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CBS 60 Minutes: Can Citizens Get Heard If Congress Has Leadership PAC Loophole Bribes?

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Seal of the United States Federal Election Com...

Seal of the United States Federal Election Commission. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s no way for Americans to get true democracy unless we force a constitutional amendment outlawing Congress  from voting on their own salary increases and outlawing elected officials from receiving ANY kind of financial benefit from any person or corporation for campaign or personal use. All money should go to a vast pool managed independently by a board of citizens who approve expenditures with complete transparency. CBS’ 60 Minutes did a report on the little known Leadership PAC loophole that Congress voted quietly as a workaround to campaign finance laws passed in 1989. As we also have seen with the NSA scandal and the WikiLeaks exposes, elected officials could care less about the voice of Americans and have hijacked our democracy for their own enrichment at the expense of our future. We should vote every single member of Congress out of office and force more than two parties to be viable.

For some background on this tragic robbery of Americans, here’s a summary of Leadership PACs provided by OpenSecrets.org:

Politicians collect money for their own campaigns — we all know that. But many of them also raise a separate pot of money, commonly called a leadership political action committee, to help other politicians. By making donations to members of their party, ambitious lawmakers can use their leadership PACs to gain clout among their colleagues and boost their bids for leadership posts or committee chairmanships. Politicians also use leadership PACs to lay the groundwork for their own campaigns for higher office. And some use their PACs to hire additional staff—sometimes even their family members—and to travel around the country or eat in some of Washington’s finest restaurants. The limits on how a politician can spend leadership PAC money are not especially strict.

PAC Contributions to Federal Candidates

Election cycle: 2012       

Total Amount: $46,419,254   Total to Democrats: $17,713,353 (38%) Total to Republicans: $28,638,901 (62%) Number of PACs making contributions: 456

https://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/industry.php?txt=Q03&cycle=2012

Most of us associate PACs — political action committees — with business, labor or ideology. However, federal politicians — senators and representatives — often form what is called a Leadership PAC to, among other things, raise money to help fund other candidate campaigns. Politicians often do this because they have their eye on a leadership position in Congress or a higher office.

In the midst of campaign finance reform debate, the NYT reported in 1999 that “Leadership PAC’s are the fastest-growing segment of political fund-raising.” At that time, more than 30 senators and 75 representatives had established a Leadership PAC.

Under Federal Election Commission (FEC) rules, a Leadership PAC is known as a “nonconnected PAC.”  In January 2008, the FEC reported 1,300 “non-connected” PACs. The FEC did not break out Leadership PACs from this category. [See a list of non-connected PACs that made contributions of at least $60,000 in the 2006 and 2008 election cycles. pdf]

Funding  Limits

PACs — including Leadershp PACs — may receive up to $5,000 from an individual, other PAC or party committee each calendar year. PACs set up by corporations, labor unions, membership organizations or trade associations “can only solicit contributions from individuals associated with connected or sponsoring organization” (FEC). These are “segregated funds” organizations.

Leadership PACs can solicit donations from anyone.

http://uspolitics.about.com/od/finance/a/leadership_pac.htm

Here’s the 60 Minutes link:

PAC dollars used to employ family members raise ethical questions

 “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft looks into a practice that has long been an open secret in Washington – politicians using political action committee funds to employ family members.

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50157385n

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Written by voiceoftruthusa

October 21, 2013 at 12:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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