Just three weeks ago, the United States Supreme Court ended a ban on corporate spending in political elections, drawing intense criticism for the ruling’s potential to erode the democratic process.
This week, a group that includes some of the wealthiest Republican CEOs on Wall Street have formed a group to take advantage of new fundraising possibilities for the GOP.
The Supreme Court ruling could potentially allow the group, called the American Action Network, to take unlimited contributions from corporations for use in political campaigns.
“This administration as well as Citizens United [the Supreme Court ruling] — when you combine the two the prospects for funding these types of efforts are greatly enhanced,” said Norm Coleman, one of the group’s organizers.
Coleman called the group an “action tank” or a “think-and-do tank.”
Members of the groups include:
Robert K. Steele, a former CEO of Goldman Sachs, helped Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson make his former bank one of the biggest beneficiaries of the $700 billion bailout.
Norm Coleman, who supported President Bush’s 2005 bankruptcy bill.
Ed Gillespie, whose lobbying firm represents Enron, Citibank, Bank of America, Zurich Financial, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
According to the New York Times, the group also includes:
“Republicans who are donors, board members or both include Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi; Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida; Mr. Barbour a former chairman of the Republican Party; Fred Malek, an investor and official in the Nixon and first Bush administrations.”
During his State of the Union address, President Obama looked at the Supreme Court justices sitting before him and said, “With all due deference to the separation of powers, the Supreme Court reversed a century of law to open the floodgates for special interests — including foreign corporations — to spend without limit in our elections.”
Privacy rights may become next victim of killer pandemic
Digital surveillance and smartphone technology may prove helpful in containing the coronavirus pandemic -- but some activists fear this could mean lasting harm to privacy and digital rights.
From China to Singapore to Israel, governments have ordered electronic monitoring of their citizens' movements in an effort to limit contagion. In Europe and the United States, technology firms have begun sharing "anonymized" smartphone data to better track the outbreak.
These moves have prompted soul-searching by privacy activists who acknowledge the need for technology to save lives while fretting over the potential for abuse.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards honors staffer who died from COVID-19
Gov. John Bel Edwards (D-LA) offered a moving tribute to a member of his staff who died from COVID-19.
"On behalf of the first lady and my entire administration, it is with heavy hearts that we mourn the loss of our dear April, who succumbed to complications from COVID-19," he posted on Twitter, along with photos.
"She brightened everyone’s day with her smile and was an inspiration to everyone who met her," he continued.
"She lived her life to the fullest and improved the lives of countless Louisianans with disabilities as a dedicated staff member in the Governor's Office of Disability Affairs. April worked hard as an advocate for herself & other members of the disability community," he wrote.
Washington state nurses share shocking stories from their war against coronavirus
by Ken Armstrong and Vianna Davila
Nurses at one hospital in southeastern Washington state have alleged that, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, they were ordered by supervisors to use one protective mask per shift, potentially exposing themselves to the novel coronavirus.
At another hospital, just east of Seattle, nurses had to use face shields indefinitely.
At a third hospital, on Washington’s border with Oregon, nurses reported that respirators were expired. The hospital responded, the nurses said, by ordering staff to remove stickers showing that the respirators might be as much as three years out of date.