End Citizens United Pressures the FEC Over Loose Social Media Political Ad RulesEnd Citizens United Pressures the FEC Over Loose Social Media Political Ad Rules

During the 2016 election cycle, Russian agents purchased thousands of ads on American social media sites – many of them pro-Trump and many more anti-Clinton. But few Americans knew where those Twitter and Facebook ads came from, or who paid for them.

They came from Russia, bought and paid for. But today’s campaign finance rules are so loose and inadequate, a hostile foreign power was able to have enormous sway over who U.S. citizens chose as their leader.

Now a group called End Citizens United is putting pressure on the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) to open its rule-making process for a reexamination of how digital political ads should be regulated.

End Citizens United submitted more than 150,000 signatures from citizens who are demanding that the FEC do a better job to provide better regulation of the kinds of ads that can pop up on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.

As of today, such regulation is nonexistent.

End Citizens United is a political action committee (PAC) formed in 2015. It was a reaction to the now infamous 2010 Supreme Court decision that came to be known as the

Citizens United” ruling. What this Supreme Court did was allow unlimited amount of political “dark money” to flood into the U.S. election process.

The Supreme Court essentially ruled that “money is free speech” and thus could not be regulated. The ruling also established the idea that an international mega-corporation was essentially the same as “a human being.”

After the 2010 Supreme Court ruling, giant corporations and billionaires could donate as much money as they wanted to a candidate of their choice – in effect, “buying” the Congressman and Senators who serve as the representatives of all the American people.

The long-term goal of the new End Citizens United PAC is to overturn the 2010 Supreme Court ruling. To get that done, the people of America must support an Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – it’s the only way to countermand a final Supreme Court decision.

A new Amendment requires two-thirds of the 50 states to ratify it, and then it must survive approval by Congress also on a two-thirds majority vote. It’s a long road to haul, but the members of End Citizens United are determined to make it happen.

In the meantime, there are more immediate fights — such as the alarming invasion of American social media platforms by outside agents, such as Russian troll farms. That’s why End Citizens United is working hard to pressure the FEC into tightening the rules on who can and cannot buy ads on Facebook, Twitter and other popular social media sites used by millions of American every day. Learn more:http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/end-citizens-united-pac-wants-make-its-name-reality

 

End Citizens United InDefence of the Johnson Amendment

For many people, Lyndon Johnson is just a former US president who took over following the assassination of John F. Kennedy. However, many people miss or are unaware of one crucial detail. While serving as a senator, Lyndon B. Johnson championed a bill that sought to ensure that church money stayed as far away from politics as possible. His efforts saw the passing of what is popularly known as the Johnson Amendment in 1954.

At the time, the amendment did not seem to disrupt anything or make much sense. However, the effect of Johnson Amendment and everything it represents appears to have been thrown out the window. Judging from the recent turn of events, churches and other tax-exempt non-profit organizations will be allowed to pour donations aimed at driving political campaigns for their preferred candidates.

Many people do not understand the importance of the Johnson Amendment. Look at it from this context; in 2015, the donations made to religious organizations by the US citizens was over $119 billion. Contrast this figure with approximately $6.5 billion which was spent in the 2016 election (the most expensive election in the history of US). What are the fears associated with the repeal of the amendment – something that Trump promised during his presidential campaigns? The greatest concern is; once people make church donations, it will become impossible for them to know how the money is used in the end. A massive chunk of the $119 billion could be directed towards conservative political groups,an act that will destabilize the U.S democracy.

In May 2017, the president issued an executive directive discouraging the IRS from enforcing the amendment’s terms. While executive orders do not necessarily accomplish anything by themselves, this is a clear indication that Trump will try to keep his campaign promise of repealing the amendment.

Thankfully, End Citizens United is not taking this lying down. End Citizens United is committed to protecting the Johnson Amendment by all means. The PAC believes that the Johnson Amendment plays a fundamental role in ensuring the separation of the church and state in the United States. The issue could end up in the Supreme Court. Just like in 2010, no one can predict the court’s ruling. Unfortunately, the recent appointment of another conservative to the bench may mean a disappointing and disastrous decision regarding this amendment. Whatever happens, PACs and groups such as ECU have a tough responsibility of ensuring that dark money is kept away from the coffers of political campaigns.

