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Issues Economic and Social Justice Voter Access SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: How Art Pope helped turn back the clock on voting rights in North Carolina
Saturday, 07 June 2014 18:51

SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: How Art Pope helped turn back the clock on voting rights in North Carolina

Written by  Sue Sturgis, with research by Marion T. Johnson | Facing South

When Montravias King, a senior at North Carolina's historically black Elizabeth City State University, showed up at a hearing before the Pasquotank County Board of Elections earlier this month to defend his bid for a city council seat, he faced off against Richard "Pete" Gilbert, the local Republican Party chair.

Gilbert was there to challenge King's residency qualifications, arguing that because the student lives in a campus dormitory he's not a permanent resident of Elizabeth City and therefore does not have the right to hold local office -- even though he's lived in, volunteered in, and voted in Pasquotank County since 2009. Earlier this year, Gilbert also got 56 ECSU students dropped from the voter rolls for registering at their campus address, but he has not mounted similar challenges to student voters at Mid-Atlantic Christian University, a largely white private school also in Elizabeth City.

The local elections board, which is controlled by a Republican majority, sided with Gilbert, and last week issued an order barring King from the ballot. The Durham, N.C.-based Southern Coalition for Social Justice has filed an appeal with the state elections board, saying the ruling violates equal protection provisions of the U.S. Constitution. The hearing is set for Tuesday, Sept. 3. The decision will have important implications for the voting rights of students across North Carolina, since residency requirements for running for office and casting a ballot are the same.

Gilbert, who told the Associated Press that he plans to "take this show on the road," did not come to the Pasquotank elections board hearing alone: Sitting next to him was Susan Myrick, an elections analyst with the John W. Pope Civitas Institute. (This is not the same Sue Myrick who formerly served as the U.S. Representative for North Carolina's 9th District.) Civitas is a conservative think tank founded and largely funded by GOP mega-donor and North Carolina budget director Art Pope and named for Pope's father, the founder of the Variety Wholesalers discount retail chain through which the family amassed its multimillion-dollar fortune.

Myrick's presence at King's hearing has raised questions about Pope's involvement in efforts to roll back voting rights in North Carolina, which had made great strides in boosting turnout in recent years. But that progress in expanding access to the franchise is now jeopardized by a controversial new state elections law, the Voter Identification and Verification Act, which requires voters to show a state-issued photo ID but does not allow students to use school IDs. VIVA also shortens the early voting period and ends same-day registration.

A Facing South investigation finds that Pope played several critical but largely behind-the-scenes roles in advancing the state's new voting restrictions:

1. Pope's ideological network ginned up fear of voter fraud.

Voters cast 3.79 million ballots in North Carolina's 2010 election cycle, and only 28 cases of voter fraud were referred to district attorneys. In 2012, North Carolina voters cast nearly 7 million ballots, and only 121 alleged cases of voter fraud were found. Going back to 2007, the N.C. State Board of Elections has reported a grand total of 80 cases of double voting, three cases involving voter residency issues, and two cases of voter impersonation, which is what the state's new photo ID law aims to prevent.

There simply is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in North Carolina -- a point made by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican who served under President George W. Bush, when he recently visited the state and slammed its new voting law.

"You can say what you like, but there is no voter fraud," Powell told an executive forum in Raleigh. "How can it be widespread and undetected?"

But you get a very different impression about voter fraud reading the publications produced by conservative think tanks founded and largely funded by Pope.

Civitas, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that bills itself as "North Carolina's Conservative Voice," gets over 99 percent of its funding from Pope -- so much that the IRS classifies it as a private foundation. Pope also founded the John Locke Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that promotes limited government, and he provides around 80 percent of its operating budget. Pope sat on the two groups' boards of directors until becoming the state budget director earlier this year, giving him a considerable level of both financial and organizational control.

Over the past five years, with Pope and his money at the helm, Civitas and the John Locke Foundation published more than 50 articles, op-eds and blog posts warning of voter fraud and using the alleged threat to call for a strict photo ID law, an end to same-day registration, and a shorter early voting period.

