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For decades, the least democratic federal legal institution in the United States has been custom tailoring the body of laws that have the most profound influence on the functioning of our democracy. In 1976 the Supreme Court ruled that political donations are a form of speech and deserve First Amendment protections. In 2010 they ruled that corporations are people and gave them power to spend unlimited amounts of money on elections without having to disclose anything. A new constitutional amendment in the Senate seeks to regain control of campaign finance laws for Congress and state legislature.

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In my article yesterday refuting the claims Republicans are making in their attack ads alleging that conservative Democrats have liberal voting records, several people in the comments asked if I was going to address similar falsehoods in Democratic ads. I responded that of course I would if someone could show me an example of a Democratic attack ad that uses data to bolster lies. The suggestion was that I look at Obama's claim that the Chamber of Commerce is funding ads against Democrats with contributions from foreign entities. So let me address that.

Here's what we know about the Chamber:

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Kagan Confirmed

August 5, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Obama's latest Supreme Court nominee, Elana Kagan, was officially confirmed by the Senate on Thursday afternoon by a vote of 63-37. She'll be sworn in on Saturday, marking the first time in U.S. history that three women have served on the court simultaneously.

As the NYT reports, this wasn't exactly a slam-dunk confirmation:

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Democrats Preview Citizens United Bill

February 12, 2010 - by Eric Naing

While others have proposed unrealistic constitutional amendments to counter the Citizens United decision, two top Democrats have finally unveiled the party's official response limiting the influence of corporate money in campaigns.

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The Week In Review

January 29, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Congress felt like the center of the universe this week with the State of the Union on Wednesday, continuing negotiations on a number of issues and even a couple tough votes going down. Here's what we've been up to here at OpenCongress:

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Congress Links

January 28, 2010 - by Eric Naing

With the State of the Union behind us, Congress can get back to work. Most of the big-ticket items on Congress' agenda have been on hold until after the speech. Unfortunately, it not clear if Congress knows what it's going to do now:

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Congress Reacts To The Citizens United Case

January 25, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Last week's Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case allowing direct corporate spending on elections could drastically change how elections in this country play out. Now Democrats in Congress are brainstorming ways to react to the decision.

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The Week In Review

January 22, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Despite being one day shorter than usual, this week felt like non-stop parade of big news – almost all of it bad for the Democrats. Click through for a point-by-point rundown of what's happened over the past week and how it effects the biggest issues in Congress going forward.

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Congress Links -- SCOTUS And More Edition

January 21, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Today was a busy day in the Washington, D.C. with subjects such as health care to the Supreme Court grabbing headlines. Here's a look at some worthwhile articles and blog posts you might have missed: As Donny Shaw pointed out earlier, House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8] says she does not have enough votes in the House to pass the Senate health care bill. It wouldn't be surprising to see conservative and moderate House Democrats abandon the bill, but liberals too? Speaking for a dozen Ho...

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The Corporatization of Political Discourse

January 21, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

"The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that corporations may spend as freely as they like to support or oppose candidates for president and Congress, easing decades-old limits on business efforts to influence federal campaigns."

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This Week in Congress: Senate Wrap-Up

August 3, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The House of Representatives has already left Washington for their month-long August recess, but the Senate is in session for one more week. Before they leave for their recess on Friday, the Senate will hold a tough debate on the future of the cash for clunkers program, try to make some crucial progress on health care legislation, and confirm Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court.

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Watch the Sotomator Hearings

July 13, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Senate Judiciary Committee this morning is beginning their week-long series of confirmation hearings on Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Sonia Sotomayor. Most of today's hearing will be taken up by opening statements from each of the 19 members of the Judiciary Committee, and Sotomayor isn't expected to start responding to questions until late this afternoon. Click through to this post to watch the hearings live.

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