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Election Countdown 2012: Company Executives in New York Are Finding Their Way Around Limits on Campaign Contributions for Mayoral Candidates, and More

Election Countdown 2012: Company Executives in New York Are Finding Their Way Around Limits on Campaign Contributions for Mayoral Candidates, and More

Today in the Election Countdown: Dozens of executives of companies in New York that do business with city government are finding their way around strict limits on campaign contributions, raising nearly $1 million so far on behalf of prospective 2013 candidates for mayor; Green Party presidential nominee Jill Stein will be campaigning in Texas, where there are 43 different Green Party candidates running for office; two days before Election Day, a movie detailing the raid that killed Osama bin Laden will air on the National Geographic Channel; and more.

Mission elapsed time: T + 28 and counting*

“The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.” –Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon

FL. Civic engagement: “Several nonprofit groups plan to distribute leaflets at local bank branches in downtown Orlando on Friday afternoon to educate bank employees about their rights should they choose to become ‘whistleblowers.’ The groups planning to “leaflet” downtown include Government Accountability Project, Home Defenders League and Occupy Wall Street.”

LA. Public relations: “Advertising! That’ll slow the murder rate for sure. And along the way, we’ll generate PR production jobs for the media-savvy “creative class” types we keep hearing are the future of the city.”

KY. Extractive economy: “A new study commissioned by the KY General Assembly paints a gloomy picture for the continued survival of two Western Kentucky aluminum smelters — Rio Tinto-Alcan at Sebree and Century Aluminum at Hawesville.”

MN. Police state: Wheelchair beating (video). Duluth PD: (218) 730-5400

MT. Money: “On October 3, [the] U.S. District Court enjoined MT’s contribution limits for state office, which are $130 for legislature, and $500 for Governor/Lieutenant Governor. [I]t is clear that the basis is that the limits are too low.” …. Money: ” As state lawyers Thursday asked federal courts to temporarily block a ruling that wiped out Montana’s dollar limits on campaign donations, [t]he Gazette State Bureau obtained a recording of a voice mail from state Rep. Champ Edmunds, R-Missoula, in which he said donors have ‘a limited window’ to make donations ‘for any amount, for any candidate.’” Oink oink!

NY. Class consciousness: “Dozens of executives of companies that do business with city government are finding their way around strict limits on campaign contributions, raising nearly $1 million so far on behalf of prospective 2013 candidates for mayor. They are bundlers, intermediaries who deliver donations from multiple donors to a candidate running for office, and most come from the real estate industry. While the city’s campaign finance rules limit city contractors and lobbyists seeking government business to just $400 in contributions to any one candidate, no such restrictions apply to those who bundle other donors’ contributions.” … Meritocracy: “Very small numbers of black and Hispanic students are able to gain admission to the celebrated exam schools. At Stuyvesant High School, only 19 black students were admitted into an entering class of nearly 1,000.” … Police state: “The mayor’s official budget statement, filed earlier this year, shows that the NYPD expected to spend $154 million in 2012 on judgments and claims. For fiscal year 2013, now underway, the NYPD has budgeted $180 million for payouts. ‘[T]he city has a ticking time bomb for making payouts for police conduct,’ said Mark Taylor, an attorney who represents plaintiffs in police misconduct cases. Meanwhile, a federal judge ruled this week that the city is liable for hundreds of arrests the NYPD made during the Republican National Convention in 2004, opening up the possibility that plaintiffs could sue for false arrest and further exacerbate the problem.” …. Fracking: “To date, no one in the public or medical community has seen the DEC’s review of health impacts, nor has the Cuomo Administration shared details regarding who was involved in its development and execution.” … Fracking: “Political uncertainties aside, there are three major administrative pieces in play to NY’s fracking policy puzzle. One is a review on the environmental impacts of high volume hydraulic fracturing [the SGEIS]. The second piece — called rulemaking — is designed to produce regulations, and it’s to be built on the findings of the SGEIS. There is a Nov. 29th deadline to complete rulemaking. The third piece is a health review of fracking” (excellent explainer).

OH. Christianism: ” Humanist and secular groups have joined the side of an OH school board in a court battle over the firing of a public school science teacher who kept a Bible on his desk and was accused of preaching religious beliefs in class.”

TN. Subsidiarity: “U.S. Sen. Bob Corker said Wednesday TVA could be destroyed if it remains under the federal government control and suggested that the region’s governors could be better overseers of the agency providing electricity to 9 million people in seven states.”

