Daily Archives: Dec. 9, 2013

What Sebelius, Cyrus and the pope have in common

sebeliustestifyHealth and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (in photo) made the short list for Time’s Person of the Year, which will be announced Wednesday. The former Kansas governor shares the top 10 with her boss, President Obama, and 2013 newsmakers Pope Francis, surveillance whistle-blower Edward Snowden, pop star Miley Cyrus, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Syrian President Bashar Assad, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and gay rights activist Edith Windsor. Time magazine counted Sebelius among the nation’s five best governors seven years ago and later touted her as a worthy running mate for Obama, but her current stature stems from her role in the political and implementation disaster that is the Affordable Care Act.

Open thread (Dec. 9)

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Koch network biggest source of ‘dark money’

cash“It’s clear that no other conservative or liberal dark money network matched, in combined size and complexity, the constellation of Koch-linked groups that churned hundreds of millions of dollars into elections around the country last year,” OpenSecrets.org reported. “Dark money” refers to funds given to groups to influence elections in which the donors aren’t disclosed. In 2012, $301 million poured into this system. The Center for Responsive Politics estimates that $86 million of the total – or about 28 percent – came from grants from Koch-linked groups (though that doesn’t mean all the money came from the Koch brothers). Often, dark money is funneled from group to group in an attempt to further mask its origins.

Tiahrt: Political consultants ‘warp’ elections

tiahrtnewmugDuring the 2010 GOP primary battle for U.S. Senate, which pit two conservative Kansas congressmen with similar voting records against each other, it seemed a safe bet that political consultants were as responsible for the mudslinging as the candidates themselves. The loser in that contest, former 4th Congressional District Rep. Todd Tiahrt, now says that consultants “warp” elections. “Their advice is based on polling data … and fear. The results drag elections to the lowest common denominator and yield timid elected officials afraid of helping their constituents,” Tiahrt told the Kansas City Star, in an article on the more than 3,000 consulting firms across the country that make up the billion-dollar “political industrial complex.”