U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Institutional Investors Continue To Press Companies For Disclosure Of Lobbying

Shareholder resolutions filed with more than 50 companies by  more than 65 institutional and individual investors for 2013

BOSTON, Ma. – Investors today announced the filing of shareholder resolutions at more than 50 corporations as part of a 2013 proxy season initiative asking companies to annually report their federal and state lobbying, including any payments to trade associations used for lobbying as well as support for tax-exempt organizations that write and endorse model legislation.

The resolution filers believe that shareholders need better, more complete disclosure of how companies in which they invest use resources to affect both elections and legislation. The lobbying disclosure initiative is a natural extension of ongoing shareholder efforts for greater corporate political spending transparency and accountability. Specifically, enhanced lobbying disclosure will enable shareholders to better evaluate whether a company’s lobbying expenditures and actions advance the company’s interests and do not present risks to company value.

A recent report by the U.S. SIF Foundation found that disclosure of lobbying and political spending has emerged as the “greatest single concern of shareholders among environmental and social issues,” with more than 100 resolutions being filed annually on the subject in 2011 and 2012. (1)

Reflecting investors’ interest in enhanced disclosure, the S.E.C. announced on Dec. 21, 2012, that it is considering a rule to require public companies to disclose their spending on politics and lobbying.

While the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and the unprecedented amount of political spending in the 2012 elections have attracted a great deal of media attention, company expenditures on federal lobbying far exceed political election contributions by approximately a nine-to-one ratio. A 2011 study by Si2, funded by the IRRC Institute, found that in 2010, S&P 500 companies spent a total of $1.1 billion on political contributions and lobbying, of which $979.3 million was spent on federal lobbying (2).  These figures do not include state level lobbying  expenditures by companies, where there is incomplete disclosure and yearly spending exceeds $1 billion.

Moreover, lobbying by trade associations is indirectly supported by corporate contributions that are substantial and largely unreported. For example the Chamber of Commerce spent more than $500 million on lobbying since 2009, making it the country’s largest lobbying spender. The majority of companies do not disclose the portions of their trade association payments used for lobbying. These payments can create reputational risks for companies. Lobbying disclosure proponents believe companies need to manage these risks by assessing whether their memberships in trade associations accurately represent their corporate interests and policy positions, and that shareholders need to understand their companies’ expenditures for trade association lobbying and the risks they might represent.

The resolutions therefore also ask companies to disclose support for and membership in tax exempt organizations that write and endorse model legislation, which includes the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC approved model legislation based on Florida’s Stand Your Ground law that gained national attention after the tragic killing of Trayvon Martin. In response to investor and grassroots pressure, 42 companies, including Amgen, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, Kraft, McDonald’s, Pepsi, Walgreens and Yum! Brands, evaluated the risk to their corporate reputations, compared to the benefits, of continuing membership, and made the decision to leave ALEC. (2)

Thomas DiNapoli, comptroller of the state of New York and an active proponent of corporate disclosure of both political spending and lobbying, stated, “As a fiduciary, it’s important that companies in which the New York State Common Retirement Fund invest are open, transparent and demonstrate high standards of governance.” Mr. DiNapoli’s office oversees the $133.8 billion state fund. “Thus we have joined once again in 2013 filing resolutions urging companies to report to their investors about their lobbying priorities, oversight and corporate dollars spent.”

Lee Saunders, president of AFSCME and chair of the AFSCME Employees Pension Plan’s Pension Committee, stated, “These proposals are based on the simple principle that what gets disclosed gets managed. Corporate payments for lobbying are a use of shareholder assets. Disclosure will help ensure these expenditures are in the company and shareholders’ best interest.”

Timothy Smith, director of environmental, social and governance (ESG) shareowner engagement at Walden Asset Management and one of the coordinators of this initiative, stated, “Over the last six years, investors increasingly have urged companies to disclose their spending aimed at influencing elections. This year investors have once again taken a logical next step and asked companies to disclose their direct and indirect lobbying activities. Whether the issue is environmental impact, consumer protection, financial reform or shareholder rights, it is important for investors to understand how company dollars are spent to influence our laws and regulations by lobbying activities. While many companies have modest government affairs budgets, others spend tens of millions of dollars annually on lobbying directly and through trade associations. In addition, many companies work through lobbying organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to influence legislation and regulation at the state level. We believe it is timely and appropriate for companies to be much more transparent.”

More than 60 investors joined in filing and co-filing the resolution seeking comprehensive disclosure of corporate lobbying, among them are the AFL-CIO; the AFSCME Employees Pension Plan; Benedictine Sisters of Virginia; Boston Common Asset Management; Christopher Reynolds Foundation; CtW Investment Group; Dignity Health; First Affirmative Financial Network; Green Century Funds; Mercy Investments; Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate; Nathan Cummings; Needmor Fund; New York State Common Retirement Fund; Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order; Responsible Endowments Coalition; Sisters of St. Francis; Trillium Asset Management; UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust; Unitarian Universalist Association; United Steelworkers and Walden Asset Management. This unique investor network is organized by the AFSCME Employees Pension Plan and Walden Asset Management, a division of Boston Trust & Investment Management Company.

Specifically, the resolution asks for disclosure of:

1. Company policy and procedures governing lobbying, including that done on our company’s behalf by trade associations.

2. Payments used for lobbying as well as grassroots lobbying communications.

3. Membership in and payments to any tax-exempt organization that writes and endorses model legislation.

4. Decision-making processes and oversight by management and the Board.

 

AMONG companies receiving lobbying disclosure resolutions for 2013 are:

3M (MMM)

Abbott Laboratories (ABT)

Accenture (ACN)

Allergan (AGN)

Alliance One International (AOI)

Alliant Techsystems (ATK)

Allstate (ALL)

Altria Group (MO)

American Electric Power (AEP)

AT&T (T)

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY)

Chevron (CVX)

Cigna (CI)

Citigroup -C-

ConocoPhillips (COP)

Corrections Corporation of America (CXW)

CVS Caremark (CVS)

DaVita (DAV)

Devon Energy (DVN)

Dupont (DD)

EBay Inc. (EBAY)

Endo Health Solutions (ENDP)

Entergy (ETR)

Equity Lifestyle Properties (ELS)

ExxonMobil Corporation (XOM)

General Dynamics (GD)

GEO Group (GEO)

Goldman Sachs (GS)

IBM (IBM)

JPMorgan Chase (JPM)

Lockheed Martin (LMT)

Lorillard (LO)

Marathon Oil (MRO)

Norfolk Southern Corporation (NSC)

Northrop Grumman (NOC)

Nucor Corporation (NUE)

