You are browsing the archive for Campaign Financing.

The Worst Jobs Record Of Any Governor In America

9:12 am in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Remember back in February, at the height of the controversy surrounding public employee unions in Wisconsin, the idea was trotted out that Governor Scott Walker’s anti-union efforts were part and parcel of a broader, bolder economic vision that would lead to growth and prosperity in the Badger State? Now one year on and with a recall election looming for Walker ironically it may be his record on job creation that does Walker more harm than his anti-union sentiments. Why, because since he took office and enacted his program “Wisconsin has lost more jobs…than any other state”, according to Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. What follows is an analysis of Scott Walker’s economic performance. The figures below are all seasonally adjusted, all statistics courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Photo by Lena

1) Total Jobs. “In Gov. Walker’s first 13 months (using December 2010 as the baseline), the state lost 8,500 non-farm jobs. That was worst among the 50 states. Only four other states experienced a net decrease in that time. If you take the most recent 12 months — January 2011 to January 2012 – the state lost 12,500 non-farm jobs, also worst in the nation, a fact Democrats have seized on.”

2) Government jobs. “Wisconsin shed 14,500 public-sector jobs during Walker’s first thirteen months. That was the fifth-biggest decrease among 50 states in terms of total jobs lost, and the second biggest decrease in percentage terms (3.5%) after Texas.”

3) Private-sector jobs. “In Walker’s first year in office (ending last December), Wisconsin had the 49th worst record for private-sector job growth, losing 9,700 jobs. But preliminary January numbers released last week were the best of any month so far of the Walker tenure: private-sector jobs rose by 15,700. That now puts the state in the positive column for net private job growth during the governor’s first 13 months, with 6,000 jobs added. Still, it’s a long way from the governor’s campaign promise of 250,000 new private-sector jobs during his first term. It also places the state 36th among the 50 states in private-sector job growth since Walker took office…”

4) Wisconsin’s performance compared to the nation. “The state has lagged substantially behind the national pace in private-sector job growth…”

A close examination of the data points provided by the Journal Sentinel reveal a track record of failure for Scott Walker, a track record that lays waste to his claims about being a leader who could effect positive economic growth in Wisconsin. Like those who touted the windfalls that would follow austerity in Europe and elsewhere, those who banked heavily on Walkers program in Wisconsin have likewise invested too heavily in wishful thinking and the worn out rhetoric of fiscal conservativism. To date neither Scott Walker’s program nor austerity generally have been at all effective in the throes of a major economic downturn. Like Europe, Wisconsin has little to point to for having bet so heavily on theories that, to my knowledge, have never worked in this type of economic environment.

Read the rest of this entry →

The Plutocrats Versus the People‏

12:21 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Whenever I hear a professional politician in Washington talking as if he he really understands our lot in life I can only laugh at the disconnect. I mean how likely is it that a sitting U.S. senator, who’s probably at least a multi-millionaire or a congressman, who’s time is consumed with fund raising would even have the faintest idea of the trials and tribulations of us ordinary souls. Well this situation is even more dramatic when viewed through the lens of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge him his success or his money and I’m not exactly broke either, but when viewed against the lives that the vast majority of us lead, Romney’s comments reveal just how different he is from the average American. Romney’s presidential campaign has been plagued by a number of inopportune remarks about money and wealth that have cast him in the light of a privileged character. His public misstatements prove to what extent he is truly divorced from our reality: ”Corporations are people, my friend… of course they are”; ”I’ll tell you what, ten-thousand bucks? $10,000 bet?”; ”I should tell my story. I’m also unemployed.”;”There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip” and a comment which states that the $300,00.00 plus made on the speakers podium was “just a small part of my income” are all cases in point. Now I’ll give Romney a pass on the “I like firing people” and his comments on the poor, both of which were initially misunderstood by the media and thereafter grossly misrepresented. Jacob Heilbrunn writing in The National Interest said “Michael Kinsley famously defined defined a gaffe as something a politician inadvertently says that is true but also embarrassing. Mitt Romney’s remark yesterday about his not being concerned about the poor may fall into that category. It reinforces the perception that he is the 200 million dollar man–a politician who truly is out of touch with common folks.”
Now against this backdrop of Romney’s public pratfalls, there is another revelation that only serves to reinforce the image of his disconnected public persona, the fact that a relative few mega rich patrons are pouring millions into his campaign. An article recently written by Nicholas Confessore and Michael Luo, “G.O.P. Donors Showing Thirst to Oust Obama in November”, revealed “Close to 60 corporations and wealthy individuals gave checks of $100,000 or more to a “super PAC” supporting Mitt Romney in the months leading up to the Iowa caucuses…underwriting a $17 million blitz of advertising that has swamped his Republican rivals in the early primary states. The filings to the Federal Election Commission…showed his ability to win substantial backing from a small number of his party’s most influential and wealthy patrons, each contributing to the super PAC far more than the $2,500 check each could legally write to his campaign. All told, the group, Restore Our Future, raised about $18 million from just 200 donors in the second half of 2011.” A detailed look at who these few benefactors are can be seen in the aforementioned article and in “Who’s Financing the “Super PACs” cited below. A Washington Post article also shows how a relative few wealthy patrons are seeking to affect the 2012 political season: “There are probably fewer than 100 people who are fueling 90 percent of this outside money right now,” said David Donnelly, national campaigns director at the Public Campaign Action Fund, an advocacy group favoring limits on political spending. “When you think about the amazing impact that this small number of people have on deciding the election, on the information that people will have on who to vote for, it’s mind-boggling.” Thus it goes without saying that if 100 to 200 people can determine the outcome of an election in a society of over 300 million that clearly would fit the definition of a plutocracy influencing politics to suit its own narrow interests.  
That’s not to say that Barack Obama doesn’t have his own well heeled patrons who could pony up large sums of money as well as the campaign progresses, but presently the influence of a wealthy few on funding the Republican primaries is undeniable. And even though Obama has been forced to encourage supporters to create and fund pro-Obama super Pacs as a means of self defense, the president in contrast to Mitt Romney, has relied far more on a grass-roots network of the people, individuals who donate smaller sums and “bundlers”, those who aggregate individual donations and then forward those contributions on to the Obama campaign. That’s a distinct contrast to the Romney fund raising machine which shows that the Republican elite is “relying far more heavily on independent groups empowered by court decisions that have made it easier for wealthy individuals and corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money to intervene directly in election contests.”

