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Billy Corriher at the Center for American Progress writes Koch Brothers and D.C. Conservatives Spending Big on Nonpartisan State Supreme Court Races:


In his 2010 dissent in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens warned that the majority had “unleashe[d] the floodgates of corporate and union general treasury spending” in judicial elections. Justice Stevens wrote, “States […] after today, may no longer have the ability to place modest limits on corporate electioneering even if they believe such limits to be critical to maintaining the integrity of their judicial systems.” As if to underscore his concerns, judicial campaign cash set a record in 2012, and for the first time, the type of independent spending unleashed by Citizens United and other federal court rulings nearly exceeded the amount spent by the candidates.

The 2014 judicial elections could see even more campaign cash, thanks to unprecedented plans by national partisan groups to spend millions to influence this year’s judicial races. The Washington, D.C.-based Republican State Leadership Committee, or RSLC, is now the first national party organization focused on electing judges. The RSLC was the biggest spender in the May 5 North Carolina Supreme Court primary election, and four of the seven seats on the court are up for grabs in November.

The RSLC tried unsuccessfully to unseat three Tennessee Justices on August 7. The group’s opposition campaign was aided by its “strategic partner” group, the State Government Leadership Foundation, or SGLF, and the Koch brothers-affiliated Americans for Prosperity, or AFP, both of which are organized under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code. Groups claiming this tax status are not legally required to disclose the source of their money. Although all of the funders for these groups are not disclosed, it is known that the Koch brothers founded and substantially fund AFP, and the brothers’ corporation—Koch Industries—is one of the biggest donors to the RSLC.

The RSLC, organized under Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code, describes itself as “the only national organization whose mission is electing Republicans” to statewide office. The RSLC recently announced that its Judicial Fairness Initiative would “educate” the public about judicial candidates. The RSLC, combined with its SGLF partner, was one of the biggest spenders in the August 7 Tennessee Supreme Court election. The race saw nearly $1.5 million in cash for television ads, and two groups funded by RSLC—the Tennessee Forum and SGLF—spent more than $500,000. The RSLC helped fund attack ads in an unprecedented opposition campaign in which three judges were vying for new terms on the state supreme court.

Unlike previous Tennessee judicial elections, the justices were forced to run ads funded by campaign cash from attorneys with a financial stake in the court’s rulings. Given its deep pockets, the RSLC could come to dominate nonpartisan judicial elections across the country—just as it has in Tennessee. More money means more attack ads and more fundraising by judicial candidates. […]

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2010Architect of health insurance mandate leads GOP 2012 field:

As Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney basically wrote the blueprint for health care reform bill signed into law by President Obama this past March.

Now, as a likely contender for his party's presidential nomination in 2012, he's leading the field, according to the most recent Clarus Group survey conducted last month. Romney gets 26% of the GOP vote compared to 21% for Mike Huckabee. Newt Gingrich is at 14% and Sarah Palin as at 12%.

The cognitive dissonance is deafening: GOPers have declared the health insurance mandate public enemy number one, but more of them support the guy who helped make them become reality than any other candidate. Sure, Romney now tries to pretend he hates the mandate, but he passed into law as governor, embraced it during the 2008 primary campaign, and he wouldn't be able to walk away from it in 2012.

Tweet of the Day
Is there any purpose for police to wear camo other than to look like soldiers? Not a lot of dense vegetation in Ferguson.

On today's Kagro in the Morning show: Robin Williams. Ferguson. A song parody by Lauren Mayer. How to get rich people to give you money. Don Siegelman's trial judge is arrested. Gideon reminds us of last month's "how to motivate reluctant voters" story. Parleo says a brand new party sweeping politics in Spain. Then, from "5 Insane Things I Learned as a Foreign Aid Worker" to anti-terrorism "corruption" to militarized cops, via a Chris Hayes tweet. Back to Tucker Carlson: his claims are crap, and enemy of the people said I let him off too easy, so we let Hunter tell us why Carlson's so vile.

High Impact Posts. Top Comments

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Comment Preferences

  •  This time its personal (13+ / 0-)

    "The Democrats and the Republicans are equally corrupt where money is concerned. It's only in the amount where the Republicans excel." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 08:02:00 PM PDT

  •  Racist coward shout epithets....from a moving car (6+ / 0-)
    ‘Go back to Africa,’ man yells as he films his own drive-by racist tirade in Ferguson:

    An unidentified Missouri man posted, then took down, video of himself spewing insults and racial slurs while driving past a group of Black residents in Ferguson, Crooks and Liars reported.

    “If it was a white person, nobody would care,” the man can be heard saying while passing a local convenience store that was vandalized during the two nights of demonstrations and looting following the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. “F*ck y’all.”

