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March 16, 2011

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Barr said he wanted to spend more time with his family and recover his reputation.

Good luck with that second part.

Considering that at least one of the hacked emails is from Barr's wife, threatening divorce, it's possible his family doesn't really want to spend more time with him.

didn't he mean "recover from his reputation"?

Yeah: and House Republicans will take up this complaint against the CC about the same as they publicly disavow Andrew Breitbart and James O'Keeffe.

Or more likely, find some way to kill the former while holding up the latter as sterling exemplars of bold, crusading "journalism". Anonymous, of course, being mere vulgar "hackers".....

splendid.

thanks for posting this fiddler.

So, because the tweets are public, the accounts, private messages and information associated with them aren't private? Or the people with whom one communicates in private messages? Or the locations of those people, or their associations with others? At what point does private information begin?

Regarding this - IANAL but here is my understanding.

For most electronic communications - phone, email, web - information about who you communicated with, when, etc., is considered to be public, and therefore not protected.

Likewise, information held by a third party such as an ISP is generally considered to be public, and therefore not protected.

What's considered to be protected is the *content* of the communication. What you said, but not who you said it to, or when, or who else they spoke to, etc.

Not sure about personal information associated with accounts.

The general analogy is to postal mail, where whatever is on the envelope is fair game, but the letter inside is protected.

Sorry for no links, time at the moment is short, but if you google up "pen register" you should find the relevant information.

If I have time later I will add some links.

Barr said he wanted to spend more time with his family

This is such an overused reason that I don't know why people who are actually doing that would bother with it.

During the 2010 election cycle, the US Chamber donated $23,500 to Republicans running for House seats and $65,500 to Republicans running in the Senate, as opposed to only $7,000 for House Democrats and $5,000 for Senate Democrats.

That's a really interesting theory. I'd like to hear more explanation on exactly how this influence gets exerted. I would be surprised if USCOC makes the top 100 donor list of any congressional candidate.

House Republicans will take up this complaint against the CC about the same as they publicly disavow Andrew Breitbart and James O'Keeffe.

I'm guessing the response will be more like: "you've got to be kidding me". $65k, removed from the collective coffers of Republicans, would hardly be noticed. It's a gnat-bite compared with the (for instance) nearly $4 million given to congressional Democrats by the AAJ (formerly known as American Association of Trial Lawyers), or the $3 million given by the American Bankers' Association (two-thirds to Republicans), just picking a couple of big hitters.

Compared to Koch Industries donations, USCoC is nearly invisible.

I would be surprised if USCOC makes the top 100 donor list of any congressional candidate.

In 2010, you are correct. In earlier election cycles, USCOC shows up as not just in the top 100, but as *the* top contributor in a number of races.

If you go to <http://www.opensecrets.org>Open Secrets and search for "chamber of commerce", you'll find it. I'd add a link but the URL from the search request is hideous.

Where they do show up in 2010 is as a major funder of electioneering communications, which is basically issue advocacy in a major media market during an election cycle that does not explicitly support one candidate or another. They spent about $31M in 2010.

Their major influence, however, is in direct lobbying of sitting Congresspeople. Here is a good discussion of USCOC activities. Here is a breakdown of USCOC lobbying expenditures in 2010 ($130+ million, as compared to their $31M in electioneering).

They make a big dent.

Sorry, Open Secrets. Forgot to link it above.

If I were to write that various organizations like unions who skew largely Democratic spent $14.67 in total on behalf of Democratic candidates compared to the $5.32 in total for Republican candidates during this last election cycle, I don't think that would fly, with or without dead links.

Think .... political ads.

Think ......... the Rove and Armey organizations' undisclosed contributors.

Think ... as the Deepthroat character in "All The President's Men" might counsel from the shadows in a parking garage .... bigger.

Think ... Google.

The CC's giving vein had more numbers to the left of the decimal point than presented in Fiddler's post.

Think ......... the Rove and Armey organizations' undisclosed contributors.

Correct.

Due to the specifics of how they are incorporated, USCOC is not required to disclose donors, and they *DO NOT* disclose donors. And the lion's share of their funding comes from a very small number of donors with very deep pockets.

In 2008, frex, almost half of their funding came from 45 donors, here.

The USCOC *is not* the same organization as your local Chamber of Commerce. They are primarily funded by, and they represent, very large, national to international scale corporations. Some of those corporations are domestic, and some are foreign.

They vigorously resist efforts to require them to disclose donor information, and what is known about their donor list is primarily known through the efforts of folks who scour the corporation's own tax records. The donor is required to disclose information about who they donate *to*.

slarti is correct, the five-figure amounts they donate directly to individual campaigns is pocket change. But that's not where the USCOC is most active. That's not really their game.

I didn't consider that, russell; thanks. Probably that ought to have been the point to make, instead of the measly tens of thousands mentioned in the main post.

Interesting that all of the top 501c donors are Conservative.

I need help. In order for me to be persuaded that my information retrieval and thinking processes are deeply flawed, I need to gain an understanding of how those who always reach correct conclusions, accessing the same broad information flows that I have access to and using similarly endowed and constructed mental processes, get there. I kinda know that it must relate to accepting only correct and accurate information and rejecting incorrect and inaccurate information. How does one acquire such a skill?

Or is it a fact those few people are so nearly perfect that they are correct almost all of the time.

It still seems to me that the secret to reach the objective would be to continue working to impart the correct political views to those who are failing rather than shutting off the flow of information from those sources that promote the incorrect views or vilifying
the people who hold incorrect views.