Some stories in Pope-connected publications took a more measured approach to promoting fear of fraud. "Realistically, voter ID requirements are an insurance policy against the possibility that an extremely close election might be stolen by voter fraud," John Locke Foundation President John Hood wrote in a December 2012 article in Carolina Journal, the organization's flagship publication.

Others suggested that voter fraud is a tool commonly used on the political left. "We know that the SEIU, Democratic Party, lefties of all stripes, and every identity group out there understands that a voter ID law would make it difficult to commit vote fraud," Jon Ham wrote for the John Locke Foundation's Right Angles blog in 2011. "THAT's why many of them oppose it."

Meanwhile, Civitas relentlessly criticized an earlier version of voter ID legislation, saying it allowed too many ID options, including utility bills and bank statements. The bill also allowed voters without ID to simply show their signature matched the one on their voter registration -- an approach Civitas rejected in its effort to get the kind of bill that ultimately passed.

"It is safe to say that anyone who votes for a voter ID bill that includes any of these elements is not a supporter of true voter photo ID," Myrick wrote at the time.

2. Pope's ideological network gave a platform to voting restriction extremism.

Both the John Locke Foundation and Civitas Institute have prominently featured the work of Jay DeLancy and his group the Voter Integrity Project of NC (VIP-NC), which has been involved in controversial efforts to kick people off the voting rolls.

A retired Air Force officer, DeLancy attended a 2011 summit held in Houston by True the Vote, a group with close ties to the Tea Party movement that promotes poll watching efforts to root out what it alleges is widespread fraud. True the Vote has been criticized by voting rights advocates for intimidating voters. It has also come under criticism for describing itself as nonpartisan while making in-kind contributions to Republicans and contributing thousands of dollars to the Republican State Leadership Committee, which works to get party members elected to state office. (Pope's business also funds the RSLC.)

DeLancy launched a North Carolina chapter of True the Vote, but he broke from the national group after it raised concerns about his anti-immigrant leanings. He then founded VIP-NC, which DeLancy says "springs from [his] outrage at the news of how election after election is stolen in some amazingly brazen way."

Last year, DeLancy challenged the registrations of more than 500 voters in Wake County, N.C. -- mostly people of color -- who he said were not U.S. citizens. One voter was found to have improperly registered and was stricken from the rolls, while several others requested their own removal. Of the 18 challenges that the local election board found required further investigation, all were dismissed after hundreds of hours of work by the board. A furious DeLancy stormed out of the hearing, kicking open the building's glass doors and denouncing the board as looking "stupid."

Also during last year's busy election season, DeLancy's group submitted nearly 30,000 names of registered voters it claimed were dead to the state elections board. But after a lengthy investigation, the board found that many of the people on DeLancy's outdated list had already been removed from the rolls -- and others were still alive. No evidence emerged of any kind of fraudulent scheme to steal an election.

DeLancy's less-than-careful work and nativist leanings did not deter Pope's ideological network from giving him a platform, however. In the past year, they have cited him and VIP-NC at least 10 times. In one blog post, the John Locke Foundation published DeLancy's claim that VIVA was too permissive. In another, Civitas applauded VIP-NC's work.

"VIP is doing their best to identify names that should not be on the rolls, both dead and non-citizens," Myrick wrote. "You see, they must do this work, because the State Board of Elections will not … ."

3. Pope supported key GOP lawmakers involved in advancing voting restrictions.

House Bill 589, the elections bill that the North Carolina legislature passed this year, was originally introduced in April by four primary sponsors, all Republicans. Two of them -- Reps. Harry Warren of Rowan County and Tom Murry of Wake County -- got generous support in launching their political careers from Pope, his family, and his network of political spending groups.

Running for the legislature for the first time in 2010, Warren narrowly defeated his Democratic opponent, a five-term incumbent, by fewer than 200 votes. Warren's campaign benefited from over $109,000 in spending from Real Jobs NC, a 527 political group co-founded by Pope and whose major funders include Variety Wholesalers. Also in 2010, Murry's campaign to unseat a Democratic incumbent benefited from $12,000 in campaign contributions from Pope and his family, and over $92,000 in independent spending from outside groups affiliated with Pope. That total included more than $45,000 from Real Jobs NC; $25,000 from Civitas Action, the Pope-founded 501(c)(4) sister group of the Civitas Institute; and $21,000 from Americans for Prosperity, on whose national board Pope sat until becoming state budget director.

