Out of State Money Floods Contests in 2012
Washington, DC – Today People For the American Way Foundation unveiled new state-by-state fact sheets detailing outside spending in U.S. Senate and House races in 21 states. Each report analyzes the outside spending totals from Super PACs, dark money groups, and out-of-state spenders in the down ballot federal races from the 2012 election cycle. The fact sheets reveal that, on average, a majority of outside election money in these states came from Super PACs. And in every case, a vast majority came from organizations registered outside of the state.
The release of the “Outside Spending, Outsized Influence” reports coincide with the weekend marking Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the third anniversary of Citizens United v. FEC to draw attention to the dual threats of voter suppression and unlimited corporate and special interest money in politics. The reports – a partnership between PFAWF and U.S. PIRG – are part of the Money Out/Voters In campaign. As part of that campaign, People For the American Way Foundation, its affiliate People For the American Way, and other organizers across the country are hosting “Day of Action” events in more than 76 cities in 33 states this weekend. Members of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council will be leading Money Out/Voters In events in Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia.
“Last year’s elections were far and away the most expensive in history,” said People For the American Way Foundation Executive Vice President Marge Baker. “A major reason was the influx of outside, special interest spending in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision. When big money floods our elections, it dwarfs the ability of individual Americans to have their voices heard. Just as important, when politicians push laws to suppress the vote, we turn back the clock on decades on progress to expand and improve our democracy. We need to pursue the full range of remedies to address the problem of too much money in politics, including amending the Constitution to overturn Citizens United, and we need to stand up against the growing threat of voter suppression. This weekend we are joining with allies across the country to call for a democracy that gets Money Out and Voters In.”
The states featured in the reports are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin.
For links to each report, please visit: http://www.pfaw.org/issues/outside-spending-outsized-influence-big-and-s...
For more information about the Money Out/Voters In campaign or the Days of Action, please visit: http://www.moneyout-votersin.org
Washington, DC – This afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid overcame Republican roadblocks to schedule confirmation votes on two highly qualified district court nominees from Connecticut and Maryland. Michael P. Shea of Connecticut has been a partner of a law firm with extensive experience in a range of civil and criminal cases, and Paul William Grimm of Maryland has served as the Chief United States Magistrate Judge for Maryland for six years. Both nominees have outstanding credentials, were approved by the Judiciary Committee with overwhelming bipartisan support, and both have the support of their home state senators. Nevertheless, for no reason other than a desire to obstruct Senate business, Republicans have blocked efforts to allow confirmation votes. Shea has been waiting seven months for a vote from the full Senate and Grimm has been waiting for five months. These will be the first votes on judicial nominees since September.
“We are pleased that these two exceedingly qualified nominees will finally receive their confirmation votes,” said Marge Baker of People For the American Way. “It’s shameful that the Republican minority has forced them to wait this long for simple up-or-down votes. These delays directly impact Americans seeking their day in court. In Connecticut, the judicial vacancy crisis is so severe that the Chief District Judge had to bring in out-of-state judges to help relieve the caseload. Senate Republicans must now allow votes on the remaining 17 nominees who were long ago approved by the Judiciary Committee and have needlessly been forced into limbo month after month after month.”
Washington, DC -- Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way, released the following statement in response to victories of marriage equality ballot measures in Maine and Maryland, the lead for a marriage equality measure in Washington, and the defeat of a discriminatory marriage amendment in Minnesota:
"Yesterday was a great day for progressive values, and none more than the American value of equality under the law. For the first time in our history, voters accepted marriage equality at the polls, with marriage equality measures passing in two states and poised to pass in another. In a landmark victory, voters also rejected a discriminatory marriage amendment. And, for the first time in our history an openly gay American won a seat in the U.S. Senate. This is not a fluke, it is a watershed.
"Eight years ago, George W. Bush and Karl Rove hitched their reelection effort to anti-gay animus, pushing discriminatory ballot measures in 11 states in an effort to boost their own campaign. Yesterday, Americans decisively reelected the first president to publicly support marriage equality and turned out to the polls to support their LGBT neighbors.
"These votes are victories for families in Maine, Maryland and Washington who will now have access to many of the protections of marriage. But they are also victories for all Americans, who step by step are building a country where all our neighbors are treated with decency and respect. We have a lot of work left to do, but this much is clear: the politics of exclusion and discrimination is no longer a winning formula."
This week the Equal Justice Task Force of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers In Action released a statement in support of the marriage equality ballot measures in Maryland, Maine, and Washington and opposing a discriminatory marriage amendment in Minnesota.
“At this moment in history, it is important that we stand on the side of faith, compassion, and equality instead of on the side of discrimination and oppression,” said Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, Director of African American Religious Affairs at People For the American Way. “We’ve seen again and again that when laws prevent gay and lesbian couples from getting the protections that only marriage can provide, all families are harmed and all communities suffer. As an African American and a woman I am frightened when one group attempts to limit or restrict the rights of others. We urge voters in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and Washington to reject discrimination and vote to strengthen and affirm all families.”
