Talking Points Memo: Gov. Scott Walker To Use Foreclosure Settlement Money To Balance His Budget, Not Help Homeowners
-By Pat Garofalo
February 10, 2012- Yesterday, 49 states joined the federal government in announcing a $26 billion settlement with five of the nation’s biggest banks over the banks’ foreclosure fraud abuses. The money from the settlement is meant to aid homeowners who lost their homes to foreclosure or who find themselves underwater, meaning they owe more on their mortgage than their home is currently worth.
The non-profit founded by the oil billionaire injects $700,000 to retain the embattled Wisconsin governor, possibly violating various laws on political activities.
-By Brendan Fischer
February 9, 2012- The Koch-founded Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit "charity" prohibited from intervening in political campaigns, is spending $700,000 on ads and holding events around Wisconsin that look like appeals to re-elect Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who is facing a recall election. The campaigning seems to flaunt proposed state campaign finance rules that AFP helped block and comes as secretly-funded nonprofits are playing an increasingly important role in elections nationally.
Townhalls and "Issue" Ads
The Assembly Committee on Election and Campaign Reform held a hearing Thursday on Assembly Joint Resolution 63, a proposed Constitutional Amendment to reform Wisconsin's law governing recalls of elected officials. Some lawmakers on the Committee used it as an opportunity to make some rhetorical points. MNS provides footage from the hearing.
-By Nick R. Martin
February 9, 2012- Republicans in Utah have opened up the next front in a battle against public unions being waged in statehouses throughout the nation.
A bill introduced last week in the Utah legislature would ban government employees from collectively bargaining on any issue except for wages and health benefits. The proposal would bar unions from having a say in things like training, equipment and disciplinary procedures.
The bill echoes similar measures that Republicans have advanced in the past year in states like Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio, which have all seen pitched fights over the role of unions.
Last year in Wisconsin, restrictions on collective bargaining led to massive protests at the Capitol and a Democratic effort to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Now in Utah, Democrats are gearing up for their own skirmish.
“People are going to fight it tooth and nail,” Democratic state Rep. Brian King told TPM on Wednesday. “It’s our little version of Scott Walker.”
-By Eric Kleefeld
February 8, 2012- Americans For Prosperity, the conservative political group backed by David and Charles Koch, is putting down some big money in the pending recall election against Gov. Scott Walker.
An ad that has run before is now being re-upped with a $700,000 buy, Greg Sargent reports. The ad does not directly use Walker’s name, due to legal reasons, but vociferously praises the policies that Walker put in place over the past year.
“Wisconsin put an end to abuses of collective bargaining — putting taxpayers back in control,” says a man identified in the ad as a small business executive.
-By Pat Garofalo
February 8, 2012- New Hampshire’s GOP legislature has come up with all manner of absurd bills recently, including a proposal making public school curriculum optional, another to prevent police from protecting domestic abuse victims, and even a measure mandating that new laws be based on the Magna Carta. Some of the Granite State’s GOP lawmakers have even proposed doing away with the law that requires employers to give their workers time off for lunch, under the rationale that all employers will simply grant lunch breaks out of the goodness of their hearts:
—By Andy Kroll
February 7, 2012- A dark cloud hangs over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
A "John Doe" investigation launched in May 2010 has embroiled former Walker staffers and appointees from his time as Milwaukee County executive, his job before winning the governorship in November 2010. The investigation, led by Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, has led to home raids targeting former staffers with close ties to Walker and numerous felony charges for election law violations, embezzlement, and misconduct in office.
What is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)?
-By: Nick Surgey
January 31, 2012- For almost 40 years now, up to 300 of the largest US corporations—including Koch Industries, Verizon, Bank of America and Exxon—have used ALEC to push model legislation, which is beneficial to their corporate interests, into law in the states. ALEC boasts that a third of all state legislators in the US are members, introducing around 1,000 ALEC bills every year. By using ALEC to pursue their agenda, they are able to hide their fingerprints, avoid lobbying disclosure, and evade the kind of increased scrutiny that comes when citizens know it’s actually corporationsthat draftedsome of their most important laws. Recent ALEC bills have rolled back voting rights, reduced environmental protections and stripped away collective bargaining rights for workers around the country.