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CMD Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Prosecutors' Appeal in John Doe II Corruption Case

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On June 22, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), the Brennan Center for Justice, and Common Cause filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court urging the justices to grant a hearing and overturn a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling that shut down a criminal investigation into potentially illegal campaign coordination between Governor Scott Walker's campaign and groups that spent millions during the 2011-2012 recall elections.

The brief, submitted by CMD's General Counsel Arn Pearson, argues in part that the fundamental principle of a fair and independent tribunal deeply rooted in the U.S. Constitution was violated in the case due to the extraordinary conflicts of interest of two justices in the majority on the state's highest court. Brent Ferguson and Matthew Menendez from the Brennan Center also helped prepare the brief, along with John Brautigam, as counsel of record.

State Justices David Prosser and Michael Gableman denied a motion from the special prosecutor to step aside. Read the rest of this item here.


Koch Criminal Justice Reform Trojan Horse: Special Report on Reentry and Following the Money

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Charles Koch has taken a high-profile in pushing criminal justice reform. He recently likened his own devotion to that of Bernie Sanders.

In a 2015 interview with USA Today, Koch claimed that of the projected $889 million raised by his donor network, the "Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce," only $300 million would be spent on direct electoral politics, whereas, "A good part of the rest is education and research," Koch said, ticking off university grants and other projects he is supporting, including an overhaul of the criminal justice system. Read the rest of this item here.


CMD Wins Open Records Lawsuit against Governor Walker

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On Friday, May 27, a judge resoundingly rejected Gov. Scott Walker's elaborate efforts to hide from the public his role in deleting "the search for truth" and the Wisconsin Idea from the UW's mission statement.

And his effort to throw a cloak of secrecy over a wide range of decision making under the guise of protecting government "deliberations" from public view was also repudiated. Read the rest of this item here.


Kochs' Grassroots Leadership Academy Training Astroturf Army

David Koch
Image: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0
With no clear favorite in the 2016 U.S. presidential primary race--following Gov. Scott Walker's early exit and Trump's march toward the nomination--the Koch brothers have turned their attention (and opened their wallets) to races for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and state governorships.

But with the Kochs having already spent at least $400 million of $889 million committed to the 2016 election cycle, according to news reports, where is that money being spent?

An under-covered arm of the Koch political operations is a likely recipient of some of that cash and it's called Americans for Prosperity's "Grassroots Leadership Academy." Read the rest of this item here.


Is the EPA Being Pressured on Atrazine?

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The Environmental Protection Agency released a very troubling preliminary risk assessment that the routine use of the chemical atrazine is likely harming animals and our ecosystems.

Atrazine is manufactured and distributed by Syngenta, a foreign global chemical company, that markets the product in the U.S. to limit plants that may compete with commodity crops or would be considered weeds on golf courses.

The EPA memo that was released was hand-signed by six scientists in the U.S. government's Environmental Risk Branch of the Environmental Fate and Effects Division. The 500+ page study was subject to peer review by twelve other scientists. Read the rest of this item here.


ALEC Appoints New Chair To Climate Denial Task Force

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The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has named a new corporate chair for its task force that works to oppose action to tackle climate change: Jennifer Jura of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA).

NRECA is a powerful trade association that represents more than 900 independent electric utilities. Its annual spending lobbying Congress regularly exceeds $2 million each year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. This has included lobbying in support of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. It's Political Action Committee gives nearly $3 million per electoral cycle. Read the rest of this item here.


Recent Articles from PRWatch.org

ED: No Records on Closed Charters Mentioned in Its "Commitment to Transparency," CMD Appeals

On December 23, ED publicly issued a statement called "A Commitment to Transparency: Learning More about the Charter School Program."

That statement noted that it had spent more than $1.6 billion funding more than 2,600 charter schools that were "operational" in the last full school year and that it had funded 430 charters that had "subsequently closed," along with 699 "prospective schools."

However, ED released data for only the operational charter schools and did not list the 1,129 charters that either closed or had not yet opened since 2006. Read the rest of this item here.


ALEC's 2016 Agenda Moving in the States: A Snapshot

In states across the country, concerned citizens are asking state and local policymakers to raise the minimum wage, enact workplace reforms including earned sick days and the right to organize, stop the privatization of public schools, and help mitigate climate change. Opposition to these initiatives is fierce and growing and often nationally-driven and coordinated by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The Center for Media and Democracy has the lowdown on ALEC bills moving in states this year. Read the rest of this item here.


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Local Influence in Two Maps

In March of 2016, the Center for Media and Democracy exposed how a GOP polling firm is working with state chambers of commerce to defeat workplace reforms like increasing the minimum wage and paid sick leave, despite their own polling that shows that large majorities of state chamber members and CEOs are supportive of such measures. Read the rest of this item here.


