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How ‘Dark Money’ Helped Pave Joe Biden’s Way To The White House

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President Joe Biden benefited from a record-breaking amount of donations from anonymous donors to outside groups backing him, meaning the public will never have a full accounting of who helped him win the White House.

Biden’s winning campaign was backed by $145 million in so-called dark money donations, a type of fundraising Democrats have decried for years. Those fundraising streams augmented Biden’s $1.5 billion haul, in itself a record for a challenger to an incumbent president.

That amount of dark money dwarfs the $28.4 million spent on behalf of his rival, former President Donald Trump. And it tops the previous record of $113 million in anonymous donations backing Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

Inauguration Of Joe Biden As 46th President Of The United States

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during the 59th presidential inauguration on Jan. 20.

Photographer: Patrick Semansky/AP Photo/Bloomberg

Democrats have said they want to ban dark money as uniquely corrupting, since it allows supporters to quietly back a candidate without scrutiny. Yet in their effort to defeat Trump in 2020, they embraced it.

For example, Priorities USA Action Fund, the super political action committee that Biden designated as his preferred vehicle for outside spending, used $26 million in funds originally donated to its nonprofit arm, called Priorities USA, to back Biden. The donors of that money do not have to be disclosed.

The Mighty Money (Almost $4 Billion) of Campaign 2020: QuickTake

Guy Cecil, the chairman of Priorities USA, was unapologetic. “We weren’t going to unilaterally disarm against Trump and the right- wing forces that enabled him,” he said in a statement.

Campaign finance laws, in theory, are supposed to limit the influence big money has over politicians. But the system has gaping loopholes, which groups backing Biden and other candidates, have exploited.

“He benefited from it,” said Larry Noble, a former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission.

A Biden spokesman didn’t respond to attempts to seek comment.

His campaign called for banning some types of nonprofits from spending money to influence elections and requiring that any organization spending more than $10,000 to influence elections to register with the FEC and disclose its donors.

Biden raised more than $1 billion for his campaign, which can accept donations of up to $2,800 per election from individuals. That included $318.6 million from donors who gave less than $200 each. The rest of the money Biden raised came from donors with pockets deep enough to give as much as $825,000, with that money being divided among the Democratic National Committee and 47 state parties.

Read More: Corporate PACs Donation Halt Chills a Congress Hooked on Cash

Dark money is not the biggest source of cash to campaigns. Wealthy donors can write eight-figure checks to super-PACs, Noble pointed out. Joint fundraising committees that raise money for campaigns and parties can bring in chunks of $830,500.

In September, Michael Bloomberg said he would spend $100 million to help Biden in Florida, allowing Democrats to divert money to other must-win states. Biden lost Florida but flipped five states that Trump won in 2016.

Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.

Donors who want to avoid disclosure can give to political nonprofits, like Defending Democracy Together, which spent $15.6 million backing Biden, and aren’t required to disclose their contributors to the FEC. Donors can also give money to a nonprofit that in turn gives the money to a super-PAC, like Priorities USA did. Candidates and their campaigns can’t coordinate spending with such groups under federal law.

And that lack of disclosure worries reform groups.

Big donors — individuals or corporations — who contributed anonymously will have the same access to decision makers as those whose names were disclosed, but without public awareness of who they are or what influence they might wield.

“The whole point of dark money is to avoid public disclosure while getting private credit,” said Meredith McGehee, executive director of Issue One, which advocates for reducing the influence of money on politics. “It’s only dark money to the public.”

Battleground Attack Ads

Overall, Democrats in this election cycle benefited from $326 million in dark money, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That was more than twice the $148 million that supported Republican groups. Some of the Democratic groups that relied on dark money in whole or in part spent heavily on early ads attacking Trump in critical battleground states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The groups started spending while Biden’s relatively cash-poor campaign was struggling to raise money for the primaries.

Future Forward PAC, a super-PAC that spent $104 million backing Biden, got $46.9 million from Facebook Inc. co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, $3 million from Twilio Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Lawson and $2.6 million from Eric Schmidt of Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google. But its biggest source of funds was its sister nonprofit, Future Forward USA Action, which contributed $61 million. The names of those who put up the $61 million don’t have to be disclosed.

The Sixteen Thirty Fund, a nonprofit that sponsors progressive advocacy, donated a total of $55 million in the 2020 election cycle to Democratic super-PACs, including Priorities USA Action Fund and Future Forward PAC, FEC records show. That total was much more than the $3 million it gave in 2018.

Amy Kurtz, executive director of the Sixteen Thirty Fund, said the surge of money to the group, which doesn’t disclose the names of its donors, included people who previously gave to Republicans or had not been engaged in politics.

The flood of dark money to Democrats and progressive groups has complicated their effort to reform the system.

