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For a select group of members of Congress, the debate over the debt ceiling has more than political implications. For those with investments in U.S. Treasury notes, bonds and bills, there's a bit of a personal skin in the game too. In 2010, at least 14 veteran members of Congress personally owned a portion of the U.S. debt, according to a Center for Responsive Politics review of congressional personal financial disclosure reports.
It's good to have home state allies, but will they be enough for for Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, who announced he would be seeking the Republican presidential nomination in June? At least 27 percent of the $582,100 Santorum raised through June 30 has come from residents of the Keystone State, according to a preliminary analysis of campaign finance filings by the Center for Responsive Politics. Pennsylvanians have so far given Santorum at least $160,660.
- OpenSecrets Blog: First Presidential Finance Reports Show Clout of Wall Street, Retirees
- OpenSecrets.org profiles of presidential fund-raising
Attorney Trevor Potter has been a part of the campaign finance world for two decades, serving as counsel for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and comedian Stephen Colbert. Along the way, he founded the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that focuses on legal issues surrounding campaigns and elections and supports campaign finance regulations. OpenSecrets Blog recently sat down with Potter to discuss the changing campaign finance landscape. The wide-ranging conversation touched on the seriousness of Colbert's super PAC, how political speech isn't for "sissies" and how the U.S. Supreme Court is made up of "theorists" who are "not in touch with reality" when it comes to how money is being raised and spent.
The Dunkin' Brands Group, owner of Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin Robbins, got a lot of love from investors when it debuted on the stock market last week. But how much love has the company given to Washington? During the 2010 election cycle, Dunkin' Brands' political action committee contributed some $42,000 to mostly Democratic candidates. But it also donated to several Republicans — including some of the highest-ranking GOP leaders in Congress.
MTV celebrated its 30th birthday this week. Much has changed since the channel was first launched — remember when it actually played music videos rather than bad reality television shows? But for nearly MTV's entire life, it has been owned by a single parent-company: Viacom. And while MTV does not have its own political action committee, Viacom's PAC has been a prolific supporter of federal politicians. During the 2010 election cycle, Viacom's PAC contributed more than $237,000 to federal politicians, with 58 percent of that sum benefitting Democrats.
Join OpenSecrets.org Outreach Coordinator Evan Mackinder at informal meet and greet sessions on Saturday, Aug. 13, in Seattle and Saturday, Aug. 20, in San Francisco. These are informal sessions, meant to give supporters of OpenSecrets.org and activists a chance to meet with a member of our staff and talk about issues related to campaign finance and government transparency. It's also a chance for us to hear what's on your mind! Come, join us!
Numerous Media Outlets Citing OpenSecrets.org's Research, Reporting
Other news organizations relying on the Center this week include:
- iWatch News, on the clout of commercial banks
- Des Moines Register, about Koch Industries
- Forth Worth Star-Telegram, on mega-donor Bob Perry
- St. Lous Post-Dispatch, on campaign spending
- Variety, on presidential fund-raising
August 4, 2011
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