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May Community Gathering!

Sunday,  May 19, 3:00-4:30 pm
204 N. Union St., Lambertville, NJ

Money, Money, Money
Budgets and Taxes and Dark Money - Oh My!

Are You The One?

What do we make of 5 million Democratic candidates running for president? How does one stand out?

It’s not a new thing that many people put themselves forward to be the Democratic candidate for President. In the 2016 election, four candidates dropped out before the primaries began, leaving eight candidates to run for the Democratic nomination. In 2008, two candidates withdrew before the primaries, leaving eight candidates still running, including President Barack Obama.


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Primer on New Jersey’s Budget

About 25 members of Indivisible Lambertville / New Hope came together on April 22 to hear three representatives from the progressive policy think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective explain the state’s budget process, what the critical budget issues are, and how citizens can get involved in shaping the state’s spending so that it serves all New Jerseyans. Here’s what we learned.

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The Millionaires Tax Time Has Come for NJ

Since the April Budget Springboard, ILNH constituents have been subjected to a number of actions that call for supporting the Millionaires Tax. As an organization, ILNH is officially joining the NJ Indivisible Advocacy Coalition in supporting passage of the Millionaires Tax, so our numbers add weight as they advocate with NJ legislators.

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Dark Money Impact: Winning PA-01 in 2018

The next SpringBoard event will focus on the role of dark money in our political system. While people may have different conceptions of what dark money means, for the purposes of this exploration it refers to any political donations that are made to groups - political action committees (PACs and SuperPACs) and so-called, “social welfare organizations,” also known as 501(c)(4) group, who are allowed to engage in political lobbying and political campaign activities.

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Dark Money -What is dark money? It’s political spending meant to influence the decision of a voter, where the donor is not disclosed and the source of the money is unknown.  

Sources of dark money include:  
  • 501(c)(4): “social welfare” organizations such as the NRA, Sierra Club, Indivisible
  • 501(c)(5): labor unions
  • 501(c)(6): business groups such as the Chamber of Commerce
  • Shell companies set up as LLCs can collect unlimited money from unreported sources.
The 501(c)s can collect unlimited donations from unreported donors, though a recent Supreme Court decision is changing that: donations over $200 will have to be reported. On the flip side, they cannot engage solely in politics and can only coordinate on a limited basis with campaigns. Super PACs are not dark money in that they have to report their donors. They can collect unlimited money and can be 100% political, but cannot coordinate with political campaigns. However, 501(c)s and shell LLCs can donate money, which they collected from unreported donors, to Super PACs, turning Super PACs into dark money.

Candidate committees, political parties, and traditional Political Action Committees (PACs) are not dark money. Their donors must be disclosed, contribution limits apply, and organizations are allowed to coordinate their efforts to help elect a candidate.

Dark money spending in the first year of the 2016 election cycle was 10 times more than it was at the same point in 2012.  Dark money spending in 2012 was three times more than it was in 2008, and dark money spending in 2008 was 17 times more than it was in 2004.

Dark money has been almost entirely spent to favor Republican candidates. For example, by October 2015, $4.88 million in dark money had already been spent for the 2016 election cycle. The money was spent by six groups - five conservative groups (including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent $3 million, and Americans for Prosperity, which spent $1.5 million) and one liberal group (Planned Parenthood, which spent just under $75,000).

Sources:  

  1. https://www.opensecrets.org/dark-money/
  2. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/09/supreme-court-lets-stand-a-decision-requiring-dark-money-disclosure/570670/
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_money
  4. https://ballotpedia.org/501(c)(4)
Did you Know? The Not So Equal Protection Under Pennsylvania Law

Pennsylvania is the only state in the nation that fails to provide funding for the defense of poor defendants, who comprise over 80% of those accused. Pennsylvania cedes this obligation to the counties, leading to a big disparity – in fact, the largest in the U.S. – of capital sentences from county-to-county. The result is a haphazard and inconsistent patchwork of attorney appointment protocols, literally playing Russian Roulette with defendants’ lives.

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Reminder! Pennsylvania Primary is May 21st - VOTE!

Coming up May 21st, the Pennsylvania primary poses challenges for progressives. With three Bucks County Court of Common Pleas judgeships open among a heavily Republican bench in Bucks County, the stakes are high. In Pennsylvania, these judgeships, which pay over $100,000 per annum, are elected and serve for ten years. The Common Pleas, aka Civil Court, attends to family and criminal matters, and thus has a major impact on the welfare of our communities. Many of those on the present bench, however have a strong background in business law, but lack experience in Family Court.

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“Active listening” is giving someone your full attention as they speak. Listening to someone instead of commandeering talk time or simply waiting for the moment to say your piece matters in many communication contexts, especially in persuasion and negotiation. Respond with a question to learn more, and allow space for the answer to come:

Scenario: You are knocking on women voters’ doors to encourage voting for a candidate who has a good record on women’s issues. You ask which women’s issues matter to the voter and the voter responds, “taxes.”

Say this:  I’d like to hear why you chose taxes as the issue.
Not this:  Taxes! I asked about women’s issues.

Not this:  Taxes! Doesn’t the tax scam bill rile you up?

Say this:  [Nothing] – instead of speaking, listen.
Not this:  Wait you’re wrong, My candidate “gets” it.

Say this:  I heard you say taxes are a big problem in your budget. Would you tell me more?
Not this:  Geez, taxes are bad for me too.
Not this:  We have to vote the buzzards out.

ILNH FYI

ILNH in the New Hope Celebrates Pride Parade! Saturday, May 18
New Springboard event scheduled! Mark your calendars for June 3

Click here for the full event schedule!

 


Contributors: Amara Willey, Lisa Bergson, Cheryl Clark, Cynthia Zenkus, Kierstyn Pietrowski Zolfo, LIza Watson, Olga Vannucci, Deb Kline
Indivisible Lambertville / New Hope Leadership Team

ILNH Leader – Cindi Sternfeld 
Admin/Tech Team – Elaine Clisham and Karen Mitchell
Communications – Deb Kline
Events – Olga Vannucci
Finance – Elycia Lerman and Caitlyn Shoemaker
Issue Group Support – Sarah Gold and Susan Shapiro
Engagement - Nancy Boelter and Paige Barnett
Social Media – Nancy Boelter and Leila Rice
Volunteer Coordinators – Zoe Langdon and Mary Jane Legere


Email us at info@indivisiblelnh.com
@IndivisibleLNH
Indivisible Lambertville New Hope
indivisiblelnh.com
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