Peabody Energy (BTU)

PepsiCo (PEP)

Pfizer (PFE)

Philip Morris (PM)

Reynolds American (RAI)

SLM Corporation (Sallie Mae) (SLM)

Time Warner Cable (TWC)

Union Pacific (UNP)

United Parcel Service (UPS)

United Health Group (UNH)

Universal Corporation (UVV)

Verizon Communications (VZ)

VISA U.S.A. (V)

Walgreen (WAG)

Wells Fargo (WFC)

WellPoint (WLP)

Xcel Energy (XEL)

 

Filers of Lobbying Disclosure Resolutions 


Pension Funds

New York State Common Retirement Fund

 

Labor

AFSCME Employees Pension Plan

AFL-CIO

CTW Investment Group

Service Employees International Union

UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust

United Steelworkers

 

Asset Management Companies

Boston Common Asset Management

First Affirmative Financial Network

Green Century Funds

Jantz Morgan

PAX World Fund

Sustainability Group, Loring Wolcott & Coolidge

Trillium Asset Management

Walden Asset Management

Zevin Asset Management

 

Foundations

Brainerd Foundation

Center for Community Change, Washington, DC

Edward W. Hazen Foundation

The Funding Exchange

Haymarket Foundation

Lemmon Foundation

LKMC Aquinas Funds

Max and Anna Levinson Foundation

Merck Family Fund

Nathan Cummings Foundation

Needmor Fund

Oneida Tribe of Indians Trust Fund

Oxfam America

Responsible Endowments Coalition

Christopher Reynolds Foundation

Russell Family Foundation

Swift Family Foundation

Tides Foundation

 

Non-Profit Institutional Investors

Manhattan Country School

 

Religious Filers

Benedictine Sisters of Baltimore

Benedictine Sisters of Virginia

Catholic Health East

Catholic Health Initiatives

Community Church of New York

Congregation of Benedictine Sisters,

Boerne, Texas

Congregation of Divine Providence, San

Antonio, Texas

Congregation of St. Joseph of Carondelet,
St. Paul Province

Congregation of the Sisters of St. Agnes

Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of
Brighton

Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy
Cross, Indiana

Convent Academy of the Incarnate Word

Dignity Health

First Parish Unitarian Church, Cambridge, Ma.

Glenmary Home Missioners

Marianist Province of the United States

Mercy Investment Services

Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

Monasterio Pan Vida

Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order

School Sisters of Notre Dame

Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth, New Jersey

Sisters of the Holy Family

Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, Boston

Sisters of Notre Dame

Sisters of Providence, Mother Joseph

Providence

Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia

Sisters of St. Francis, Academy of Our Lady
of Lourdes, Rochester

Trinity Health

Unitarian Universalist Association

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

United Church Foundation

 

Individuals

Daniel Altschuler

Gwendolen Noyes

Gun Denhart

Carol Master

____________________________________________________________

ConocoPhillips Lobbying Disclosure

Whereas, we rely on the information provided by our company to evaluate goals and objectives, and therefore have strong interest in full disclosure of our company’s lobbying to assess whether it is in the best interests of shareholders and long-term stockholder value.

Resolved, the shareholders of ConocoPhillips request the Board authorize the preparation of a report, updated annually, disclosing:

1.  Company policy and procedures governing lobbying, both direct and indirect, and grassroots lobbying communications.

2. Payments by ConocoPhillips used for (a) direct or indirect lobbying or (b) grassroots lobbying communications, in each case including the amount of the payment and the recipient.

3. ConocoPhillips’ membership in and payments to any tax-exempt organization that writes and endorses model legislation.

4. Description of the decision making process and oversight by management and the Board for making payments described in section 2 above.

 

For purposes of this proposal, a “grassroots lobbying communication” is a communication directed to the general public that (a) refers to specific legislation or regulation, (b) reflects a view on the legislation or regulation and (c) encourages the recipient of the communication to take action with respect to the legislation or regulation.

“Indirect lobbying” is lobbying engaged in by a trade association or other organization of which ConocoPhillips is a member.

Both “direct and indirect lobbying” and “grassroots lobbying communications” include efforts at the local, state and federal levels.

The report shall be presented to the Audit Committee or other relevant oversight committees of the Board and posted on the company’s website.

 

Supporting Statement

As shareholders, we encourage transparency and accountability in the use of staff time and corporate funds to influence legislation and regulation both directly and indirectly.

This resolution received 25 percent voting support in 2011.

ConocoPhillips sits on the Board of the United States Chamber of Commerce, which is noted as “by far the most muscular business lobby group in Washington” (“Chamber of Secrets,” Economist, April 21, 2012). In 2010 and 2011 the Chamber spent $198 million on lobbying. Yet ConocoPhillips does not disclose its trade association payments nor the portions used for lobbying on its website.

ConocoPhillips spent approximately $40.2 million in 2010 and 2011 on direct federal lobbying activities, according to disclosure reports (Senate Records). These figures may not include grassroots lobbying to directly influence legislation by mobilizing public support or opposition and do not include lobbying expenditures to influence legislation or regulation in states that do not require disclosure.

Also, ConocoPhillips does not disclose its contributions to tax-exempt organizations that write and endorse model legislation, such as a $10,000 contribution to the American Legislative Exchange Council (“ALEC”) annual meeting.

According to the Wall Street Journal (Oct. 26, 2012) the oil industry, including ConocoPhillips, spent “tens of millions of dollars” related to the 2012 election to galvanize employees to support their industry’s agenda and elect sympathetic candidates. We also believe the costs of these programs should also be fully disclosed.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FOOTNOTES:

(1)  “Report on Sustainable and Responsible Investing Trends in the United States 2012,” US SIF Foundation.

(2).  Heidi Welsh and Robin Young, “Corporate Governance of Political Expenditures: 2011 Benchmark Report on S&P 500 Companies,” Sustainable Investments Institute & IRRC Institute, November 2011 www.irrcinstitute.org)

 

Originally posted at http://www.waldenassetmgmt.com/social/action/Lobbying_PR_212013.pdf
For Release: February 1, 2013

Contact: Timothy Smith, Walden Asset Management, (617) 726-7155,     tsmith@bostontrust.com

Cheryl Kelly, AFSCME, (202) 429-1145, ckelly@afscme.org

BofA to Quit ALEC?

Last summer, a cousin who is a stockbroker, sent me a link from a group called Social Funds.  (http://www.socialfunds.com/news/article.cgi/3592.html

As I’ve followed the corporate defections from ALEC and Heartland, Walden Management kept coming up in the conversation. I’ve not found a great deal about them that is not in the Social Funds article linked to and shown above.  Hadn’t really given them much thought lately as the exodus of corporations from ALEC and fellow cabal member Heartland had quieted down.