About End Citizens United

ECU was founded to overturn the extremely unpleasant Citizens United decision made by the Supreme Court in 2010. Established in 2015, ECU participated its first election cycle in 2016 with over $25 million in funding. Some of the Democratic candidates that the Political Action Committee has endorsed include Hilary Clinton, Zephyr Teachout, Beto O’Rourke, Elizabeth Warren, Russ Feingold and Jon Ossoff. Read more on wikipedia.com to know more about End Citizens United.

 

End Citizens United – Protecting the Johnson Amendment

Campaign finance laws have recently come under threat, but the situation can still be salvaged. Recently, President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order that is basically designed to weaken the Johnson Amendment.

What is the Johnson Amendment?

Under the Johnson Amendment, organizations classified as 501 (c) (3) are forbidden from engaging in political campaign funding either directly or indirectly. The amendment outlines that organizations found to be participating in campaign funding risk losing their tax exemption privileges, among other things.

Organizations under this classification include churches, universities, and charities, among others that are expected to be politically neutral.

The Consequences

If repealed, the Johnson Amendment will open the door to unscrupulous campaign financing. It will mean that politics will be more entrenched in such institutions, and this will create even greater political divide in an environment already polarized by politics.

There are also concerns that unscrupulous individuals will take advantage of the repeal to further their political ambitions. If repealed, donations to such organizations would be exempt to taxation – additionally, the donors would also stand to get some of their taxes exempted. As such, these organizations would essentially work as conduits for such individuals and their benefactors.

Churches are at the center of the spotlight in this situation. This is because the Johnson Amendment was seen as a means of separating the church from the state, which is guaranteed in the American constitution.

A Republican Plot?

Since assuming the president’s office, Trump has been repealing many laws and amendments he considers as liberal. The latest attempt to destroy the Johnson Amendment, however, seems to be a joint effort by Republicans as a whole.

While President Donald J. Trump has already signed an executive order limiting the Johnson Amendment, Republicans are pushing bills seeking to destroy the law in the house. Given that they have the numbers, there are worries that they may actually have their way and give way to the said consequences.

Fighting for the Johnson Amendment

Several organizations have come out against the move to destroy the Johnson Amendment. End Citizens United, in particular, issued a press release in August 30, 2017 condemning the move and seeking to sensitize people about what the Johnson Amendment stands for.

End Citizens United is a political action committee (PAC) that relies on ordinary citizens for its funding. It has a limit on how much any one individual can contribute to the organization, but it is also one of the biggest PACs in the U.S. It mostly funds liberal candidates, but it is entirely guided on principles such as justice, equality, and freedom of speech, among others. It has wide following, and its continued growth is seen as an effective countermeasure against big money politics that mostly serve the interests of the elite. Learn more:http://endcitizensunited.org/?source=rtiads_gs_ecu_h

 

How Helane Morrison is Setting the Pace for Female Corporate Executives

An insignificant number of women working in the corporate world ever make it to the top. This is a male dominated world and many people have held onto the stereotype that only men have the capability to handle executive roles. Helane Morrison has defied expectations by rising to the top of the corporate ladder. She has done this with all odds placed against her including biasness and gender disparity.

Since her early days, she has been devoted to the fight against corruption and all other ills that happen in business organizations. Of particular interest to her has been the protection of those who are most likely to be sleaze victims. This has mostly been done through the public disclosure of unethical brokers in the stock market. She has also greatly helped to clean up workstations by carrying out independent investigations aimed at pinpointing those who are involved in any kind of underhand deals.

For over 30 years, Helane has made a name for herself owing to her determination and impeccability, which has seen her refrain from participating an all the murk that exists in the financial services sector. After the Great Recession in 2008, she was called upon to carry out investigations. She came up with a damning report, which was an eye opener on the prevalent rot in the stock markets. This helped bring to book those involved in scams. Those found culpable ranged from prominent executives to some of the largest corporations in America.

Helane Morrison’s Résumé

The New York native was a go-getter from an early age. It is in this light that she chose to move to Chicago, where she undertook an undergraduate degree in Journalism at Northwestern University. She later moved to California, where she enrolled at the University Of California Berkeley School Of Law. At some point, she was the editor in charge of the institution’s law review magazine, a role that she performed with great ease and gusto.

Helane’s first employment after admittance to the bar was as a legal official at the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit where he worked for one year. She also served under Harry A. Blauckman, a jurist renowned for advocating women’s rights. Later on, she got into private practice at a law firm, where she rose to become a partner. Currently, Ms. Morrison is the Chief Compliance Officer at Hall Capital Partners LLC. Prior to this appointment, she was the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s office in San Francisco.

