Democracy NC: Sponsors of Insurance Exchange Bill Are Top Recipients of Blue Cross Contributions

Reserved Seats Go to Other Special Interests, Big Donors of Bill Sponsors

The House Insurance Committee will take up a controversial bill (H-115) today that gives insurance companies a large role in overseeing how consumers can buy affordable insurance coverage through a state-level “health benefits exchange” created under the new national health reform law.

The bill’s biggest supporter is Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the state’s largest insurance company; it gets to help name at least one representative to the new exchange.

Democracy NC and League of Women Voters host Redistricting Meeting in Charlotte

This Friday evening Democracy NC and the League of Women Voters will host a panel discussion on redistricting, how it could reshape political power in Charlotte and the implications for your future.

When: Friday, April 22, 2011 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
Where: YWCA 3420 Park Road, Charlotte, NC

You will be able to ask questions at the forum. Panelists include Senator Bob Rucho, Chair of the NC Senate Redistricting Committee, plus these experts in political science, social justice, civil rights and the history of political power in North Carolina:

More than 7 in 10 Americans beleive $$$ Influences our Courts

An interesting op-ed in the Times on judicial elections--they're here to stay. 

Here in North Carolina, fair and impartial courts are in jeopardy. The same special interest money that flooded our airwaves in last fall’s elections is attacking our independent judiciary.

Take Action!

It is crunch time at the General Assembly and we need your help! 

Call your legislator today and let them know why we need to protect judicical public financing.  Tell them we need to keep our courts responisble to the people of North Carolina not distorted by special interests. 

NC Voters for Clean Elections Celebrates Political Courage in Honor of Jane Whilden

The North Carolina Voters for Clean Elections, Joe Haun, Marie Colton, and Buzz Lee are hosting a reception in honor of Jane Whilden Monday, May 2, 2011, 4pm to 6pm in the Canterbury Room of Deerfield Retirement Center, Asheville, North Carolina. 

The Political Courage Award will be presented to Jane Whilden recognizing her for the difficult and costly votes on behalf of campaign finance reform made by her while serving in the Legislature. 

Costs are $25 per person and $35 per couple.  There will be hot and cold hors d'oeuvres as well as an open bar. 

94% beleive campaign contributions have some sway on a judge's decision

N.C. Voters: Campaign Contributions Influence Court Rulings

RALEIGH – An overwhelming majority of North Carolina voters say campaign contributions to judicial candidates can influence the outcome of court cases, according to a new poll commissioned by the Justice at Stake Campaign and the N.C. Center for Voter Education.

The poll finds that 94 percent of North Carolina voters believe campaign contributions have some sway on a judge’s decision, including 43 percent who say campaign donations can greatly affect a ruling.

NC Judicial Public Financing: A Success Story

Everyone agrees that our courts should be unbiased and free from special-interest influence. But we elect our judges and they have to get their campaign money from somewhere. Traditionally, most of their funds have come from business groups and attorneys who appear in court.

What can be done about the unhealthy role of large private contributions in judicial elections?

By Bob Hall, Democracy North Carolina  

Misleading Polls from the Civitas Institute, by Bob Hall, Democracy NC

The John W. Pope Civitas Institute is publicizing a new opinion poll designed to bring attention to their perspective on key issues, in this case election-related policies [see notes 1 and 2 below]. It’s a formula that works well for them, with some media reporting the poll’s findings as an accurate reflection of what North Carolinians believe.

'Corporate Speech' Could Drown Out American Voices by Damon Circosta

RALEIGH - This week marks the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. FEC. The case essentially granted corporations the same First Amendment rights as those enjoyed by flesh-and-blood individuals, opening up more avenues for corporations to engage in political activities.

The decision has invited a maelstrom of commentary. That is rare for Supreme Court pronouncements, which usually go unnoticed by the public.