Senate Judiciary Confirmation Hearing For Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett

Sheldon Whitehouse

Photographer: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Bloomberg

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, has blamed dark money for persuading Republicans to block legislation to address climate change and assuring judges who share their views are appointed to the courts.

“Dark money is toxic to democracy — period,” Whitehouse said in a statement. “The fact that progressive groups have learned to fight back using similar tactics is no excuse for continuing the plague of dark money in America.”

Kurtz says her group would prefer rules that eliminated dark money.

“We have lobbied in favor of reform to the current campaign finance system,” she said, referring to H.R. 1, an election reform measure Democrats have proposed that includes more rigorous disclosure of donors to political nonprofits, “but we remain equally committed to following the current laws to level the playing field for progressives.”

Even Cecil, who runs the super-PAC supporting Biden, said the group supports reform.

“We still look forward to the day when unlimited money and super-PACs are a thing of the past,” he said.(Updates with Bloomberg Florida spending from 13th paragraph.)

Source: Bloomberg 

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UNITED NIGERIA IS BETTER THAN DIVIDED NIGERIA, SAYS OPIAH

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…BACKS CALL FOR DEVOLUTION OF POWER, RESTRUCTURING

Imo State Coordinator for Petroleum and Gas Matters, former Speaker of the Imo State House of Assembly and former member of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Goodluck Nanah Opiah, on Wednesday expressed optimism that the ongoing review of the constitution will usher in practical solutions to the myriad of challenges facing the country, adding that the outcome of the review would unite the country rather than dividing it.

Opiah disclosed this while fielding questions from journalists at the public hearing on the review of the 1999 constitution which held at the Concorde Hotel Owerri.

He said: “We inherited the 1999 constitution from the military and since our return to democracy in 1999 this constitution has been undergoing reviews. But I think this one is special in many ways and the expectations of Nigerians are quite high, because we are in a very difficult time. Security has become a major challenge with ethnicity and religious bigotry, which have become a theme in present day Nigeria.

“Therefore, expectations are that this constitution review will help solve all these problems. I think that the constitution review will go a long way in uniting Nigeria rather than dividing us. For me, a united, one Nigeria is better than a divided Nigeria”.

Opiah alao expressed optimism that the constitution review committee would do a good job by hearkening to the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians.

” The constitution review committee is peopled by very seasoned legislators led by the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase. He is conversant with the problems of Nigeria. The committee is therefore poised to using this assignment to give Nigerians a new roadmap for security and development.

“I am sure that the issues of devolution of power and restructuring will be part of the review as far as the National Assembly is concerned. I am confident that the National Assembly will hearken to the yearnings and aspirations of the people”, he said.

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Economic Model That Will Create Value for Mankind

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A Day Out With Young Executive: Abraham John Onoja.

By Akogu Yusuf

Running a Business in the aftermath of Covid19 in Nigeria…

We are in the middle of another crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. A ‘clean reset’ and ‘building back better’ have been spoken about a lot: creating a more sustainable society. No evidence exists to indicate that we have. Yet, I believe that, even though they have not been completely realized, some important improvements have been made. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease that, in one way or another, has crippled many businesses in the society.

Sustainability assumes that developing such strategies encourages the survival of the business. Without economic development and the production of financial value, we will not survive for long. In the face of the pandemic, millions of businesses are struggling and as many as 40% of businesses will not reopen following this pandemic.

In essence, if we are to create a business world that is sustainable and well prepared to tackle imminent crises, we need to handle business-related risks, reinforce and encourage our economic activity that will create value for humankind.

COVID-19 has taught us how to surmount our business challenges but we, as individuals, companies or governments, need to take ownership of our future. Being a bystander is no longer a viable option.

Young people tilting towards entrepreneurship.

To promote entrepreneurship, the government needs to do more. We need more practical policies to be concentrated and youth-oriented, targeting youth directly. The country will produce a well-behaved and cultured group of young people who would contribute to nation-building when the root source is addressed by the government. They should not provide token employment, but should create an environment that encourages the private sector to improve its productivity. This will contribute to the creation of more jobs.

Government Role in supporting the development and growth of small Businesses..

I believe that government at all levels is doing it best (although more is expected) in providing support through entrepreneurial training, credit support, marketing support among a host of others with more expectations that are increasing in the light of current economic realities.

The small-scale sector contributes greatly to the growth of any economy. It is generally recognized as contributing to the growth and development of an economy because of its potential to increase industrial output and human welfare. Small-scale industries form the driving force of industrial growth and economic development by ensuring the growth and diversification of industrial production, as well as the achievement of fundamental development objectives.

In almost every economy, the industry accounts for a larger percentage of all businesses and also generates the majority of employment and output in the private sector.

The small-scale sector also makes employment opportunities available, which in turn reduces the country’s unemployment rate. It is also the responsibility of small-scale industries to utilize local raw materials to carry out their production. Looking from the angle of our present democratic rule, we see that in many ways, small-scale industries have added significantly to the economy.