Well, the same folks who organized the large BofA protest at the BofA Shareholder’s Meeting here in Charlotte earlier this year, are apparently looking at keeping up the pressure on BofA and organizing a follow-up protest.  As I was going through my archives to review the process that they used to organize their protest–a very effective process, by the way–I ran across some notes I had that mentioned Walden Management.  Having just heard some rumors during last Saturday’s “Who is Controlling your Politicians” rally about the relationship between Bank of America and ALEC, I decided to look up Walden Management to see if perhaps they knew anything about this.

I spoke with Tim Smith, identified in the Social Funds article as Walden’s “Senior Vice President and Director of ESG Shareholder Engagement for Walden Asset Management, (who had) urged the companies “to examine safeguards and processes in place to ensure that membership in and support for organizations that influence public policy do not undermine” their reputations.

(The letter was signed by 41 investors with approximately $25 billion in assets under management.)

I reached Tim Smith by telephone late this afternoon and asked him about the rumor I had heard,  He confirmed to me that BofA will be leaving ALEC in 2013 “for budgetary reasons”.  Tim told me that he had sent out an e-mail to someone involved in the exposing ALEC movement that he worked with, notifying him/her about Walden’s success with BofA.  (Talk about timing!)  He said he would send me a copy of the e-mail, but I suspect that the 5:00 bell rang before he could do it.

For whatever reason, there is no mention of this anywhere that I can find on the internet, despite his assurance that he had notified people yesterday.  And that is why I am calling this a rumor as I have not seen any written confirmation at this moment–just the word of the person who apparently worked to secure this incredibly great action.

Living in Charlotte, Bank of America is a subject of great interest as it has been the target of numerous protests by a number of different groups, most notably the Pushback Network (Brigid Flaherty), Occupy Wall Street, and the Occupy groups in North Carolina–Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Greensboro, Asheville, Durham, Raleigh, Carrboro…all the way out to Occupy Wilmington (NC) on the coast.

As Bank of America is of such great interest in Charlotte— and should be of interest to all following the ALEC Insurrection– I thought I would go public with this as a “rumor” until I get written confirmation.

My personal thanks to Tim Smith at Walden Management for his efforts to use the power of their portfolio to communicate with the shareholders of many corporations involved in ALEC and the Heartland Institute. 

As for Social Funds, I’ve got to find out more about their socially responsible investment management,

 

The Paul Weyrich troika is alive–unity among ALEC, Heritage Foundation, and the Republican Party

a super article from Brendan Fischer at PR Watch.  Absolutely a must read!

Three right-wing organizations founded nearly forty years ago by conservative activist Paul Weyrich are rediscovering their shared origins. The Republican Study Committee, a caucus of 169 right-wing Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, is establishing a partnership with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the controversial “corporate bill mill” for state legislators, and their first meeting is scheduled at the Heritage Foundation headquarters. Each of those three organizations — the RSC, ALEC, and the Heritage Foundation — were founded in 1973 by Weyrich.

…Weyrich famously observed that with regard to the conservative movement “our leverage in the elections goes up as the voting populace goes down.” Today, ALEC and the GOP are pursuing his vision with a voter suppression agenda that includes strict voter identification bills introduced in 37 states across the nation since 2011, purportedly to crack down on phantom “voter fraud.”

ALEC boasts on its website that in 1981, President Ronald Reagan formed a national Task Force on Federalism, which included ALEC’s then-National Chairman Tom Stivers of Idaho, and “would come to rely heavily upon members of ALEC for expert testimony.” According to ALEC’s history, ALEC members like “State Senator [now Governor] John Kasich of Ohio and Senate President Robert Monier of New Hampshire regularly met in front of the committee.” ALEC also claims that it “worked directly with the administration on policy development issues.”

To read Brendan Fischer’s complete article, I highly recommend that you click here. .


ALEC’s Koch Funded Cabal “Educating” our state and Federal Judges

ALEC’s Koch Funded Cabal “Educating” our state and Federal Judges

A VLTP Special Report – ALEC’s Federal Interference, Part II

August 20, 2012 | by Bob Sloan

Last month I began a two part series that began with “ALEC, the Koch Led CABAL & “The Amicus Project” – Fed Court Interference.” The first segment dealt with identifying and exposing ALEC’s Koch-funded cabal interfering with our judicial processes by filing hundreds of “Amicus Briefs” to state and federal courts in pending cases.  These were cases involving issues under the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments and other rights – and submitted by numerous cabal members, such as ALEC, Heritage, Heartland, Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Businesses, CATO, Mackinac, etc.

When they file these briefs it is not sufficient to simply join together and file one comprehensive “brief” or argument in support of whatever position the cabal’s side is advocating for.  No, they file separate briefs making it appear that there is a groundswell of support on the cabal’s side of an issue.  I described this as the “front door” access the cabal uses in their attempts to influence outcomes in judicial cases involving legislative and related pursuits of the cabal.

This diary will introduce everyone to the cabal’s “back door” access to and influence upon state and federal judges through seminars and conferences provided by the cabal members...to in effect “program” judges to rule favorably in key cases.  These seminars are used to “educate” our judiciary as to the positions held by corporations and other matters important to businesses and their wealthy owners.  These seminars are provided to judges prior to important case reviews…the amicus briefs are “reminders” to the judges of what they “learned”through these seminars that were provided along with luxury vacations paid for by many corporations that may eventually wind up as a party before one or more of these judges.

The seminars take place at truly plush resorts (many of them the same used by ALEC for their annual meetings involving legislators) during all expense trips provided to the judges by a number of Conservative funded organizations (click the blue links for more information about these groups); the Foundation for Research on Economics and Environment (FREE Foundation), George Mason University’s Law and Economics Center, Northwestern University’s Northwestern Law Judicial Education Program, James Madison University’s Center for the Constitution at Montpelier and several other, smaller organizations.

These seminars are a way for ALEC’s corporate members and contributors to assist the cabal’s pursuit of influencing judges to render pro-corporate decisions on important issues and cases.  Below the fold I’ll provide some of the information, a video from ABC’s 20/20 and other documents identifying how this entire “system” has been set up, the funders and backers and the impact these maneuvers have had upon our judicial system.

#######

Since the founding of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 1973, conservative Republicans have pursued one overall objective – to control all three branches of the federal government.  The reason for seeking to gain total control is obvious.

