WEEK IN REVIEW
Week in review compiled by:
Shalin M, RepMD Volunteer
1) Best of 2017: 10 Stories of Money and Politics
ABOUT: A Smörgåsbord of corruption examples from 2017 - Enjoy?? :-/
"Wellspring’s dark money crucial to judicial group, helps others in Trump orbit
A single conservative mega donor poured millions into a campaign that blocked Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, from filling the empty court seat later filled by Trump’s choice, Neil Gorsuch. CRP broke the story in its analysis of tax documents filed by Judicial Crisis Network, the small nonprofit behind the campaign."
READ MORE: https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2017/12/best-of-2017/
OUR THOUGHTS: All the more reason to keep up the fight against these counter-productive behaviors and actors!
2.) Tax lobbyists donated millions to members of Congress
ABOUT: During the tax reform "process" in the Fall/Winter 2017, lobbyists were busy working their influence with influential congressional members - Republicans and Democrats.
"Lobbyists working on issues related to taxes donated $9.6 million to members of Congress during the first nine months of 2017.
Among the 11,078 total lobbyists who have registered and actively lobbied so far in 2017, about 58 percent – or 6,421 – lobbied on the issue of taxes, according to quarterly disclosure forms filed between January and September.
Almost a quarter of these “tax lobbyists” – or 1,476 – made political contributions. Their combined average contribution during the first three quarters of the 2018 cycle was $6,520."
READ MORE: https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2017/12/tax-lobbyists-contributions/
OUR THOUGHTS: It is particularly interesting to see how the split of monies was accepted by members of different parties. Democratic congressional members in predominately red/purple states accepted lots of funds from the tax lobbyists. Although few Democrats voted for the recently passed tax bill, it still shows influence for loopholes, waivers, exceptions, etc. for various industries.
3.) Why the government shutdown actually costs money
ABOUT: It's not a simple as flicking off a light switch and flicking it on later!
"Budget experts and past analyses by the White House budget office have found that a shutdown hurts the U.S.’ finances in a number of ways. Furloughed workers almost always get paid retroactively for the time they were out—which means taxpayers are laying out money without getting any work in return. Museums and national parks can’t collect fees and revenues from other sources like gift shops. Perhaps most importantly, federal workers spend thousands of cumulative work hours preparing for the event and recovering from it, literally shutting down their systems and then restarting them once the government reopens—paid work that is utterly unnecessary to the normal business of running the country, and sucks time away from safety inspections, or reviewing research grants, or whatever their actual responsibilities are.
Quantifying the exact cost to the government is difficult, in part because every shutdown is different. Between November 1995 and January 1996, the government shut down twice for a total of 27 days as Democrats and Republicans clashed over Medicare funding, among other issues. A subsequent analysis conducted by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget estimated that both shutdowns together cost the government $1.4 billion—more than $2 billion today after adjusting for inflation. "
READ MORE: https://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2018/01/21/why-the-government-shutdown-actually-costs-money-000624
OUR THOUGHTS: The brinksmanship over the funding of the government has cost the taxpayers in some very real ways. Although the markets somewhat shrugged it off as a "well, this is what's normal now", the uncertainty cost real money to real people. This is incredibly irresponsible and disappointing and only seems to get worse as more corruption is allowed.
bOBBY b: OUR GO TO GUY FOR UNDERSTANDING LOCAL LAWS
How did you find out about RepMD?
A friend mentioned he'd gotten involved and it sounded interesting so I searched them out.
What made you want to volunteer with RepMD?
I liked the grassroots approach to taking on this massive issue that is deeply intertwined with all our other problems.
Why do you think getting big money out of politics is important?
Because this is the problem we have to solve before we can seriously address virtually any other problems within our society.
What is your favorite provision of the AACA and why?
Public campaign financing, because it addresses the problem of corruption most directly.
Besides fighting corruption, what else do you like to do?
Spend time with my family, and home brew beer.
What do you think the biggest problem our country is facing is?
Our government has been warped to protect and entrench those who are already powerful, while ignoring regular people.
Anything else you'd like us to know?
A couple favorite quotes I've found helpful when helping RepMD move the needle on some important work:
- Work the problem, not the person.
- Find error, not blame.
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