July 2, 2014 Sen. Bernie Sanders 332 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510 Re: S. 268; “Carried Interest Loophole”; Regulation of Hedge Funds Dear Sen. Sanders: I am writing to you because you are a champion, fighting to change the disastrous course our country has taken. You seek a more just, humane, and ultimately stronger union. Though I know you are aware of the many areas our country significantly lags behind OECD member nations, there are two areas where we hold the shameful distinction of leading all others: income inequality and social immobility. Indeed, this has not been the land of opportunity for some time. The playing field, as some have aptly put it, has been “rigged.” And though you have been leading efforts to deal with the student loan crisis, the corrupting influence of money in politics, and raising the minimum wage, among others, there is one area … Continue Reading…..
Ironically, the success of the Working Families Party in building a viable alternative to our two major parties since its founding in 1998, led to a monumentally difficult decision at its nominating convention this past weekend: whether to endorse Gov. Andrew Cuomo for reelection or a challenger, Zephyr Teachout, a Fordham University law professor, expert in political corruption and campaign finance reform, and former internet organizing director for Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign. The WFP endorsed Cuomo in 2010 only to see him abandon the progressive agenda they believed he would champion. Among Cuomo’s 2010 promises was cleaning up Albany by reforming New York’s campaign finance laws and incestuous redistricting process. He caved on the latter, and failed to lead on the former for four straight years, all the while building up a $34 million campaign war chest from wealthy individual and corporate donors. His tax and fiscal policies have … Continue Reading…..
This past week, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, obliterated the aggregate limit in place since 1974 on the total amount an individual can directly contribute to federal candidates, national parties, and political committees in a two-year election cycle ($123,200 for 2013-14). The aggregate limit in federal elections was enacted to hinder the corrupting influence of money in politics following the Watergate Scandal and remained generous enough so that only an estimated 2300 donors were affected by it in 2012. As a result of the Court’s decision the aggregate limit no longer exists. The case, McCutcheon v FEC, was brought by wealthy businessman Shaun McCutcheon and the Republican National Committee. They argued that restricting McCutcheon’s wish to exceed federal limits on campaign contributions violated his freedom of speech guarantee under the First Amendment. The Court’s reasoning continued its tradition of using the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech … Continue Reading…..