The revised version of the House elections bill that was unveiled in the state Senate and passed in the closing days of this year's session was even harsher than the original House proposal. Pope's network also supported the lawmakers behind voting restrictions that were added to the final version of the bill.

State Sen. E.S. "Buck" Newton III is a Wilson County Republican who formerly served as an aide to deceased U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms, an outspoken foe of the Voting Rights Act whose 1990 campaign against Harvey Gantt, the African-American former mayor of Charlotte, got in trouble for illegally trying to suppress the black vote. Newton was the primary sponsor of an omnibus elections bill introduced in April that had a strict voter ID provision and disallowed the use of student IDs for voting. It also dramatically shortened early voting and eliminated same-day registration -- all provisions that were added to the House bill and became law. Newton was first elected to the state Senate in 2010, defeating the Democratic incumbent with the help of $4,000 in contributions from Pope and his family and more than $17,000 in independent expenditures from Americans for Prosperity.

Pope and his network also generously supported the 2010 election to the state House of Bill Cook, a Republican who is now a state senator representing the northeastern North Carolina coastal district that's home to Elizabeth City State University. In the 2010 cycle, Cook benefited from over $79,000 in outside support from Pope-backed groups, as well as $16,000 in direct campaign contributions from Pope and his family. Running for state Senate two years later, Cook was helped by over $9,700 in expenditures by Americans for Prosperity, winning by just 21 votes.

Cook went on to become one of the primary sponsors of Senate Bill 666 -- dubbed the "Bill of the Beast" by voting rights advocates -- that cut early voting, eliminated same-day registration, and expanded the rights of party-appointed poll observers. All of those provisions made it into the law signed by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, whose 2012 campaign received $20,000 in contributions from Pope and his family, and benefited from independent expenditures of $380,000 by Real Jobs NC and $130,000 from Americans for Prosperity.

This year Cook was also a primary sponsor of another bill that would have imposed a tax penalty on the parents of students who register to vote at school. That proposal was tabled after public outcry.

4. Pope helped Republicans win control of state government.

As Facing South has documented, Pope, his family, his company, and the network of outside political groups he's affiliated with -- Americans for Prosperity, Civitas Action, and Real Jobs NC -- spent a total of over $2.2 million in the 2010 election cycle to elect Republican state lawmakers, helping give the party control of both the state House and Senate for the first time since Reconstruction. Those wins also put Republicans in control of drawing new political lines, with Pope serving as an adviser to the redistricting process and further consolidating GOP control of state government.

Pope was an important force again in the 2012 election cycle, as he, his family, and his affiliated groups spent over $2 million on state-level races, helping Republicans win supermajorities in both chambers and putting a Republican in the executive mansion. Without the GOP in power in Raleigh, legislative proposals to limit access to the ballot box -- which disproportionately affect minorities, young people, and other Democratic-leaning constituencies -- would have gone nowhere.

That those proposals are now the law in North Carolina is due in no small part to the efforts of Pope.

Link to original article from Facing South

Read 2603 times Last modified on Saturday, 07 June 2014 19:09

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    'Better Off' Budget Attacks Status Quo with Bold Progressive Vision

    Economic blueprint by Congressional Progressive Caucus makes commanding argument for what's possible, but will it again be ignored by nation's powerful elite?

    Written on Thursday, 13 March 2014 22:09 Read more...
  • Why I Didn’t Make it to Gaza for International Women’s Day
    Why I Didn’t Make it to Gaza for International Women’s Day

    When I boarded the plane to Cairo, Egypt, to make sure everything was in place for the women’s delegation headed to Gaza, I had no reason to think I’d end up in a jail cell at the Cairo airport and then violently deported.

    Written on Thursday, 13 March 2014 18:51 Read more...
  • UDC Law School - Social Justice Law
    UDC Law School - Social Justice Law

    The public service-oriented UDC David A. Clarke School of Law (www.law.udc.edu) is the public law school of the nation’s capital. Unlike most other law schools in America, all UDC-DCSL students receive a high-quality, practical, hands-on program of legal study. In addition to the traditional law curriculum, each UDC-DCSL student, under the close supervision of attorney-professors, provides 700 hours of much-needed legal service to low-income Washington, DC residents in one of the School’s eight clinics.

