Category Archives: Citizens United

With One Year To Spare, Trump Breaks Record for Judges Appointed in First Term

President Donald Trump has so remade the face of the judiciary that, with a year to spare, he’s already broken the record for judges appointed in his first term. Surprisingly, the president is taking a victory lap in celebration of the event. (OK … maybe it’s not so surprising.) Earlier this week, Trump took to…

The post With One Year To Spare, Trump Breaks Record for Judges Appointed in First Term appeared first on The Western Journal.

Dem Rep Decries Wealthy Donors Corrupting Politics, Accepts Max Donation From Billionaire

Rep. Ted Deutch (D., Fla.) has railed against wealthy donors corrupting elections over the last couple years, but he received $5,600 from liberal billionaire Donald Sussman in September.

Deutch received two $2,800 donations from Sussman, a billionaire hedge fund manager, on Sept. 3, maxing out the legal amount an individual donor can give a congressional campaign each election cycle. The donation came one year after Deutch criticized the influence that billionaires have in politics. The Florida Democrat said the Constitution is “sacred” and “isn’t something that should be up for sale or be changed at will by billionaires that can buy elections.”

The Deutch campaign did not respond to a request for comment about the donation.

In 2017, Deutch joined other congressional Democrats to reintroduce the Democracy for All Amendment, which would “help to reverse the concentration of political influence held by large corporations and the wealthiest Americans capable of spending millions of dollars in American elections.”

“The Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision reserved meaningful political participation for the rich and wealthy special interests,” said Deutch. “At every turn and on nearly every issue, from gun safety to climate change, unlimited political spending ensures that Congress is tuned in to the needs of special interests and tunes out the voices of the American people. It’s time to get money out of politics to guard our elections against a dangerous threat that erodes the faith of the American people in our democratic institutions.”

Deutch also took $5,400 from Sussman in 2017 and $2,700 in 2016.

End Citizens United, a PAC focused on getting big money out of politics and advancing campaign finance reform, has repeatedly praised Deutch on Twitter for his leadership. The PAC, which did not return a request for comment, donated $1,000 to his campaign in September.

Sussman has donated tens of millions of dollars to Democratic candidates, as well as super PACs that shield the identities of their donors. He made several multimillion-dollar donations to the Priorities USA super PAC and Senate Majority PAC. He has also donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the Democratic National Committee over multiple election cycles.

Sussman’s political fundraising has attracted legal attention. In May, a federal grand jury in Tallahassee issued at least one subpoena to investigate Andrew Gillum, the former Tallahassee mayor and failed gubernatorial candidate. Sussman, who donated $1.5 million to Gillum’s campaign, was also named in the subpoena, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

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Pro-Medicare for All PAC Supports Mark Kelly, But He Hasn’t Come Out to Support It

Mark Kelly, a Democratic Senate candidate in Arizona, has repeatedly avoided taking a position on Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I., Vt.) “Medicare for all” bill, but the political action committee whose support he touted has made the issue one of their top priorities.

The End Citizens United PAC created a petition to pressure Democrats to support “Medicare for all,” and on Monday Kelly celebrated getting their endorsement. He praised them for being a “powerful voice for getting big and secret money out of politics and putting control back in the hands of the people.”

While End Citizens United primarily focused on getting money out of politics, they have also publicly supported political issues, including “Medicare for all.” On their website, they ask Democrats to “demand Congress pass Medicare for All.”

“Bernie Sanders is about to introduce Medicare for All!” the website reads. “But Republicans will do anything to stop us, so we need every Democrat to take a stand right now.”

As recently as last week, Kelly was asked whether he supports the plan, prompting him to dodge the question and instead provide a generic response about health care rights in the United States.

“I think everybody has a right, as a country as wealthy as ours, we should be able to provide affordable health care that people are going to be able to get if they’re sick, if they have a preexisting condition like this young son of this mother, that they’re not going to lose if they later get sick, and they’re not going to reach some cap and they get kicked off of. We should be able to do that in an effective way,” Kelly said.

The Intercept and the Arizona Capitol Times both have noted how Kelly has been cautious not to explicitly support “Medicare for all.” The Capitol Times said Kelly “balked” at the single-payer, or “Medicare for all” question.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’m going to have to figure this out over time.”

In addition to the healthcare issue, End Citizens United’s endorsement of Kelly follows Rep. Ruben Gallego’s (D., Ariz.) criticism of Kelly, slamming him for breaking his “no corporate PAC money” pledge and having ties to special interests.

Gallego, who recently decided not to run against Kelly in Arizona’s Democratic primary to challenge Sen. Martha McSally (R., Ariz.), voiced his concerns over the hypocrisy of Kelly’s previous corporate speaking gigs during an interview with the Intercept.

“It’s kind of weird, though, to say you’re not taking corporate PAC money, but then also directly taking corporate PAC money into your personal account,” Gallego said. “I don’t understand why even take that pledge if you’re not personally living that.”

Some of the corporate speaking gigs were sponsored by Goldman Sachs, Optum, and Mortgage Bankers Association, according to the Intercept:

In 2017, he and his brother, Scott, were the keynote speakers at the annual forum for Optum, a $100 billion subsidiary of UnitedHealth, the country’s largest health insurance company. Earlier that year, he and Scott spoke at the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit in the Cayman Islands. An event also attended heavily by hedge fund and private equity executives, the summit is “a not-for-profit event dedicated to supporting financial services both in the Cayman Islands and internationally.”

In 2016, Kelly and his brother addressed the annual convention of the Mortgage Bankers Association in Boston, where Megyn Kelly was the keynote speaker. Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Quicken Loans were among the event’s sponsors. He also spoke at the group’s 2014 National Mortgage Servicing Conference in Orlando.

He and his brother gave the keynote address at the 2016 annual ThoughtSpot conference hosted by Good Neighbor Pharmacy and AmerisourceBergen, a pharmaceutical company currently under federal investigation for its relation to opioids and drug diversion.

The same year, Kelly and his brother addressed the Goldman Sachs Professional Investor Forum. And in 2015, he spoke as part of the company’s “Talks at GS” series.

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