In this pursuit they began by striving to grab control of state government’s three branches: legislative, judicial and gubernatorial.  In this latter effort, they have been relatively successful in that today they have twenty-one fully controlled state governments.  Many of these states became “Red” after the 2010 election that brought wins to the Tea Party and control to the GOP in more states than ever before.

It isn’t sufficient for anyone seeking control of our government to merely hold a majority in any of the three branches of government – they also need those in the controlling majorities to think like they do, owe their careers to those who worked to put them in office or exhibit a genuine allegiance to an overall agenda.

In 2001 ABC’s 20/20 presented an expose titled “Junkets for Judges” which can be found on YouTube in a two part presentation.  Here is a link to part two.

An important part of the foregoing investigative report is the fact that they claim as of 2001 they had identified more than 500 US judges who had attended these seminars.  Many that attended were at the time sitting in review of cases involving issues that were discussed at the seminars – and some returned to their courtrooms, and ruled favorably on behalf of corporate rights over governmental rights.  This 20/20 report only reports on the GMU seminars.  They don’t address the ones provided by FREE, Northwestern University, Liberty Fund or others.  At that time FREE had not opened their doors to state appellate and Supreme Court Justices and judges, providing the same pro-corporate seminars to them.

These junkets are designed to provide attending judges with an ultra-conservative, pro-corporate outlook on key issues.  During these free trips judges attend daily seminars provided by purported scientists, corporate executives and others advancing a one-sided, pro-corporate, free-market conservative ideology.  The seminars are designed to impart to the attending judiciary, corporate or business points of view on critical issues involving environment, economics, tort reform, EPA and takings law (eminent domain).

The cabal uses these free vacations in the same manner as the travel companies and time share companies do…everyone of us has been subjected to offers of “free vacations” for simply attending a time share presentation.  None of us plan on buying a time share, or joining a “discount” club – but face it, many do and for that reason the techniques are successful and continue to be used year after year.  These judicial education trips are no different.  Judges get an all expense paid trip, thinking they will have fun and can ignore the  propaganda presented in the seminars…but in the end, if they want to be able to take more of these trips, at some point they have to rule as if they’ve “learned” something at the previous ones, and thus be allowed subsequent trips.

I’m sure that those behind this activity involving the programming of judges, will no doubt claim that everyone has the right to advance their own arguments on important legal cases…that there are numerous other organizations providing seminars, conferences and work shops for judges.  Just as they’ve done in defense of ALEC’s operations and pursuits of proposing and passing state laws favorable to their conservative political agenda.

There are important differences between the cabal’s efforts of influencing the judiciary – and legislation – and the efforts put forth by others; the partisanship of their efforts.  All of their activities are designed to advance a pro-corporate, conservatively political position.  The claim of bi-partisanship or non-partisan makeup of the cabal’s members is delusional.  ALEC for instance has conservative leaning Democratic members, but they hold no positions of authority within the ALEC hierarchy; no chairmanship of ALEC’s task forces, on their Public sector board, etc.

Though the 20/20 expose concentrated upon George Mason University’s involvement in providing these trips for our judges,we found several additional universities and private, non-profit organizations participating in these efforts at both the state and federal level.  All but one are provided by conservative organizations, foundations or schools:

•    George Mason University(Law and Economics Center – LEC)   (Recipient of Koch funding totaling $20,297,143 from 1986-2006 ), Earhart Foundation, JM Olin Foundation.
•    Foundation for Research on Economics and Environment (FREE).  Funded by ExxonMobil, GE Foundation, Koch Family Foundation  ($1,305,500 through 2006), JM Olin Foundation, Earhart Foundation and Castle Rock Foundation (Coors). ($65,000 in 2009) and the Claude Lambe Foundation ($1,540,000).
•    Northwestern Law Judicial Education Program (funded by many key ALEC members, including Koch) .
•    Liberty Fund providing judicial conferences and seminars to/for Judges.
•    Federalist Society  (Koch funded   $1,437,200 through 2006)
•    Aspen Institute (Koch funded  $1,115,000 through 2006 with David Koch on the BOD).
•    University of Kansas, Law and Organizational Economics Center (LOEC) begun in 1995 by Henry Butler  with a $1,000,000 grant from the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation (see section on Henry Butler below).
•    International Judicial Academy which provides seminars for judges on the International level.

Supporters of the IJA have included; JEHT Foundation and Foundation to Promote Open Society.  JEHT Foundation ceased to operate in 2009 due to the Madoff ponzi scheme where their money was invested.  Foundation to Promote Open Society gets some of their principal funding from George Soros. Much of their contributions and donations received – along with their expenditures – are to/from other countries and include non-Soros’ funding.If you would like to know if a specific federal judge has attended one or more of these seminars, please visit http://tripsforjudges.org/ where you can input a judge’s name and search by organization, foundation, etc.  This link is somewhat outdated and does not have current information for 2012, but much of the information is in there and worth a look.

Other organizations provide judicial “training” to state and federal judges, but the foregoing seven are those with ongoing regularly scheduled seminars and trips.  Some completely reimburse judges for travel, housing and food while others reimburse to a set amount (such as U of K’s LOEC that reimbursed state judges up to $500.00 cap for travel).

The funding for six of the seven providing such judicial trips are funded with money from one or more of the Koch controlled family foundations.  In addition many known conservative foundations also fund these trips and seminars for judges, including; John M. Olin Foundation, Inc., M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Castle Rock Foundation, Claude Lambe Foundation (Koch controlled) and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.

A sampling of topics presented in the seminars to these judges – state and federal – include; environment, takings laws (imminent domain), economics, tort reform, juror selection and jury decision making, The presentations are made by speakers from various colleges, universities and of greater importance from corporate CEO’s and executives representing Shell Oil and other major ALEC member corporations.  In addition many of the presentations are made by those representing; Heritage Foundation,  American Enterprise Institute, National Center for Policy Analysis, George Mason University, Brookings Institute and several other mostly conservative entities.