    Written on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 19:20 Read more...
  • I was brutally attacked.
    I was brutally attacked.

    Just the other day I hopped on a plane to Egypt, eager to join the international delegation of 100 women headed to Gaza for International Women’s Day. Little did I know I would be stopped at the Cairo airport, detained, held overnight in a cell, then in the morning brutally assaulted by Egyptian authorities. 

    Written on Thursday, 06 March 2014 21:42 Read more...
  • Bernie Sanders: ‘I Am Prepared to Run for President of the United States’
    Bernie Sanders: ‘I Am Prepared to Run for President of the United States’

    Bernie Sanders says he is “prepared to run for president of the United States.” That’s not a formal announcement. A lot can change between now and 2016, and the populist senator from Vermont bristles at the whole notion of a permanent campaign.

    Written on Thursday, 06 March 2014 21:24 Read more...
  • 2 Million People Cut Off Unemployment Benefits
    2 Million People Cut Off Unemployment Benefits

    WASHINGTON – The number of people who have lost their unemployment benefits as a result of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program’s expiration has surpassed two million this week, according to a new analysis from Ways and Means Committee Democrats.

    Written on Wednesday, 05 March 2014 17:01 Read more...
  • Egyptian Police Detain, Assault, & Deport Peace Activist Medea Benjamin
    Egyptian Police Detain, Assault, & Deport Peace Activist Medea Benjamin

    On route to a women’s conference in Gaza, Code Pink founder and peace activist Medea Benjamin was detained by Egyptian police and held in an airport prison cell for several hours without being charged. During her detention, the petite Benjamin said she was “jumped on” by Egyptian police and “violently handcuffed” resulting in a  fractured my arm, dislocated my shoulder, torn ligaments.

    Written on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 21:20 Read more...
  • CODEPINK Co-founder Medea Benjamin Detained, Brutally Attacked and Deported from Egypt en route to Gaza with International Delegation of Women
    CODEPINK Co-founder Medea Benjamin Detained, Brutally Attacked and Deported from Egypt en route to Gaza with International Delegation of Women

    CODEPINK Co-founder Medea Benjamin Detained, Brutally Attacked and Deported from Egypt en route to Gaza with International Delegation of Women

    Written on Tuesday, 04 March 2014 16:45 Read more...
  • The Progressive Movement Continues to Mature and Grow
    The Progressive Movement Continues to Mature and Grow

    In case you hadn't noticed, the debt ceiling was raised several days ago, so quietly that it barely made a ripple in the press. No threats of shutting down the government or hostage-taking emanated from Senator Mitch McConnell -- or from his even more radical right-wing cronies in the House -- this recent go around.

    Written on Friday, 28 February 2014 02:55 Read more...
  • What a Victory: How a $40 Million Attack on the Middle Class Went Up in Smoke
    What a Victory: How a $40 Million Attack on the Middle Class Went Up in Smoke

    It’s debt ceiling time, and the United States economy is once again on the brink, held hostage by extremists hell-bent on forcing cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Oh, wait. That was last year. In 2014, for the first time in three years, the vote to extend the nation’s debt ceiling did not bring the United States to the brink of default in a high-stakes game of slash and burn.

    Written on Sunday, 23 February 2014 16:37 Read more...
  • The United States of Poverty and Inequality
    The United States of Poverty and Inequality

    New report shows that no matter which state you live in, the 1% are making even more gains as the rest fall back

    Over the last three decades the wealth of the nation's very richest 1% has grown ten times that of the average worker and over that time period that same tiny elite has captured more than half of the entire income increases, leaving the bottom 99% to divide the remaining gains.

    Written on Saturday, 22 February 2014 16:11 Read more...
  • Michael Sam stands tall
    Michael Sam stands tall

    “I’m a football player, and I’m gay.” With those words, Michael Sam, an All-American defensive end from the University of Missouri, demonstrated courage far beyond that demanded on the football field. And America may, for the first time, witness an openly gay man playing professional football.

