Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Redistricting -- background on UNfair Trust UPDATED

Interest continues to grow for discovering how a clandestine group could surreptitiously organize, raise untold millions of dollars and operate with impunity to hijack our state's redistricting process.

"They're all competing for the same dollar out there that is going to go to redistricting," said Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, who is leading an effort by the National Republican Congressional Committee to coordinate the work of GOP redistricting groups. It's important for the GOP side to coordinate closely, Westmoreland said, calling redistricting "the most brass-knuckle thing that there is in politics."

The once-a-decade redrawing of state and congressional legislative district boundaries to adjust for population trends has traditionally been an expensive pursuit for partisans seeking to boost their party's chances of winning extra seats.

After the 2000 census, Republicans adopted aggressive strategies for redrawing boundaries in big states where the party controlled the process, such as Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, and the results initially were big gains in congressional seats...
A key difference in this year's redistricting arms race is the passage of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, alternately known as BCRA or McCain-Feingold.

The law largely sidelined the national parties from the redistricting war by barring them from soliciting the massive checks from major corporations and wealthy donors that typically funded the three distinct fronts in the redistricting war: state legislative campaigns to tip the partisan balance in closely divided legislatures that approve new district boundaries; data-intensive mapping operations to draw new district maps favoring their respective parties; and defending their maps -- or opposing those of their opponents -- in court.
The Federal Elections Commission, in Advisory Opinion 2010-03 addressed the issue of fundraising for redistricting efforts:

Question Presented:
Many Members of Congress solicit on behalf of the Trust funds that do not comply with the Act’s amount limitations and source prohibitions?
Legal Analysis and Conclusions:
Yes, Members of Congress may solicit funds on behalf of the Trust that do notcomply with the Act‟s amount limitations and source prohibitions because the Trust's proposed activities are not in connection with a Federal or non-Federal election.
The US Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v the FEC, also handed down in 2010, goes hand in hand with these redistricting efforts by clandestine groups which include of Members of Congress.

For years, GOP lawmakers have complained about the mechanism, as well as specific measures, used by voters in Arizona fed up with the demonstratively horrendous performance of the state legislature.  Some of those measures go directly to the use of taxpayer funds (Prop 204, health care for the poor).  Others the GOP loves to hate include measures limiting legislative authority to modify laws passed by voters, Clean Elections and the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.  I bring this up because I see it all being a struggle between having a government of, by and for the PEOPLE as opposed to of, by and for Corporate America.

As I explained last night, we can expect a down and dirty street fight.

Tea partiers, perhaps because the Becks and Limbaughs in America today appeal more to people with fear and other primal tactics, those who respond to their call may be more prone to lash out with violence and attack the property and safety of people.

This year, the struggle for balance of power will be intense.  For members of the AIRC, it will be dramatically stressful.

But WE will see ever more dramatically that the KEYBOARD is mightier than the sword.


UPDATE                                              UPDATE                                                  UPDATE

In a related news item, this just in:
Peter Overby, who covers campaign-finance issues for NPR, reported on All Things Considered that some legal experts believe we may be rapidly approaching the death knell of the national political committees.

Blame McCain-Feingold they say. The law limits the contributions that can be made to the Republican and Democratic national committees.
So the money is going to outside political groups that call themselves "social welfare organizations," a designation that allows political donors to make contributions with virtually no disclosure and in unlimited amounts.
And because money is power in politics, the outside groups can and do exert ever more influence as the national party committees increasingly struggle.
This further underscores the urgency and significance of providing as much support as possible to the members of the AIRC.


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