Calling All Citizen Sleuths!

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You are likely feeling as overwhelmed as I am by the avalanche of data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on donor reports. But some journalists are digging deep into what has not been reported, and their findings are fascinating.

Supporter of Republican presidential candidate former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Foster Friess, during a meet and greet campaign stop at Pizza Ranch, Monday, Jan. 2, 2012, in Altoona, Iowa. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Supporter of Republican presidential candidate former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Foster Friess, during a meet and greet campaign stop at Pizza Ranch, Monday, Jan. 2, 2012, in Altoona, Iowa. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Look closely at the series of profiles of the billionaires behind much of the money. Here are just a few: Sheldon Adelson (Newt Gingrich), Foster Friess (Rick Santorum), Julian Robertson, Paul Singer, and Miguel Fernandez (Mitt Romney). Also, see Dave Levinthal of Politico.com on “What super PAC filings left out.” He writes, “About the only thing more notable than the donor information super PACs this week revealed is the information they didn’t.” Because the data only covers the latter half of 2011, “Absent from their heady reports are potentially similar hauls in January, when super PACs played critical roles in determining the outcomes of the four early presidential primary and caucus contests — particularly those in Iowa and South Carolina, when voters culled more than half the candidate field.”

At The New York Times, Nicholas Confessore and Michael Luo admit that “… the full scope of such giving is impossible to ascertain from federal campaign filings,” because “much of the money raised by the leading Republican and Democratic independent groups went into affiliated nonprofit organizations that are more restricted in how they can spend the money but do not have to disclose their donors.”

Over on his blog at Huffington Post, Paul Blumenthal says he wants to know whether the reports to the FEC “list contributions that are not traceable to a human donor or a corporation with an identifiable human in charge.” For example, the super PAC Citizens for Strength and Security just reported its finances and revealed a contribution of $66,944 from Citizens for Strength and Security, a nonprofit organization of the same name that does not disclose its donors. Blumenthal writes: “The Citizens United decision that paved the way for super PACs and allowed nonprofits to make contributions for independent electoral expenditures explicitly called for transparency and disclosure in this new system. This is what such disclosure looks like today.”

The Empire – the American plutocracy – strikes back, my friends, and cash-laden drones, pilotless and directed from some unknown location, are becoming the weapon of choice. What can you do? Join the hunt to find and disarm them. At “The Caucus,” the government and politics blog of The New York Times, they’re asking readers to help locate and identify the plutocrats writing the checks.

Calling all Citizen Sleuths: Bring your bird dog and join the hunt!

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  • http://www.billmoyers.com Theresa Riley

    Did a little sleuthing and found a 2010 report from the the Sunlight Foundation blog entitled “‘Grassroots group grows mainly in offices of D.C. law and PR firms“ that says Citizens for Strength and Security  ”has drawn most of its support from labor unions, including Service Employees International Union and the Communication Workers of America, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.” 

  • Catownsend49

    Not surprised the unions are a bunch of thieves stealing and robbing from the people they are there to serve too..  what a sham these unions have grown to become.  I am waiting for an arbitration hearing for going on near two years… They are not serving in the best interest of anyone except themselves!!!  

  • Anonymous

     Unlike all the others writing big cheques.

  • David Eddy

    Grass roots are not grass roots when applied to Super PACs just like corporations are not People.   As long as people are willing to abuse these terms there will be nothing but confusion.
    Everybody needs help and money in a capitalist system and especially a capitalist system that claims to care about people wich should be a human trait.
    Because of the complexity and necessity of human cooperation (social contract) it is necessary to have efficient social systems.  Doing away with government. 
    Our social problems are sustemic.  We need to have a social system that  cares for those who need care and education and not care for those who do not need caree.  For those who do not need care and have money to pay for thier care  should do so.  Even the very rich need care and all they have to do is pay for it. 

  • leftofcenter

    Two points. First, many people thought Stephen Colbert having his own PAC was so funny in showing how silly this is. Yet, did anyone ever ask him who all of his donors are? Or, is he not legally required to disclose this? If nobody did, kind of defeats the purpose of stretching this bit out for laughs.

    Second, here’s a question that no candiate has ever mentioned and no media outlet (including Moyers and Company) has ever asked. Should there be a constitutional amendment to gurantee every citizen a home? Considering the growing number of homeless (including returning vets which are a guranteed source of votes for politicians), why not?

    I’ve been homeless twice. Now, please explain to me why this is a bad idea.

