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Boom Years for Congress

December 27, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

Between 1984 and 2009, the average net worth of American families has decreased by about .7 percent. But for the folks in Washington that we elect year after year to make laws for us and spend our money, these past few decades haven't been so bad. Over the same time period that average Americans experienced a slight decrease in their net worth, members of Congress, on average, have enjoyed a increase in their worth of about 159 percent.

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Supercommittee: Occupied

October 27, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

We know that corporations and special interests that can afford $30,000 - $50,000 per month "access lobbyists" are getting their say in front of the supercommittee. According to Politico, lobbyists are receiving special readouts from closed-door supercommittee meetings and then scheduling one-on-ones with supercommittee members so their clients can protect their interests.

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McConnell Backs Earmark Ban

November 15, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell [R, KY] has reversed course and will now back Sen. Jim DeMint's [R, SC] earmark moratorium for the 112th Congress. A vote on banning earmarks will be held privately in the GOP conference meeting scheduled for tomorrow, but if doesn't pass there, DeMint and his main ally, Sen. Tom Coburn [R, OK], will force a vote on the moratorium on the Senate floor Wednesday as an amendment to the food safety bill. But is the moratorium really a good idea, or just a political stunt?

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Explore Political Influence in One Click

September 17, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Sunlight Foundation has just launched their latest tool for getting at the web of influence surrounding our elected officials, and it's definitely worth checking out -- Influence Explorer. It's a dirt simple way to get all the key info on the connections, financial or otherwise, between politicians, organizations and powerful people at both the state and federal level.

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As I've been writing about on this blog for weeks, Senate Democrats are trying to pass a bill (H.R. 4213) combining an unemployment insurance extension, stimulative tax credits, state aid for Medicaid, and tax hikes on hedge funds and oil companies. They need at least two Republican votes in order to break a filibuster, but, so far, no Republicans are going along with them. CongressDaily ($) reports this morning that the Dems are changing up their strategy. Rather than trying to strike a deal with the GOP, they are going to work directly with the infamous fourth branch of government -- corporate lobbyists:

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Bayh, Lobbyists Fight To Preserve Government Subsidies

February 18, 2010 - by Eric Naing

The White House is again trying to end government subsides to the student loan industry but a multi-million dollar lobbying effort is pushing back.

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As the summer of the Democrats' discontent winds to a close, the head count for health care reform in the Senate begins in earnest. One of the key Democratic senators on the fence is Sen. Blanche Lincoln, a member of the Senate Finance Committee and one of the most vulnerable Democrats in the 2010 election. Lincoln jumped into the news today with a quote to a reporter stating her opposition to a public option plan in a health care reform bill. "I would not support a solely government-funded public option. We can't afford that," Lincoln said. The senior Arkansas senator is also the top recipient of campaign contributions from the health industry among senators this year.

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