It’s good that the watchdog is barking, but we’d all better watch closely to see if it will bite. Here’s what Politico didn’t tell you. Political Money Line’s tabulations of PAC contributions show that securities and financial firms have given more money to Johnson than any other sector in the last three election cycles. In the current cycle, for example, almost two thirds of his $361, 582 in PAC money comes from such firms. In 2008, when he collected over $2 million in PAC contributions, the swag from that quarter amounted to over half a million dollars – and neither figure takes account of numerous individual contributions. Johnson calls his leadership PAC “South Dakota First,” but, not surprisingly, contributions to his campaign committee from New York and other states often run far ahead of receipts from his own state.
The House bill basically provides Israel with a blank check drawn on the U.S. taxpayer to maintain its “qualitative military edge” over all of its neighbors combined.
A number of congressmen spoke on the bill, affirming their undying dedication to the cause of Israel. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was the only one who spoke out against it, describing it as “one-sided and counterproductive foreign policy legislation. This bill’s real intent seems to be more saber-rattling against Iran and Syria.” Paul also observed that “this bill states that it is the policy of the United States to ‘reaffirm the enduring commitment of the United States to the security of the State of Israel as a Jewish state.’ However, according to our Constitution, the policy of the United States government should be to protect the security of the United States, not to guarantee the religious, ethnic, or cultural composition of a foreign country.” Paul voted “no” and was joined by only one other representative, John Dingell of Michigan, who represents a large Muslim constituency.
The tweak to the bill would essentially neutralize two previous acts—the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987—that had been passed to protect U.S. audiences from our own government’s misinformation campaigns.
The $13-billion Cayce, SC-based energy company has long wanted a permit to build two new nuclear reactors at its Jenkinsville, SC, facilities. Graham, one of the Senate’s strongest supporters of nuclear power, actively backed their efforts.
In February, the U.S. Nuclear Research Commission voted to approve the country’s first nuclear reactor construction permits in more than 30 years. Graham celebrated it as “a major step on the road to a nuclear renaissance,” adding, “I am hopeful SCANA and [its state-owned partner] Santee Cooper will be the next in line to receive permits for Jenkinsville.” He reiterated the message on Twitter the next day.
In a 51-47 vote, 43 Senate Republicans and four Democrats filibustered to protect $24 billion in tax breaks for Big Oil. Although a majority voted for Sen. Robert Menendez’s (D-NJ) bill, it fell short of the 60 needed. The only two Republicans to break rank were Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and retiring Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME).
A Think Progress Green analysis shows how oil and gas companies have funneled cash to the same senators who protected its handouts:
"I think these are very precarious times for women, it seems. So many of your rights are under assault," he told the crowd of mostly women. "I'll tell you this: Contribute your money to people who speak out on your behalf, because the other side -- my side -- has a lot of it. And you need to send your own message. You need to remind people that you vote, you matter, and that they can't succeed without your help."
Seeking to break a deadlock on a high-profile reform bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has moved to force a Senate vote on legislation to bar insider trading by lawmakers and staff.
Reid and McConnell want to move forward on the House version of the legislation. Two significant provisions were dropped by the lower chamber, angering some Democratic and Republican lawmakers in both chambers. The House also expanded the bill to cover executive branch agencies.
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