  • David Eddy

    §   
     Gr  GRASS roots are not grass roots when applied to Supr PACs just like corporations are
    not People. As long as people are willing to abuse these terms there will be nothing but confusion.
    Everybody needs help and money in a capitalist system and especially a capitalist system that claims to care about people which should be a human trait.
    Because of the complexity and necessity of human cooperation (social contract) it is necessary to have efficient social systems.  Doing away with government is not an option.
    Our social problems are systemic.  We need to have a social system that cares for those who need care and education and not care for those who do not need care.  For those who do not need care and have money to pay for their care should do so.  When the very rich need care all they have to do is pay for it and they can afford the best care.  Those who depend on charity get marginal care.  We have all the necessary resources and we need to more for people not less. Grass roots are not grass roots when applied to Super PACs just like corporations are not People. As long as people are willing to abuse these terms there will be nothing but confusion.Everybody needs help and money in a capitalist system and especially a capitalist system that claims to care about people which should be a human trait.Because of the complexity and necessity of human cooperation (social contract) it is necessary to have efficient social systems.  Doing away with government is not an option.Our social problems are systemic.  We need to have a social system that cares for those who need care and education and not care for those who do not need care.  For those who do not need care and have money to pay for their care should do so.  When the very rich need care all they have to do is pay for it and they can afford the best care.  Those who depend on charity get marginal care.  We have all the necessary resources and we need to more for people not less.
    Grass roots are not grass roots when applied to Super PACs just like corporations are not People. As long as people are willing to abuse these terms there will be nothing but confusion.Everybody needs help and money in a capitalist system and especially a capitalist system that claims to care about people which should be a human trait.Because of the complexity and necessity of human cooperation (social contract) it is necessary to have efficient social systems.  Doing away with government is not an option.Our social problems are systemic.  We need to have a social system that cares for those who need care and education and not care for those who do not need care.  For those who do not need care and have money to pay for their care should do so.  When the very rich need care all they have to do is pay for it and they can afford the best care.  Those who depend on charity get marginal care.  We have all the necessary resources and we need to more for people not less.

  • RegrowthA

    Not a very reliable or crredible cmment. Shows notig but disdain…by te way, do you work a 40 hour week, 8hourday? Such communist leanings!!!lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/George-Kalogridis/100000346445975 George Kalogridis

    Off  Topic but very topical.

    …”Let
    me stress: this is a huge bailout for the banks. The settlement amounts
    to a transfer from retirement accounts (pension funds, 401 (k)s) and
    insurers to the banks. And without this subsidy, the biggest banks would
    be in serious trouble…”

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/02/schneiderman-mers-suit-and-huds-donovan-remarks-confirm-that-mortgage-settlement-is-a-stealth-bank-bailout.html

  • Davideros

    To answer part of your question, yes, indeed, Stephen Colbert did reveal his list of donors as the law requires. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0112/72190.html

  • Anonymous

    You, or someone you care about must have been to the doctor lately, David. You talk about corporate and PAC money in politics and you suggest this directly relates to a medical system with levels of care based upon wealth. We all understand that aspect of classism is intensifying. Coverage is always going up and the portion not paid by employers is also rising. I have fired 3 doctors in the last 6 months for lying to me and concealing information about my condition. I had to pay for my own medical records ($350 so far) to find out. These physicians are under corporate thumbs where they work and by insurers. The dirtiness in politics and in medicine are running neck and neck. 
    David, can you explain any direct connection you find between Oligarch politics and the corruption of medicine. Maybe you can decipher the relation better than I. I appreciate your efforts old friend.

  • Anonymous

    We are a society of contradictions where the Sierra Club accepts money from Frackers (Democracy Now). Unions may seem the most contradictory to the average citizen because their aim is to gain employment opportunities for their membership, just as the corporate goal is ostensibly to maximize profits. I have not discovered what the Sierra Club hoped to gain.

  • Erin

    This is a good article.  Even the unions have become infected with corporatism

    http://labornotes.org/node/1193

  • Jane Dog

    Why submit the same post twice?

  • Barksdale149

    I answered the Call for all Citizen Sleuths to investigate and now I beg  for support; I uncovered Judicial fraud in Ohio’s state Court’s (Cuyahoga county Common Pleas Court case CV-04-547780) I filed motion after motion in the Ohio Supreme Court case 2010-1490 for statistical data of how many pro se litigants were denied in Foreclosures and was arbitrarily denied so i sued Ohio (Barksdale v. Ohio case  10-1437) and watched a Federal Judge Protect state Judges our Elected public official are disgusting and Corrupt the whole lot of them needs to be executed for Treason then we will have Good government back until then we just elect them they get bought off and appoint Federal judges to protect them who suppose to protect us?  the whole mess in in US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit case 11-4116 which been pending since October 2011 so i know they conjuring a good reason to dismiss me and my civil  rights .

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1105795735 Jenelle Anderson

    Uncovering fraud at the state level…is responded to by a scheduled interview with the (20-something year old private secretary or assistant of the) Director and filed and signed off by the director as closed and complete. That’s how it works at LNI in Washington State.