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Featured Work

Wisconsin Lawmaker Echoes ALEC's Call for a Constitutional Convention

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Wisconsin State Senator Chris Kapenga (R-Delafield) wants a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and he wants a new constitutional convention to ratify it.

A constitutional convention makes for a snappy hashtag, #ConCon. But, as GOP leaders in Idaho recently discovered, it is a dangerous and impractical idea that could result in a "runaway" convention and substantial rewrites to the U.S. Constitution.

Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, if 34 state legislatures "issue a call" for a constitutional convention, Congress must convene one. By some counts, the right-wing only needs six more states. Read the rest of this item here.


Utilities Cementing Influence With GOP Leadership Via Fundraisers

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The Edison Electric Institute (EEI), the trade association for the nation's investor-owned electric utilities, is hosting a high-dollar fundraiser tonight benefiting the political action committee of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. Tickets to the event run as high as $25,000, according to an invitation obtained by UtilitySecrets.org.

The trade association has also scheduled a lunchtime fundraiser for Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Greg Walden, and an evening event benefiting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Sponsors of the event will pay $5,000 each according to the invitation. The fundraisers take place alongside an EEI conference for the CEOs of its member electric utilities. All the events take place at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington D.C.

Read the rest of this item here.


Gorsuch Confirmation Process Too Important to Rush

Gorsuch and Trump
After blocking confirmation of Justice Scalia's replacement on the U.S. Supreme Court for a full year, the Senate Judiciary Committee is now preparing to take up the nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the post on March 20, barely seven weeks after President Trump announced his pick.

However, too much has transpired in the intervening days for the Senate to treat this nomination as "business as usual." Recent revelations have thrown the White House and Department of Justice into turmoil and created a crisis of legitimacy for the Trump Administration that will spill over to the nation's highest court if there is a rush to judgment on Gorsuch's confirmation.

In addition, the Senate and the public lack key information about Judge Gorsuch needed to give his nomination thorough consideration. Read the rest of this item here.


Paul Ryan Fundraised With Health Insurance Lobbying Firm Just Before His PowerPoint

Paul Ryan
Just hours before House Speaker Paul Ryan held a press conference to sell his health care overhaul legislation — using a PowerPoint presentation mocked for misrepresenting basic facts — he was doing something he's much better at: fundraising.

The two things were related. The Thursday morning breakfast fundraiser he attended was hosted by a lobbying firm working to unwind the Affordable Care Act on behalf of health insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield, one of the big winners of Ryan's proposed legislation.

Read the rest of this item here.


Read the New GOP Talking Points on Repealing the Affordable Care Act

Trump and Ryan
CMD obtained the latest talking points being used by Republican members of Congress facing criticism for their attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (which is better known as Obamacare).

Read the rest of this item here.


GOP Admits ACA Repeal Will Target Mandate Requiring Prenatal Coverage

Trump and McMorris Rodgers
When Republican Congressman John Shimkus expressed outrage during a House committee hearing Wednesday "about men having to purchase prenatal care" in their health insurance -– the video clip of which caught fire on social media as an example of misogyny and cluelessness — he wasn't going rogue. He was just getting ahead of party leaders, who haven't publicly announced their next steps quite yet. Read the rest of this item here.


Recent Articles from PRWatch.org

James Sherk Tapped by Trump to Be White House Labor Advisor

In February, Donald Trump quietly hired James Sherk from the Heritage Foundation to handle labor and employment policy. The appointment came with little public fanfare, as controversies over his then-nominee to helm the Department of Labor, Andy Puzder, swirled.

Sherk is a 2003 graduate of the Koch-funded Hillsdale College who has helped advance the corporate agenda of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, to undermine the rights of workers. He began his career with Heritage as a "Bradley Fellow," a position named for the rightwing foundation in Milwaukee. Read the rest of this item here.


Pruitt Emails Reveal Communications with ALEC and Koch Groups

Emails released to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) reveal close ties between Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and the fossil fuel interests that fund ALEC, including the Kochs' Americans for Prosperity Group.