    As the car makes its way through the parking lot, an unidentified woman yells at the man to leave the area, to which he responds, “Go back to Africa. If it was a white person, nobody would give a f*ck. Look at that n*gger.”

    “I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me.” ― Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 08:14:43 PM PDT

    •  So cruel and insensitive (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jeff Y, JeffW, Eric Nelson, tobendaro

      How anyone can live with ill feelings towards others like that is simply beyond my comprehension.

      The bully in the school yard AKA insecure in their own skin.

      "Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress Chris Christie. But I repeat myself." ~ Mark Twain, (with a twist) ;o)

      by Terre on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 08:21:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  In my fantasy version of that clip, the fuel line (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jeff Y, JeffW, Eric Nelson

      clogs and that car dies right in the middle of the lot.

      Sadly, Unfortunately, Ironically, the police that normally would have responded are all down at the Rub-A-Dub & Suds washing their camo for tonight's festivities.

      Dick Cheney really needs to Shut The Fuck Up.

      by here4tehbeer on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 08:36:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pope Francis' Top 10 Hits for Happiness (5+ / 0-)

    This may have been posted here already, but in case you didn't see it:

    From the Catholic News Service:

    In an interview published in part in the Argentine weekly "Viva" July 27, the pope listed his Top 10 tips for bringing greater joy to one's life:

     1.)  Live and let live.
     2.)  Be giving of yourself to others.
     3.)  "Proceed calmly" in life.
     4.)  A healthy sense of leisure.
     5.)  Sundays should be holidays.
     6.)  Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people.
     7.)  Respect and take care of nature.
     8.)  Stop being negative.
     9.)  Don't proselytize; respect others' beliefs.
    10.)  Work for peace.

    Click the link above to read his explanation of each tip.

    Love every one of them, though I'd probably skip on #5.

    "Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress Chris Christie. But I repeat myself." ~ Mark Twain, (with a twist) ;o)

    by Terre on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 08:16:46 PM PDT

    •  When I first heard of this list, I expected a (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, Terre

      barrage of religious prescriptions. There's very little of that.
      Much of it is quite rational and easygoing: for example, don't proselytize, along with "live and let live."

      Compare what a fundie in the U.S. might say.

      "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

      by Wildthumb on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 09:19:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If you'd skip #5, I hope you'd choose another day. (0+ / 0-)

      Nice thing about Sunday, lots of others are available to do things (or just hang out) with.

      Bad thing about Sunday, lots of others are doing things or hanging out.

      I used to have a job that I'd set up to be 4 days a week with Wednesdays off. Was really nice to have that midweek day to myself. Stores were easier to deal with and matinee movies were never crowded.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 02:01:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Interesting. (0+ / 0-)

      Right after telling us to "stop being negative", he tells us not to do something. Not that it's a bad admonition, but it grated on me a bit.

      There's me being negative.

      reality based, not really biased

      by NE2 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 02:18:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bad link? Corriher article just comes back (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades

    to this page.

    Help us to save free conscience from the paw Of hireling wolves whose gospel is their maw. ~John Donne

    by ohiolibrarian on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 08:23:00 PM PDT

  •  Police state being constructed with support of (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Says Who, JeffW, Jeff Y, Eric Nelson


  •  When Druggy Limbaugh kicks the bucket (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Wildthumb, Calamity Jean, Creosote

    I'm going to find his grave site and let my dog piss on it.

    Rush Limbaugh: Robin Williams killed himself because of a ‘political leftist’ attitude:

    “What is the left’s world view in general?” Limbaugh asked his audience the day after Williams’ death was announced. “If you had to attach, not a philosophy, but an attitude to a leftist world view. It’s one of pessimism, and darkness, sadness. They’re never happy, are they?”

    “They’re animated in large part by the false promises of America because the promises of America are not for everyone,” he continued, pointing to a Fox News report that suggested Williams had struggled with financial issues, and survivor’s guilt after the deaths of entertainers like Christopher Reeve, Andy Kaufman and John Belushi.

    “Well, that is a constant measurement that is made by political leftists in judging the country.”

    “I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me.” ― Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 08:43:11 PM PDT

    •  Wife numer 4 will probably have him... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jeff Y, Eric Nelson, Calamity Jean

      ...cremated, and one of his assistants will scatter his ashes all around the radio station, like a big cigar.

      Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

      by JeffW on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 09:01:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It used to be said of him that he didn't really (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, Calamity Jean, tobendaro

      believe some of this stuff; that he did it to make a name for himself on the right, etc. Now we all know that he does believe this stuff, and he's gotten far more venomous, hateful, racist, and sickening over time.

      I remember someone saying when he married wife number two (or was it three?) that this time this one would mellow him out and you'd hear a different Rush on the radio. Imagine.

      "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

      by Wildthumb on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 09:23:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I listened to him years ago when he was funny (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Background noise while I worked.