Hi-Tech Hyper-Partisan Gerrymandering on Trial in Wisconsin

A case that advocates hope could go up to the U.S. Supreme Court and set a new standard against partisan gerrymandering is being heard in federal court in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin this week.

A group of Democratic Wisconsin voters are suing the State of Wisconsin, arguing that the legislative district maps drawn by GOP politicians in 2011 are so skewed and long-lasting that their voting rights were violated. Read the rest of this item here.


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Exposed by CMD

Peabody Coal Bankruptcy Reveals Climate Denial Network Funding

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Peabody Energy, the world’s largest private-sector coal company, has provided funds to a network of individuals, scientists, non-profits and political organizations espousing climate change denial and opposition to efforts to tackle climate change, according to newly available documents reviewed by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD/PRWatch).

Although the documents filed so far do not show the scale or precise dates of funding—they only list current creditors—they demonstrate for the first time that Peabody Energy has financial ties to a very large proportion of the network of groups promoting disinformation around climate change. Read the rest of this item here.


UPDATE Koch Candidates? Where Is the Koch Machine Spending in 2016 So Far

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Recent articles in the national media, such as this piece in the National Review, suggest that Charles and David Koch are less involved in national politics in the 2016 election cycle than in previous years. This latest PR effort comes despite the fact that $400 million of the $889 pledge by the Kochs through their "Freedom Partners" network has already been invested in the outcome of the 2016 elections, with more money to be spent.

A close examination of campaign finance disclosures and other data reveals that Team Koch has already identified some of their candidates for 2016 and in many cases has already started spending big on behalf of candidates in races for the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, state Governorships and state Attorney General races--as the presidential tickets remain unsettled and controversial. 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:

Republican State Leadership Committee

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The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) is a 527 group which surged onto the political scene in 2010 in an effort to elect right-wing politicians to state offices under the direction of former George W. Bush advisor Ed Gillespie, who is closely tied to Karl Rove. RSLC was a leader in 2010 redistricting efforts favorable to Republicans and received a massive infusion of cash from Rove's American Crossroads group. Politico has described RSLC as "one of the most influential outside players on the right."[1]

2015-2016 Election Cycle

As of March 2016, RSLC had received about $6 million in contributions and spent nearly $3 million during the 2016 election cycle, according to OpenSecrets.org, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics.[2]

Read the entire SourceWatch page on the Republican State Leadership Committee here.

References

  1. Alexander Burns, "Exclusive: Powerhouse GOP group snared in money scheme," Politico, August 4, 2014. Accessed August 5, 2014.
  2. Center for Responsive Politics, "Republican State Leadership Cmte", spending profile, Open Secrets database. Accessed March 28, 2016.


Editors' Pick

Another Koch Criminal Justice Reform Trojan Horse: Reentry and Privatization

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As Congress considers major criminal justice reforms to address the devastating impact of gross sentencing disparities that have devastated minority communities, the Koch machine is seeking changes to the law that would benefit Koch Industries and other corporations by limiting their criminal liability, as the Center for Media and Democracy documented in 2015.

But that's not the only part of the agenda of the billionaire Koch brothers' network that is in play.

Few policymakers understand the role the Koch-funded "think tanks" like the Texas Public Policy Foundation and its "Right on Crime" operation have played and are playing in the privatization of the criminal justice system, including in the area of "re-entry," a term of art for how people who have served their sentence re-enter society. Read the rest of this item here.


Rule of Law Project Breaks the Law While Backing Wisconsin AG Schimel, Complaint Alleges

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Back in October 2014, Republican Wisconsin attorney general candidate Brad Schimel was neck in neck with Susan Happ when a mysterious dark money group, with the phony name "Rule of Law Project," dropped into the race with a huge ad buy backing Schimel.

Now it appears the Rule of Law Project (ROLP) may have broken a few laws in its eagerness to elect an attorney general of its choosing. Yesterday, the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI and the IRS urging an investigation and alleging that the dark money group made false representations to the IRS.

The complaint also sheds some light on who might be bankrolling the phony issue-ad group. Read the rest of this item here.


Featured Video

Arizona's NBC 12 and CMD Expose ALEC's Corporate Influence on State Laws

Sunday Square Off, December 9, 2015
Phoenix Arizona's NBC affiliate KPNX hosted the Center for Media and Democracy's Executive Director Lisa Graves on the December 6 episode of "Sunday Square Off" to expose the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) effort to push corporate backed model legislation in state legislatures.


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 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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