What We’re Reading This Week – 6/19/14

What We're Reading This Week - 6/19/14

This week – redistricting, campaign finance, NSA surveillance, Comcast.

1.  Map: 22 states have passed new voting restrictions over the past four years – Niraj Chokshi -Washington Post

Voting restrictions have become more constraining over the four year, Chokski reported.   Visuals accompanying the story explain the different kinds of redistricting changes.  Although many lawmakers cite voter fraud as reason behind such legislation, the restrictions go well beyond the problem they seek to fix.  

2.  Comcast is turning your home router into a public Wi-Fi hotspot – Jose Pagliery – CNN Money

Surprise! This year, Comcast has secretly been turning private Wi-Fi routers into public hotspots.  Customers were aware that Comcast was installing new routers but did not consent to them being multipurposed for public use.  Although the system seems secure, the way Comcast handled this project raises questions about why they weren’t more open about what they were doing.  Although I applaud the idea, this was a creepy way of installing Wi-Fi everywhere.

3.  Bill would increase PAC disclosures – Frank Phillips – Boston Globe

This article in the Boston Globe describes the Massachusetts legislature’s fight against big money in politics.  Lawmakers are considering a new bill that would increase donor disclosure and decrease the amount of money spent on elections.

4.  Reasons to believe – Michael Brune and Mary Kay Henry -The Hill

A new editorial by our partners in the Democracy Initiative discusses the relationship between corporate power and U.S. environmental policies.  The article points out the challenge of reversing corporate power and the importance of doing so.

5.  New Report Highlights Need for “Coordination” Reform Post-Citizens United  Commentary – Paul S. Ryan – Roll Call

The Supreme Court decision in Citizens United has lessened the government’s ability to limit political spending by groups not directly affiliated with campaigns and parties, but the FEC should still do what it can, Ryan said.  This article explains how the FEC’s failure to enforce the legal definition of “campaign coordination” has allowed candidates and outside groups to get away with working together and hiding the identities of their donors. 

6.  How to end the NSA dragnet – Ron Wyden, Mark Udall, and Rand Paul – Star Tribune

This unexpected partnership wrote a fascinating piece on ending NSA surveillance of Americans.  The article highlights the importance of guaranteeing transparency in government.  Wyden, Udall, and Paul criticize the bill approved by the House for not being extensive enough to create meaningful reform.


For Further Reading:

Redistricting: Redistricting commission hears from the public in Culver City – LA Times

Super PACs: Kochs launch new super PAC for midterm fight -Kenneth P. Vogel and Darren Goode – Politico

Media: Nation’s Cable Companies Announce They’re Just Going To Take $100 From Everyone – The Onion

Campaign Finance: Wis. Gov. Scott Walker Accused Of Illegal Fundraising – Scott Neuman – NPR