Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Plutocracy Watch!

On Friday night, Ed Conard put an end to a mystery that had been growing in political circles when he sent a statement to Politico identifying himself as the person behind a $1 million contribution to a “super PAC” that backs Mitt Romney’s campaign for the presidency. “I am the individual who formed and funded W Spann LLC. I authorized W Spann LLC’s contribution to Restore Our Future PAC.”

The donation made headlines because it just looked so fishy. On Thursday, NBC’s Michael Isikoff wrote that the “mystery company” that gave $1 million to a political committee backing Mitt Romney only existed for a few months. At the time, Isikoff said that the donation “provides a vivid example of how secret campaign cash is being funneled in ever more circuitous ways into the political system.

Conard said he asked Restore Our Future to amend its records to disclose him as the donor, and the PAC’s spokeswoman issued a statement saying it would do so. Conard was a top official at Bain Capital, which was cofounded by Romney. He had listed the company’s location to the same Madison Avenue address as Bain’s, which had raised even more suspicions. But Politico says that while Conard retired from Bain in 2007 he still “maintains an office of his own at that Madison Avenue address.”

The company, W Spann LLC was formed in March, and gave the donation to Restore Our Future, a “super PAC” formed by Romney backers, in April. The company was dissolved July 12. On Friday, Reuters reported that two campaign watchdog groups, Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center, filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission and the Department of Justice asking for an investigation. As a “super PAC” Restore Our Future can receive unlimited cash from corporations and individuals but must disclose the name of its donors.

http://slatest.slate.com/posts/2011/08/06/edward_conard_mystery_romney_donor_behind_w_spann_llc_comes_forw.html

Yes, I'm sure Mitt Romney will look out for the interests of average joes like you and me, right?
In other, more tragic news, a different member of the Plutocracy died today. I wonder exactly when he found out he can't take it with him:

DALLAS (AP) — Texas billionaire and philanthropist Charles Wyly, whose family donated millions of dollars to Republican causes and Dallas arts projects, has died after a car accident in western Colorado, authorities said. He was 77.

In Texas, Wyly and his younger brother, Sam, along with their wives, gave $20 million to help build Dallas' performing arts center. They also donated big, but quietly, to Republican causes: the brothers had said they'd given about $10 million to GOP candidates and causes since the 1970s.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was one of the biggest political beneficiaries, receiving more than $300,000 combined from the Wylys since 2000, according to Texas Ethics Commission reports. According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, the brothers had donated almost $2.5 million to more than 200 Republican candidates and committees at the federal level over the past two decades. Last summer, the Securities and Exchange Commission accused Wyly and his brother of using offshore havens to hide more than a half-billion dollars in profits over 13 years of insider stock trading. The brothers denied and were fighting the allegations.

http://news.yahoo.com/texas-billionaire-charles-wyly-killed-colo-084619180.html

Yup, I'm sure Rick Perry will make things better for the average man. Lest you think it's only Republicans, however:

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama turns his attention to campaign politics Monday night, as he headlines two events for the Democratic National Committee and his re-election campaign.

According to the White House schedule, the president first attends a gathering of approximately 140 guests at a private residence in the nation's capital. A DNC official says proceeds from the $15,000 per family gathering will go to the Obama Victory Fund, with the money raised shared by the president's re-election campaign and DNC.

A source with knowledge of the event says it's being held at the home of Don and Katrina Peebles. Don Peebles is a real estate entrepreneur and sits on the Obama campaign's national finance committee.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/08/obama-main-attraction-at-fundraisers-monday-night/

Gee, I wonder how many families hav e $15,000 in disposable income in this economy to share a bite with the president?

Get the picture? You and I have no matter to the people running this country, any more than the average citizen in China or the former Soviet Union. America is not a democracy. It is a plutocracy, plain and simple.
This is why 1,470 millionaires paid no income tax at all in 2009.

Meanwhile, debtor's prisons appear to be making a comeback:

Kyle Dewitt spent three days in jail because he was too poor to pay a fishing fine. Last spring, Dewitt was ticketed and fined $215 for fishing smallmouth bass out of season (Dewitt disputes the charge).

But Dewitt, 19 years old with a fiancĂ©e and a nine-month-old son, lost his job at a grocery store in 2010 and has been out of work ever since. He couldn’t afford the $215 fine. Instead he offered to pay $100 up front, and repay the rest in a month. But Judge Raymond Voet of Ionia, Mich., refused. The judge sentenced Dewitt to three days in jail.

The American Civil Liberties Union paid to break Dewitt out. Now the group is suing on behalf of Dewitt and four others in Michigan who were jailed because they were too poor to pay misdemeanor fines.

“Long thought to be a relic of the 19th century, debtors’ prisons are still alive and well in Michigan,” Kary Moss, executive director of the Michigan ACLU, said in a press release. “Jailing our clients because they are poor is not only unconstitutional, it’s unconscionable and a shameful waste of resources.”

http://boingboing.net/2011/08/09/man-too-poor-to-pay-fishing-fine-sent-to-jail.html#disqus_thread

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