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Posts tagged "2012 Elections"

h/t: Aviva Shen at Think Progress Elections

h/t: Ian Millhiser at Think Progress Justice

Thank God it’s Claire McCaskill and NOT Todd Akin’s as one of the Senators from Missouri. 

h/t: Aviva Shen at Think Progress  Elections

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

A Wisconsin insurance executive and Republican donor was charged with voting illegally more than a dozen times in four elections.

The Journal-Sentinel reported that 50-year-old Robert Monroe was caught as a result of an investigation into a possible illegal voting by his son in Waukesha County. But after his son denied requesting an absentee ballot from his father’s address in Shorewood, suspicion turned to Monroe.

A complaint claimed that Monroe voted five times in Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) recalled election. He also was accused of voting illegally in a 2011 Wisconsin Supreme Court election, a 2012 primary, and the 2012 presidential election.

Although the complaint did not state who Monroe voted for, WISN determined that he had donated money to Republican state Sen. Alberta Darling.

Prosecutors used Monroe’s cell phone records to prove that he traveled all the way to Indiana to cast a second vote in the 2012 presidential election. Prosecutors also tested some of the ballots for genetic material, and only found DNA belonging to Monroe.

In May of 2012, prosecutors said that Monroe begged his ex-wife, sons and brother to register to vote in a text message.

“You must go to city hall and register to vote,” the message said. “Every vote will be needed!… Please please please.”

According to the complaint, Monroe worked as an executive in the health care industry. His LinkedIn page indicated that he was an insurance executive, who said he loved “the thrill of the hunt, leading teams and developing new business.”

For his part, Monroe insisted to investigators that he did not remember voting in the elections because he takes drugs for Attention Deficit and Obsessive Compulsive disorders.

Monroe faces 13 felony election fraud charges in all, including voting more than once, voting as a disqualified person, registering in more than one place, and providing false information to election officials. He could spend up to 18 months in prison, and pay a $10,000 fine for each charge.

His next court date was set for July 17.

Watch the video below from WISN, broadcast June 23, 2014.

H/T: David Edwards at The Raw Story

Hopefully he gets his ass voted out of office in November. Vote for Mary Burke (D)!!! 
h/t: :Philip Bump at WaPo’s The Fix

2012 GOP threat: Sgt. Bergdahl swap will be Obama, Democrats’ ‘Willie Horton moment’ (via Raw Story )

Republicans are outraged that President Barack Obama authorized a prisoner exchange with the Taliban for U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl — who has been held captive since 2009 — and that they plan to use the exchange against Democrats in the upcoming…



 

h/t: Deirdre Shesgreen at USA Today, via Springfield News-Leader

Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative filmmaker and author charged this January with violating federal campaign finance laws, allegedly said that while he might eventually admit his guilt, he would initially plead innocent because it would give “him a window of opportunity to get his story out there.” Conservative media have been happy to lend him a hand in doing so.

In January, federal prosecutors announced that D’Souza was being charged with filtering excessive campaign donations through straw donors to Republican Wendy Long, a friend of his who lost her 2012 campaign to unseat Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. D’Souza pleaded not guilty to the charges.

According to The New York TimesD’Souza’s lawyer is claiming that the conservative pundit is being “targeted…because of his consistently caustic and highly publicized criticism” of President Obama. (The prosecution has called these claims “entirely without merit.”) The Times alsoreports that prosecutors claim to have a recording made by the husband of a woman D’Souza was “involved with romantically” who was “one of the alleged straw donors.” According to the woman, D’Souza said that if he were eventually charged, he might plead not guilty to help “get his story out there”:

Prosecutors also said they had obtained a copy of a recording made surreptitiously last October by the husband of a woman Mr. D’Souza was involved with romantically around the time of the donations, when Mr. D’Souza was separated from his wife. In making the recording, the husband was not acting at the government’s direction, prosecutors said. The woman, Denise Joseph, was one of the alleged straw donors.

Ms. Joseph was recorded as saying that Mr. D’Souza had told her that if he were charged he might plead guilty, but would initially plead not guilty because that “gives him a window of opportunity to get his story out there,” the government said. Ms. Joseph had no comment, her lawyer said.

Conservative media have been crucial in helping D’Souza “get his story out there” — his allies on Fox News, talk radio, and right-wing online outlets have loudly and repeatedly claimed that D’Souza is a victim of persecution because of his political beliefs.

The day after the indictment was announced, Matt Drudge tweeted that the charges against D’Souza and a former Republican Virginia Governor were evidence of Attorney General Eric Holder “unleashing the dogs” on “Obama critics.” Rush Limbaugh saw the case as proof the Justice Department was “trying to criminalize as many Republicans and conservatives as they can.” ABC News contributor Laura Ingraham announced on her radio show, ”we are criminalizing political dissent in the United States of America. Welcome to the Brave New World of retribution justice.”

Conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones, in an alarmed video posted on Youtube with the title “Emergency: Obama Launches Purge,” called the situation “like Nazi Germany.”

Fox News, which has repeatedly hosted D’Souza since the indictment, reacted to the news by claiming ”the left are rediscovering their inner Stalin.” During an interview the week after the charges were announced, Hannity labeled D’Souza “the latest victim to be targeted by the Obama White House.” Fox Nation linked to Drudge’s conspiratorial tweet and a handful of other articles on conservative websites, asking their readers to “Sound Off” on whether there is a “COORDINATED, VAST LEFT-WING CONSPIRACY.”

This conservative media narrative about the case has now become central to D’Souza’s defense. Per the Times, the trial is “about a month away.” 

h/t: Ben Dimiero at MMFA

* Rick Pearson at the Tribune takes a look at the claim made by Bruce Rauner’s wife Diana that she’s a Democrat

Since 1995, 77 percent of the more than $500,000 she’s given has gone to Republican candidates and causes, federal and state records show. […]

But state campaign finance records show that since 2009, when Bruce Rauner first contemplated and then rejected making a 2010 bid for governor, Diana Rauner made $238,150 in political donations, with 91 percent going to GOP candidates or conservative groups.

Among federal donations during that time frame, Diana Rauner gave $158,800 to candidates and committees, with 98 percent to Republicans. Several of the donations occurred when Bruce Rauner gave similar-size contributions to the same candidates.

* The Rauner campaign’s response

spokesman Mike Schrimpf said Diana Rauner “voted Democrat throughout the last decade and every time for Barack Obama” on the statewide ballot.

“If that doesn’t make you a Democrat, I don’t know what does,” Schrimpf said in a statement.

Except she didn’t vote in the 2012 primary, when Obama ran for reelection and she contributed to three GOP presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney. She also didn’t vote in the 2010 primary, the last time Gov. Pat Quinn faced voters.

Even more reasons that Bruce Rauner is NOT to be trusted or elected in November. 

h/t: CapitolFax

Following the announcement Thursday that conservative commentator and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza has been charged with violating federal campaign finance laws, his allies are claiming that the move is evidence of a conspiracy by the Obama administration to silence its critics.

D’Souza has been a fixture in conservative media circles for years, and his laughable 2012 documentary 2016: Obama’s America became a surprise critical success thanks in part to the support of his media allies. Reuters reports that D’Souza ”has been indicted by a federal grand jury for arranging excessive campaign contributions to a candidate for the U.S. Senate,” allegedly reimbursing “people who he had directed to contribute $20,000” to the unnamed candidate (reportedly Wendy Long).

Matt Drudge tweeted that the indictments against D’Souza and former Republican Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell are evidence that Attorney General Eric Holder is “unleashing the dogs” on “Obama critics.”

In a panicked video headlined “Emergency: Obama Launches Purge” posted on his YouTube channel last night, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones told viewers that “America is going over the edge,” adding, “I actually am scared.” According to Jones, the charges against former Gov. McDonnell are “trumped up garbage” (for what it’s worth, conservatives like Byron York disagree, labeling the details “ugly, sordid, damning”).

Pointing to the supposed persecution of D’Souza, Jones claimed that the administration is engaged in much worse behavior and warned, “The issue is here, they can find a mistake in your checking account and claim that it was fraud or wire fraud. They can do it to anybody.” According to Jones, “this is like Nazi Germany” and “once they’re done with these guys, they’re coming after you and I.” 

The description posted on Jones’ YouTube channel explains that this is an “Emergency Alert!!!,” adding “This is it, we are in deep shit! If they get away with this they will come for all of us, that’s how it works!!!”

On her radio show this morning, Fox contributor Laura Ingraham claimed that “we are criminalizing political dissent in the United States of America. Welcome to the Brave New World of retribution justice.” Ingraham argued that D’Souza is one of the “most effective critics” of the Obama administration, and that the charges are “so transparent.” The indictment “is more about stifling political dissent and intimidating other people from speaking out than it is about any real serious allegation of wrongdoing,” per Ingraham. Ingraham is close friends with Wendy Long, and hosted a fundraiser for Long with D’Souza. 