The emails were obtained after the Center for Media and Democracy filed an open records lawsuit against Pruitt for his two-year-long failure to respond to our open records requests. Read the rest of this item here.


Sessions Lied Under Oath and Must Resign

The March 1 bombshell revelation from the Washington Post that Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with Russia's ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, twice last year – after testifying under the oath to the contrary – has sparked calls for his resignation.

During his confirmation hearing, Sessions told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was unaware of any communications between anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 campaign. Acknowledging that many considered him to be a campaign surrogate, he made the blanket statement that "I did not have communications with the Russians." Read the rest of this item here.


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Get breaking news on these and other issues here, "Like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @PRwatch and @ALECexposed."


Exposed by CMD

Kochs Bankroll Movement to Rewrite the Constitution

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A constitutional convention, something thought impossible not long ago, is looking increasingly likely. Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, if 34 state legislatures "issue a call" for a constitutional convention, Congress must convene one. By some counts, the right-wing only needs six more states. Once called, delegates can propose and vote on changes and new amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which, if approved, are currently required to be ratified by 38 states.

There are two major legislative pushes for a convention at the state level. One would attempt to engineer a convention for a balanced budget amendment only, and the other tries to secure an open convention for the purpose of limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government. Read the rest of this item here.


Gorsuch Would Move the Supreme Court in the Wrong Direction

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Who the Senate confirms to fill the current vacancy at the U.S. Supreme Court will determine the nature of our elections for decades to come.

The Court is closely divided on the issue of whether to further open the floodgates for unlimited and undisclosed political spending or allow limits designed to prevent corruption and keep powerful special interests from drowning out the voices of voters. The next justice will tip the scales one way or the other.

While the Court may be split on what to do about the influence of big money in politics, the American people are not. Read the rest of this item here.


Featured SourceWatch Article

SourceWatch.org is an interactive wiki website that depends on readers like you to improve content. If you want to help us grow SourceWatch with well documented research and become a volunteer editor, click here for more information.

Excerpts from longer SourceWatch article:

Mike Pompeo

CIA Director Mike Pompeo
Michael Richard Pompeo is the director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and former Representative of Kansas's 4th Congressional District, where the global headquarters of Koch Industries is located. While serving as a Congressman, the Huffington Post described the Tea Party Republican as "the Koch brothers' point man in the House."[1] Koch Industries and its employees was Pompeo's largest contributor in each of his campaigns.

Pompeo was tapped by President Donald Trump to be the Director of the CIA on November 18, 2016. He was confirmed by the Senate 66-32 on January 23, 2017 and sworn in that night.[2]

Koch Industries Is Pompeo's Top Campaign Contributor

Representative Pompeo's largest contributor in his each of his Congressional campaign's was Koch Industries and its employees, totaling $375,100 since 2010.

Read the entire SourceWatch page on Mike Pompeo.

References

  1. Elliot Negin, The Koch Brothers Are Still Trying to Break Wind, Huffington Post, December 9, 2013.
  2. Matt Flegenheimer, Mike Pompeo is Confirmed to Lead C.I.A., as Rex Tillerson Advances, New York Times, January 23, 2017.


Editors' Pick

Groups, Members of Congress Call for Scrutiny of Gorsuch’s Record on Money in Politics

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The Center for Media and Democracy joined 120 other democracy reform and advocacy organizations in a letter to Senate leadership and the Senate Judiciary Committee calling for close scrutiny of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch's stance on Citizens United and the escalating influence of big money in politics.

The groups asked senators to "vigorously pursue this essential question:" Will Judge Gorsuch's legal philosophy lead him to strike down even more protections against the use of corporate or personal wealth to influence elections, such as candidate and party contribution limits, or will he permit sensible limits on political money in order to ensure the voices and will of all Americans are fully represented within the political process?

Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) and 109 other House members sent the Senate Judiciary Committee a similar letter asking the committee to "seek greater clarity regarding Judge Gorsuch's views on the Constitutional basis for our nation's campaign finance laws." Read the rest of this item here.


