How Much Congressional Representation Does Billionaire Shaun McCutcheon Have?

This post originally appeared on the People For blog.

Chief Justice Roberts caps his opinion in McCutcheon v. FEC by waxing eloquently about the need to ensure that elected officials are responsive to the people. This and other cases have described campaign contributions as a way to promote such responsiveness. But considering that this case is about a non-constituent buying influence in elections across the country, the passage's repeated references to constituents seems strangely out of place:

For the past 40 years, our campaign finance jurisprudence has focused on the need to preserve authority for the Government to combat corruption, without at the same time compromising the political responsiveness at the heart of the democratic process, or allowing the Government to favor some participants in that process over others. As Edmund Burke explained in his famous speech to the electors of Bristol, a representative owes constituents the exercise of his "mature judgment," but judgment informed by "the strictest union, the closest correspondence, and the most unreserved communication with his constituents." Constituents have the right to support candidates who share their views and concerns. Representatives are not to follow constituent orders, but can be expected to be cognizant of and responsive to those concerns. Such responsiveness is key to the very concept of self-governance through elected officials. (emphasis added, internal citations removed)

Shaun McCutcheon – whose contributions are at issue in this case – told the Court that he wanted to make contributions of $1,776 to each of more than two dozen different congressional candidates (as well as to various party committees) during the 2012 election cycle. It seems unlikely that he could have been a constituent of more than two dozen different members of Congress.

Obviously, people have a First Amendment right to participate in congressional races outside of where they live. But a stirring paragraph about political responsiveness to constituents hardly seems appropriate in a case that is all about political responsiveness to non-constituents.

Heritage Foundation's Ryan Anderson Calls Gay Marriage 'An Elite Luxury Good Bought For On The Backs Of The Poor'

In a talk in Salt Lake City this weekend, Ryan T. Anderson of the Heritage Foundation claimed that same-sex marriage is “an elite luxury good bought for on the backs of the poor.”

He made the comment while discussing U.S. v. Windsor, in which Edith Windsor argued successfully that she was unjustly forced to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes after her wife’s death because DOMA prevented the government from recognizing their marriage. Anderson absurdly claimed that the media suppressed the facts of the case, and insisted that the solution to Windsor’s problem was simply to repeal the estate tax.

He continued in the same vein, claiming that free markets, rather than nondiscrimination measures, will protect LGBT people from employment and housing discrimination.

Anderson warned that measures protecting LGBT people from housing and employment discrimination will oppress conservatives: “Too often, the nondiscrimination laws are just used as a way of discriminating against those who hold traditional views about marriage.”

“I think, to a certain extent, if you want to protect housing and employment for any person, encourage free markets,” he continued. “Employers want the best employees, regardless of their sexual attractions. A landlord wants the best tenants, regardless of their sexual attractions. It wouldn’t be, in the long run, for a business, profitable to be discriminating against good employees for no reason whatsoever.”

In fact, 21 percent of LGBT people report having been discriminated against in the workplace, including 47 percent of transgender people. Ample research also shows that the free market has done nothing to prevent LGBT people  from facing discrimination in renting and buying homes.

But Anderson wasn’t just concerned with public policy. Later in the talk, an audience member asked about pro-gay “subliminal messaging” in pop culture. “The television show Glee has done just as much to corrupt a young generation about marriage as anything the Supreme Court has done,” he responded.

Glenn Beck Does Not React Well To Obama's Health Care Victory Lap

These days, Glenn Beck's TV and radio programs are little more than exercises in projection and hypocrisy, so it was no surprise to see him have a complete meltdown on his radio program today over President Obama's remarks yesterday hailing reports that more than seven million people had signed up for health insurance under Obamacare.

Declaring that the seven million figure was obviously phony, Beck flew into a rage against Obama and the "rat bastards" in the media who refuse to hold him accountable for his pathological lying.

"This guy," Beck said of Obama, "you put him in a military uniform, I'm not kidding you, you put him on a balcony in a military uniform, this guy is a full-fledged dictator."

"He's a sociopath!," Beck proclaimed, later in the broadcast. "He's sociopathic!."

Then, after an hour of ranting about Obama and the press and the Republicans, Beck finally snapped and declared that he is "not going to pay attention to these people any more, I am not going to waste my life," screaming that "I have a right to pursue my happiness, I have a right to do what I was born to do!"

