Millions Of Dollars Versus Millions of Voters

In a democracy, every person has a single vote. Unfortunately, what is becoming increasingly true is that someone with millions of dollars and the willingness to fund front groups has the ability to influence millions of votes.
Take the issue of the Iraq War – by any and every national poll, millions of Americans want the war to stop as they see through the lies that got us in the war, the lies that have kept us in the war and now with even the Iraqi leadership asking we leave, the vast majority of Americans see no reason to fund billions on dollars in war every month.
However, despite their wishes and their votes, the wishes of the people are countered by the wishes of the few, or in today’s example, the wishes of one, Sheldon Adelson. Mr. Adelson is one of the very few wealthy “behind-the-scenes” manipulators that set up phony front groups and fund them with millions and millions of dollars to pollute our country’s discourse, smear people, spread fear and lies and the worst kinds of dirty stories. Every politician knows that this ugliness could be directed at them if they dare try to fight this kind of power.
Where do these Republican, pro-war front groups get so much money?

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Op-Ed Or Op-Lie?

By Dave Johnson and James Boyce of Smoking Politics
What could be more important than dealing with the threat of global warming? Exposing the companies and groups that continue to try and distort the issue for financial gain and holding the media accountable for their role and complicity in the continuing distortion of the truth.
Let’s be perfectly clear. Global warming is a scientific fact – it is not a political issue. But a few corporations are bringing in incredibly high profit margins from the status quo. These profits depend on Americans and people worldwide burning more and more oil instead of working to put less carbon into the air. So they pollute the “marketplace of ideas,” deceiving people by spreading the lie of doubt that global warming is a real problem.
Just as Big Tobacco was willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars denying for decades that cigarettes caused cancer while hundreds of thousands died from their product each year — spreading the same lie that the science was not clear — so too is Big Oil willing to invest heavily in the global warming deniers.
Doubt is our product” said the tobacco companies, and citizens continued to die. Now doubt is the product again – and the planet continues to grow hotter.

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A Particularly Poisonous Front Group

This piece originally appeared on The Patriot Project

Yet another big-money front group is working the scene – poisoning America’s pre-election civic discussion, spending $1 MILLION to saturate the radio with ads that say,

"Black babies are terminated at triple the rate of white babies," a female announcer in one of the ads says.

"The Democratic Party supports these abortion laws that are decimating our people, but the individual’s right to life is protected in the Republican platform. Democrats say they want our vote. Why don’t they want our lives?"

According to a story at the far-right NewsMax, (based on this NY Sun story)

Another ad tries to link Democrats to David Duke,a white supremacist who served as a Republican in the Louisiana Legislature. The spot refers to Duke’s trip to Syria last year, where he spoke at an anti-war rally.

"I can understand why a Ku Klux Klan cracker like David Duke makes nice with the terrorists," a male voice says. "What I want to know is why so many of the Democrat politicians I helped elect are on the same side of the Iraq war as David Duke."

Johnnie Griffin, a sociology professor at Indiana University, told the Sun: "This is so dirty, but it works. These are race ads. It’s incredible."

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California’s Capital Resource Institute — Isn’t This Illegal?

I became aware of California’s Capital Resource Institute because they mailed out a “Christians vote your conscience” e-mail today that was remarkably similar to those sent by Dobson’s Focus on the Family and others, encouraging people to vote for Republicans without technically using the word “Republican.”

When more Christians apply their biblical values at the ballot box, there will be a significant change in our government – more godly leaders will be elected to office and our laws will once again uphold the sanctity of human life, traditional marriage, and religious freedom.
… Just two years ago “Values Voters” made a huge difference in the 2004 election. Together we can make a huge difference in this one too.

Their website states, “Capitol Resource Institute is California’s leading pro-family grassroots advocacy group.” They are a 501 (c)3 : from their donations page:

Capitol Resource Institute, 1414 K Street, Suite 200, Sacramento, CA 95814. Your donations to CRI are tax-deductible under IRS code section 501(c)3.

The advisory board consists of Republican elected officials and a talk show host. Their Voter Information asks “Is Your State Legislator Family-Friendly?” and links to a Republican Party site: [note - PDF] http://www.californiarepublicanassembly.com/pdfs/CRALegislativeScorecard2005.pdf. Republicans score high, Dems score low. Duh.
501 (c)3 tax-exempt organizations are prohibited from conducting partisan operations, as Capital Resource Institute appears to be doing. This organization appears to be little more than a front group for the Republican Party, set up in a way to give tax breaks to party supporters. The Christian Coalition’s tax-exempt status was revoked for exactly this reason.
And look who shares the same offices: Pacific Research Institute. (More info here.) From the PRI website:

Sacramento Office:
1414 K Street, Suite 200