An article on FoxNews.com includes the suggestion from a “close colleague” of D’Souza’s that the indictment is “selective prosecution” in the first sentence. The story is currently featured as the top story on the network’s website:

Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich tweeted:

Radio host and former GOP Rep. Joe Walsh saw a pattern with McDonnell’s indictment and Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s recent troubles:

And conservative website Newsmax labeled the charges “Payback” in a banner headline on their homepage:

h/t: MMFA

(via Huffington Post: 7 Charts To Understand Citizens United On Its 4th Anniversary)

WASHINGTON — Four years ago the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case that corporations could spend unlimited sums of money on independent political spending. That ruling also applied to labor unions and, following a subsequent lower court ruling, to individual donors, as well.

The ensuing four years have seen significant changes to the way campaigns are funded, and an increase in influence for big money donors, as the independent political spending allowed by the court exploded. As these groups have spent more money, the sources of a large portion of their spending have gone undisclosed.

Below are seven charts to help you understand the impact of the Citizens United ruling as it reaches its fourth year:

Big Money Dominates

Top 1% Of Donors Accounted For Two-Thirds Of All Super PAC Funds In 2012
  • Top 1%: 68%
  • Other 99%: 32%
Source: Center for Responsive Politics.



According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the top 1 percent of super PAC donors accounted for 68 percent of all contributions made to super PACs in the 2012 election, the first full election cycle following the ruling.

These donors were led by casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his family, who combined to give more than $93 million to super PACs. The super PAC, created following both the Citizens United and the related SpeechNow.org decisions, became the primary vehicle for independent spending for the wealthy. While these groups are required to disclose their spending, they are also allowed to spend all of their funds on electoral efforts, unlike nonprofit organizations. But more on that later.

The top 1 percent of super PAC donors reads like the Forbes 400 or a guest list at Davos. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg operates his very own super PAC. The libertarian venture capitalist billionaire Peter Thiel became the largest donor to the Club for Growth’s super PAC as it worked to defeat establishment Republicans in primary campaigns. And billionaire hedge funders James Simons, Robert Mercer, Paul Singer and Ken Griffin all gave millions.

Billionaires now have an easy outlet for their entrepreneurial endeavors in politics. The only question is whether they want their names on a plaque — in this case, a disclosed FEC report — or if they would rather remain anonymous.

[…]

Of course, it isn’t so simple. The court’s ruling opened the door for nonprofit corporations, whether they are funded by corporations or not, to spend unlimited amounts on independent campaign activity so long as they remain in bounds of the lax tax laws that govern them. These tax laws do not require the disclosure of nonprofit donors. In fact, prior court rulings and Federal Election Commission legal interpretations had protected nonprofits from donor disclosure.

Nonprofits are not ideal for individuals or corporations who want to spend money on independent political activity, due to tax laws requiring these groups to spend a majority of their time outside of politics. But the donor anonymity they are guaranteed can make nonprofits worth the investment. The billionaire Koch brothers and their donor collective used a labyrinthine network of nonprofit groups to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into both the 2010 and 2012 elections.

One of the most obvious examples of donors’ desire for anonymity comes in the form of the Crossroads groups founded by Karl Rove. There is American Crossroads, the super PAC that discloses its donors, and there is Crossroads GPS, the nonprofit that does not. As evidenced in the chart below, donors have chosen anonymity at a rate of two-to-one since the groups were founded in 2010.

Donors Choose Dark Money Over Disclosure 
  • American Crossroads: $144,047,997
  • Crossroads GPS: $256,547,160
Source: Federal Election Commission and Internal Revenue Service.



More Money Than Candidates

In the 2012 election, independent groups spent more money than the actual candidates in three general election Senate races. That’s right — in Indiana, Virginia and Wisconsin, the major party candidates in the general election were outspent by independent groups.

That same dynamic played out in at least six House races in 2012. In California’s 35th District, independent groups — and really, just one independent group — spent two times as much as the candidates. In this race between two Democrats, Michael Bloomberg’s super PAC intervened with $3.3 million as the billionaire mayor sought to defeat the pro-gun incumbent Rep. Joe Baca (D). And he did: Bloomberg’s super PAC spending is credited with helping the heavily underfunded Gloria Negrete McLeod defeat Baca.

Shattered Television Advertising Records

Presidential Television Advertising Surged Post-Citizens United
  • 2004: 753,000
  • 2008: 796,000
  • 2012: 1,140,000
Source: Wesleyan Media Project. Numbers are based on data released in the paper titled, “Negative, Angry, and Ubiquitous: Political Advertising in 2012.”



The Wesleyan Media Project tracked television advertising in the 2012 election and found that advertising in the presidential campaign shattered previous records for money spent and advertising volume.

The number of television advertisements in the presidential general election jumped from approximately 753,000 in 2004 to approximately 1.14 million in 2012. While the decision by both President Barack Obama and also GOP nominee Mitt Romney to forgo public funding accounts for some of the increase, the rise of independent spending also played a major role.