Welcome to this week’s roundup (Jan. 6-13, 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 the American government. We’d love to hear your thoughts on these stories and any we may have missed in the comments section below.
Here’s what people are saying this week:
— Tracey George, Vanderbilt University professor, speaking to Al Jazeera America about research that shows campaign contributions have a measurable effect on judges’ rulings. On Jan. 20, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of a Florida statute prohibiting judges from making direct solicitations.
— POLITICO reporter Kenneth P. Vogel on the biggest disclosed donors of 2014.
— A senior democratic aide to the Huffington Post after the House defeated a GOP-backed Wall Street deregulation bill, thanks to votes from 44 “flip-flopping” Democrats who supported similar legislation last session.
— Jim Richards of Cornerstone Government Affairs to POLITICO. With Congress back in session, lobbying firms are tasked with tempering clients’ unrealistic expectations, while looking for opportunities to add their pet projects to legislation.
— Center for Responsive Politics Executive Director Sheila Krumholz in an Open Secrets report on the wealth gap between the American public and their representatives. The median net worth of Congress members was $1,029,505 in 2013 — equivalent to the pooled wealth of 18 average American families.
— Lawrence Lessig, blogging about Day 2 of the NH Rebellion. For the second January in a row, protesters are marching across the state of New Hampshire to raise awareness of the need for campaign finance reform.
— Former US Senate candidate and tea partier Christine O’Donnell to the Associated Press. O’Donnell refused to settle a lawsuit brought by the Federal Election Commission, claiming she illegally used $20,000 in campaign contributions to pay the rent for an apartment where she worked and lived in 2010-2011. The FEC seeks reimbursement and a fine.
— Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA), speaking on behalf of his Close the Floodgates Act, which would reverse the tenfold increase in the amount of money individuals can donate to political parties, which was passed late last year.