provision to spike the FCC rule in the 2013 Financial Services spending bill that passed out of subcommittee Wednesday. GOP appropriators voted down an attempt from Democrats to remove it from the bill. 
Democrats accused Republicans on the House Appropriations Financial Services subcommittee of acting to keep the names and spending of outside “fat cats” secret in an attempt to hide their influence on elections.

It's obvious what this is all about and it is embarrassing, frankly,” said Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the Appropriations Committee. “It looks like you are trying to cover up the fact that these fat cats are coming into these elections and they don’t want their names known.” 
The FCC in April voted to require major network affiliates in the top 50 TV markets to post information about their political ads online. The rule would apply to all broadcast stations after the first two years.
The files about political ad purchases are currently available to anyone who travels to the television stations to view physical copies of the documents. The new rule requires the information to be posted online as well. 
Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.) offered an amendment to strip out the language blocking the ad rule. He said the FCC decision is important because it brings more transparency to spending on issue ads, and for ads in state and local races that is not easy to track under Federal Election Commission requirements. 
Serrano’s amendment was defeated in a party-line vote of 4 to 8. 
Republicans offered a variety of reasons for imposing the restrictions on the FCC.
Subcommittee Chairwoman Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) said that the requirement was burdensome to local television stations. She cited a station manager who told her he would have to hire a new staff member to post the information to the Internet. 
Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said it was an instance of the federal government interfering with the private sector. 
“Television station fiscal matters are private and should be kept private,” he said. 
He also said he does not want his political opponent knowing his reelection strategy. 
Emerson and Democrats, however, said campaign media buyers are already given access to the cost and sponsors of opponent ads. 
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) said that the information was already available, that putting it online did not change things, and that Democratic regulations were “destroying” the economy.
The political ad rule has been strongly opposed by the broadcasting industry. 
The National Association of Broadcasters has sued the FCC over the rule, arguing it is “arbitrary and capricious.” The group argues it is unfair to impose requirements on broadcast television that don't apply to competitors in cable and satellite. 
But Free Press, a public advocacy group that supports the FCC's rule, accused House lawmakers of catering to the broadcasting industry at the expense of political transparency. 
"Some members of Congress, working at the behest of the broadcast industry, want to keep the public in the dark," said Corie Wright, senior policy counsel of the Free Press Action Fund, in a statement. 
The Financial Services bill heads now to the full House Appropriations panel and then to the floor. It is based on a lower overall budget allocation than a similar bill in the Senate, and will not become law without extensive negotiation.
While looking for details on this bill on line, I was flipping through channels on my TV looking for something to watch and found Rachel Maddow, MSNBC, was covering this item.  Never watch her, but the discussion was the topic I was researching.  Decided to listen and that is when I discovered there is a group of college students visiting television stations to get the information along with a group dedicated to full disclosure on campaign ads from both sides putting details on-line from the college students.  This is grassroots as its finest.
June 7, 2012 
Justin Elliot, reporter for ProPublica, talks with Rachel Maddow about ProPublica's crowdsourcing project to scan information about local TV station political ad buys to publish on the internet (while a new FCC rule requiring stations do it themselves languishes due to Republican opposition in Congress). 
Full disclosure of every penny spent in political campaigns should be required along with every penny that is taken in by a candidate and the Super PACs, 527's, or any other group doing advertising or supporting a candidate or issue in any way.  Anything less is not transparent and is threatening our elections.

All this money in this campaign is obscene as Romney tries to buy the election.  He is absolutely for sale because to become an advisor to him, just give almost a million dollars.

Another article I found while looking for the info on college students has to do with the billionaire oilman Harold Hamm from Oklahoma who gave almost $1M to Romney's Super PAC after becoming head of his Energy advisors.  BTW Romney has not released any more names for energy advisors -- guess other oil/gas people didn't agree to donate enough money.  Excerpt from the article:

Michael Isikoff recently reported, there's a little more to the connection between the two wealthy conservatives.
Just one month after he was named Mitt Romney's top energy adviser, Oklahoma billionaire Harold Hamm contributed $985,000 to the top pro-Romney Super PAC -- a donation that was the second largest the group collected in April, according to a new campaign disclosure filing today.
The cash infusion from Hamm, the chairman and CEO of Continental Resources -- a firm that touts itself as "America's Oil Champion" -- is a new example of how big Super PAC donors can make their policy views heard by the campaigns they are supporting.
Just a few months ago, the Republican nominee announced that Hamm would serve as the chairman of the Romney campaign's "Energy Policy Advisory Group," putting Hamm in a position to shape a new "pro-jobs, pro-market, pro-American" energy agenda, which Romney would presumably pursue if elected. 
And wouldn't you know it, soon after Romney gave Hamm the influential post, the oilman contributed nearly $1 million to Romney's super-PAC, on top of the money he'd already contributed to the Romney campaign itself.

Know over the years Republicans have done our fair share of gaming the system, but nothing compared to this Romney group who IMHO is most like Richard Nixon and his corrupt people he surrounded himself with who believed in win at any cost.  Ethics and integrity did not matter which we learned in his second term.  I for one don't want to have to learn how unethical and dishonest the Romney camp is after he is elected so he will never get my vote!

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