        Didn't listen on a regular basis, but he was on the local talk station and I sometimes turned that on to drown out the rest of the world.

        In recent years, not worth listening to.  Thank goodness for internet streaming.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 02:04:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Judicial elections are insanity. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Jeff Y, Eric Nelson, Simplify, Creosote

    Making them into a commodity for purchase is a huge step in the wrong direction. But the whole concept needs to be abolished for the same reason that District Attorneys should be barred from any higher office. You don't want either catering to the whims of the crowd.

    "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

    by 2020adam on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 08:44:31 PM PDT

  •  Now I see for real why Justice Sandra Day O'Conner (6+ / 0-)

    ..and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg were so concerned
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg: End Local Judicial Elections - March 11 2010

    [Justice] Ginsburg was speaking Thursday at a conference of female judges, many who are elected. She approves of the campaign by her former colleague, retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, to end judicial elections and the vast sums of money spent on those campaigns.

    Ginsburg says that if there's one reform she would make, that would be it.

    From tonight's posted article (I'm pretty sure it's the article - the link doubled back and didn't work out) by Center for American Progress / By Billy Corriher:
    The report concluded, “When campaign costs rise, all judges feel the pressure to please interest groups that spend big on judicial races.”

    The Koch brothers and the RSLC are pouring big money into these nonpartisan races. Increasing campaign cash will lead to more pressure on judges to issue rulings that please campaign contributors and more pressure to appear tough on crime. This increased interest in state judicial elections is simply an effort to protect conservative legislative agendas from legal challenges.

     - emphasis added

    Dark money that's been part of the underhanded dealing coming from the right for awhile:
    ..a group that pioneered dark money—campaign cash from undisclosed donors—and soft-on-crime attack ads in judicial elections. Years before the Citizens United decision, the secretive Law Enforcement Alliance of America, or LEAA, was running attack ads against judicial candidates it did not like.
    rotten to the core politics - the GOP

    Thx MB

  •  Tweet pf The Day (0+ / 0-)

    How do you spell:

    P-O-L-I-C-E S-T-A-T-E
  •  Answer to Twitter question... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Yes.  The reason the pohliece in Ferguson, MO wear camo is so that they can really stand out for several reasons: 1) ego, 2) not to be shot at by other pohliece, 3) or budgetary considerations where buying from the lo-cost Pentagon is a real personal $$$ saver.

    “…violence is mimetic, one act of violence sowing the seeds for the next.” Jules Fraser

    by dharmasyd on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 09:36:12 PM PDT

  •  I love this new... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, JeffW, Eric Nelson

    ...navajo owl banner graphic.  It's so subtle.  Whoo Whoo...

    “…violence is mimetic, one act of violence sowing the seeds for the next.” Jules Fraser

    by dharmasyd on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 10:05:56 PM PDT

  •  How's everything working? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, Simplify

    Anyone experiencing any difficulties with the Stitcher audio player I used for today's KITM podcast, embedded at the bottom of the post?

    It's been over a year since I used their player, but last time we did, there were some issues with auto-playing, or some related phenomenon. It never happened to me on any browser I used, but there were complaints from a few folks, and I was just curious whether there were still issues with it.

    Anyone having any trouble?

  •  When Citizens Untied came out I read that State (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave, Creosote

    Supreme Courts were the low hanging fruit for the 1% to pluck.

    "The Democrats and the Republicans are equally corrupt where money is concerned. It's only in the amount where the Republicans excel." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 10:24:14 PM PDT

    •  They seem to have plucked the CA Supreme (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      California Supreme Court blocks Citizens United measure from ballot

      The California Supreme Court on Monday halted state action on a non-binding ballot measure seeking voter opinion about a landmark U.S. Supreme Court campaign finance decision known as Citizens United, a move supporters and opponents agree will remove the measure from the November ballot.

      The court ordered Secretary of State Debra Bowen to hold off placing the measure on the ballot pending court review. The measure, which asks Californians if Congress should overturn the landmark U.S. Supreme Court campaign finance decision, would have no binding legal effect, even if approved by the voters.

      Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action. UID: 9742

      by Shockwave on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 11:37:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The RSLC tried unsuccessfully to unseat three (0+ / 0-)

    Tennessee Justices on August 7.

    That is the most important sentence in the whole piece.

    Money is important.
    Money can make a difference, especially when the candidates are shit.

    Money is not votes.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 02:07:24 AM PDT

  •  The most puzzling tactic for marketing the ACA (0+ / 0-)

    to liberals has been the continued gloating about its similarity to Romneycare, as if that were somehow appealing to liberals.   It's not.  Never has been.   I don't know any liberal who celebrates the fact that the great reforms we were promised in 2008 ended up being little more than nationalized Romneycare with a Medicaid expansion tacked onto it.

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