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NYC's Advocate Tracks Political Spending Inc.

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, August 18 2010

New York City Public Advocate Bill DiBlasio takes to the Nation today to explain why he launched Advocate.NYC.gov/corporate-spending in the wake of the Citizens United decision, a website that tracks corporations' political spending policies. DiBlasio:

The importance of this campaign cannot be overstated. Corporations and other political organizations have already begun to take advantage of Citizens United. Target, for instance, funneled $150,000 to MN Forward which supports the campaign of Tom Emmer, a candidate for Governor of Minnesota with a virulent anti-gay track record. Massey Energy, the coal mining company whose negligence led to the tragic death of 29 miners in West Virginia earlier this year, reportedly has begun organizing other coal industry leaders to form an organization that targets “anti-coal” Democrats. And Karl Rove has formed a nonprofit lobbying group to raise money to oppose Democrats. Citizens United opened the door for large corporations to make anonymous donations to Rove’s group from their corporate treasuries. The group raised more than $5 million in its first month.

The events that have transpired since the January ruling make clear that if left unchecked, corporations will exercise their newly granted power to shape our government and our public policies. And with Senate Republicans standing in the way of a legislative response, it is up to the public to fight back against corporate influence. My office’s grassroots campaign proves that success in such an endeavor is possible -- the process of persuading Goldman Sachs to change its political contribution policy started with individuals getting together and demanding that Goldman do the right thing and ended with a whole new policy.

(If you're asking yourself, what the heck is a "Public Advocate" and why does New York City have one?, read this.)