Money Talks: Must-Read Stories About Money and Politics

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Welcome to this week’s roundup (Jan. 20-27, 2015) of must-read stories in the world of money and politics. Check back on Tuesday afternoons for more on the increasing influence of the super-rich on American government. In the comments section below, we’d love to hear your thoughts on these stories and any we may have missed.


red-quotation-50It’s no wonder the candidates show up when the Koch brothers call. That’s exponentially more money than any party organization will spend. In many ways, they have superseded the party.”

— David Axelrod, former Obama senior adviser, to the New York Times. The Koch brothers plan to spend close to $900 million on the 2016 campaign.


red-quotation-50When one family can raise as much as an entire party, the system is broken. This is oligarchy, not democracy. We must overturn Citizens United.”

— Sen. Bernie Sanders’ reaction to the Koch’s campaign plan.


red-quotation-50This is the same kind of money that was at the heart of the Watergate scandals. When you combine unlimited contributions with secrecy, you are dealing with the most dangerous kind of corrupting money.”

— Fred Wertheimer, campaign finance reform activist, to National Journal. The rise of candidate-specific nonprofits is expected to shroud political influence in more secrecy than ever in 2016.


red-quotation-50It’s very, very, very rare that either by letter or by personal call that I ask a lawyer to do something, whether it’s serve on a committee, help organize something, do whatever it is that I’m asking, that that lawyer will say no. Isn’t it inherent in the lawyer­-judge context that people are going to say yes?”

— Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on lawyers’ agreeing to requests from judges, in a Bloomberg article on the absurdity of publicly elected judges. SCOTUS justices appear divided in Williams-Yulee, the case deciding the legality of direct campaign solicitations from judges.


red-quotation-50If Rebekah had contacted her member of Congress asking for an increase from $2.13 an hour, who do you think Congress listened to: a young waitress who only made $2.13 an hour or a lobbyist from the National Restaurant Association who just wrote a big campaign check?”

— Every Voice’s Francoise Stovall, breaking down the role money in politics would have played in the lives of the young, struggling couple President Obama highlighted in his State of the Union address.


red-quotation-50All of the other 98 senators, from the rest of the country, should be looking to this person for thought leadership.”

— Former co-chair of Technology for Obama, Rusty Rueff, talking to POLITICO about the Silicon Valley rush to find and support a replacement for Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) who will be an advocate for the tech industry.


red-quotation-50For many of the party’s biggest fundraisers, signing on with a contender is a two-year commitment that usually includes asking friends, family and colleagues for donations they can bundle into stacks of checks. It’s not a decision taken lightly, especially with a field so large and in a campaign where total spending is sure to be measured in the billions.”

— Jill Colvin and Philip Elliott of the Associated Press, on GOP donors’ apparent plans to take their time before committing to a candidate.

Katie Rose Quandt reports and produces for She was previously a senior fellow at Mother Jones and has written for America, In These Times and Solitary Watch. Follow her on Twitter: @katierosequandt.

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