"My state of mind is great," he concluded, "'cause I've had enough":

Upon returning from the commercial break, Beck resumed railing against all of these same people while simultaneously asserting that he was done paying attention to them.

Supreme Court's McCutcheon Decision Is Great News For Billionaires

This post originally appeared on the People For blog.

The Supreme Court's McCutcheon opinion, released this morning, is another 5-4 body blow to our democracy. To justify striking down limits that cap aggregate campaign contributions during a single election cycle, the Roberts Court ignores the way the world really works and makes it far more difficult to justify much-needed protections against those who would purchase our elections and elected officials.

Americans are deeply concerned that control of our elections and our government is being usurped by a tiny sliver of extremely wealthy and powerful individuals (and the corporations they control). That is not the democracy that our Constitution established and protects. The enormous impact of money in politics can destroy a democracy, undermining its foundations by disconnecting elected officials from the people they are supposed to serve and eroding the trust of the people in their system of government.

But the Roberts Court today stressed that campaign contributions can be justified under the First Amendment only if they address "quid pro quo" corruption – i.e. bribery – despite contrary pre-Citizens United holdings with a broader and more realistic vision. A democratic system rotting at its core – a government of, by, and for the wealthy – is not corrupt in their eyes.

If a wealthy person gives millions of dollars to a party (distributed to the party's multiple candidates and PACs across the country), he clearly exercises enormous influence over the laws that get passed. What the voters want becomes far less relevant, because it's the billionaire whose money is vital to getting elected. A government where elected officials allow a few plutocrats to have enormous access and influence over their policies is not an indication of a healthy government of, by, and for the people.

As Justice Breyer write in his McCutcheon dissent:

Today a majority of the Court overrules this holding [Buckley's 1976 upholding of aggregate limits]. It is wrong to do so. Its conclusion rests upon its own, not a record-based, view of the facts. Its legal analysis is faulty: It misconstrues the nature of the competing constitutional interests at stake. It understates the importance of protecting the political integrity of our governmental institutions. It creates a loophole that will allow a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to a political party or to a candidate's campaign. Taken together with Citizens United v. Federal Election Comm'n, 558 U. S. 310 (2010), today's decision eviscerates our Nation's campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.

Americans are organizing around the country to restore our democracy in light of Citizens United and other dangerous court opinions. Today's McCutcheon opinion gives us another reason to rally.

Last year, People For the American Way Foundation released an analysis of McCutcheon within the context of the Supreme Court's past rulings on campaign finance.

CBN: Sweden Is Just Like North Korea

What does Sweden have in common with the brutally oppressive dictatorship of North Korea? According to Christian Broadcasting Network senior reporter Dale Hurd, a lot! Hurd claims that Swedish critics of Islam and immigration are facing North Korean-style oppression.

“Sweden has been compared to a couple of nations which also tried to build perfect societies, North Korea and the Soviet Union,” Hurd said in a 700 Club report today. He admitted that “if you don’t like how utopia is being built here, you won’t be shot like in North Korea,” but added, “your life could become very unpleasant.”

Yes, receiving an “unpleasant” response to your unpopular political views is just like what happens to dissidents in North Korea, but without the mass killings.

Hurd, who interviewed anti-Muslim writer Ingrid Carlqvist for his report, later described Sweden as having a “Stalinist-style atmosphere” and predicted that it will soon become a “Third World nation.”

700 Club host Pat Robertson said he was shocked by Hurd’s “frightening” report: “To think they can be killed by political correctness shows what can happen here.”

Watch highlights here:

American Decency Association: Satan Behind Graham Cracker Ad Featuring Gay Couple

The American Decency Association is joining the anti-gay boycott of Honey Maid graham crackers, led by the American Family Association subsidiary One Million Moms. The groups are upset that the cracker company’s “This Is Wholesome” ad features a same-sex couple with their children, which the ADA’s Steve Huston claims is Satan’s doing.

“With Nabisco, Coca-cola, Chevrolet and the plethora of advertisers out there trying to make homosexuality look normal and wholesome, you’d think that this issue has become a cultural wave that has taken in a very large percentage of the population,” Huston writes.

