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
Nov 20, 2014
In this file photo, Hillsborough Sheriff deputy patrols outside the gate of JP Morgan Chase annual stockholders meeting held Tuesday, May 15, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. JP Morgan is one of several large financial institutions currently under investigation for alleged violation of Federal bankruptcy laws. (AP)

You’re supposed to have a clean slate after bankruptcy. But that’s not always true. We’ll ask what’s going on.

Nov 20, 2014
A shot from the AMC reality series, "Freakshow." (Jessica Brooks / AMC)

From TV to Broadway, circus sideshows — freak shows — are having a big cultural moment. What’s the history behind the comeback?

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 19, 2014
In a Friday, March 2, 2012 file photo, Donnie Dawson, 20, left, attends a youth advocacy group meeting at the Ruth Ellis Center, a drop-in shelter for LGBT - lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender youth in Detroit. (AP)

Up to 40 percent of homeless young people are LGBTQ. We’ll hear their stories.

 
Nov 19, 2014
Ultra-Orthodox Jews attend the funeral of Mosheh Twersky, in Jerusalem, Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014. Two Palestinian cousins armed with meat cleavers and a gun stormed a Jerusalem synagogue during morning prayers Tuesday, killing Twersky and three others in the city's bloodiest attack in years. (AP)

New violence in Jerusalem. The building battle for the Holy City.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Five: What Is Net Neutrality?
Friday, Nov 14, 2014

The Explicast dives into tech policy territory with a quick look at the real meaning of a complicated bit of tech policy known as ‘Net Neutrality.’

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: November 14, 2014
Friday, Nov 14, 2014

On why we tweet, what we like and a Miley Cyrus and “Serial” theme song mashup you never knew you needed.

More »
Comment
 
Guest Post: U.S.-China Climate Deal is an Important Step In Long Road Ahead
Wednesday, Nov 12, 2014

After a landmark agreement between the US and China on climate change policy and clean energy development, a recent On Point guest reflects on what’s important in this new deal.

More »
Comment