Yesterday, top Trump donor & fund-raiser and inaugural committee chairman Thomas #Barrack was arrested & charged with illegally working to influence the foreign policy of the U.S. government.

Here's a thread with some of my thoughts 👇 #BarrackIndictment…
This case is about transparency and ethics, but this is also a tale of the problems and dangers of our current campaign finance system: a system that enables wealthy interests to gain outsized influence with our government, creating the conditions for the privileged access and...
...influence they enjoy and often utilize for their own personal gain.

Thomas Barrack, a billionaire, is close to Trump & was a major donor to Trump’s joint fundraising committee (Trump Victory) & Republican groups: since the 2016 cycle, he has personally given over $1 million.
He also served as chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee and helped raise $107 million from private donors to celebrate Trump’s inauguration.

This was the most money ever raised to celebrate an inauguration.…
The lack of a working presidential public funding system permits wealthy donors like Thomas Barrack to gain exclusive access to elected officials, and it provides them with opportunities to foster close, influential relationships.
Everyday Americans do not have these opportunities and often remain in the dark regarding the activities of special interests attempting to influence our government.

Here, the Thomas Barrack case illustrates for us yet again the dangers of this access-and-influence system.
By being able to channel large amounts of money into Trump’s orbit, Thomas Barrack was able to open a door to pursue his own interests at the expense of independent deliberation about policy choices that impact the American people.
There are solutions that can prevent these kinds of scenarios. The #ForThePeopleAct, for example, would create a system of matching contributions for campaign donations, so the voices and dollars of everyday Americans are not drowned out by the donations of special interests.
@CampaignLegal supports such solutions. Congress ought to act to create the conditions for more accountability and less corruption in our political system—so Americans can have our voices heard.…

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More from @thetrevorpotter

2 Jun
Substantively, this matter is about the importance of transparency—the voters obviously should have known about McDougal’s allegations well before the elections, and AMI’s illegal hush money payment meant they did not.
But this isn’t an example of @FEC enforcement—it is almost five years after the 2016 election, and all the investigative work was done by the federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. The FEC is just free-riding here.
The @FEC is supposed to be responsible for enforcing laws that govern campaign finance for campaigns for president & Congress. Yet, this is another example of the @FEC being an afterthought in campaign finance enforcement as DOJ takes the lead, with all the problems that creates.
Read 6 tweets
31 Mar
A7: #S1TownHall #S1’s small-donor program builds on programs that have been successful in cities and states across the country. Because candidates are incentivized to seek support from small donors and small donors are empowered by the matching funds to provide impactful... support to their preferred candidates, these programs have led to big increases in small donors and significantly decreased reliance on wealthy special interests. Freed from dependence on a few big donors, elected officials can focus on implementing policies that...
…benefit their constituents, not just those that bankroll their campaigns. For example, following the first election after Connecticut implemented its Citizens’ Elections Program...
Read 4 tweets
31 Mar
A1: #S1TownHall Economic inequality means that most personal wealth in the US is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small minority, and the historic legacy of racism and sexism means that these wealthy few are overwhelmingly white and male. The heavy reliance of our...
...campaign system on individual and corporate PAC contributions in turn, means that our government is often tilted towards the interests of a white male donor class, and the donor class looks nothing like the American public, but has a disproportionate level of influence over...
...who can competitively run for office and what policies are considered and prioritized. People of color and Americans of average means often have their voices drowned out...
Read 4 tweets
24 Mar
I’m about to head into the U.S. Senate Rules Committee to testify in support of the #ForThePeopleAct, #S1. This legislation will strengthen democracy for all Americans, regardless of political party. The livestream of the hearing should be available here:…
The #ForThePeopleAct will crack down on political corruption in both parties, limit the influence donors have over politicians, prevent foreign money from coming into America's elections, strengthen ethics laws...… prevent politicians from enriching themselves, create more transparency and accountability in government, reform the Federal Election Commission (@FEC) and protect voting rights for all eligible citizens.…
Read 5 tweets
9 Oct 20
The @nytimes reported today that Donald Trump may have illegally financed his 2016 campaign with a secret loan that potentially exceeded legal limits. The report is the latest in a Times series examining Trump's tax returns. Thread below. (1/8)…
The @nytimes reports that in September 2016, at the height of the presidential campaign, Trump quietly took out a $30 million bank loan in the name of an LLC that he jointly owns with billionaire developer Phil Ruffin, with Trump Tower Las Vegas as collateral. (2/8)
Tax records show the LLC paid Trump over $21 million in 2016 & claimed a tax deduction on the payments.

6 weeks after obtaining the loan, Trump gave $10 million to his campaign.

Federal law requires that candidates disclose bank loans used in connection w/ their campaign. (3/8)
Read 8 tweets

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