“It’s not a matter of acceptance; it’s a matter of an evil agenda which is being pushed upon America and around the world. Satan continues to attack God’s design and skew it to his own workings. He continues to take words like ‘wholesome’ and ‘family’ and twist them for his own purposes.”

When I think of graham crackers I think of the camping I may do this summer and the smores I might eat around a campfire. I fondly remember eating a bowl full of soggy graham crackers for breakfast and talking with my mom. They were an easy snack to give my children with a little frosting on them. Yes, I have some wholesome memories of graham crackers, Nabisco graham crackers.

Apparently Nabisco and I have a fondness for different things now. Of course they wanted to sell crackers and I was really just interested in eating them; but now Nabisco wants to change definitions like family and wholesome. Now I am older and more interested in protecting definitions like family and wholesome; I’m interested in being a conscientious consumer, watching where I spend my dollar.



Satan wants us to see sin as normal and not so bad. He delights in taking what God has made “good” and was meant to glorify God and change it, counterfeit it, making it to please Satan himself instead of the Creator God. The fallen one desires men to see themselves as gods, having to answer to no one but themselves.

As Honey Maid explains on their Youtube page,

“Today we celebrate all families. From working moms to two moms;” I can’t help but think how far we have come. Do you realize we’ve been accepting two moms for a long time? Granted, we’ve been accepting two moms in different homes because of divorce; but now Honey Maid and others are putting two moms in a same-sex relationship. They are making two dads to seem normal. Both are wrong; both are unwholesome; both run contrary to the Word of God. Satan whispers, “Did God really say…?” “YES, HE DID!” should be our quick and relentless cry.

With Nabisco, Coca-cola, Chevrolet and the plethora of advertisers out there trying to make homosexuality look normal and wholesome, you’d think that this issue has become a cultural wave that has taken in a very large percentage of the population. THIS IS NOT THE CASE! The fact is that homosexuals account for less than 2% of the population of the United States of America. You can see the numbers of this 2011 study for yourself here.

It’s not a matter of acceptance; it’s a matter of an evil agenda which is being pushed upon America and around the world. Satan continues to attack God’s design and skew it to his own workings. He continues to take words like “wholesome” and “family” and twist them for his own purposes. He takes a symbol of God’s promise (the rainbow) and hijacks it, twisting it to his own design. Satan calls it normal; God calls it sin. We live in a day when “evil” is called “good” and “good” is called “evil.” That which is meant to glorify God (family, the church, etc) is being taken and bent out of shape until it is hardly recognizable.

Beck: USDA's 'Two-Bite Club' Is Government Propaganda Just Like The Nazis Produced

Have you heard about "The Two-Bite Club"? It is a children's storybook/coloring book produced by the USDA back in 2009 that is available for free download which is designed to encourage children "to try foods from each food group by eating just two bites."

Glenn Beck just found out about it yesterday and he is, surprisingly, not a fan of the book because it pretty much the same sort of propaganda that the German government produced under the Nazis.

Beck pulled a copy of an anti-Semitic book published in 1936 called "Trust No Fox on his Green Heath And No Jew on his Oath" from his personal collection and leafed through it during his morning meeting, saying in a sing-song voice "isn't it great when storybooks about cats and foxes are all put together, isn't that wonderful?"

"C'mon kids," he continued, "let's download the latest government propaganda":

Boykin: Don't Ask Don't Tell Repeal Led To The 'Absolute Destruction' Of The Military

On yesterday’s edition of Washington Watch, Family Research Council vice president Jerry Boykin said that America is experiencing an “absolute destruction of our military readiness and our military morale because the leadership in our military has not been willing to stand up to the President” on issues like the 2010 repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Boykin was talking to host Tony Perkins about a recent BuzzFeed post that said President Obama “was unwilling to compromise with service leaders over DADT during a meeting in 2010.”

Boykin likened generals who supported Obama’s efforts to end the ban on openly gay service members to former general Harold K. Johnson, who regretted not resigning over President Johnson’s handling of the Vietnam war.

“I believe we have some people in the Joint Chiefs of Staff today who will live to regret the decisions that they’ve made in terms of supporting the radical policies of this administration,” Boykin said, before arguing that military leaders should have resigned to protest the lifting of the ban on gay service members: “It is a matter of honor, it is a matter of honor in doing what you believe in and standing on principle and not on career, career has to take a second seat to principle and I don’t believe that these guys are operating on principle.”

