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Values Are Vital PAC Uses Las Vegas Money To Push Its Agenda

In 5 days, there will be a primary election in Florida’s 19th congressional district. U.S. Representative Trey Radel has resigned, and a general election to fill the position in the U.S. House of Representatives for this year’s remaining months will be held in June.

On the Democratic side, there’s only one candidate: April Freeman. There are four Republicans contesting their party’s nomination for the post, however: Lizbeth Benacquisto, Curt Clawson, Michael Dreikorn, and Paige Kreegel. A Republican is favored to win the general election, so there’s a great deal at stake in the Republican primary election.

whose values are vitalYesterday, a political action committee operating under the name Values Are Vital spent nearly $100,000 on advertisements designed to change the course the primary election. The ads promote one of the Republican candidates, Paige Kreegel, while seeking to undermine two of her opponents: Lizbeth Benacquisto and Curt Clawson.

Voters in the 19th district may well be asking themselves just whose values are being represented by the Values Are Vital PAC. Specifically, where did the money for these political commercials come from?

Some of the records for the payments made by the PAC lead into a dead end. Some of them were made to a company called “Morado & Associates, LLC” – but there is no online trace of such a company. Most of the money was channeled through another group, “Jamestown Associates”, which is headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey. The source of the cash used by the Values Are Vital organization is equally distant. 3 out of 5 of the top payments to Values Are Vital – totalling almost half a million dollars – come from a lawyer in Las Vegas.

Are the Republican voters of Florida’s 19th congressional district content to allow political operatives from Nevada and New Jersey to tell them which values are vital? We’ll find out when the polls close Tuesday night.

One thought on “Values Are Vital PAC Uses Las Vegas Money To Push Its Agenda”

  1. Tom says:

    Princeton Concludes What Kind of Government America Really Has, and It’s Not a Democracy

    The news: A new scientific study from Princeton researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page has finally put some science behind the recently popular argument that the United States isn’t a democracy any more. And they’ve found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.

    An oligarchy is a system where power is effectively wielded by a small number of individuals defined by their status called oligarchs. Members of the oligarchy are the rich, the well connected and the politically powerful, as well as particularly well placed individuals in institutions like banking and finance or the military.

    For their study, Gilens and Page compiled data from roughly 1,800 different policy initiatives in the years between 1981 and 2002. They then compared those policy changes with the expressed opinion of the United State public. Comparing the preferences of the average American at the 50th percentile of income to what those Americans at the 90th percentile preferred, as well as the opinions of major lobbying or business groups, the researchers found out that the government followed the directives set forth by the latter two much more often.

    It’s beyond alarming. As Gilens and Page write, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” In other words, their statistics say your opinion literally does not matter.

    That might explain why mandatory background checks on gun sales supported by 83% to 91% of Americans aren’t in place, or why Congress has taken no action on greenhouse gas emissions even when such legislation is supported by the vast majority of citizens.

    This problem has been steadily escalating for four decades. While there are some limitations to their data set, economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez constructed income statistics based on IRS data that go back to 1913. They found that the gap between the ultra-wealthy and the rest of us is much bigger than you would think, as mapped by these graphs from the Center On Budget and Policy Priorities: [see graph, read the rest]

    The Progressive Dream Dies Hard

    Lately, here in the United States, we have witnessed an astonishing socio-economic trifecta which tells us where we stand. Unfortunately for progressive thought, we are not in a good place, to wit—

    1. In the McCutcheon decision, wealthy campaign donors were given the go-ahead to buy political candidates and elections by the “conservative” majority on the Supreme Court. This decision follows on the heels of the Citizens United ruling, which got the ball rolling vis-a-vis dismantling the 1974 Federal Election Campaign Act. The court’s four liberal justices understood the consequences.

    In their dissent, the court’s four liberal justices called their colleagues’ logic “faulty” and said it “misconstrues the nature of the competing constitutional interests at stake.” The dissent continues, “Taken together with Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, today’s decision eviscerates our Nation’s campaign finance laws, leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.”

    Unfortunately for democratic legitimacy…

    2. A Princeton/Northwestern study found that there isn’t any democratic legitimacy to defend in so far as “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” The study found that policy in the United States is created at the behest of an economic elite.

    And we have recently learned just how elite that small group is…

    3. The work of University of California-Berkeley economists Emmanuel Saez, Gabriel Zucman and others has recently come to the attention of our mainstream media. It turns out the Occupy folks got it wrong. It wasn’t the top 1% of earners which posed a problem for democratic legitimacy. It was the top 0.1%, and within that smaller group, the top 0.01% who received most of the income gains of the last 30 years. And with the publication Thomas Piketty’s Capital In The 21st Century, those paying attention have come to understand that the grotesque inequities of 19th century capitalism will likely be repeated in the 21st.

    [read the rest]

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