Money and Democracy Update: Keystone lobbyists and Hillary, political control in North Carolina, more

    Stunning Statistics of the Week
    150:Number of Super PACs on file with the Federal Election Commission
    About three dozen:Number of Super PACs that have formed since July

    Occupy Wall Street: Protesters have a right to be angry
    Overturning the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is just one of the demands being made by protesters turning out all over the country. Those involved as part of Occupy Wall Street have a right to be angry. What’s more, some are saying it could turn into another tea party-like movement.

    Links between Clinton and Keystone lobbyists are many and deep
    The ties between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and lobbyists for the controversial TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline project are many and deep. A former staffer on Clinton’s presidential campaign is TransCanada’s in-house lobbyist. Another Keystone lobbyist works for a firm whose employees and PACs made it the largest single source of funds for her presidential campaign. And a variety of other lobbyists active on pipeline-related matters have ties to the Clintons or Obama. The State Department is one of several agencies that must approve the pipeline if it is to be built.

    One man has outsized sway over results of North Carolina races
    The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which said corporations could spend as much as they want to sway elections, and other campaign finance developments have allowed a multimillionaire owner of discount stores, Art Pope, to have a huge influence over conservative politics in North Carolina.

    Trade deals were a boon for lobbyists
    The three countries with trade deals pending with the U.S. (Colombia, Panama and South Korea) spent $15 million on lobbying, legal and public relations work since 2006, according to The Hill. Of that, $2.3 million was spent this year. More than 30 firms got a piece of the business. The controversial deals are up for a vote before Congress next week.

    FEC relaxes donation rules for hybrid PACs
    To be consistent with a recent court ruling, the Federal Election Commission has relaxed donation rules for PACs that are hybrids of Super PACs and traditional PACs. Now, these hybrid entities can accept unlimited sums for campaign ads while still raising money for candidates, as long as there is no mixing of money.