True The Vote Misreads Poll To Claim 20 Percent Of Americans Want To Let Non-Citizens Vote

A leader of voter suppression group True The Vote apparently believes that a significant percentage of Americans want non-citizens to be able to vote in U.S. federal elections.

On yesterday’s True The Vote conference call, which featured Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and the Heritage Foundation’s Hans Von Spakovsky, True The Vote executive director Jennifer Wright claimed that over 20 percent of Americans want non-citizens to be given voting rights.

Discussing Kobach’s new law in Kansas, which requires people registering to vote to present a birth certificate or similar documentation of citizenship, Wright warned there is a growing push to let non-citizens vote in national elections: “I wonder about those citizens who think that non-citizens should be able to vote. Because I don’t think anyone would argue that we should be able to vote [or] that I should be able to vote in an election in Mexico even though I live in a border state.”

She cited polls “showing that over 70, 78, 80-plus percent of people throughout the United States agree that you should be a citizen to vote.” She appears to be referring to a recent poll from the conservative Rassmussen, which found that 78 percent of respondents agreed that voters should be required to prove their citizenship before registering. It asked no questions about whether or not non-citizens should be allowed to vote.

Of course, the current federal voter registration form does require proof of citizenship in the form of a sworn statement under penalty of perjury. Kansas’ law requires extra proof in the form of a birth certificate or naturalization document, an administrative hurdle that has left the voting rights of tens of thousands of Kansans in limbo .

But in the paranoid universe of True The Vote, people who oppose voter suppression laws actually want foreign nationals to be able to cast votes in American federa; elections, using the federal voter registration form as a “work-around around the proof of citizenship.”

I originally hail from Arizona myself, so I am familiar with how this ruling came down through Arizona and the concerns we had in our state that this federal form would then be a work-around around the proof of citizenship. So to be able to have it now spelled out in black and white, and I think quite confidently it will remain so, is a boon for election integrity.

Because, obviously, the studies are out there showing that over 70, 78, 80-plus percent of people throughout the United States agree that you should be a citizen to vote. I wonder about those citizens who think that non-citizens should be able to vote. Because I don’t think anyone would argue that we should be able to vote, that I should be able to vote in an election in Mexico even though I live in a border state, or whatever arguments we may have.

Kris Kobach Inadvertently Explains What's Wrong With Kansas' Strict Voter ID Law

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, following a federal court ruling upholding his strict requirement that people registering to vote must present a birth certificate or comparable proof of citizenship, is now hoping to peddle the law to other states. But in a conference call last night hosted by the group True The Vote, which was founded to support voter suppression laws, Kobach inadvertently explained what is so wrong with his policy, which has left 16,000 Kansans with their voter registrations suspended.

Kobach told True The Vote that he hoped that other states with voter ID laws would adopt his stricter version, and said that he had already discussed the possibility with Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. He also promised to put a generic version of the law on his personal website for activists to present to their own state legislators.

But while defending the law, Kobach made an argument that in fact illustrates what an extraordinary hurdle it may present to some voters.

“We really gave people lots of options” to prove their citizenship, Kobach boasted. He noted that there was even a “special process” for people who don’t have their birth certificate: “We created a process for that person to go before the state elections board and provide affidavit evidence and other evidence to show that they’re a US citizen. And that process has only been used twice.”

Yes, out of 16,000 people who have yet to provide the state with citizenship documentation, just two people without the proper documents have made it through the new bureaucratic hurdles to prove that they are citizens....which Kobach somehow sees as a great victory.

Later in the call, Kobach speculated that voter suppression laws helped increase the turnout in the 2012 elections because the people who are targeted by such laws actually love them. He said that he had talked to a counterpart in a southern state who told him of counties with high minority populations “where election fraud is so ingrained in the experience of voters…so when voter ID came along they had hope.”

“He believes it was the hope of a fairer election among some minority communities that had experienced fraudulent elections that drives the higher turnout,” Kobach said.

In fact, many elections experts say that high turnout among African-American voters in 2012 was driven in part by a backlash to voter suppression laws, not support for them.

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