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The Shadow Lobbying Complex

On paper, the lobbying industry is quickly disappearing. In January, records indicated that for a third straight year, overall spending on lobbying decreased. Lobbyists themselves continue to deregister. In 2013, the number of registered lobbyists dipped to 12,281, the lowest number on file since 2002. But experts say that lobbying isn’t dying; instead, it’s simply going underground.

A subtle, but significant tweak to Florida's rules regarding traffic signals has allowed local cities and counties to shorten yellow light intervals, resulting in millions of dollars in additional red light camera fines.

For over a decade, under multiple administrations, the U.S. government had a secret agreement with the ruthless Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel that allowed it to operate with impunity, an in-depth investigation by a leading Mexican newspaper confirmed this week. In exchange for information and assistance in quashing competing criminal syndicates, the Bush and Obama administrations let the Sinaloa cartel import tons of drugs into the United States while wiping out Sinaloa competitors and ensuring that its leaders would not be prosecuted for their long list of major crimes. Other revelations also point strongly to massive but clandestine U.S. government involvement in drug trafficking.

On Capitol Hill on Thursday, asked Blumenauer: “The omnibus bill yesterday, it was 1,582 pages, did you have a chance to read all the pages before voting on it?” Blumenauer laughed and said: “Nobody did!” “Nobody did?” said the reporter. “Nope,” said Blumenauer.

How lobbyists killed net neutrality

Meet Josh Silver, Director of Represent.Us and former internet and media reform advocate. He spent years working on Net Neutrality as president of FreePress. In fact, the reason Josh left the media reform world is because he got sick of seeing his efforts thwarted by an openly corrupt political system. That corruption just struck again. This time, it came in the form of a devastating ruling on net neutrality. But as Josh explains, that ruling was made possible by a chain of events set in motion years before. The message here is clear: If we want a free and open internet, we need to deal with the corruption that is money in politics first.

The New Hampshire Rebellion is underway.

The NHRebellion is a group of people walking the length of the State of New Hampshire — right now, in January. Their purpose is to make sure every candidate in the 2016 presidential primary answers clearly and specifically this one question: How are you going to end the system of corruption in Washington?

Using his subpoena power, something that wasn't available to the activists who filed the original complaint against the Grocery Manufacturers, Ferguson uncovered strong evidence that the GMA executed an intentional scheme to sidestep Washington state election law that requires groups raising money for a specific political campaign to reveal the donors. The Grocery Manufacturers Association has actually registered its anti-GMO-labeling political committee with the state, as AG Bob Ferguson's complaint forced them to do today, listing the actual names of the donors and the amounts they've all donated against I-522—PepsiCo in for $1.6 million.

Yesterday, the Washington bill that would have required the labelling of GMO foods was defeated. Despite having support from 66% of the Washington population in September, by October, that numbered had plummeted to only 46%. We need only look at the $22 million in dark, out-of-state money spent by opponents of the bill, versus the $8.4 million raised by proponents, to realize the pollution of our democracy by big money spending in politics.

The Virginia Board of Elections said this week that it had purged nearly 40,000 names from the voter rolls before a U.S. District judge could rule on a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party.

The prominent investigative blogger Roger Shuler was arrested and beaten by Shelby County sheriff's deputies in his Alabama garage upon returning home the evening of Oct. 23.