Trip/seminar funding listed by George Mason University include most of ALEC’s for profit corporate members, and the non-profits that fund ALEC – and most have ties to the Koch and related foundations previously mentioned.  (Those in bold are known ALEC/Koch benefactors, affiliates or corporate members). These funders are:

3M (former ALEC member)
Abbott Laboratories  (ALEC member)
Aequus Institute
Armstrong Foundation  (ALEC funding source)
AT&T (ALEC Member)
Atlas Economic Research Foundation
Batchelder III, Hon. William G. (current Speaker of the Ohio House)
Batchelder, Hon. Alice M. (Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit)
BP America, Inc. (ALEC member)
Brunswick Corporation
Castle Rock Foundation (Coors, ALEC funder)
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation (ALEC Funding)
CIGNA Corporation (ALEC affiliated through Nickles Lobby firm)
Coca-Cola Company (former ALEC member)
Commonwealth of VA Tax Donations
Cortopassi Institute
Dow Chemical Company  (ALEC member)
Earhart Foundation
Exxon Mobil Corporation (ALEC member)
FedEx Corporation (ALEC member)
General Motors Corporation (ALEC member)
Gillette Company
Goodrich Foundation
John M. Olin Foundation
John William Pope Foundation
Johnson & Johnson (ALEC member)
Lilly Endowment, Inc. (ALEC member [Eli Lilly parent])
Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
Oblon, Spivak, McClelland, Maier & Neustadt (Koch Ind. Patent Atty)
Pepsico Inc. (former ALEC member)
Pfizer, Inc. (ALEC member)
Property and Casualty Ins. Ass.
Randolph Foundation
Roe Foundation
Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Inc.
Sarah Jane Humphreys Foundation, Inc.
Sarah Scaife Foundation, Inc.
Searle Freedom Trust
Sharp Foundation
Shelby Cullom Davis Foundation
Shell Oil Company (ALEC member)
State Farm Insurance Companies (ALEC member)
Sunmark Foundation
U.S. Chamber of Commerce (ALEC member and joint amicus brief filings)
Unilever United States, Inc. (former ALEC member)
Verizon Communications (ALEC member)
William E. Simon Foundation
J.P. Humphreys Foundation

And when we researched Northwestern Law’s Judicial Education Seminars we found many of the same funding sources:

American Petroleum Institute (ALEC affiliate)
AT&T Inc. (ALEC member_
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation
 (ALEC benefactor/member)
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Exxon Mobil Corporation (ALEC member)
LyondellBasell Industries (ALEC member)
McDonald’s Corporation (former ALEC member)
Microsoft Corporation (ALEC member)
Pfizer Inc. (ALEC member)
Searle Freedom Trust (ALEC affiliate – Heritage Foundation funder)
Shell Oil Company (ALEC member)
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (ALEC member)
The Dow Chemical Company (ALEC member)
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation (ALEC/Koch affiliate & funding)
U.S. Chamber of Commerce (ALEC affiliate and joint amicus brief filings)

Here is a picture from FREE’s 2007 website that listed their funding sources for the judicial education program:free 2007 funding

Again, we see many of the same sources that are funding GMU and Northwestern University’s programs.  Note the corporate donors are all ALEC members – or were in 2007 – and the $100,000 annual contribution from the Koch’s Claude Lambe Foundation.

In 2006 federal courts began requiring that all “seminars” provided to judges had to be reported.  The reports required submission of the organization providing the seminars, topics presented and the name and organization presenting, where the funding came from for each.  A current listing of seminars held and reported to the US court since 2009 is found here.  As you’ll find if you visit, there are page after page of such seminars directed at “educating” our judges – state and federal.  Each one has basically the same funders, presenters, and you’ll also see that in many cases funding is provided by federal judges and their wives for these events.

The FREE foundation was uncomfortable filing such reports with the court system, so after we exposed them in 2010-2011, FREE decided to stop dedicating their seminars to judges.  Now they provide the same seminars, with the same topics and presenters but provide that these are for “Religious Leaders”.  Judges are still free to attend these FREE seminars – but since FREE lists them as for Religious Leaders, there is no requirement to submit reports to the US court system about them…no list of benefactors, topics, presenters, attendees, etc.

George Mason, Northwestern, Liberty Fund all continue to report their judicial seminars to the federal court as required.  FREE is the only one to cease their reporting by now claiming that their seminars are no longer dedicated to judicial education – but the seminars are “still open to judges” that wish to attend.

As with the ALEC model legislation, many of the titles provided for the topics covered in these judicial seminars are worded innocuously so they sound non-partisan and beneficial to the public as a whole.  We learned with ALEC to be suspicious of the wording of their proposed legislation and look instead to the content.  One has to do the same with the titles of the seminars and subjects listed for educating judges.  Below are just a few.  Those in bold are known ALEC/Koch affiliates:

Center for the Constitution at Montpelier June and December 2010 (Funder: Robert H. Smith)The Future of Executive Authority
Historical Context of the Constitution Related to Modern Technology
Future of the Fourth Amendment
Bioengineering and the Future of 14th Amendment Personhood

Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment August 2011 (funded by MJ Murdock Charitable Trust)
Taking the Long View of Progress

Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment July 2010 (funded byMJ Murdock Charitable Trust)

George Sack (John Hopkins University)
Addiction: A Disease of the Brain or a Disorder of Choice?

Sally Satel (American Enterprise Institute)
Delusions and Dreams vs. Consumer Driven Health Care

Regina Herzlinger (Harvard Business School)
Foundations for Understanding Health Care Policy

Regina Herzlinger (Harvard Business School)
Genetics and the Future of Medicine

Raymond Gesteland (University of Utah)
Genetics and the Future of Medicine

George Sack (John Hopkins University)
Information, Incentives & Health Care Decision Making

John Goodman (National Center for Policy Analysis)
Perspecives from a Medical Entrepreneur

George Herzlinger (Belmont Instrument Corporation)
Potentials for Policy Reform

John Goodman (National Center for Policy Analysis)
Potentials for Policy Reform

Regina Herzlinger (Harvard Business School)
Practical Problems with Organ Donation

Sally Satel (American Enterprise Institute)
Reflection on Science and Policy

Raymond Gesteland (University of Utah)
Reflection on Science and Policy

Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment August 2010 (funded by MJ Murdock Charitable Trust – Seminar title: Terrorism, Civil Liberty and National Security [08/08/2010 – 08/12/2010] (continued))

James Carafano (The Heritage Foundation)
Cyber-Screwed- Why We Can’t Fight Cyber-terrorism

James Carafano (The Heritage Foundation)
The Unhappy Marriage: Civil-Military Discord in Fighting Terrorism

Charles Fried (Harvard Law School)
Sunni and Shi’a: There Are Differences and Why They Matter

Richard Stearns (United States District Court)
Terrorism and the Allocation of Public Resources

Richard Stearns (United States District Court)
The Limits of Law- The Necessity of Executive Disobedience

Charles Fried (Harvard Law School)
The Limits of Law- The Necessity of Executive Disobedience

George Mason University Law & Economics Center
Seminar title: Economics Institute for Judges, Week 2 [03/10/2012 – 03/16/2012] Funded by xyz corp.

