This week has showcased a dire need, a need to spotlight the unregulated money overwhelming our democracy. Reform groups, investors, state elected officials and more have demanded that Congress and federal agencies do their jobs and make elections transparent to the people voting in them.
First, on Monday morning organizations and investors gathered to urge the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to require publicly-traded companies to disclose contributions when they engage in electoral politics. Today, the DISCLOSE Act will come up for a hearing in the United States Senate.
Both SEC rules and congressional action are critical to closing the gaping loopholes in our system left by the Citizen United v. Federal Election Commission (FEC) decision and ineffective FEC regulations on the disclosure of political spending.
Polls show the public overwhelmingly supports disclosure. According to a New York Times article on a New York Times/CBS News poll released on October 28, 2010, Americans significantly, “favor full disclosure of spending by both campaigns and outside groups.”
Flickr by Jamie Anderson
Paul Alan Levy
It was disheartening to say the least to hear a Major League Soccer (MLS) team player use abusive language with a ball boy in the middle of a game, but it’s positively shameful that the MLS decided to go after a fan who later posted a small clip of the game on YouTube to further discussion of the widely publicized incident.
There’s no question that the clip was taken from the copyrighted telecast, but there can also be no doubt that the fan is protected by fair use in posting a 20-second clip from a 90-minute game. MLS responded with an abusive DMCA takedown notice that caused the YouTube clip to be removed – an overreaction that boils down to attempting to deny the fan his right to free speech.
Colin Clark, a player for Major League Soccer team Houston Dynamo, made a significant mistake in lashing out at the ball boy at the Seattle Sounders stadium at the March 23 game, using a gay slur because the ball was not delivered directly into the player’s hands, but rather tossed onto the ground for Clark to pick up. Even though Clark issued an apology, the video prompted a widespread discussion among soccer fans, who compared the incident to recent controversies in Europe over racist comments there.