    Written on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 03:20 Read more...
  • Preserve social programs that work
    Preserve social programs that work

    I started a chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America in Springfield a few years ago. Since then our chapter has grown to include the Greater Springfield Area. At an event last fall in front of U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin’s office we had 75 folks attend from various unions and organizations, many of them traveling from Normal, Bloomington, Peoria, Jacksonville, Morrisonville and Champaign.

    Written on Friday, 07 February 2014 03:25 Read more...
  • Conversations with Great Minds P1 - Rep Keith Ellison - My Country 'Tis of Thee
    Conversations with Great Minds P1 - Rep Keith Ellison - My Country 'Tis of Thee

    Congressman Keith Ellison(D-MN, 5th District) / Author of the new book, My Country 'Tis of Thee: My Faith, My Family, Our Future joins Thom Hartmann.

    Written on Thursday, 06 February 2014 22:36 Read more...
  • JESSE JACKSON: Response to President Obama's 2014 State of the Union Address
    JESSE JACKSON: Response to President Obama's 2014 State of the Union Address

    The country seems turned off and tuned out to the Congress, politics generally and the federal government in particular. The good news is the emerging grass-roots movement exemplified by The Dreamers and the burgeoning campaign among low income workers around the nation, offering a clear challenge to the political gridlock, the inaction and non-work by Congress. Seeking to respond to this grassroots energy and to combat the frustration many people are feeling around the country, President Obama presented an optimistic tone, an uplifting message and a new plan of action to move America forward.

    Written on Thursday, 30 January 2014 20:01 Read more...
  • State of the Union: Right on Wages, Wrong on Trade
    State of the Union: Right on Wages, Wrong on Trade

    President Obama wants 2014 to be a “year of action” in which the country finally begins to address a wealth gap that has made the term “income inequality” the catchphrase of the moment. And he framed the crisis well in his fifth State of the Union address:

    Written on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 17:32 Read more...
  • House passes $956B farm bill
    House passes $956B farm bill

    The House on Wednesday approved a mammoth, $956 billion farm bill in a bipartisan vote.

    Members approved the House-Senate agreement on farm policy in a 251-166 vote. A majority of Republicans backed the bill, with 63 GOP no votes. But a majority of Democrats opposed it, with 103 voting no.

    Written on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 16:45 Read more...
  • Pete Seeger: This Man Surrounded Hate and Forced it to Surrender
     Pete Seeger: This Man Surrounded Hate and Forced it to Surrender

    When some of the greatest musicians in the world gathered five years ago to celebrate the ninetieth birthday of the musician who inspired them all, Bruce Springsteen told Pete Seeger: “You outlasted the bastards, man.”

    And so he did.

    Written on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 16:30 Read more...
  • State of the Union: It doesn’t have to be this way
    State of the Union: It doesn’t have to be this way

    President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night will focus on inequality, on the reality that this economy does not work for working people. Given the obstruction of House and Senate Republicans, the president faces the reality that little of what he proposes can pass this Congress. He has vowed to use his “pen” and “phone” to act unilaterally where he can. But the real challenge is to explain to the American people what the reality is, what must be done and who is standing in the way.

    Written on Tuesday, 28 January 2014 15:56 Read more...
  • Ellison’s Steps to Income Equality: More Powerful Unions and Weaker Trade
    Ellison’s Steps to Income Equality: More Powerful Unions and Weaker Trade

    Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairman Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) said that increasing the power of unions is key to addressing income inequality in America.

    “We need a comprehensive plan, but let’s start with increasing the right to collective bargaining,” Ellison said on MSNBC. “We’ve got to get workers on the job in a position to demand that the wealth that they create be shared by the company. That’s a key thing. If you look at how wages has stagnated in the United States and you look at how union did something that has gone down, the lines track right together. You got to get power in the hands of the workers. That’s key.”

    Written on Thursday, 23 January 2014 18:18 Read more...
  • Celebrating MLK: A drum major for justice
    Celebrating MLK: A drum major for justice

    As I went from event to event Monday celebrating the birthday of Martin Luther King, I was struck by both the tribute and the distortion.