Todd Zywicki (George Mason University School of Law)
Mortgage Markets

Todd Zywicki (George Mason University School of Law)
On the Efficiency of the Common Law

Todd Zywicki (George Mason University School of Law)
The Not-So-Good Old Days of Consumer Credit

Henry N. Butler (George Mason University School of Law)
Economic Thinking

Henry N. Butler (George Mason University School of Law)
Economics of Insurance

Henry N. Butler (George Mason University School of Law)
Law & Economics in the Courts

Henry N. Butler (George Mason University School of Law)
Supply, Demand & Mutually Beneficial Exchange

Northwestern Law Judicial Education Program Seminar title: Advanced Law and Economics Institute: Environmental Economics [09/21/2009 – 09/23/2009]

Funders
American Petroleum Institute
AT&T Inc.
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Exxon Mobil Corporation
LyondellBasell Industries
McDonald’s Corporation
Microsoft Corporation
Pfizer Inc.
Searle Freedom Trust
Shell Oil Company
State Farm Mutual Automobil Insurance Company
The Dow Chemical Company
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Speakers/Topics

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Environmental Federalism

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Externalitites

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Markets in Action

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Review of Economic Concepts: Incentives Matter

Northwestern Law Judicial Education Program
Seminar title: Economics Institute for Judges [10/11/2009 – 10/16/2009]

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Corporate Governance

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Economic Evidence

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Forensic Economics

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Information and Prices, Allocative Efficiency, Equilibrium

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Principal-Agent Problems and Contracting

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Risk, Injury, and Liability

Henry Butler (Northwestern University School of Law)
Scarcity, Mutually Beneficial Exchange, Comparative Advantage

George Mason University Law & Economics Center
Seminar title: The Strategic Constitution [10/21/2009 – 10/24/2009]

Robert Cooter (Boalt Hall School of Law, Univ of CA, Berkeley)
The Strategic Constitution

George Mason University Law & Economics Center
Seminar title: Economic Analysis of Law [11/06/2009 – 11/12/2009

Charles Goetz (University of Virginia School of Law)(Member American Family Business Foundation)
Analyzing Human Choice

Henry Manne (George Mason University School of Law (Emeritus)
Corporate Law

William Landes (University of Chicago Law School)
Economic Structure of Tort Law

Charles Goetz (University of Virginia School of Law)
Fairness vs Efficiency

William Landes (University of Chicago Law School)
Intellectual Property

William Landes (University of Chicago Law School)
Negligence, Strict Liability and Causation

Charles Goetz (University of Virginia School of Law)
Rivalrous and Risky Decisions

Charles Goetz was a signatory to Milton Friedman’s letter: “Top Economists Agree: It’s Time to Repeal the Death Tax!” letter sent under the letterhead of the American Family Business Foundation in 2001.  Other signatories included ALEC, Jonathan Williams (ALEC), Art Laffer (ALEC Scholar), Henry N. Butler (review of the US Court’s Seminar reports linked to above, reveals that Butler is a frequent speaker at most of the seminars given to judges).  His credentials vary, sometimes listing him as GMU School of Law, Northwestern U’s School of Law, etc.It is important to know who these people are who are lecturing our judiciary.  Let’s look closer at Henry N. Butler.  As noted above, Butler founded the University of Kansas’ Law and Organizational Economics Center (LOEC) in 1995 with a $1,000,000 grant from the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation.  Here is more on Butler from Wiki:

Henry N. Butler (born c. 1955) is an American professor of law, economics, and public policy. He currently serves as the executive director of the Searle Center at the George Mason University’s School of Law. He formerly served as the Director of the Judicial Education Program at the American Enterprise Institute-Brookings Institution Joint Center for Regulatory Studies. Butler is a conservative and a supporter of free markets with little regulation; he has acted as an expert witness in a legal cases involving antitrust, restrictive covenants, damages, joint ventures, and other issues.Butler ran unsuccessfully as a Republican for the U.S. House of Representatives from Virginia’s 11th congressional district in the 1992 elections; he lost the general election to Democrat Leslie L. Byrne.

Butler received his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Richmond in 1977. He then attended Virginia Tech, where he earned a Master of Arts in 1979 and a Ph.D. in 1982. There he studied under Nobel Economics Laureate James M. Buchanan. Butler received his Juris Doctor law degree from the University of Miami School of Law in 1982, where he was a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics.

Butler spent three years at Texas A&M as an assistant professor of management before becoming a John M. Olin Fellow in Law and Economics at the University of Chicago Law School during the 1985-86 academic year. From 1986 to 1993, Butler was a professor at George Mason University School of Law. After 1992 Butler was a Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Distinguished Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Kansas School of Law and School of Business, and for a short time served as dean of the Chapman University, Argyros School of Business and Economics and Chairman of the Chapman University Law and Organizational Economics Center before moving to Chapman in 2001.

Butler has been involved in the political and legal spheres. While at George Mason University, he served as director of the Law and Economics Center at the George Mason University School of Law, which operates the Economics Institutes program for federal judges, which is controversial. In December 1995, Butler introduced the Economics Institute for State Judges at the University of Kansas’ Law and Organizational Economics Center.

Butler has written extensively on law and economics. He has written a casebook, Economic Analysis for Lawyers (with Christopher Drahozal, Carolina Academic Press), used at the Economics Institute for State Judges. Other books by Butler include Unhealthy Alliances: Bureaucrats, Interest Groups, and Politicians in Health (1994,American Entreprise Institute) The Corporation and the Constitution (with Larry E. Ribstein; 1995, American Entreprise Institute); and Using Federalism to Improve Environmental Policy (with Jonathan R. Macey; 1996, American Entreprise Institute).

Butler serves on the Legal Advisory Council of the AEI Legal Center for the Public Interest and the Advisory Board of the Atlantic Legal Foundation.

Butler has been cited (report to the Kansas Insurance Commission) in key reports involving insurance and spoken to the Federal Trade Commission on economic issues.University of Kansas, School of Law…”a Fred C. and Mary R. Koch Distinguished Professor of Law and Economics at the University of Kansas School of Law.  Know who else is now advocating “Excellence in Advocacy” at U of K’s School of Law?  Shook, Hardy and Bacon – the law firm that advances ALEC’s “Tort Reform” model legislation through the Civil Justice Task Force.  The CJTF is directed by Victor Schwartz of SHB, and another SHB attorney sits as the CJTF “Advisor” – Mark Behrens.

