Although his HBO show Real Time is on hiatus until August, Bill Maher took to the show’s blog on Monday to offer some thoughts on the Citizens United ruling, which opened the floodgates for so-called “dark money” in the U.S. election process.
“A recent New York Times poll shows that almost everybody hates Citizens United,” wrote Maher, “that 46 percent want to ‘completely rebuild’ our campaign finance system and another 39 percent want to ‘fundamentally change’ it. How come there’s no apparent clamoring for complete public financing of campaigns? Isn’t it the only thing we can do at this point?”
He went on, “For politicians, I don’t think the bar should be calling for a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United. The bar should be calling for complete public financing.”
Maher suggested using the “taxing power” of the Constitution to raise funds for these elections, saying that taking the private money out of elections would be “the greatest investment this country ever made.”
“Our elected officials wouldn’t be beholden to individual sugar daddies and lobbyists, and could spend their time on things other than telemarketing.,” he said.
“Isn’t this the most obvious thing in the world? Why is it still seen as a leftist fringe proposal?” he concluded.
Publicly funded elections are the law in several U.S. states, including North Carolina, Maine, Arizona, New Mexico and Vermont.
Norway, France and Germany make use of public funds in their national elections. Advocates point to nations like India, Russia and Brazil, which have no form of public funding for elections and staggering public corruption problems.
Carl Bernstein: There are 7-9 ‘wobbly’ Republicans who want witnesses but Mitch McConnell is trying to block them
In a CNN panel discussion Wednesday, notorious Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein revealed that there are seven to nine Republican senators who are wavering after the compelling argument that the House has provided for the impeachment. The problem, however, is that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is refusing to allow any break from the party line.
"I think this is a hugely damaging narrative that was laid out today, and that Mitch McConnell understands, and has understood for a while that this hugely damaging narrative was going to affect his members," said Bernstein. "And that his strategy -- I've talked to some Republicans about this -- #MidnightMitch is to wear out his own members so that they don't vote for more witnesses because there are six, seven, eight, nine wobbly Republicans."
Republican Kevin McCarthy gets taken down by former top GOP colleague
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was attacked by a former Republican colleague who alleged McCarthy and his fellow members of Congress have allowed the House GOP to become the official shill for the White House.
In a profile for the New York Times, former Oversight Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-VA) shamed the GOP House for the way that a once-respectable institution has fallen.
“Congress no longer operates as an independent branch of government, but as an appendage of the executive branch,” said Davis. “He is made for that role.”
Former senator reveals to Maddow how one brave Democrat can reveal key document in impeachment trial
Near the end of Wednesday's impeachment trial, Chief Justice John Roberts announced that an agreement had been made to allow senators to read supplemental testimony from Vice President Mike Pence aide Jennifer Williams.
The document will remain classified, despite claims that there is no classified material in the document, only evidence that is damning to the president.
"In terms of this document potentially being improperly classified, which is something that has been raised in writing by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and raised on the floor of the Senate tonight by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)," MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow noted. "Obviously, it was the vice president's office that said it was classified, they are getting publicly criticized for that. If it has been improperly classified and it should be something that the public can see, who adjudicates that?"