Substitute good and bad, good and evil, appropriate and inappropriate, or other suitable pairs for correct and incorrect.

When I linked the amounts given by the US Chamber to specific recipients, I was thinking more along the line that those individuals might be enough to stop any investigation of the Chamber. I realize the amounts are pocket change -- but isn't it possible that by giving pocket change to those individuals, the US Chamber is obviously staking out an interest in the way these Congresspeople vote and act? A sort of "we side with them, so they'd better side with us because we have influential friends"?
In general, Congresspeople don't like to be seen voting or acting against their supporters, especially big-name supporters.

The Chamber does have immense influence besides their donations -- their public ratings of members of Congress are a strong indicator of each member's positions on business and, because of the Chamber's conservative bent, on other conservative issues. Their rating is one of the ten used throughout National Journal's Almanac of American Politics, which profiles every individual in Congress, and which is serves as a standard political science reference.

Some links: From Project Vote Smart, US Chamber ratings for the current Congress;
US Chamber How They Voted page for 2007-2009, with a link to obtain paper copies of earlier ratings; US Chamber's page on how the House voted on 18 issues in 2008, including their explanation of their ratings.

isn't it possible that by giving pocket change to those individuals, the US Chamber is obviously staking out an interest in the way these Congresspeople vote and act?

If that's true, then the even larger amounts that everyone receives from multiple other donors exert even larger leverage, doesn't it?

I don't think the direct contributions are, in and of themselves, anything remarkable. I think russell makes a more sticky point.

russell, it's difficult to quantify or make concrete what the US Chamber may have done with Rove and Armey, since the support is undisclosed. It's possible that the Chamber has its fingers in a multitude of undisclosed political maneuverings -- but where would you find data on them? If they're undisclosed, they're unquantified; they're not available for comparison or review. I did look for other evidence of the Chamber's political activities, but didn't find anything quotable; maybe I wasn't looking in the right places. Any suggestions?

slarti, the last comment is for you too -- where else would you look for solid information on the Chamber's political influence?

russell, it's difficult to quantify or make concrete what the US Chamber may have done with Rove and Armey, since the support is undisclosed.

Yes, I agree. My comment was not to claim collusion between USCOC and Rove et al, but was basically expanding on Countme's "Think of..." comment.

USCOC, like Rove's organization, does not disclose donor names, and as a result attracts money from folks who would prefer to remain anonymous.

Thanks for raising the issue and providing a chance to clarify.

Goodoleboy, I'm not sure how your comment relates to this post. Would you be willing to clarify a bit?

So, because the tweets are public, the accounts, private messages and information associated with them aren't private? Or the people with whom one communicates in private messages? Or the locations of those people, or their associations with others? At what point does private information begin?

So if somebody sends a letter to the editor of a newspaper via the U.S. Mail every bit of their private correspondence and their personal records are subject to seizure by the government?

'Goodoleboy, I'm not sure how your comment relates to this post. Would you be willing to clarify a bit?'

I was roused by the references to fund-raising and political donors, which somehow seem to make their way into most ObWi posts or comments. Your next comment then went back to that topic, although it seems to be a minor theme in the post.

'When I linked the amounts given by the US Chamber to specific recipients, I was thinking more along the line that those individuals might be enough to stop any investigation of the Chamber. I realize the amounts are pocket change -- but isn't it possible that by giving pocket change to those individuals, the US Chamber is obviously staking out an interest in the way these Congresspeople vote and act? A sort of "we side with them, so they'd better side with us because we have influential friends"?
In general, Congresspeople don't like to be seen voting or acting against their supporters, especially big-name supporters.'

I have no quarrel with this point, but is it really any different than President Obama's bending over backwards for his labor union contributors in the auto industry bailouts? It is we side with them so they better side with us - it just depends which side you are on.

I'm getting really old, so maybe my brains are scrambled. Sorry if the comment is not relevant to the post.

ROFL at the idea that the auto industry bailouts were for the benefit of the UAW and not, say, the board of directors of General Motors.

is it really any different than President Obama's bending over backwards for his labor union contributors in the auto industry bailouts?

I'm trying hard to imagine a world in which unions leaders believe that Obama is bending over backwards to serve their interests. Aside from the complete failure to pass card-check legislation despite Democratic control of the House, Senate, and Whitehouse, there's been plenty of indications that unions aren't exactly thrilled with the administration.

But I see Phil has made the same point better. Just like bailing out Greece and Ireland has a lot more to do with bailing out the German and French banks that had made foolish loans to Greek/Irish institutions, bailing out GM had a lot more to do with the interests of financial titans than it did with autoworkers.

I have no quarrel with this point, but is it really any different than President Obama's bending over backwards for his labor union contributors in the auto industry bailouts?

Let us, for the sake of argument, concede this pointless tu-quo-qua point. Please do stack up labor's legislative and regulatory wins against the business community's in the last 35 years. Who has won? And why?

You know, even if a bad player has nearly all the chips in the game, most of the time they will bust the small fry. All other things being equal, it's a near certainty.

More excellent work, Fiddler. Thanks!

Whoops, meant to post here: This is a great story.

Used to be Bill Gibson/Bruce Sterling, now Charlie Stross, and so many other's, stories, but that's our modern life in cyberspace.

Meanwhile, other friends still ask me what a blog is. And many of you don't follow Twitter. And then there's the NEW stuff. :-)

We trot towards Greg Egan every day.

Yes, Greg Egan.

I FBed and Tweeted your post, Fiddler. :-)

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