Featured Video

Days After Pruitt Becomes EPA Head, Newly Released Emails Show His Ties to Koch Bros. & Energy Firms

Days After Pruitt Becomes EPA Head, Newly Released Emails Show His Ties to Koch Bros. & Energy Firms
February 23, 2017 - Democracy Now! Thousands of pages of newly released emails reveal how EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt closely collaborated with oil, coal and gas companies backed by the Koch brothers to roll back environmental regulations during his time as Oklahoma attorney general. The documents were released just days after Pruitt was sworn in as the new head of the EPA, the agency tasked with curtailing pollution and safeguarding public health. Last week, Senate Democrats unsuccessfully attempted to postpone Pruitt’s final confirmation until the emails were released, but Republicans pressed forward and confirmed him in a 52-46 vote, largely along party lines. As Oklahoma attorney general, Pruitt sued the EPA 14 times. The trove of new documents shows how energy companies drafted language for Pruitt’s Attorney General’s Office to use to sue the EPA over environmental regulations. We speak to Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, which successfully sued for the emails to be released.


Koch Exposed

Follow the Money!

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The Center for Media and Democracy, publisher of ALEC Exposed, brings you this unique wiki resource on the billionaire industrialists and the power and influence of the Koch cadre and Koch cash.

Read about Koch Funding Vehicles:

Visit Koch Exposed for more.



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We Track Corporations and PR Spin

The Center for Media and Democracy publishes SourceWatch to track corporations.
  • We provide well-documented information about corporate public relations (PR) campaigns, including corporate front groups, people who "front" corporate campaigns, and PR operations.
  • Dating back to when tobacco companies deployed doctors to try to prevent labeling of cancer-causing cigarettes, many corporations use the "tobacco playbook" to hide behind neutral-looking "experts" as well as think tanks or non-profits in their efforts to influence or distort public policy to protect their bottom line or agenda--often a narrow agenda at odds with the broader public interest.
  • This specialized encyclopedia watches those sources and provides detailed information about corporations and special interests, using the collaborative "wiki" platform, like Wikipedia.

CMD relies on concerned citizens like you to keep this research online. You can contribute here.

Please visit SourceWatch's sister websites EXPOSEDbyCMD, to find our investigations and original documents we release, PRWatch, to read our original reporting, and ALECexposed, to see our award-winning investigation of a corporate front group where corporate lobbyists actually vote as equals with elected legislators on "model" legislation to change our rights.

Also, please check out the in-depth research from around the world by our partner projects within SourceWatch: CoalSwarm and FrackSwarm.

You can also use the sign up box below to get breaking news about our breakthrough investigations.

Lisa Graves, Executive Director

Praise for SourceWatch!

"As a journalist frequently on the receiving end of various PR campaigns, some of them based on disinformation, others front groups for undisclosed interests, [CMD's SourceWatch] is an invaluable resource."
Michael Pollan, author of The Botany of Desire

"Thanks for all your help. There's no way I could have done my piece on big PR and global warming without CMD [the Center for Media and Democracy] and your fabulous websites."
—Zoe Cormier, journalist, Canada

"The troublemakers at the Center for Media and Democracy, for example, point to dozens of examples of "greenwashing," which they defined as the "unjustified appropriation of environmental virtue by a company, an industry, a government or even a non-government organization to sell a product, a policy" or rehabilitate an image. In the center's view, many enterprises labeled green don't deserve the name.
—Jack Shafer, "Green Is the New Yellow: On the excesses of 'green' journalism," Slate.

"The dearth of information on the [U.S.] government [lobbying] disclosure forms about the other business-backed coalitions comes in stark contrast to the data about them culled from media reports, websites, press releases and Internal Revenue Service documents and posted by SourceWatch, a website that tracks advocacy groups."
—Jeanne Cummings, 'New disclosure reports lack clarity," Politico.

"The folks at the Center for Media and Democracy have done incredible work documenting fake grassroots ("astroturf") groups. Here, they're helping protect the rights of all Americans to exercise their right to vote. They are completely non-partisan. These guys are the real deal."

Craig Newmark, Craig's List

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