Billionaire Philanthropists Charles Koch Take On Bernie Sanders Policy

Billionaire Charles Koch, in an opinion editorial, supported presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders and stated that he agreed with him on two points; corporate welfare and criminal justice reform. He wrote that political and economic disparity did not auger well with Sanders. Charles Koch who has been a target of Sanders’ criticism praised the senator for speaking against the oppressive system and speaking for the disadvantaged Americans.

Charles Koch is one of the brothers linked to Koch industries. He disapproves of government intervention in market forces. Bernie is a seasoned criticizer of the Koch brothers associating them regularly with corporate greed and income inequality during his speeches. Charles stated in his op-ed that it felt as if he was running against Sanders. In regard to criminal justice, Koch has applauded Bernie Sanders and supported the presidential aspirant in his call for pegged reforms. The Koch brothers have been associated with a number of rightwing and libertarian think tanks. Last year they entered into an agreement with the Centre for American Progress to create the coalition for public safety that has made reforming US criminal justice its aim. This article can be linked back to the guardian editorial “Charles Koch agrees with some Sanders’ policy but is ‘hardly’ endorsing him”.

Charles Koch is an entrepreneur, the co-owner, chairman of the board and the CEO of Koch industries. He can be described as pace setter in the US politics and is not afraid to speak out his mind against the government. He can be said to be one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the US being the co-founder of the second largest industry in the United States. He completed his bachelor’s degree and masters in science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He furthered his education and attained a second master’s degree in chemical engineering. Apart from his duties at Koch industries he is the director of Entrust Financial Corp, Resin and Fiber Company (Invista) and Georgia-Pacific LLC, paper and pulp products. Charles is a seasoned philanthropist establishing the Koch fund which has been advocating for libertarian and free-enterprise policy. His philanthropy has not gone unnoticed as he has been recognized by the Business week as a top contributor and also awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the George Mason University. He is an avid supporter of research and academic projects.

Charles Koch has authored two books The Science of Success in 2007 and Good profit in 2015. He is a hard liberal and does not believe in separation of class and lobbies for open markets.

Charles Koch Addresses The Unexpected Rise Of Donald Trump

Charles Koch, the person in charge of the extensive Koch Industries company, has long since been a major contributor to political causes. Normally, Charles and his brother David do not usually take steps to become involved in primaries. The unique nature of the 2016 election have the Koch brothers changing their minds. Charles Koch has been particular outspoken about the matter, and Koch has chosen to speak about what is motivating his decisions. Koch wants to stop the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump.

An interesting article in Vanity Fair reveals some of the history between Koch and Trump. The two actually know each other quite well. When Trump first considered running for president, he reached out to Koch for help. Koch did not agree very much at all with a number of Trump’s policies. Trump was not even invited to a donor meeting between the Koch brothers and several candidates. Trump expressed his displeasure via Twitter.

Originally, neither the Koch brothers nor the Republican National Committee took Trump’s run seriously. In one of the biggest surprises in American electoral politics, Trump gained a lot of traction early on. He still does well in the polls.

Charles Koch is publicly speaking about doing everything within his political network to derail the Trump candidacy. Koch simply does not feel Trump is good for the country, and Koch wants to do something about it. The mere fact that Koch is speaking so much to the public shows he takes the cause of stopping Trump seriously. Charles Koch runs Koch Industries and ran his donor network without seeking any media attention. This is somewhat surprising considering the size of the Kansas-based company Koch operates. Koch Industries is involved in so many different businesses across the globe.

Charles Koch did recently write a book on the subject of management principles, and he later embarked on a media tour to promote the work. He hopes to give people insight into the best ways to approach the management tasks. Koch has also invested quite a bit of time and effort raising awareness about his charitable endeavors. Through putting a spotlight on these charities, he hopes to draw the attention of others willing to help.

The Koch brothers are currently weighing their options on how to address Trump’s campaign. No one wants to get into a public feud with Trump. In time, Charles and David Koch and their donor network will arrive at a more complete plan.

Sanders predicts White House victory

Bold predictions rarely take place in the world of politics where candidates for major offices like to protect themselves from making rash prediction. However, the growing support shown for Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as he fights Hilary Clinton for the Democratic Presidential nomination has seen him take to the TV and declare he will be the next President of the United States. PoliticusUSA reports Sanders appeared on ABC’s This Week and stated his campaign was now confident of winning the primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire before securing the nomination and later the White House.