The contrast between the efforts of a few and the rest of the American electorate is seen within the G.O.P. as well and is evident in part in the continuing overall lack of enthusiasm for Governor Romney. The cyclical and recurring rise and fall of a parade of “not Romney’s” and the recent emergence of the cash strapped Rick Santorum as a serious contender buoyed by popular conservative support represents another side of the story in the contest of the people versus the plutocrats. Santorum’s recent sweep of Colorado, Missouri and Minnesota shows the extent to which there is a continuing revolt within the Republican Party between its own grass-roots, predominately the Tea Party, and the establishment G.O.P. elite. This intra-G.O.P. revolt clearly represents a rejection of the mega donor in the primary process and an assertion of individual will. Whether or not Santorum, or whom ever replaces him as the anti-Romney candidate, can outlast the well funded Romney remains to be seen, but if someone other than Mitt Romney emerges as the Republican nominee, it will represent a victory for the conservative grass-roots over the establishment plutocrats who have boldly and blatantly tried to sway the Republican primary and with it the 2012 presidential election in their favor. Likewise the same would hold true if Barack Obama can reassemble his 2008 coalition and defeat Mitt Romney if he becomes the president’s eventual opponent. In the end if Mitt Romney is to prevail and become our next president and he does so in a low turnout election and with a small margin of victory it could only be seen as a victory of the plutocrats over the people and that would be a further setback to popular democracy in America.
Steven J. Gulitti
Washington Post: Tiny group of super-rich donors dominate primary;

The Latest Tea Party Crackup: I’m Not A Witch, I’ve Just Got Sticky Fingers”

8:08 pm in Uncategorized by SJGulitti

Take a moment from your busy holiday season to consider the following fact: As the new class of Tea Party backed legislators prepares to head off to Washington for the 112th Congress, the movement is once again besmirched by one of it’s former stars. This time it’s thanks to a slip up by that one time sensation, Christine O’Donnell, who is now under the microscope for yet another round of financial improprieties, these related to her failed 2008 run for the U.S. Senate.

According to the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, it seems pretty clear that O’Donnell had been using her campaign money to finance her personal lifestyle and that would be highly illegal. These allegations were backed up as well by Ben Evans of the Associated Press, who pointed out:” At least two former campaign workers have alleged that she routinely used political contributions to pay personal expenses including her rent as she ran for the Senate…O’Donnell has acknowledged paying part of her rent with campaign money, arguing that her house doubled as a campaign headquarters.” Likewise, Mark Halperin and others have provided similar and supporting observations. To date, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware is reviewing a complaint filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, examining the merits of that complaint and whether or not the amount of money purloined from the campaign reaches the appropriate threshold to require D.O.J. action. The matter is also before the FBI. 

Ms. O’Donnell has tried to deflect this latest controversy by asserting that she is he victim of “thug tactics” perpetrated by Vice President Biden or some well orchestrated conspiracy being carried out by the “professional left.” However, Melanie Sloan, President of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington quickly dispatched with these allegations with the following comment which revealed that the source of the allegations against O’Donnell came from her own Republican Staffers and not:” “because we’re some Soros funded group or something, it’s the Republican staffers — people who worked for her — who made it clear she was stealing the money,”
While many would ask the question: “Why bother with Christine O’Donnell as she has by now been roundly dismissed for the buffoon that she is?” Well that may in fact be the case as far as Ms. O’Donnell goes but there is a larger, more compelling question beyond the particulars of her personal missteps alone. That larger question revolves around the selection of someone like Christine O’Donnell as a candidate for public office and what that says about decision making process within the Tea Party Movement as it relates to who is picked to run and how they are vetted. Moreover, what in turn does the selection of candidates of Ms. O’Donnell’s caliber that say about the Tea Party Movement’s chances for long term success? I for one think that this element of the movement’s modus operandi is in fact one of it’s greatest weaknesses, one that works against its long term viability as a serious force within American politics. Not to telegraph too much, but this will be part and parcel of a wider discussion in the New Year, Stay tuned and Happy New Year.
Steven J. Gulitti
Ethics Group: Amount Of Money Could Make Or Break O’Donnell Investigation;
Questions about Christine O’Donnell’s campaign finances;
Christine O’Donnell: ‘Thug’ Tactics Responsible For Campaign Finance Accusations;
O’Donnell’s Denial;