Increasing Democracy

What is Happening in Montana?

This is unreal. It's three days after the election and we don't really know which party controls either chamber in the Montana legislature. In 2005, Democrats won a clear 27-23 majority in the Senate, while the House ended up being a 50-50 dead tie after a recount and court ruling.

Election 2006: Great News for Progressives

Tomorrow's Stateside Dispatch will take a closer look at election results, but it seems only right to provide a snapshot.
  • Voters rejected rightwing positions on taxes and spending as TABORs and tax cut initiatives were defeated in six states.
  • Six states will see minimum wages rise following voter approval.
  • Democrats made major statehouse gains, picking up 275 legislative seats

Outrages of the Week

Outrages of the Week

  1. NY: Outsourcing Tutoring to India

Outrages of the Week

  1. AZ: Anti-Immigrant Policy Results in Legal Backlash
    A new lawsuit against the state of Arizona alleges that the state has been treating any transfer of money by immigrants as an illegal transfer. That treatment has resulted in the blanket seizure of millions of dollars, much of it being legitimately transferred according to plaintiffs. [National Public Radio, 10/19/2006]
  2. CO: Federal Law Enforcement Agent Allegedly Uses Position to Aid Governor Candidate

CO: Legislator Takes Questionable Gift, Ducks Question, Gets Thrown Under Bus

In one of the stranger corruption tales to emerge this year, Colorado Rep. Bill Berens took a gift of $20,000 from the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, nominally for a "hole in one prize." Gifts of over $50 to legislators are illegal under Colorado law. Asked by email to explain the gift, Berens simply said that it wasn't a gift and said a Democrat at the event would vouch for him. It's a weird answer, but, when approached, his colleague Rep.

CO & GA: Good Court Rulings for Democracy

Good news from judges today. In Colorado, an appeals court rejected Secretary of State Gigi Dennis' rules limiting union speech. Like in Washington state, Dennis wanted to require membership organizations to get individual sign-off from each individual member to spend any money on political activities, an onerous requirement for organizations that are already democratically controlled.

Outrages of the Week

  1. KS: Attorney General Encourages Political Pulpits
    Kansas Attorney General Phil Kline actually wrote a memo entitled "Church efforts" outlining his strategy to use churches to advance his reelection campaign, including by encouraging pastors to mention campaign events during church services. Electioneering by churches violates federal law. [Talk 2 Action, 09/21/2006]
  2. CO: 527 Connected to the Governor May Be Laundering Corporate Money

KS: Attorney General Coaching Churches to Get Political

In the wake of increased IRS scrutiny of political activities by churches and local blogs uncovering electoral activism coming out of local churches, you would think people would get more careful. But Kansas Attorney General Phil Kline actually wrote a memo entitled "Church effort

CO: Is Trailhead Laundering Corporate Money?

In the on-going investigative reporting unfolding on Colorado Confidential, it appears that the reason for all the odd financial dealings by the state's leading rightwing 527 is that they may be trying to launder corporate money in order to use it for electoral purposes -- illegal in Colorado. Trailhead was founded by Colorado Governor Bill Owen and is connected to some of the country's most powerful rightwing organizations. Notably, the meat of this story has all been broken wide open by local bloggers.

CO: Rightwing Secretary of State Ignores Some Laws, Invents Others

Colorado Secretary of State Gigi Dennis is doing a nice job, if "nice job" in elected office means using your powers for partisan gain. Twice in the last week, Dennis has been busted for using her authority to advance her own ideological goals, while ignoring the law. Yesterday, Rep.