Opponents of contraception access this weekend held “religious freedom” demonstrations across the country to protest the Obama administration’s new rules ensuring contraception coverage in health insurance plans. In one of the rallies last month in Washington D.C. in front of the White House, speakers including Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition and Lila Rose of Live Action denounced the Obama administration for their purportedly “tyrannical” insurance mandate.
The keynote speakers at the White House rally was none other than Father Marcel Guarnizo, whose claim to fame is denying a lesbian parishioner communion at her mother’s funeral and refused to attend the burial ceremony. Fr. Guarnizo said that pro-choice and pro-gay equality politicians are “unfit to rule” and are “not worthy of a democratic vote.” He went on to maintain that American democracy is on the brink of collapse and told attendees to “vote this man out of office in November.”
He also had harsh words for Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who championed his state’s marriage equality law, claiming that they are more than unfaithful Catholic “lost sheep” but “wolves who are plotting and working specifically against the common good and the Church.” “Those people need to be castigated publicly by the shepherds of the church,” Guarnizo said.
The 700 Club today reported on Gallaudet University’s suspension of their chief diversity officer for signing a petition to put Maryland’s marriage equality law on the ballot. Gay rights advocates, including the leaders of Marylanders for Marriage Equality and Gov. Martin O’Malley have said that they strongly disagreed with Gallaudet’s decision, but host Pat Robertson tried to claim that the university’s move was representative of the entire left and the gay rights movement. “The left wants a dictatorship,” Robertson claimed, “they don’t want freedom.” The anti-gay televangelist argued that “they want a dictatorship where they control, which is what you had in communism, a small group ran the government for their ends and for the ends of their friends, and that’s what the gays want, they want everything now in their favor.” Robertson concluded by saying that “God Almighty has the final vote.”
A few years ago, anti-gay activist Harry Jackson claimed that he had moved from Maryland into the District of Columbia in order to lead an unsuccessful campaign against marriage equality in the District. Jackson’s legal residency was the topic of much debate at the time; Jackson signed an affidavit affirming his DC residency. But now, Jackson is supporting an anti-marriage equality campaign in Maryland. Will he be eligible to vote against marriage equality in Maryland? At the Values Voter Summit this past weekend, Jackson bragged that he had ordained and pastored Derek McCoy, who directs the Maryland Marriage Alliance and asked VVS attendees for financial support. Jackson, in a workshop promoting his own campaign to use marriage as a wedge issue against Obama and other Democrats in seven swing states, caught himself when talking about the struggle over marriage in Maryland. “I live in – have a church in that state,” he said.
Appearing on Trinity Broadcasting Network’s flagship show Praise the Lord yesterday, Bishop Harry Jackson, the anti-gay activist who led unsuccessful efforts to defeat marriage equality legislation in Washington D.C. and Maryland, said that ministers who refused to work on his campaigns did so because they “envied” his success and were resentful that he had God’s favor. Speaking with Perry Stone, Jr., Jackson explained that “enemies, when vanquished, are simply stepping stones to victory, to accomplishment and to notoriety.”
Previously, Jackson blamed the “Queen of Heaven,” a demonic power, for the success of marriage equality bills.
Jackson: Sometimes envy takes hold of people, and they see you prospering and they see something that they don’t like, sometimes there are other dynamics that begin to cause them to really want to see you fail.
Stone: It’s amazing.
Jackson: It’s crazy. Not too long ago we were in a major, ground level battle, it was over the issue of marriage in the state of Maryland and Washington D.C., without getting into all those details there were people who said, ‘well if Jackson was leading it I don’t want anything to do with it.’
Stone: Were they ministers?
Jackson: They were ministers, and you’re saying, ‘wait a minute, I thought we were for the Word, I thought we were working together,’ but because there was an issue of envy that was stuck way down in their craw, so sometimes when these open doors open then enemies are revealed.
Jackson: When you go through the door, when you rise up, God has got a unique group of people who will be there for you. But you got to discern who they are. Secret enemies will come forward, I thank God every time I see an enemy, and I believe then God will also give His people who will help us.
Stone: What’s the purpose of an enemy? Is there ever a positive purpose for an enemy?
Jackson: Goliath was a great example, in that enemies, when vanquished, are simply stepping stones to victory, to accomplishment and to notoriety.
Stone: Praise God!
After failing in his campaign to overturn marriage equality in Washington D.C., Bishop Harry Jackson is now leading an effort to repeal a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Maryland that will be signed into law tomorrow. We last saw Jackson raising money for the Maryland Marriage Alliance at “A Gathering of Eagles,” where he led the congregation in spiritual warfare against the demonic Queen of Heaven, who he said was responsible for gay rights and “perversion.”
In an interview with the Christian Post yesterday, Jackson baselessly claimed that Washington D.C. public schools are teaching “children – young children – to explore and examine the differences in heterosexuality, homosexuality and transgender lifestyles,” lamenting, “To say that it's okay for Heather to have two mommies is not biblical.” He also said that activists trying to repeal marriage equality are “not trying to impose our views on others” but said gay rights advocates “are trying to impose their agenda on us.”