Sanders has recently seen his public appearances attended by huge numbers of people from across the country and his speeches and town hall meetings switched to larger venues to handle the growing number of attendees. Ricardo Tosto knows a few people who have attended. The Senator is using his growing popularity to discuss bringing in policies like universal healthcare and ending tax breaks for big business. Sanders is also refusing to take donations from major Wall Street backers who are throwing their financial weight behind former Secretary of State Clinton in a bid to show his campaign is based in the people of America and not the major corporations of the country. Sanders facing a struggle to convince those outside the Democratic party that he is the right choice for the Presidency, but his populist policies have struck a chord with many who see problems in the growing gap between the top earners in the country and the middle class.

The Supreme Court Rules Gay Marriage Is Allowed

The Supreme Court has ruled that gay marriage is allowed in all 50 states. The former 13 states who had bans on gay marriage will now have to lift those restrictions. What does this mean for the people who are sitting by awaiting same sex benefits? This is a ground breaking day in the history of the nation. Freedom and equality are now being given to all those who have waited so long. It means that companies will have to offer benefit packages for people who have a spouse of the same gender. This is a day that will go down in history, a pioneering time for this country.

So many have sat by quietly waiting for the answer that they thought would be positive. The Supreme Court is the upmost rulers in the land. They have the right to say who is allowed to get married and who isn’t. Many like Ricardo Tosto thought that the court would oppose the ruling, but others felt that they were backed into a corner and had no other choice. If the answer was no, there would have been tons of backlash and possible rioting due to the discrimination. This day, there will probably be no riots and more so celebrating from coast to coast. Freedom means that we all have a choice. Whether we choose to be gay or not doesn’t matter, we will honor those who were given the right to choice who they married and be able to legally uphold their union.

Incorporate Olympic Valley Didn’t Do The Math…

Incorporate Olympic Valley has been in the news quite a bit lately, and this is due to the recent financial situations pending with the future of the area. There are many individuals who are very against incorporating Olympic Valley. Cityhood for this valley is something that may be a fiscal nightmare for the area. There are fewer than 1,000 residents that live in Olympic Valley and fiscal experts are saying that it would be nearly impossible for this are to support themselves as a city. Cityhood for this small area would be a recipe for disaster as incorporation would cause more problems than solutions.

The main source of revenue for the city would be a tax that is imposed upon hotel guests, and it is very unlikely that this tax would cover all the costs that it takes in order to run a city. There would be much more needed than taxes on hotel guests to make cityhood a viable option. If this area was to become a city, there is an estimated deficit that would be growing more and more by 2017. There were some residents that were pushing towards cityhood with the announcement of a new hotel and 300,000 square foot center for commercial development. Residents believed that cityhood would give them much more say on these types of developments, but they didn’t think of the fiscal implications of this incorporation.

Experts have said,“The independent study confirms the prevailing wisdom, that creating a town of 500 people, based on one revenue source and dependent on tourism and weather conditions, doesn’t make sense.” There is not a stable enough type of revenue for this area to be incorporated into a township. There are many more sources of revenue that need to go into a city on order for it to be incorporated.

Veto Override Battle Ensues as Nebraska Governor Vetoes Repeal of Capital Punishment

In the 40 years since the United States Supreme Court ruled the death penalty is constitutional, no conservative state has repealed capital punishment. This is largely due to the GOP’s traditional “tough on crime” stance. However, opponents of capital punishment have been judiciously testing the resolve of death penalty states by making it difficult to obtain the mixture of narcotics and barbiturates used in administering lethal injection. Sam Tabar has read that most of the pharmaceuticals involved in lethal injection were imported from Europe. However, in recent years companies self-imposed embargoes of the substances to the United States to prevent its use in executing prisoners. The result has been to greatly increase the cost of executions. Coupled with that, public sentiment has been shifting away from capital punishment.

The Nebraska legislature then presented a bipartisan bill ending capital punishment in the state. That said, Governor Pete Ricketts still believes in the practice and issued a surprise veto this week. As a result, the legislature will now have to attempt an override of the governor’s veto. For his part, Gov. Ricketts is urging lawmakers to reconsider the merits of his argument. He points out that the death penalty is used quite sparingly in the state with only 10 inmates on death row. No one been executed in the state for the past 17 years. It is not clear at this time if legislators have the necessary votes needed to override the veto. The governor is also asking Nebraskans to prod their representatives to support him.