Friday, November 4, 2016

Professor Moe Cunningham at MASS/MASC

Friday at MASS/MASC: Professor Moe Cunningham who has been doing work on dark money in ballot question 2.
Handed a "bag of dark money," Cunningham notes "it's bottomless."

"I'm a political scientist...I have written a lot about dark money"
"it is extraordinarily damaging to our democracy"
whatever the issue is, "this will keep coming back and back and back"
hearing that there was going to be a great deal of money, became interested
Strategic Partners: don't have to reveal contributors
funded Families for Excellent Schools to open in Massachusetts; hedge fund money out of NY
have been involved in NY and CT, as well
money coming from MA shipped to NY comes back under a different name
"not a lot of families involved, in terms of funding"
cavassers are hired
"board room progressives"
about breaking the union and about taxes
"very wealthy do care about education, but they do not care to spend for it, as that would mean taxes"
both political parties
in Democrats, a push and pull: union members plus more monied interests
within the party, there is a move towards those who have money
"then you have two parties that are dominated by money folk, and where does that leave the rest of us"
why dark money? If we knew who was giving the money, "we'd disregarding the message."
oftentimes it's rightwing money
"What we are getting right now is a plutocracy, and what's worse, it's a secret plutocracy"

national election: you don't question the outcome of elections: "this is foolishness"
"there shall be no resort from the ballot to the bullet" Lincoln
some already promising to impeach the president: "count the ballots first!"
some Senate GOP's already promising to vote on SCOTUS justice if it's a Dem president
FBI: very disturbing
"passport that Donald Trump has given people to say what they think, is a terrible things for our democracy"
"I miss baseball already, but I won't miss this election."

Question about the IBT story on Baker and contributions
ties between firms giving money to Yes on 2 campaign and business with the state

Question about Citizens United: "It's huge; it's unleased"
People used to spend unlimited amount of value; "now they don't use their own name."

Jeb Bush raised a lot of money: why isn't he the candidate?
Trump accumulated a lot of air time; "he didn't need the money"
"right now you have more money coming in this week, because people are finally paying attention"

No on 2 money? "Virtually all union money"

is agenda also to destabilize? an anti-union agenda?
"It's absolutely an anti-union agenda"
effort to move the Democratic party to more conservative positions
"a long term project" chipping away and away
"conservatives have been trying to destabilize unions for 30 or 40 years"

money is coming through 501(c)4
"you contribute secretly, so those contributors will never be known"

If Yes wins, "it will embolden the Governor, it will embolden the dark money, it will embolden DFER"
"pushing candidates who may just be" privatizers in education, but may carry over into other areas as well
"if you've got to do it illegally, that's just dumb!"
"the scandal isn't what's illegal; it's what's legal!"

is union donation dark money? No, unions are clear they're standing behind it
small amounts from lots of people, rather than large amounts from a small number of people
"it's pretty transparent"

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