Morning Reads

As we continue our effort to keep you up-to-date on how money corrupts American government and politics, as well as other news of the day, we’re pleased to publish this daily digest compiled by’s Michael Winship.

Almost $400 million! –> According to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), that’s how much the various groups backing the 22 declared and anticipated 2016 presidential candidates have raised — and almost half of that’s just for Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. What’s more, it’s “only a glimpse of all the money that donors are handing over,” the Associated Press reports. “The candidates also benefit from super PACs created specifically to help them. Those groups… file their FEC reports at the end of the month.” According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, the $390 million reported so far is “more than the presidential  candidates raised for the entire primary election of 2000.” And it’s not even August. 

The Center for Public Integrity reports how “some key contributors help bankroll two, four — even six candidates.” And if you’re feeling especially wonkish this morning, you can search the actual FEC forms here.

“Clintons and foundation raked in cash from banks that admitted wrongdoing” –> Andrew Perez and David Sirota at International Business Times report  that although Secretary Clinton is “selling her version of economic populism, including calls for Wall Street executives who engage in financial wrongdoing to be held accountable more than they have been under President Barack Obama,” her outrage “did not stop her family’s foundation from raking in donations from many of the same banks that secured government fines rather than face full-scale prosecution.” Is that why she hasn’t called for reinstating Glass-Steagall?

“I am not betting on the Republican Party rallying behind this agreement” –> So said President Obama at his press conference yesterday, saying he was willing to take on any and all questions about the nuclear deal with Iran. “Without a deal, we risk even more war in the Middle East,” he said, “and other countries in the region would feel compelled to pursue their own nuclear programs, threatening a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region in the world.” Good summary from McClatchy DC. ALSO: Politico — “Iran deal launches lobbying war.” AND: At Mother Jones, Kevin Drum writes,”Do technical experts who actually understand the nuances of the deal language think this is a good agreement? … Apparently most of them do.”

Amidst Molotovs and tear gas, Greek parliament votes “yes” for more austerity –> Al Jazeera: “Prior to the vote, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras made a final appeal for support of the tough bailout measures imposed by European partners this week, telling legislators there was no alternative, even though he disagreed with the measures. ‘We don’t believe in it, but we are forced to adopt it,’ Tsipras said.” ALSO: Continuing coverage from The Guardian.

That Planned Parenthood “scandal” –> It’s that viral video roiling the right from a pro-life group claiming to show Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services discussing the commercial sale of  fetal tissue. Here’s the background story from The Daily Beast’s Samantha Allen. And this, from The Atlantic’s David Graham. This latest sting, Graham writes, “appears to have been in the works for quite some time — a timestamp on the video released Tuesday says it was shot on July 25, 2014, nearly a year ago.” Which prompted Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly to ask, “If it reveals clearly illegal and barbaric activity, as its boosters are saying, why wasn’t it reported to authorities at the time?” Ted Cruz is calling for an investigation of Planned Parenthood.

RIP –> Marlene Sanders, pioneer broadcast newswoman, mother of Jeffrey Toobin, and friend of many of us here. Bill Moyers: “Marlene Sanders got there first. That women are finally recognized as first-rate professionals is due in no small part to the pathbreaking courage of Marlene Sanders.”

People are reading –> Moyers & Company guest Mark Leibovich’s “Re-Re-Re-Reintroducing Hillary Clinton” in The New York Times Magazine. And if you haven’t seen it yet, check out this chilling report from ProPublica on the risks of surgery in the United States, including an app that calculates complication rates for surgeons “performing one of eight elective procedures under Medicare.”

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