With the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), I look forward to seeing more market competitiveness, a wider market for goods and services, and more people being lifted out of poverty by supporting entrepreneurship, creating more business opportunities and job creations.

Economic diversification efforts of the government…

They should be more focused and deliver on what they are primarily there for which the people are provided with governance. For example, with good governance, the necessary infrastructure and policies to ensure the country’s ease of doing business should not be a problem for entrepreneurs and businessmen and women in the country. When businesses are able to thrive with the right set of structures and policies in place and not over taxing and suffocating the already struggling business, raking in taxes won’t be so much an issue and that will lead to an increase in government revenue to improve services provided to citizens as well.

Government needs to recognize that it is the middle class that grows the economy, not the one percent rich people. If you take a look at industrialized nations, and you will understand.

Agriculture and Solid Minerals

Nigeria is blessed with a huge endowment of solid minerals widely spread throughout the country’s different geographical zones. The decline of the solid minerals industry began with the discovery of crude oil and to an extent that Nigeria became a mono-product economy and therefore vulnerable to international oil politics and its consequences. I would like to say that by creating a conducive environment, government should be more interested in promoting trade investment (foreign and domestic) in the solid mineral sector, as well as improving competitiveness in the sector. In addition, the government should enable domestic investors to invest in the solid mineral sector in order to take the enormous potential into consideration.

Nigeria’s economy was mainly an agrarian economy in the 1960s, accounting for over 80% of export earnings, but where we are today. Nigeria needs to diversify its oil-sector revenue base by considering huge investments in the income-generating economy of agriculture and the manufacturing sector, unlocking the untapped potential in these sectors and harnessing them for growth and development.

About Writer Iteractive Network..

The Writers Interactive Network (WIN) is a literary society comprised of writers who have come together for the sole purpose of interactively learning, helping, leaning on each other, and exploring ways to improve writing skills. The network was founded with a vision of being the wing of every writer, reaching out to humanity and re-enchanting the world through writings and expressions that wins. Its mission is to provide writers with a creative platform for creativity and expressions to flourish; to contribute to the growth and development of writing; and to impact the society in which we live; to help writers grow and win in every creative space in a borderless world. The purpose of this network is to bring together writers of poetry, song scripts, etc. together to express themselves freely, a platform from which many people have benefited in order to achieve impactful goals in society.

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2023 Election: Group suggests Saraki for Presidency, says North-Central is marginalized

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By Progress Godfrey

As the curtain draws closer toward the end of the current administration, a group known as the North Central Coalition Initiative (NCCI) has suggested Dr Bukola Saraki for the Presidency in the forthcoming election in 2023.

The group said this on Wednesday in Abuja in a press statement delivered by its visionary and national coordinator Sen. Phillip Aruwa, adding that Nigeria’s focus must be on the North Central for it to be rescued from the brink of the current situation.

The national coordinator said that the region has been marginalized in power distribution owing to its non-inclusion since the democratic system of governance was ushered in in 1999.

He stressed that the country is at the brink of disintegration due to the unprecedented clamor for self-determination in some geopolitical zones of the country which he said, calls for the complete jettisoning of the military-authored constitution

Against the backdrop of the looming threat to national unity, Aruwa expressed the need to revisit Nigeria’s past political development in a view to situating the problem within the context of nationhood.

He said, “Having exhaustively analyzed our current situation, we strongly believe that for Nigeria to be rescued from the brink, our focus must be on the North Central zone. Let the next President of Nigeria come from this zone. Political leaders in the likes of Dr Saraki, have what it takes to lead this country and unite the people.

“The north central geopolitical zone has suffered so much injustice and it is its political victim status that can make leaders from this zone dispense justice equitably and ensure that there are no second class citizens in Nigeria. We strongly believe that for Nigeria to survive as a political entity and witness rapid development, there must be good leadership in place. The North Central geopolitical zone is strategically positioned to provide the much deserved political leadership for Nigeria.

“A critical analysis of events in the corridors of power will show that all the bickering prevailing today are influenced by negative political tendencies. The table below shows the distribution of power positions under democratically elected governments in the past. It is clear that only one geopolitical zone has been marginalized in power distribution; And that zone is the North Central geopolitical zone which has never produced a democratically elected President or Vice President (see table below).

“Leadership Positions In Nigeria From 1979-2021:

1979-83:

  1. Alh. Shehu Shagari, President, (North West)
  2. Dr Alex Ekwueme, Vice President, (South East)

1993:

  1. Chief Ernest Shonekan, Head of Interim Government, (Southwest)

1999-2007:

  1. Olusegun Obasanjo, President, (Southwest)
  2. Alh. Atiku Abubakar, Vice President (North East)

2007- 2010:

  1. Alh. Shehu Musa Yar’adua, President, (Northwest)
  2. Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Vice President, (South-south)

2010- 2015:

  1. Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President, (South-south)
  2. Alh. Namadi Sambo, Vice President, (Northwest)

2015-Date:

  1. Muhammadu Buhari, President, (Northwest)
  2. Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President, (Southwest).