“It is an oxy-moron,” Jackson said about same-sex marriage, “Two people of the same sex who marry and try to indoctrinate children into that lifestyle does nothing to strengthen marriage or families.” He also predicted victory in a potential referendum on marriage equality, maintaining that marriage equality supporters “are overplaying their hands and only harming our culture.”
CP: I want to start out by asking in light of Maryland's recent debate and upcoming legalization of same-sex marriage, tell me why you are willing to take such a pronounced and visible stand to defend marriage?
Jackson: First, we as people of faith are not trying to impose our views on others. We are simply using God's Word, given to us by the scriptures, to stand up for what is right. Instead, those who are advocating for what they call "marriage" that does not involve a man and a woman, are trying to impose their agenda on us.
The reality is, if you change the definition of marriage, you change the definition of the family, then you change what is taught in schools – that it's okay for Heather to have two mommies – and exploring your "sexual awareness" as a young child is acceptable; and it's not.
CP: Can you expand on how families will be impacted when same-sex marriages are legalized?
Jackson: Yes, let's use Washington, D.C. as an example. It's encouraged in public schools to teach children – young children – to explore and examine the differences in heterosexuality, homosexuality and transgender lifestyles. Now you and I both know that children should not be encouraged to examine these types of issues, especially in public schools. To say that it's okay for Heather to have two mommies is not biblical.
CP: Supporters of same-sex marriage say one of their primary goals is to educate the public that gay marriage does in fact strengthen families. How do you respond to that comment?
Jackson: It is an oxy-moron. Two people of the same sex who marry and try to indoctrinate children into that lifestyle does nothing to strengthen marriage or families. Again, it only attempts to redefine what marriage is and what a family should be. A mother and a father best raise children. There are factors in our society that interrupt that process and that is unfortunate, but gay marriage will not strengthen marriage.
CP: Do you believe the efforts to repeal same-sex marriage in Maryland will be successful?
Jackson: Yes, I do. To use a phrase from Muhammad Ali, "We float like a butterfly, but sting like a bee." But I must say that the opposing side has waged a brilliant public relations campaign. They want the public to believe the debate about gay marriage is only a religious battle, but it's not.
We are 31 for 31 on gay marriage when it's been put before the voters of different states. They are trying to press the issue in different states hoping to advance their cause with the Supreme Court. Still, when people examine what marriage is and should be, they tend to vote overwhelming against gay marriage.
But let me say this to conclude. I feel our opponents have become so aggressive on this issue, that they are overplaying their hands and only harming our culture. Yes, they may win a battle or two here and there but our side will prevail in the long run.
Family Research Council senior fellow Robert Morrison yesterday chided former Vice President Dick Cheney for his support of marriage equality, particularly his role in garnering Republican support for the bill in Maryland. Morrison bragged that he didn’t respond to media inquiries at the 2000 GOP convention in Philadelphia to goad him into criticize Cheney, even though FRC president Tony Perkins attacked the Cheney family after Mary had a child with her partner. He also said that just because Cheney has an openly gay daughter, that is no reason he should support equal rights for gays and lesbians. He even called on Cheney to follow in the footsteps of Ben Franklin, who supported the American Revolution even though his son was a prominent loyalist who fled to Great Britain after the war. “In this great cultural clash,” Morrison lamented, “Dick Cheney has enlisted with the forces of dissolution”:
Consider this thought experiment. Twin brothers announced on a TV talk show that they were gay. Under the laws proposed, can they marry? If not, why not? They’ve certainly had a “committed relationship” since before they were born. What constitutional principle could you invoke to say these twins cannot marry each other? And if these twin brothers may marry, why not a twin brother and sister?
Dick Cheney probably never met Mae West. For younger readers unfamiliar with one of Hollywood’s original blond bombshells, I’ll simply say: sailors in World War II called their large life jackets Mae Wests. (This is a family blog, after all.)
Mae West famously said: “Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution.” How strange that Mae West had a better understanding of civil marriage than a former Vice President of the United States, a man who was twice elected to national office by pro-family voters.
In 2000, Dick Cheney might have considered Philadelphia’s most famous son, Benjamin Franklin. Franklin’s own son was the royal Governor of New Jersey. It was a patronage job Ben had secured for him. When his son remained loyal to the Crown, Benjamin Franklin did not refuse to sign the Declaration of Independence citing a “personal situation.” That’s one of the many reasons why we remember Ben Franklin with admiration and respect.
Dick Cheney is said to be worth hundreds of millions. His family may not suffer the devastation that comes from the breakdown of marriage. But in his recent book, Coming Apart, Charles Murray shows how the loss of marriage for the white working class in America has already had catastrophic consequences. If we seek the reason behind the great disparities in wealth that the Occupy crowd is howling about, we need look no further than the collapse of marriage. In this great cultural clash, Dick Cheney has enlisted with the forces of dissolution.
Following up on the Ocean City Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast controversy -- In today’s Daily Times, Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan and Council members Knight and Ashley attempted to distance themselves from the prayer breakfast but said that Boykin would speak as planned:
People for the American Way today called on the Mayor and City Council of Ocean City, Maryland to cancel the invitation to retired Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin to headline this week’s Ocean City Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.
Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way, issued the following statement: