Friday, August 19, 2022

Play

A look at lack of representation as a deterrent for young voters; Maine's DOT goes green while Washington state aims to make homes more energy resilient; and a growing momentum for trauma-informed care.

Play

Florida judge says Mar-a-Lago search affidavit should be partially released, former chief financial officer of Trump Organization pleads guilty to grand larceny and tax fraud, and the Biden administration says it's moving monkeypox vaccine production to U.S.

Play

More women enter politics in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling on Roe v. Wade, one owner of a small town Texas newspaper fights to keep local news alive, and millions of mental health dollars could help reduce the suicide rate among farmers and ranchers.

Money in Politics: A Barrier to Civil Rights?

Play

Thursday, October 15, 2015   

DURHAM, N.C. – The U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision opened the floodgates of political spending by allowing unlimited spending by outside political groups, or super PACS.

And today, experts are gathering in Durham to examine how money in politics is a civil rights issue.

Chris Kromm, executive director of the Institute for Southern Studies, says money from special interest groups is a serious threat to democracy because it drowns out the voice of ordinary voters.

"It helps influence which candidates have the most resources and are considered viable, what issues get talked about during campaigns, who lawmakers listen to once they're in office and all this fundamentally goes against the idea that all citizens should have an equal say in the democracy, you know – one person one vote," he points out.

Kromm adds that North Carolina is an increasingly diverse state, but he says research finds the majority of big political donors are white residents, which causes a large disconnect between voters and candidates.

Spending in North Carolina's U.S. Senate race last year was more than $100 million, making it the most expensive Congressional race in history.

A recent New York Times report found that just 158 families, or the corporations they represent, have accounted for about half of the money spent in the 2016 race so far, spending $250,000 each.

Kromm contends that kind of spending restricts who can run for office.

"That limits our choices to just those who can amass huge sums of money,” he stresses. “So the question is no longer whether or not you have a good platform, good ideas, can inspire voters, but it's more about the size of your wallet. "

Kromm says that North Carolina was once a leader in cleaner elections with a program implemented in 2004 that gave judicial candidates a public campaign grant for agreeing to strict spending and fundraising limits.

"It passed with bipartisan support,” he states. “Eighty percent of judges used it. And a lot of judges who ran said it was great because instead of dialing for dollars and trying to hustle up money during the campaign, they were talking to voters about what they cared about as judges. "

The program was nixed in 2013 as part of HB 589, a sweeping voting reform bill currently challenged in federal courts.




get more stories like this via email

Earlier this year, nearly 1,300 Minnesotans participated in a new initiative that provides free schooling for people who want to become certified nursing assistants. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

This fall, additional free classes will be offered in Minnesota for people thinking about a career as a certified nursing assistant. It follows an …


Health and Wellness

Legislation signed into law this month by Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to bring updates long overdue to mental-health services in Massachusetts…

Environment

The Maine Department of Transportation is "going green," with plans to install solar arrays on three state-owned properties in Augusta. The …


A new Indigenous academy in South Dakota, geared for younger students, says it wants the kids to have a deep sense of belonging, higher engagement and motivation. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Organizers behind a new Indigenous school in western South Dakota hope they can give young Native American students a more optimal learning environmen…

Environment

Numerous community advocates are calling on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to build a long-proposed subway station at 10th Avenue and 41st …

hearing aids are not covered under Medicare or most insurance plans. (EdwardOlive/Adobestock)

Social Issues

Relief may be on the way for many older Nevadans who need hearing aids but can't afford to pay $3,000 to $5,000 for a pair. The Food and Drug …

Social Issues

Workers in Michigan won major victories recently as a minimum-wage increase and employer paid sick time program were reinstated by court order…

Social Issues

Small-business owners and entrepreneurs in a handful of towns across the state have resources at their fingertips to help renovate and reuse historic …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021