“Nigeria today is at the brink of disintegration as we are witnessing unprecedented agitations from the various political components that make up the country.

“This clamoring for self-determination in some geo-political zones of the country, calls for restructuring of political power structures, and calls for the complete jettison of the nation’s Constitution which was authored by the military, for a new one whose tenets should have inputs from the people.

“This scenario, which is threatening the country, is leading the country towards balkanization and complete disintegration, unless urgent steps are taken towards averting the inevitable.

“Against the backdrop of this sad development, a revisit of our country’s past political development is very necessary in order to situate the problem within the context of our nationhood, and proffer empirical solutions to the issues at stake.

“What is the empirical solution that can pave the way for overcoming the present predicament that we’ve found ourselves in? And how can we work towards reverting the present situation that has taken us to the brink? This piece is an attempt to provide a solution to our problem as a nation.

“We must therefore, pause and ponder awhile as to what needs to be done, if we’re to survive the present political onslaught being carried out by evil forces.

“Revisiting our political developmental processes and our political history will give us an insight into the country’s problems and what we can do to move out of the present political quagmire.

“No one in our country today can comfortably say that the present prevailing situation is not a disturbing phenomenon.”

The national coordinator further highlighted the efforts by the North Central Zone during the post war federal government headed by Gen. Yakubu from the region, whose slogan, “no victor, no vanquished” he said, was the bedrock for reconstruction and rehabilitation of the country and the birth of the democracy that Nigerians so cherish today.

He decried the recent happenings, stating that it is an effort to tarnish the efforts put to ensure that democracy and its dividends are benefited by Nigerians.

According to him, the North Central Zone desires to build a Nigeria poised for developmenta through the entrenchment of democratic institutions; and this, he said can only be done through the inclusiveness in politics and the equitable involvement of the region in the political process of all Nigerians.

“The post war Federal government, headed by Gen. Yakubu Gowon, and who comes from north central geopolitical zone, worked assiduously to ensure that the nation remained as one political entity. His “no victor, no vanquished,” slogan was to herald a new era of reconstruction and rehabilitation, which resulted in national cohesion and coexistence in our body polity.

“President Muhammadu Buhari was elected to take over from Jonathan, and has since then remained in power to this day. It is under him that Nigeria is today at the throes of imploding politically. Activities undermining democratic norms are now rife in the country, and it is very clear that unless these issues are addressed, the nation may no doubt slide into an abyss of destruction; a situation we’re all praying would be averted.

“One noticeable phenomenon in our polity is that in spite of the numerous coup d’etats recorded before the termination of military rule in 1999, our country continues to witness unprecedented developmental efforts in different sectors. However, recent developments in the country are threatening to make rubbish of these efforts.

“We are witnesses to the macabre political schemes and audacious demands by separatists, terrorists, and armed gunmen who are hell bent in destroying the hard earned unity of our nation. But for how long shall we continue to watch these happenings without doing anything to stem the tide of this evil season of anomie?

“All right thinking Nigerians know that the disintegration of our country would spell doom not only for us as a people, but would also drastically affect the entire African continent. Something needs to be done and urgently too, if we’re to survive the evil times that have enveloped our nation.

“The interesting thing here is that the north central geopolitical zone of Nigeria provided for the enabling environment for political re-engineering of our political system and national cohesion. And ever since this significant role of the north central geopolitical zone in Nigeria’s re-engineering political process, this region has remained the fulcrum that holds the nation together.

“It was the leadership provided by Gen. Yakubu Gowon, that saw to the amicable resolution of political crisis that engulfed the country and the eventual end of the civil war. In the same vein, Gen. Abubakar created the enabling environment for power to be returned to the Southwest, with Obasanjo emerging as democratically elected President.

“The likes of political leaders like Solomon Lar and many other notable sons of the north central geopolitical zone, encouraged and pressured the military to birth democracy. The democracy we so much cherish today is the product of the efforts of these men of honour.

“It has to be explained here that even in the present dispensation, there’re many political leaders from the north central zone like Sen. Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Sen. Prof Iyiorcha Ayu, Sen. David Mark, Sen Jonah David Jang, and many others not mentioned here, who were the architects of tenets of democracy in legislative craftsmanship while serving in the National Assembly.

“It would therefore be logical to say in spite of being marginalized politically, north Central Nigeria has continued to play the role of mediators and ameliorators during crises situations in the country. This, political leaders in the zone have done because of their desire to see that Nigeria remains as one political entity,” he said.

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