Here’s a picture of Victor Schwartz of SHB giving a presentation on Tort Reform to ALEC’s Civil Justice Task Force working group in 2010 in San Diego:

Schwartz at ALEC TF Meeting in SD

Today as yesterday, pictures say a lot…here are three pictures of Henry Butler.  In the first, he’s speaking at ALEC’s 2010 Meeting in San Diego, CA.  In the second he is speaking at a Searle Center judicial seminar in 2010 and in the third are judges sitting in attendance at that seminar…

Henry Butler speaks at ALEC

Henry Butler speaks at Searle Economics Institute seminar

Judges at Searle 2010 Butler Seminar

Another frequently used speaker at these judicial education seminars is Todd Zywiki, professor at GMU.  Here is Zywiki’s bio provided by the FREE Foundation where Zywiki sits upon their Board of Directors:

Todd J. Zywicki is Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law ands Co-Editor of the Supreme Court Economic Review.  From 2003-2004, Professor Zywickiserved as the Director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission. He has also taught at Vanderbilt University Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, Boston College Law School, and Mississippi College School of Law.Professor Zywicki clerked for Judge Jerry E. Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and worked as an associate at Alston & Bird in Atlanta, Georgia, where he practiced bankruptcy and commercial law. He received his J.D. from the University of Virginia, where he was executive editor of the Virginia Tax Review and John M. Olin Scholar in Law and Economics. Professor Zywicki also received an M.A. in Economics from Clemson University and an A.B. cum Laude with high honors in his major from Dartmouth College.

Professor Zywicki is a Senior Scholar of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Senior Fellow of the James Buchanan Center, Program on Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, at George Mason University, a Senior Fellow of the Goldwater Institute, and a Fellow of the International Centre for Economic Research in Turin, Italy.  During the Fall 2008 Semester Professor Zywicki was the Searle Fellow of the George Mason University School of Law and was a 2008-09 W. Glenn Campbell and Rita Ricardo-Campbell National Fellow and the Arch W. Shaw NationalFellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace.

Professor Zywicki is the author of more than 60 articles in leading law reviews and peer-reviewed economics journals.  He is one of the Top 50 Most Downloaded Law Authors at the Social Science Research Network, both All Time and during the Past 12 Months.  Heserved as the Editor of the Supreme Court Economic Review from 2001-02.  Hehas testified several times before Congress on issues of consumer bankruptcy law and consumer credit and is a frequent commentator on legal issues in the print and broadcast media, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, andThe Laura Ingraham Show.  He is a contributor to the popular legal weblog The Volokh Conspiracy and The Atlantic Business Channel of The Atlanticmagazine.

Professor Zywicki is a member of the Governing Board and the Advisory Council for the Financial Services Research Program at George Washington University School of Business, the Executive Committee for the Federalist Society’s Financial Institutions and E-Commerce Practice Group, the Advisory Council of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Program Advisory Board of the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment.  He is currently the Chair of the Academic Advisory Council for the following organizations: The Bill of Rights Institute, the film “We the People in IMAX,” and the McCormick-Tribune Foundation “Freedom Museum” in Chicago, Illinois.  He serves on the Board of Directors of the Bill of Rights Institute and in 2005 he was elected an Alumni Trustee of the Dartmouth College Board of Trustees.

Federal Judge Jerry E. Smith that Zywiki clerked for, attended many of the GMU and FREE trips and seminars: http://tripsforjudges.org/….  Click on judges, select Jerry E. Smith and look for yourself: trips and seminars from FREE, Liberty Fund, Federalist Society, etc.  Here’s a partial screen shot of some of his attendance:Judge Jerry Smith trips for judges screen shot

The Chairman of FREE is John Baden.  Baden and FREE are not only important as a part of programming our judges, he has shown he has great influence at the SCOTUS level as well (remember I began this with a segment on the use of Amicus briefs used at the federal and SCOTUS levels of our judiciary).  Here is Baden, his wife and FREE’s Associate Director Pete Geddes with Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas at a Heritage Foundation President’s dinner:

SCOTUS Thomas at Heritage Presidential Dinner

Here is a muckety chart showing the connections between Justice Thomas and the Koch cabal…

Harlan R. Crow affiliations

Notice that near the center of this graph, you find beside Thomas: Charles G. Koch foundation, Searle Freedom Trust, American Enterprise Institute, Coors and Castlerock Foundation, Scaife Foundation, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and from there it widens out to include most of the cabal organizations, foundations and individuals involved.

In this graph, you’ll find the connections between Justice Thomas’ law clerk, Naomi Rao and other organizations. (RAO was a witness against the confirmation of Justice Sonia Sotomayor – and links to the Bush administration:

Neomi Rao

Much of the policy, legislation and resolutions the seminars provide to judges are based upon pro-corporate pursuit and are/were financially beneficial to not only the Koch brothers (personally), but to ALEC’s corporate membership; ExxonMobil, AT&T, Koch Industries, PhRMA, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson and Johnson, their Insurance company members, etc.  Not only is Koch’s interests and that of the corporate members assisted through this form of judicial influence, but also other Conservative “foundations” which help fund the cabal’s overall “free market” pursuits.

Arguments that “we’re only doing what other bi-partisan organizations are doing” is bullshit.  As the above demonstrates, all of this is being done to advance an agenda that is totally partisan and dedicated to the views and positions held by one political group – a minority view.  This is how the conservative faction has become able to successfully pursue their vision of democracy and America over the objections raised by the majority.  We now can clearly see all their activities; the model legislation, resolutions, judicial and legislative influences and the corruption bought through campaign contributions.  It all has a purpose, design and end goal…none of which any of us as true Americans will accept or condone.  One glaring example of their pursuits and influence is demonstrated by looking at the Citizen’s United SCOTUS decision and how that has benefited the GOP party – and in particular the conservative faction of that party owned, operated and controlled by the likes of Grover Norquist and Karl Rove.  Look what has happened in America since that single SCOTUS decision brought to us in part through the cooperation of Thomas, Scalia and Alito – all with ties to the Federalist Society and Koch money.

Between ALEC’s Federal Forum Task Force, their Amicus Project and these seminars, our federal judiciary is continuously “educated” in the ways of the cabal and the pro-corporate positions advanced.  At the core of these efforts are several key players; the Koch brothers (obviously), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, George Mason University, Heritage Foundation and Mackinac Center, etc.  The tools used include not just pro-corporate seminars and filing briefs to the same judges – it also includes placement of key “clerks” and “interns” close to these judges and SCOTUS.  With the constant pressure, influence and being in close proximity to individuals representing the cabal, the trend of our courts to lean to the right in many of their decisions and opinions is not surprising.  What is surprising is the fact that all of this has been ongoing for decades and operating quietly under the radar of us all.  They have been so successful that by 2012 this has become the “norm” for political and judicial reporting.  Too many of our large media outlets are now compromised and for those of us operating in “alternative” media outlets, our audiences simply are not large enough to have a substantial impact.  This all works to the benefit of the cabal – who collectively now own or control more than 85% of the US news outlets.

