Democracy

Report | NJPIRG Law & Policy Center | Democracy

Distorted Democracy: Post-Election Edition

Our new analysis of data through Election Day from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and other sources shows how big outside spenders drowned out small contributions in the 2012 election cycle: just 61 large donors to Super PACs giving on average $4.7 million each matched the $285.1 million in grassroots contributions from more than 1,425,500 small donors to the major party presidential candidates.

We provide policy recommendations to restore the principle of "one person, one vote" in our democracy - first and foremost the need to overturn the Citizens United ruling, either by Constitutional amendment or by Supreme Court revision of the decision.

Report | NJPIRG Law & Policy Center and Demos | Democracy

Distorted Democracy

This analysis of pre-election data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and other sources by New Jersey PIRG and Demos shows that outside spending in the first presidential election since Citizens United is living up to its hype: new waves of “outside spending” have been fueled by dark money and unlimited fundraising from a small number of wealthy donors. 

Outside spending organizations reported $ 1.11 billion in spending to the FEC through the final reporting deadline in the 2012 cycle.  That’s already a 200% increase over total 2008 outside spending. Of the $1.11 billion in reported outside spending, $257.9 million was “dark money” that cannot be traced back to an original source. 

News Release | NJPIRG Law & Policy Center | Democracy

Distorted Democracy

TRENTON – A new analysis of pre-election data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and other sources by New Jersey PIRG and Demos shows that outside spending in the first presidential election since Citizens United is living up to its hype: new waves of “outside spending” have been fueled by dark money and unlimited fundraising from a small number of wealthy donors. Outside spending organizations reported $ 1.11 billion in spending to the FEC through the final reporting deadline in the 2012 cycle.  That’s already a 200% increase over total 2008 outside spending. In New Jersey's Congressional races alone, more than $3 million in outside spending have been reported.

News Release | NJPIRG | Democracy

New Jersey Goes on Record Against Citizens United Ruling; Against Big, Secret Money in Our Elections

New Jersey PIRG believes that in our democracy, the size of one’s wallet should not determine the volume of one’s voice. By adopting a resolution in opposition to Citizens United, the New Jersey Assembly has sent a powerful message to Congress that things have to change. Today, our state took an important step towards fixing America’s broken campaign finance system. New Jersey joins eight other states already on record against Citizens United and big, secret money in our elections.

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling has allowed secretive groups to freely and unaccountably spend millions of dollars to sway public opinion on behalf of a few anonymous individual donors and corporations. Wealthy individuals and other, often undisclosed spenders are gaining unprecedented influence in our elections.

Here’s the good news: New Jersey can send a powerful message to Congress that things have to change by passing a State resolution against Citizens United. Let’s get Big Money out of American politics before it drowns out the voices of average voters once and for all.

Report | NJPIRG Law and Policy Center and Demos | Democracy

Million-Dollar Megaphones

The Top 5 “dark money” spenders on presidential election ads have reported less than 1% of their spending to the FEC, which is all that is required by the agency’s insufficient standards, according to a new report analyzing the latest campaign filings.

N.J. PIRG and Demos report “Million-Dollar Megaphones: Super PACs and Unlimited Outside Spending in the 2012 Elections,” provides a detailed analysis of Federal Election Commission (FEC) data and secondary sources on outside spending and Super PAC fundraising for the 2012 election cycle.

Issue | Democracy

Reclaiming Our Democracy

Stanching the flow of special interest money in our elections.

While I am highly skeptical of the sentiment that "Congress is not afraid of bankers", given that banking lobbyists outnumber banking reform advocates 25-1 and that the Chairman of the Senate Financial Services Subcommittee seems to believe that "the banks own the place," the most ridiculous thing about members of the American Bankers Association's announcement of the industry's new Super PAC may be their willingness to reveal its strategy for skirting the non-coordination rules. This speaks volumes about how the industry thinks about its involvement in politics.

Making Super PACs Illegal

By | Gideon Weissman
Program Associate

Polling shows that almost 7 out of 10 voters believe that super PACs, the independent expenditure only committees created in the wake of the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision, should be illegal. Unfortunately, due to the Court’s backwards interpretation of the first amendment, we cannot legislate away super PACs today. However, there are some very important steps that every level of government – from your city council to the White House - should take right now to mitigate the impact of super PACs before the 2012 election.

News Release | NJPIRG Law and Policy Center | Democracy, Tax

Thirty Companies Contribute $41 Million to 524 Members of Congress, Receive $10.6 Billion in Tax Rebates

A new report released Wednesday, March 21 by NJPIRG Law and Policy Center and Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) found that thirty unusually aggressive tax dodging corporations have made campaign contributions to 524 (98 percent) sitting members of Congress, and disproportionately to the leadership of both parties and to key committee members. 

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