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Harvard prof. embarks on 185-mile trek to battle campaign corruption

Harvard prof. lessigFifteen years ago, an 88-year-old woman named Dorris Haddock sensed that something was seriously amiss with the way campaigns were financed in the United States. Affixing a sign that said simply “Campaign Finance Reform” to her chest, she embarked on a 3,200 mile walk across 12 states to rally support behind measures to rid the political system of corruption and influence.

Haddock is credited with helping to galvanize public will around the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act, which was signed into law in 2002. Nonetheless, two months before she died at the age of 100, the Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission decision, which undid many of the limits put in place on campaign finance and heralded a new era in unprecedented spending by special interests and corporations.

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Liz Cheney quitting bid to unseat Wyoming's Enzi

Liz CheneyLiz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said Monday she is abandoning her effort to unseat Republican incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming.  Cheney cited "serious health issues" that "have recently arisen in our family" as the reason for her decision.

But her candidacy had raised hackles in the Republican Party and caused a public rift with her sister, Mary, a lesbian, over Liz Cheney's opposition to gay marriage.

In her withdrawal statement, Cheney did not mention those controversies.

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Facebook and Microsoft help fund rightwing lobby network, report finds

facebook and MS support right wing groupsSome of America’s largest technology and telecoms companies, including Facebook, Microsoft and AT&T, are backing a network of self-styled “free-market thinktanks” promoting a radical rightwing agenda in states across the nation, according to a new report by a lobbying watchdog.

The Center for Media and Democracy asserts that the State Policy Network (SPN), an umbrella group of 64 thinktanks based in each of the 50 states, is acting as a largely beneath-the-radar lobbying machine for major corporations and rightwing donors.

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Report: Think tanks tied to Koch Brothers

koch brothersA network of think tanks across the country is quietly pushing the agenda of right-wing groups with funding from Koch brothers-affiliated organizations, a new report alleges.

The study, by the liberal Center for Media and Democracy, is aimed at the State Policy Network, which describes itself as “dedicated solely to improving the practical effectiveness of independent, nonprofit, market-oriented, state-focused think tanks,” which are operating in all 50 states. The tax-exempt group seeks to “enable these organizations to better educate local citizens, policy makers and opinion leaders about market-oriented alternatives to state and local policy challenges.”

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Koch group, unions battle over Colorado schools race

Koch BrothersIt isn’t often that the Koch brothers’ political advocacy group gets involved in a local school board race.

But this fall, Americans for Prosperity is spending big in the wealthy suburbs south of Denver to influence voters in the Douglas County School District, which has gone further than any district in the nation to reshape public education into a competitive, free-market enterprise.

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Fringe Factor: End Homosexuality With a Class Action Lawsuit

Fringe factor: Sue homosexualsEnough attempting to suppress homosexuality by banning gay marriage from state to state. Tea Party leader Rick Scarborough is focused on the bigger picture. At a Tea Party Unity gathering on Thursday, Scarborough chatted with Americans for Truth About Homosexuality President Peter LaBarbera about his grand scheme for taking on the homosexuality lobby with a class action lawsuit like the one pursued against the major tobacco companies.

“The whole issue of a class action lawsuit, you and I have talked about this a little bit,” Scarborough said. “Obviously, statistically now even the Centers for Disease Control verifies homosexuality more likely to lead to AIDS than smoking leads to cancer.

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Democrat upset in House special election carries warning for GOP

Amanda MurphyThe budget shutdown that wounded the Republican brand last week also inflicted pain on the GOP in Florida: The party lost a seat held for decades by Republicans, and Gov. Rick Scott was hit with a hurdle to his reelection strategy.

The governor has spent the last six months distancing himself from his February decision to embrace taking $51 billion from the federal government to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and the disastrous enrollment rollout appeared to help Republicans keep the issue from returning in the next legislative session.

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