PA. Corruption: “Rep. Tim Briggs (D-Montgomery County) called for a discharge petition on HR 520–a resolution that calls for an investigation into Gov. Corbett’s investigation of Jerry Sandusky. Rep. Briggs, who signed the resolution back in June, made a motion to bring the discharge resolution back into play to force a vote in the House tonight. A source on the scene tells PW that Rep. Sam Smith, the R Speaker of the House, simply refused to recognize Briggs, without explanation. Then the lights cut out, and ‘Republicans fled.’” … Gary Johson: “In a letter to [the] Philadelphia DA, [Gary] Johnson’s General Counsel alleges that an agent of the PA-GOP posed as an law enforcement official and attempted to bribe or intimidate witnesses.” … Food: “At a basement food pantry in suburban Pennsylvania, 2,000 pounds of food are given to roughly 160 families a week. The majority of families come from the Levittown neighbourhoods – an iconic planned suburb that once ushered in the era of a post-WWII American dream.”

TX. Jill Stein: “Jill Stein, Green Party’s presidential nominee, will be spending four days in TX trying to convince Texans to vote for her in the presidential race. Currently, there are 43 different Green Party candidates running for office in TX.”

WA. Strikes: “Workers for Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s largest aircraft-fueling contractor marched with supporters to the company’s office Wednesday and threatened to strike over the suspension of a co-worker and safety concerns.”

WI. Crowds: “Several senior White House officials were on hand to watch the speech and revel in the turnout. Valerie Jarrett and David Plouffe both went up in a hydraulic lift to look over the crowd. Chief of Staff Jack Lew watched from the sidelines, beaming. After the speech, thousands lined the streets cheering and waving as the president’s motorcade sped through campus.” … Homeless: “Madison has made it harder lately for the homeless, the beggars, the alcoholics and others at the bottom rungs of society to find a place to dock. Earlier this year, the city cleared the de facto homeless encampment known as Occupy Madison and refused to find occupants a new site on city-owned land. Soglin’s bus-’em-back-out solution — “Greyhound therapy,” as he called it — is payback.” … Progressives: ” With the recall fight behind us, it feels great to move on to the prospect of a big win. But beware the next roller-coaster dip. Obama may win the election on the issue of defending Medicare and protecting the middle class — and then sign off on a bipartisan deal on deficit reduction that undermines Medicare and Social Security, makes deep cuts in other programs, and steers clear of the so-called fiscal cliff by pushing lower-income Americans right off the edge. Win or lose, we are going to have just as much work to do to defend those core values the Republicans ignore and the Democrats only seem to remember now and then.” Title of the article? “Wisconsin loves Obama after all.” Alrighty then.

Grand Bargain™-brand Catfood Watch. Teachers: “For most teachers, their pension plan is their only retirement subsidy, since nearly all of them cannot receive Social Security benefits.” … Lame duck: “First, senators would come to an agreement on a deficit reduction target — likely to be around $4 trillion over 10 years — to be reached through revenue raised by an overhaul of the tax code, savings from changes [cuts] to social programs like Medicare and Social Security, and cuts to federal programs.” … Stupid and/or evil: “[When Obama said ‘I suspect that on Social Security we’ve got a somewhat similar position’] I was dumbfounded,” said [Roger Hickey of CAF]. ‘He could have said, ‘Let’s see if we agree on Social Security, I’m not in favor of cutting benefits, I’m not in favor of privatizing like you and your running mate have advocated.’” (Dear Lord. Obama put Social Security in play in the 2008 Iowa primaries, has floated “compromises” that raise eligibility and cut benefits, and — ably serviced by Pete Peterson — set up the Catfood Commission when the Senate wouldn’t. How could anybody with the sentience of a flatworm be “dumbfounded”?)

Outside baseball. Getting it: “I was reading Atlas Shrugged when the power went out. That’s when the roof collapsed, and my cell went dark, and I could hear the weirdly high-pitched screams of those trapped people that sounded like music from hell itself. Anyway, it gave me some time to think about things. You know what? I believe America is great, because we fight for individual liberty. But we’re also great when we pull together and help each other out. That’s an important aspect of our national character too. It’s what I just realized three or four hours ago, when I ran out of potable water.” …. Relocalization: “Perhaps good government doesn’t scale. Maybe it can only take place at the community level. If that is so, then devolving federal powers — including taxation — to the local level is a matter of survival.” … Relocalization: “[D]espite its roots in the peak oil movement, and although premised fairly overtly on the implosion of the global economy and the failure of nation-state institutions, the Transition Network remains obdurately disinclined to focus on the problem of violence. This is surprising. The re-emergence of famine in Western countries combined with a failure of state institutions would certainly result in appalling violence between individuals and communities.” … Charters: “And the L.A. Times found [Won’t Back Down] ‘So shamelessly manipulative and hopelessly bogus it will make you bite your tongue in regret and despair.’” Well, there’s a lot of that going around. … Legalization: “[PAT ROBERTSON: ] ‘I really believe we should treat marijuana the way we treat beverage alcohol.’”

