Index
Tuesday
Nov252014

POLITICS (National): Campaign funding, disclosure of sources, U.S. District Court ruling: "Judge to elections officials: Reveal sources of campaign funding" ....  

* Los Angeles Times:  "Judge to elections officials: Reveal sources of campaign funding" - From the LAT:

In a decision that could force disclosure of some of the secret money flooding into elections, a federal judge ruled Tuesday that groups that run election-related ads must reveal their donors.

The Federal Election Commission overstepped when it wrote a 2007 rule that said such groups didn’t have to report the source of the money for certain types of political ads that mentioned the name of federal candidates, the decision by U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington said. That rule, combined with later court decisions such as the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United case in 2010, helped open the gates to a flood of so-called dark money spending by nonprofit organizations that don’t reveal the source of their funds. There was more than $140 million in such spending in the 2014 election.

Campaign reform groups welcomed Jackson’s decision, even as they said they expect an appeal. “We are seeing a full-throated endorsement of disclosure by the lower courts,” said Tara Malloy, senior counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, one of the pro-transparency groups that intervened in the case. “We are enjoying the victory, though I am sure the fight will continue.”

The decision concerns a type of issue ads that became ubiquitous in recent elections. . . . . . . . .

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Because of the tangled state of federal campaign finance regulation, the practical effect of the ruling might be limited................................

Tuesday
Nov252014

POLITICS (National): Democratic National Convention, 2016, finalist cities: "DNC: Convention finalist cities are Philadelphia, NYC and Columbus" ....

* Politico:  "DNC: Convention finalist cities are Philadelphia, NYC and Columbus" - From Politico:

The 2016 Democratic National Convention will take place in either New York City, Philadelphia or Columbus, Ohio. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, announced the finalist cities on Monday; Phoenix, Arizona, and Birmingham, Alabama, didn’t make the cut.

The decision on the winning city is expected early next year, and the convention itself will be held either the week of July 18, July 25 or Aug. 22, according to the committee.

New York City officials have proposed. . . . . . . .

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Columbus is a growing city and the capital of a key swing state. But. . . . . . . .

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The Democrats’ three finalist cities were selected after site visits by a technical advisory group. The group considered logistics, such as whether there are sufficient venues to handle an onslaught of 30,000-plus visitors and the required security. Birmingham was always seen as an underdog............

Tuesday
Nov252014

MISCELLANEOUS: Report/analysis, investment approach, wealthiest African Americans vs. white investors: "The big difference between how wealthy African-American and white investors treat their money" ....

* Washington Post:  "The big difference between how wealthy African-American and white investors treat their money" - From the WP:

The nation’s wealthiest African Americans take a far more conservative approach toward investing than whites of similar means, according to a new report.

The study, done by Credit Suisse in conjunction with the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University, found that the wealthiest 5 percent of African Americans—those with a net worth of $357,000 or better–-pour a greater share of their holdings into relatively low-risk, low-reward investment vehicles, such as certificates of deposit, saving bonds, and insurance policies, rather than stocks, bonds and mutual funds. In addition, those well-off African Americans tend to have more of their wealth in real estate and less in businesses than similarly situated whites.

Pamela Thomas-Graham, Credit Suisse’s chief marketing and talent officer and head of the bank’s New Markets effort, said the investment strategy of African Americans makes sense, given their relatively poor experiences with banks through the years and their historically fragile financial standing.

One study cited in the report noted that fewer than one in four African Americans who were in the top quartile of black wealth holders in 1984, remained there in 2004. The report also cited a study that found that black business owners received bank loans with less frequency, of smaller size and at higher interest rates than white-owned companies. “If you are in the top five percent and you are African American you probably are smart to have a more cautious approach,” Thomas-Graham said in an interview. “Historically, there is more [downward] mobility, and fragility.”

Still, that means African Americans are leaving a lot of money on the table by eschewing the financial vehicles that tend to grow most rapidly. Overall whites have nearly $8 of wealth for every $1 held by African Americans, according to the Institute on Assets and Social Policy. The Institute’s breakdown of the factors driving that difference is below........................

Tuesday
Nov252014

POLITICS/BUSINESS (National): U.S. Food and Drug Administration, new rules, calorie-posting requirements: "Calorie counts: Coming to a restaurant, movie theater, vending machine near you" .... 

* Washington Post:  "Calorie counts: Coming to a restaurant, movie theater, vending machine near you" - From the WP:

It’s about to get a lot tougher to hide from calories. Chain restaurants, vending machines, grocery stores, coffee shops and pizza joints will soon have to display detailed calorie information on their menus under long-awaited rules to be issued Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration. The calorie-posting requirements extend to an array of foods that Americans consume in their daily lives: popcorn at the movie theater, muffins at a bakery, a deli sandwich, a milkshake at an ice cream shop, a drive-through cheeseburger, a hot dog at Costco or Target.

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Chain restaurants and other establishments will have one year to comply with the regulations. Owners of vending machines will have two years to post calorie information for each item inside the machines on nearby placards, posters or digital displays.

Activists who for years have pushed for more transparent and consistent menu labeling, saying it would provide an important tool in combating the nation’s obesity epidemic, praised the FDA’s action.

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The enthusiasm wasn’t universal.

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The rules date to a little-publicized provision in the Obama administration’s broad 2010 health-care law. It required food establishments to post calorie information on menus and drive-through signs, but exactly which retailers would be subject to the law has been the focus of intense debate, relentless lobbying and years of delay.

The FDA first issued its menu-labeling proposals in 2011. Since then, the agency has received hundreds of comments about what food should be subject to the rules — with consumer advocates, pizza places and theater chains among those trying to sway the administration. “It was much more complicated than we originally thought it would be,” Hamburg told reporters Monday.

Ultimately, the regulations issued Tuesday include a swath of places where Americans buy food, although the FDA also carved out exemptions............................

Tuesday
Nov252014

MORNING MEMOS: San Francisco Bay, pollution, "Environmental group to sue San Jose for sewage spills and trash pollution"; Orange County, "OC Supervisors Renew Call for State Campaign Finance Oversight"; San Diego, transportation, Court of Appeal ruling, "Appeals court rejects SANDAG plan" .... 

***Various items this morning from across the spectrum of politics and/or public policy....

* Voice of OC:  "OC Supervisors Renew Call for State Campaign Finance Oversight"

* U-T San Diego:  "Appeals court rejects SANDAG plan"

* San Jose Mercury News:  "Environmental group to sue San Jose for sewage spills and trash pollution"