90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Super PACs And Big Money In Politics

Republican super PACs and billionaires are pouring millions into American politics. Now team Obama has joined the fray. We’ll look at giant money and the vote.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, left, accompanied by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012, to discuss the disclosure of super PAC donors to the Republican presidential candidates. (AP)

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, left, accompanied by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012, to discuss the disclosure of super PAC donors to the Republican presidential candidates. (AP)

The scale of big money in this year’s presidential election campaign is taking the influence of the dollar to a new level in American democracy.  Single individuals – billionaires – have been key to keeping whole candidacies alive in the Republican primary, with their unlimited super PAC contributions.

Now, President Obama has reversed his rejection of super PAC money and said bring it on.  To even the scales, say his supporters.  Is this one man one vote?  Or an oligarchs’ jamboree?  A billionaires’ party?

This hour, On Point: big, big money and the American vote.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Dave Levinthal, money and politics reporter for Politico.

Elizabeth Drew, contributor to The New York Review of Books, where her newest piece is called, “Can We Have a Democratic Election?

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Review of Books “In all of the excitement over the Republicans’ sweep of the 2010 elections—their recapture of the House of Representatives, the decrease in the Democrats’ margin in the Senate, and the emergence of the Tea Party as a national force—most of us missed the significance of their victories in the states. ”

Politico “About the only thing more notable than the donor information super PACs this week revealed is the information they didn’t.”

Open Secrets “Technically known as independent expenditure-only committees, Super PACs may raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals, then spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political candidates. Super PACs must, however, report their donors to the Federal Election Commission on a monthly or quarterly basis — the Super PAC’s choice — as a traditional PAC would. Unlike traditional PACs, Super PACs are prohibited from donating money directly to political candidates.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Dec 17, 2014
Relatives of a victim of a Taliban attack in a school, mourn over her lifeless body at a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014. Taliban gunmen stormed a military-run school in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar on Tuesday, killing and wounding scores, officials said, in the highest-profile militant attack to hit the troubled region in months. (AP)

The Taliban take responsibility for killing more than 100 Pakistani schoolchildren. We ask why there, why now.

Dec 17, 2014
Germany's Andre Schuerrle, left, celebrates scoring his side's 6th goal as Brazil's goalkeeper Julio Cesar reacts during the World Cup semifinal soccer match between Brazil and Germany at the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Tuesday, July 8, 2014.  Germany went on to win the World Cup championship later that month. (AP)

From the Sochi Olympics and Ray Rice to Lebron’s return to Cleveland, we’ll unpack a big year in sports.

RECENT
SHOWS
Dec 16, 2014
A still from Amanda Brown's documentary film, "Black Heirlooms." (Courtesy the FIlmmaker)

The documentary “Black Heirlooms,” tells the story of how inheritances, even humble ones, can tear families apart. We talk to the director.

 
Dec 16, 2014
Supermodel Beverly Johnson. (Courtesy Beverly Johnson)

Supermodel Beverly Johnson is the latest woman to accuse Bill Cosby. She joins us.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Cosby Accuser Beverly Johnson: ‘He's A Black Man. I Had To Separate The Trayvon Martins, The Michael Browns From What Happened To Me’
Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014

Beverly Johnson accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging her in a high-profile Vanity Fair column. She tells us why she waited so long to share her story, and why it was even harder to share now.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: December 12, 2014
Friday, Dec 12, 2014

On listener engagement, the meeting of trans-Atlantic royalty and the elusive origins of the chicken. (We promise this feed hasn’t been taken over the BBC…yet)

More »
Comment
 
Quinn Sullivan, LIVE In Our Studio
Wednesday, Dec 10, 2014

Fifteen-year old Quinn Sullivan is a humble, “ordinary” high school sophomore. But he’s also a blues guitar phenom. He brought his talents to the On Point studio today.

More »
Comment