The trail. Exit polls: “[T]his year’s election exit poll is set to include surveys of voters in 31 states, not all 50 as it has for the past five presidential elections. Here is a list of the states that will be excluded from coverage: AK, AR, DE, DC, GA, HI, ID, KY, LA, NE, ND, OK, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WV and WY.” … Exit polls: “That would seem to be an invitation to fraud in those states, since Exit Polls have traditionally served as a helpful check and balance against fraudulent or simply inaccurate election results, particularly for the almost 100% unverified election results that the media now counts on to report results in all 50 states. Those results come from often-failed, easily-manipulated computer tabulators used across the entire country.” As Brad says: “Privatized voting.” … Leading the election returns? “The Court’s perceived stamp of approval for the ACA led some Americans to switch their minds about it, leading to a small increase in approval of the law following the decision.” … Americans Elect: “According to the Americans Elect Mission Report, published this year, the organization spent $1,157,723 for ballot access in 2010, and $10,158,324 in 2011. Those total $11,316,047. The report does not have the 2012 figure.” … They have no place to go: “According to a study by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, [in] the ten states where the study was conducted, only 4.57 percent of the money spent on political advertising was directed at Latinos. In TX alone, 23% of all registered voters are Latino.”

The debates. Jill Stein: “As our nation’s first Green president, my mandate won’t be just to ‘create new jobs.’ My mandate, if elected, will be to end mass unemployment once and for all. I will do this in my first term through a Green New Deal.” … Krugman: “[T]here was Capillary Man once again. I really don’t know what this is about.” Point shaving? … Stop The Spirit of Zossen 2.0: “Last night, Romney came across as someone doing a well rehearsed offering roadshow. He was selling. As they say in the movie, “Always be closing” (indeed; NSFW. Does Romney remind anybody else of Alec Baldwin?) … Lynn Sweet: “I asked Obama campaign spokesman Jen Psaki why the [no mention of the 47%]. Said Psaki, ‘99 percent of the country knows about it. [T]he goal was not to come in and do a check list of complaints.’” Huh? … First Draft: “If ____ got out there on stage and p*ssed on the podium ______ strategists would be ringing up ____ and all these other fu*cks pointing out how strong the stream was and how ____ couldn’t whizz like that if ______ tried” [slightly abstracted]. … Bleeding Heartland: “I’ve talked to a bunch of rank-and-file Democrats today who are deeply concerned about Obama’s debate performance. Interestingly, a couple of them said that their friend or spouse who only listened to the debate, like I did, also didn’t feel Obama did that badly. His body language must have been atrocious.” … The Howler: “The first twenty minutes of last night’s debate was a virtual rerun of the first twenty minutes of the first Bush-Gore debate.” … Zinger: “[One] line from Romney on [education] seemed to stand out, though. Two different [Wal-Mart Moms] reiterated Romney’s line to Obama about spending money on green jobs that could have hired teachers: “You put $90 billion into green jobs. And I — look, I’m all in favor of green energy. $90 billion, that would have hired two million teachers. $90 billion.” … Triumphalism: Heh.

Green Party. Jill Stein: “Oddly enough, Dr. Stein’s sentiment that maybe less trading would be a good thing is in line with the sentiments of some of my border line Tea Party friends” (serial interview with Stein in Forbes, of all places).

The Romney. Percentages: “[ROMNEY:] Well, clearly in a campaign, with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question and answer sessions, now and then you’re going to say something that doesn’t come out right. In this case, I said something that’s just completely wrong. And I absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that I care about 100% and that’s been demonstrated throughout my life. And this whole campaign is about the 100%.” Hard to imagine Obama not bringing this up in the debate was anything other than a pulled punch. Especially since both candidates agree on cutting Social Security. Although not, to be fair, Big Bird.

The Obama. Rope-a-dope? “The heart of Obama’s new message with less than five weeks to go: Romney is a liar.” Takes one to know one? … Air war: “Two days before Election Day, a movie detailing the raid that killed Osama bin Laden will air on the National Geographic Channel. The film is being distributed by the Weinstein Company, owned by a Harvey Weinstein, a major backer of [the Obama] campaign.” It’s going to be hard to top whacking OBL for 2016. Maybe barbecue one of his kids? … Chicago way: “David Lowery says he believes he was threatened during a phone conversation with Louis Raymond, the Illinois political director for Obama for America. Lowery says he doesn’t personally support the president because he’s not addressing issues important to the black community. He said he was explaining that to Raymond when the Obama campaign official told him, ‘You know what? I know everything about you.’ Lowery says Raymond added, ‘We’ve been watching you, and since you don’t support Obama, we’ll deal with you,’ before hanging up. Lowery filed a report with the Oak Forest police report, he says, ‘in case something happens.’” Well, at least it was just a phone call. Instead of a dead fish.

* Slogan of the day: Raise Higher the Banner of The Obama’s Thought on Children’s Television!

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