RED STATE DEMOCRAT SITS ON WAD OF CASH – Sunlight Foundation’s Reporting Group criticized Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (M) for not seeking re-election next year when he has close to $ 5 million stored in his campaign bank account ($1.6 million of it raised from January-March). Note from Sunlight: “While it is illegal for senators to use campaign funds for their own personal expenses, there are many avenues available to Baucus for spending the funds, such as contributing to other politicians or charities – even charities set up by the candidates themselves as former Rep. Allen West has done.” More on Baucus: Citizens for Tax Justice published a Politix op-ed criticizing the Red State Democrat for sidelining revenue in his tax overhaul. Baucus was one of the four Democrats to oppose the gun control measure to expand background checks last week.
WOULD YOU ABANDON YOUR POST? VoteVets.org launched a new TV ad attacking Republican Mark Sanford for his leave of absence in 2009 to carry out an illicit affair abroad during his term as Governor of South Carolina. “If I had abandoned my post, I could be court-martialed,” says retired National Guard Colonel Barry Wingrad, featured in the ad. See ad coverage in CBS, The Hill, National Journal, and Politico.
VotesVets.org Co-Founder and Chairman Jon Soltz tells PP: “It’s pretty simple – Mark Sanford went AWOL, as Commander-in-Chief of the South Carolina Guard. Republicans in the state charged that long before we did. In the military, that could get you a Court Martial. It’s not just a violation of the rules, it’s violation of trust put in you. And Mark Sanford broke that trust.”
Sanford is running against Democratic contender Elizabeth Colbert Busch in the South Carolina special election on May 7th. Following press attention around a trespassing violation, the Republican National Congressional Committee withdrew financial support from Sanford’s campaign last week. Sanford and Colbert Busch are slotted for a radio debate on April 29th – their only scheduled joint appearance (See Sanford’s newly emerged full-page ad defending himself to SC voters – h/t NBC’s Ali Weinberg).
STAT OF THE WEEK – Two-thirds of small business owners support increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 and tying it to inflation (Business Majority).
EDUCATION VICTORY– On Tuesday night, the Buffalo Board of Education passed a new code of conduct aimed at eliminating harsh discipline policies bearing a disproportionately negative impact on students of color. The code was developed by Citizen Action of New York and Alliance for Quality Education, in partnership with Buffalo Public Schools.
“The new discipline code eliminates suspensions for minor misbehaviors and instead focuses on the use of intervention and prevention strategies known to work, such as referrals to support staff, conflict resolution, and restorative justice,” said Advancement Project’s Jason Sinocruz, who helped to draft the code.
FACTS: In the 2009-10 school year, 20% of all Buffalo students were suspended. Black students were 56% of the total Buffalo student body population, but made up 72% of total students suspended (NYSED). In 2010, Jawaan Daniels was sent home on an out-of-school suspension for wandering around school halls. Later that day, he was a victim of a drive by shooting at his local bus stop in Buffalo.
BY THE WAY –The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has spent $10.1 million on lobbying so far this year. (The Hill)
DID NYT ‘MISFIRE?’ — Media Matters Challenges NYT for Characterizing Failed Gun Vote As ‘White House Loss.’
HOT OFF THE PRESS – Americans for Financial Reform reacted to Republican attacks of CFPB Director Richard Cordray during his semiannual report before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, arguing that Republican reforms would “subject the bureau to partisan gridlock and endless political domination.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) slammed Republicans for blocking Cordray’s renomination: “This is about a minority that doesn’t want a watchdog that will keep an eye on the big banks to make sure they don’t cheat their customers.” See: CFPB’s new white paper illustrating that payday and deposit-advance loans often serve as debt traps
Center for Effective Government’s new analysis shows that the President’s proposed 28% limit on itemized deductions would reduce charitable giving by $4.7 – $9.1 billion a year, whereas the House Republican budget plan would reduce it even more – by $6-11 billion - hurting nonprofits. The analysis concludes that charitable deductions are under threat from both plans and should be turned into a tax credit that would apply equally to everyone, regardless of income or whether they itemize their deductions. See this infographic showing that the top 1% now receive a much higher tax subsidy than the total amount they give to charity. “A tax credit would address that inequity and also protect charities,” said the report’s author, Patrick Lester, CEG Director of Fiscal Policy.
ON OUR AGENDA… A message from The Patriotic Millionaires on the long lines at the airport…Hillary Clinton…still hasn’t said a THING…about the Arkansas Oil Spill…Former Chief Economist of the IMF and Top Wonk Simon Johnson hits deeply flawed Oxford Economics report on the relationship between higher capital requirements and economic growth.
The progressive community is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Common Cause President Bob Edgar this week.