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Campaign Finance Reform

Update: Options for Reining in Corporate Election Cash in Wake of Citizens United Supreme Court Decision

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (FEC) decision earlier this year gave corporations the same First Amendment rights as citizens with regard to advocating for or against political candidates, unleashing a flood of new corporate cash into state races and a range of new state policy initiatives that aim to protect the integrity of their elections.  In response, states are pursuing other reforms, such as requiring shareholder approval for corporations spending election cash, tighter public disclosure and attribution in ads, public financing of elections, and calling for a federal constitutional amendment to reverse the Citizens United decision.

Texas Again Demonstrates the Pitfalls of Privatization

This past week, the Dallas Morning News revealed that a key figure who contributed to the privatization of Texas' food stamp eligibility program is now receiving taxpayer dollars to help fix the problems that the private system created.  regg Phillips, who was Deputy Commissioner at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and led the push for privatization a few years ago, now heads AutoGov Inc., a company that has received $207,500 from the state government in the past four months to assist in eliminating the errors in the provision and eligibility determination of the state's food stamp program.

Close the Revolving Door on Legislators-Turned-Lobbyists

While the shenanigans of former U.S. Representative-turned-pharmaceutical lobbyist Billy Tauzin and other legislators-turned-lobbyists make national headlines, the abuse of power in the states often receive scant attention.  A recent decision by the U.S. District Court for Southern Ohio reminds us that the revolving door among legislators-turned-lobbyists is as much a problem in the states as we hear about at the federal level.