January 19, 2011

by Daniel Tencer | Raw Story

On the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, which overturned nearly a century of restrictions on campaign spending, a progressive group has asked the Department of Justice to look into “conflicts of interest” two justices may have had when issuing the ruling.

In a petition to be sent to the department this week, Common Cause will argue that Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas should have recused themselves from the campaign finance decision because of their involvement with Koch Industries, a corporation run by two conservative activists who many say directly benefited from Citizens United.

“It appears both justices have participated in political strategy sessions, perhaps while the case was pending, with corporate leaders whose political aims were advanced by the decision,” the letter alleges, as quoted at Politico.

The group will urge the department to disqualify Scalia and Thomas from the ruling.   [Read more]

January 19, 2011

By JEANNE CUMMINGS | POLITICO

To mark Friday’s anniversary of a court decision that allowed corporations to sink millions into politics, Common Cause, a reform group, is asking the Department of Justice to investigate alleged conflicts of interest involving two Supreme Court justices – in hopes of forcing the court to vacate the 5-4 ruling.

Common Cause officials and at least one legal expert acknowledged the difficulty of getting the landmark case overturned in this way. But in a document to be submitted to the department Thursday, Common Cause President Bob Edgar cites appearances by Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Antonin Scalia at retreats sponsored by Koch Industries, a corporation run by two major Republican donors who helped finance some of the new GOP groups founded after the ruling.

“It appears both justices have participated in political strategy sessions, perhaps while the case was pending, with corporate leaders whose political aims were advanced by the decision,” the Common Cause petition asserts.   [Read more]

January 19, 2011

The Effects of Citizens United on Elections and the Integrity of the Legislative Process

by Public Citizen

January 18, 2011 – The U.S. Supreme Court on January 21, 2010, scuttled the longstanding American tradition of prohibiting overt corporate spending to influence elections in its Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling.

On the one-year anniversary of the decision, this report offers an assessment of its impact. We provide a brief history of the legal restrictions on corporate involvement in elections and the events that led to the Citizens United v. FEC decision. We document the dramatic increase in outside spending in the 2010 elections and assess the enhancement of power that corporate lobbyists now enjoy. Finally, we discuss a comprehensive package of legislative and constitutional reforms that can be pursued at the federal, state and local levels to mitigate the damage caused by Citizens United v. FEC—or to reverse it altogether.

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January 19, 2011

The Economic Collapse Blog

JP Morgan is the largest processor of food stamp benefits in the United States.  JP Morgan has contracted to provide food stamp debit cards in 26 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.  JP Morgan is paid for each case that it handles, so that means that the more Americans that go on food stamps, the more profits JP Morgan makes.  Yes, you read that correctly.  When the number of Americans on food stamps goes up, JP Morgan makes more money.  In the video posted below, JP Morgan executive Christopher Paton admits that this is “a very important business to JP Morgan” and that it is doing very well.  Considering the fact that the number of Americans on food stamps has exploded from 26 million in 2007 to 43 million today, one can only imagine how much JP Morgan’s profits in this area have soared.  But doesn’t this give JP Morgan an incentive to keep the number of Americans enrolled in the food stamp program as high as possible?

There are just some things that are a little too “creepy” to be “outsourced” to private corporations.  The JP Morgan executive in the interview below does his best to put a positive spin on all this, but it just seems really unsavory for a big Wall Street bank to be making so much money off of the suffering of tens of millions of Americans….

So if unemployment goes down will this ruin JP Morgan’s food stamp business?

Well, apparently not.  In the interview Paton says that 40% of food stamp recipients are currently working, and he seems convinced that there could be further “growth” in that segment. [Read more]