We can ill afford to allow this status quo to continue.  VLTP and our Abolish ALEC group on DK have worked for months on end to research, compile and prepare these investigative reports for Daily Kos readers and Progressive voters.  It is important to make this material available to all – yes, even Republicans who are blissfully unaware of the corrupt influences such as those described above, being wielded under the GOP banner, should be made aware and forced to make a choice as our country moves forward.

In upcoming segments we’ll introduce many to the cabal’s involvement with foreign government representatives (without the knowledge of those nations) to develop U.S. policies and laws…and we’ll provide a true and accurate comparison between the NCSL and ALEC.

Be sure and visit our website at www.vltp.net for the latest news, articles and opinions on ALEC and the cabal.  If interested in research interning, send us an email through the website.  If you have information, ideas or documents, contact us through the website and let’s all work together to disinfect ALEC and the cabal and remove them from our democracy altogether.

Koch brothers’ tentacles reach well into Congress

An old post (2/8/11), but with Paul Ryan getting the republican veep nod today, it takes on greater relevancy
ThinkProgress reports that a powerful congressman, Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan, attended the billionares’ caucus two weekends ago. Ryan is chairman of the House Budget Committee and wants to make radical cuts to Social Security and Medicare. He also proposes raising taxes on the middle class and cutting them for the rich.

The folks at OneWisconsinNow were not pleased to hear that Ryan was partying with the Kochs. Said the group’s leader, Scot Ross, Paul Ryan has supported, in lock step, the big oil, anti-accountability for Wall Street agenda of Koch Industries, so he was in perfect company. We encourage Paul Ryan to make public the speech he made at the fundraising event, so that Wisconsin will know what he has to say about our priorities when he attends his Koch parties.

The party, which was held in Rancho Mirage in Southern California, drew the attention of the Los Angeles Times. The newspaper investigated the relationship between the Kochs, who own energy firm Koch Industries, and members of Congress who oppose climate-change legislation.

The L.A. Times found the Koch brothers are at the heart of Republican power

All of the links above in blue should be live.  To check them out, or to read this entire article, please click here

Opponents Of Health Reform Spent More On Ads Trashing The Law Than Obama Spent On Ads For President In 07/08

The health insurance industry secretly sponsored over $100 million in anti-health reform ads through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

[This analysis, by Lee Fang, takes a long NY Times article, ferrets out the key points and presents them in a very understandable format.]

“…quantifying the money is critical in understanding at least part of the reason why public opinion soured so quickly on a law that contains extremely popular provisions.  In addition to the paid-advertising, healthcare industry interests and other opponents of the bill spent a great deal on direct lobbying, campaign donations, and public relations campaigns. This story, however, only concerns the ad-war that helped turn Americans against the bill.”

“…total (spent) on negative health reform-related advertising to $323.75 million.”

To read all of this excellent analysis, please click here

The effect of this amount of misinformation has had great impact on public perception about the Affordable Care Act.  You can read about this–and try to understand it–by reading the NY Times article, Distaste for Health Care Law Reflects Spending on Ads which goes into more depth on this issue.  Read the article by clicking here

This is the conservative echo chamber at work.


National Federation of Independent Business–great another member of the Cabal

The NFIB is currently the lead plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case NFIB v. Sebelius challenging President Barack Obama’s signature health care reform legislation in its entirety. The suit is being brought forward by the NFIB’s legal arm, the Small Business Legal Center. The NFIB legal arm’s advisory board includes Wendy Lee Gramm, who founded the Mercatus Center‘s Regulatory Studies Program at George Mason University and C. Boyden Gray, a former White House Counselor during the Bush Administration who helped found the Federalist Society. [19] Both the Mercatus Center and the Federalist Society are funded by the Koch Family Foundations.

The NFIB is a private-sector member of ALEC and has had representatives on the ALEC Civil Justice Task Force, Health and Human Services Task Force and Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force.

To read up on more about NFIB, please click here

There is also an excellent article from Brendan Fischer at PR Watch – Who is Bankrolling the Fight Against Obamacare, which you can read by clicking here that talks about NFIB.

And just check out the list of tags to this article.  These guys are involved with a lot of right wing Cabal organizations

Florida Official Behind Gov. Rick Scott’s Voter Purge Linked To $1 Billion Campaign Effort Against Obama

…But as Republic Report exclusively reported last month, the Center to Protect Patients’ Rights is part of a universe of front groups financed by David and Charles Koch, the petrochemical billionaires, as well as several other billionaires, as part of an election-influencing effort. New reports this week about the brothers’ strategy indicate that they will now use this constellation of front groups to finance $400 million of a $1 billion campaign in outside money to defeat President Obama and congressional Democrats. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Mitt Romney’s Super PAC, and several nonprofits controlled by Karl Rove, will furnish the other $600 million….

To read the rest of this investigative report by Lee Fang, please click here

Walmart Scrambles Lobbyists in Response to Mexico Bribery Report

After several years of relative calm, Walmart is once again in Capitol Hill’s cross hairs.

Despite Cummings and Waxman’s interest in an investigation, House Republicans have signaled that they have no interest in probing the matter.

Roll Call reports that Wal-Mart enlisted a cadre of K Streeters to stave off the investigation:

Walmart’s top D.C. lobbyist, Ivan Zapien, convened a meeting of his outside consultants today. Those who attended, according to a source familiar with the session, included Walmart’s former in-house Democratic lobbyist Kimberly Woodard, who now runs her own shop; GOP heavyweight Charlie Black of Prime Policy Group; Paul Brathwaite of the Podesta Group, and Capitol Counsel’s John Raffaelli and former Rep. Jim McCrery (R-La.).

“The allegations that Walmart officials in Mexico may have broken U.S. laws by bribing officials to get their stores built faster raise serious concerns,” Cummings said in a statement. “But I am even more alarmed by reports that top company executives in the U.S. tried to cover up these abuses.

To read this insightful article, please click here.

Wal-Mart Deploys Lobbyist Who Used To Work For Congressman Cummings To Fight Cummings’ Investigation Of Bribery Scandal

By | Apr 25th 2012

This morning, Oversight Committee members Congressman Elijah Cummings and Henry Waxman announced that they will begin a probe of Wal-Mart’s lobbying. In a press release, Cummings announced that he has sent letters to Tom Donohue and Greg Steinhafel, leaders of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Industry Leaders Association — the two Wal-Mart-funded fronts identified by Jilani as having worked to weaken the FCPA.

To read the rest of Lee Fang’s article, please click here