    The tribute is remarkable. Martin Luther King held no public office. He amassed no great fortune. He led no victorious armies

    Written on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 16:03 Read more...
  • Keith Ellison Blasts Inaction on Government-Backed Poverty: “The Most Remarkable Dodge I’ve Ever Seen”
    Keith Ellison Blasts Inaction on Government-Backed Poverty: “The Most Remarkable Dodge I’ve Ever Seen”

    One day after a top Obama administration official deflected a congressman’s call for executive action to raise labor standards for contractors, activists Wednesday announced the filing of a new Department of Labor complaint over alleged wage theft in a government building. The complaint alleges that dozens of workers in D.C.’s government-owned Union Station are owed over $3 million in back pay and damages for rampant failure to pay minimum wage or overtime.

    Written on Saturday, 18 January 2014 16:26 Read more...
  • King’s evolving Dream
    King’s evolving Dream

    It is that time to pause and think about the incredible life and contributions of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., oftentimes referred to as MLK. He was named Michael King Jr. after his father ­ who later changed both their names to Martin Luther, in honor of the religious reformer.

    Written on Saturday, 18 January 2014 15:37 Read more...
  • Moral Monday Movement Spreads Through the South
    Moral Monday Movement Spreads Through the South

    After drawing thousands of protesters to the state legislature and inspiring the arrests of more than 900 people for nonviolent civil disobedience, North Carolina's Moral Monday movement challenging the extreme conservative agenda of the state's Republican-controlled legislature and administration is gearing up for more actions in 2014.

    Written on Monday, 13 January 2014 13:30 Read more...
  • On 50th anniversary of 'War on Poverty' speech, Worcester Rep. Jim McGovern says cuts to SNAP are 'war on poor people'
    On 50th anniversary of 'War on Poverty' speech, Worcester Rep. Jim McGovern says cuts to SNAP are 'war on poor people'

    U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern says the "War on Poverty" has shifted from helping the poor to fighting them.

    McGovern, a Democrat who represents the 2nd district, spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives Wednesday about hunger in America and potential cuts to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) in the proposed Farm Bill.

    Written on Saturday, 11 January 2014 15:37 Read more...
  • War on Poverty wages on
    War on Poverty wages on

    Fifty years ago this week, President Lyndon Johnson, lamenting that too many Americans “live on the outskirts of hope,” declared an “unconditional war on poverty in America.” This will not be “a short or easy struggle,” he stated in his State of the Union address to the Congress, “no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we will not rest until that war is won. The richest nation on earth can afford to win it. We cannot afford to lose it.”

    Written on Tuesday, 07 January 2014 18:11 Read more...
  • Will New York City Lead the Way on Pre-K?
    Will New York City Lead the Way on Pre-K?

    At the Future of America Learning Center in the West Bronx, the pre-K curriculum is built around adult jobs—visiting real workplaces and then learning about the vocabulary and skills that grown-ups use every day.

    Written on Tuesday, 07 January 2014 01:24 Read more...
  • Advice for Young Women: Get a Union Job
    Advice for Young Women: Get a Union Job

    Back in the days before modern feminism, a young woman looking for work might typically be advised, politely, to “learn a trade,” with the implication that she wasn't bound for college or an elite career, but a humbler job as, say, a secretary or seamstress. Such a phrase might sound condescending today. Yet working in a trade might still be sound career goal for a woman, if she gets the right kind of job—in a union.

    Written on Tuesday, 24 December 2013 21:30 Read more...
  • Walmart Workers Will Make History on Friday As America Confronts Growing Inequality
    Walmart Workers Will Make History on Friday As America Confronts Growing Inequality

    This Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, tens of millions of Americans will travel to Walmart stores to look for holiday discounts on computers, toys, and cell phones as well as to buy groceries and basic household items.

    Written on Saturday, 30 November 2013 15:20 Read more...
  • McDonald's: Low-Paid Workers, High-Flying Execs
    McDonald's: Low-Paid Workers, High-Flying Execs

    He was CEO of the hamburger behemoth, McDonald's, pulling down a hefty $8.8 million in pay. Last year, though, Skinner retired, and, rather than getting a gold watch, he was given a load of gold — so large that even a Brink's armored truck would have been too small to haul it all away. His salary of $753,000 was the least of it.

    Written on Thursday, 21 November 2013 13:44 Read more...
  • Growing Movement: Expand Social Security or 'Pay a Price'
    Growing Movement: Expand Social Security or 'Pay a Price'

    Sen. Warren: 'Social Security is incredibly effective, it is incredibly popular, and the calls for strengthening it are growing louder every day.'

    With Social Security cuts once again on the table in closed-door congressional budget negotiations, a growing movement has taken the offensive, demanding that lawmakers strengthen, rather than stranglehold, our social safety net.

    Written on Thursday, 21 November 2013 13:36 Read more...
  • Paul Ryan Gets 700,000 ‘No’ Votes on Social Security Cuts
    Paul Ryan Gets 700,000 ‘No’ Votes on Social Security Cuts

    Ryan’s office on Wednesday received a petition signed by more than 700,000 people that said there should be “no grand bargain” in the budget negotiations being led by Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., “in exchange for cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.”

    Written on Saturday, 16 November 2013 03:10 Read more...
  • House Dems Can Block GOP Food Stamp Cuts—By Killing the Farm Bill
    House Dems Can Block GOP Food Stamp Cuts—By Killing the Farm Bill

    The farm bill will almost inevitably include deep cuts to the food stamps program—unless House Democrats join with conservatives to kill the bill. The food stamps program—which helps feed one in seven Americans—is in peril. Republicans in the House have proposed a farm bill—the five-year bill that funds agriculture and nutrition programs—that would slash food stamps by $40 billion. But by taking advantage of House Republicans' desire to cut food stamps as much as possible, Democrats might be able to prevent cuts from happening at all.

    Written on Tuesday, 12 November 2013 15:28 Read more...
  • Food Stamps, Yes!
    Food Stamps, Yes!

    If you’re reading this column, you probably don’t participate in a government program such as SNAP, to help provide food for your family. If you can afford to have a newspaper delivered to your home, or if you have a computer and an internet connection so you can read online, you may have more than enough money for food.

    Written on Friday, 04 October 2013 01:50 Read more...

Does Your Legislator Support the Robin Hood Tax?

Join "Countdown to Coverage" Share TPP with your Daily Newspaper

CWA devised a simple plan for which they were uniquely suited: drag TPP out of the shadows and into the light - one city at a time - using a medium they understand intimately: Daily Newspapers!

Two CWA members - Dave Felice in Denver, CO and Madelyn Elder in Portland, OR have started the ball rolling. We just need to keep up the momentum leading up to a big day of petition deliveries.

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Step 1 is to send an Op-Ed to your Daily Newspaper.

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Hand Deliver a Letter to your Rep on Jobs

If your Representative is not currently a cosponsor of HR 1000 they may not completely understand how important full employment is to your community; click on your state at the bottom of this page to see all the cosponsors in your state. Nothing sends a stronger message to a Congressional member than a personal visit to a district office by a voter with a written request. Phone calls and emails are incredibly important but nothing gets attention like a personal visit. Our Educate Congress page has information and a sample letter. Print the letter, sign it, deliver it.

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Report on your TPP Contact

Please let us know your legislator's stance on Fast Track Authorization for the Trans Pacific Partnership as well as their stance on the TPP in General. Click here to report the response.

The Robin Hood Tax

Robin Hood Tax: John Nichols and Keith Ellison and Michael Lighty

Why The Robin Hood Tax

Rep. Jim McGovern on Protecting SNAP

Workers Speak Out on the TPP

PDA Labor Panel - Progressive Central III

Main Street NOT Wall Street

The Trans Pacific Partnership: Corporate Global Domination

Lori Wallach on the TPP from PDA Progressive Roundtable

Progressive Roundtable with Reps. Ellison and Pocan and Lori Wallach on TPP

Lori Wallach Leaked TPP Documents (Democracy NOW)

TPP: The Biggest Threat to the Internet You've Probably Never Heard Of

Lori Wallach on Thom Hartmann (Great Minds) - The TPP

TPP Downloads

The following documents are available from the Oppose TPP Downloads Folder

June 29th TPP Powerpoint

CWA TPP Jobs Report

Endorse HR 1000

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