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Corporate Interests Come to Terrence Murphy’s Aid to Protect Albany’s Pay-to-Play Politics

New York Friends of Democracy released the following statement on new attacks against Justin Wagner in New York’s 40th Senate district election.
“Terrence Murphy’s special interest friends are funded by a who’s who of corporate interests,” said David Donnelly of New York Friends of Democracy. “Sending Murphy to Albany will lead to more favors and pay-to-play politics and that’s why Balance New York is trying to stop Justin Wagner. They know, and we know, that Justin Wagner will be a champion for cleaning up Albany and stopping big donors from calling the shots.”
The new attack from Balance New York follows a desperate attempt by the Murphy campaign to have New York Friends of Democracy’s television ad about his pay-to-play record pulled off the air. That ad is running through Election Day across the district. It’s available online at:
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Statement Criticizing the Failure of Governor Cuomo and Legislative Leaders on Fair Elections in the State Budget

“Friends of Democracy is deeply disappointed with the failure of Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders to address the systemic corruption in Albany through a comprehensive publicly funded Fair Elections program. Governor Cuomo’s abdication of leadership during the budget process resulted in little or no reform when an historic opportunity was at hand. One silver lining is the Senate Republicans’ willingness to vote for public funding for one state office as a pilot program. While we vigorously disagree with the scope and the content of this pilot program, we are encouraged that the vote may be a sign of openness for further negotiations.”
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New Radio Ad Take Aim at David Jolly’s Lobbying and Praises Sink’s Proposals to Reduce Influence of Special Interests

Jolly’s Tenure as a “Proud” Lobbyist Should Give Voters Pause

Sink’s Proposals to Address the Influence of Lobbyists and Improve Election Oversight Praised by Reform Group

A new radio ad from Friends of Democracy criticizing David Jolly and praising Alex Sink began over the weekend in Florida’s 13th Congressional District with ten days to go before the special election.

The radio ad compares the record of Jolly lobbying for Social Security privatization with Sink’s recent proposal to reduce the influence of lobbyists. Sink proposed a slowing of the revolving door between government service and lobbying, enhanced disclosure of outside spending, and measures to strengthen the Federal Election Commission.

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Statement from Friends of Democracy Co-Founder Jonathan Soros on Cece Tkaczyk’s Victory

“Congratulations to Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk on a well-deserved win. With unwavering commitment to the people of the 46th district and the issues that matter most, Senator Tkaczyk proved that being on the right side of reform is not only good policy, it’s good politics. Her victory shows that voters will support candidates who champion real campaign finance reform, including citizen funded elections. Her win today is an unmistakable mandate to work to change the broken campaign finance laws that have shut out the voices of regular New Yorkers. I look forward to working with Senator Tkaczyk and like-minded elected officials — including Governor Cuomo — to achieve real reform so New Yorkers can continue to rebuild their trust in government.”


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Renacci’s Tax Problem: Took $50,000 from Corporations Who Didn’t Pay Corporate Income Taxes

Washington, D.C. – New research found that over the past two elections, Congressman Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) has received at least $48,634 in campaign donations from political action committees, executives, and lobbyists representing 10 companies that paid no federal income tax from 2008 to 2010. The analysis was based on data from the Center for Responsive Politics, the Federal Election Commission (FEC), and a 2011 report by Citizens for Tax Justice.

Congressman Renacci has been criticized for failure to pay taxes in Ohio, despite being among the wealthiest members of Congress.

“It should come as no surprise that Jim Renacci, who refuses to pay his fair share of taxes, receives tens of thousands in campaign contributions from tax-avoiding corporate interests,” said David Donnelly, co-founder and co-director of Friends of Democracy, a super PAC established to hold politicians accountable for money in politics corruption.

Rep. Renacci accepted the following contributions from corporations dodging their taxes:


* The lobbyists figure here represents contributions from lobbyists hired by the companies identified in the chart.

Friends of Democracy is working to defeat members of Congress who oppose common sense reform of money in politics and to elect champions of reform. The organization is conducting a voter education program about Congressman Renacci’s connections to wealthy donors through a mail, telephone, and web program in Ohio’s 16th Congressional District.


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National Anti-Corruption Super PAC Names 8 Targets For Fall Campaign

Friends of Democracy Targets Reps. Bass, Rivera, Conseco, Hayworth, Bono Mack, Lungren, Buerkle, and Renacci as  “Foes of Democracy”

Washington, D.C.-Friends of Democracy, a Super PAC fighting the corrosive effect of money on politics, today announced an escalated push against eight Republican Representatives.

The Super PAC, co-founded by Jonathan Soros, specified that Representatives Bass, Rivera, Conseco, Hayworth, Bono Mack, Lungren, Buerkle, and Renacci are their latest targets in a national “Foes of Democracy” campaign.

Friends of Democracy will spend approximately $200,000 in each district to run a micro-targeted direct mail, phone contact and online advertising campaign to defeat the “Foes of Democracy” and elevate solutions to campaign finance corruption.

The targets were chosen due to their opposition to common sense campaign finance reform and votes in favor the big businesses and special interests that are funding their campaign. Friends of Democracy will target persuadable voters who are responsive on the issue ofpolitical corruption with consistent and comprehensive in-district advertising. Based on a successful pilot project in August, the effort will reach enoughvoters in the district to potentially shift the final vote tally.

“Voters have listed corruption as their second highest concern after job creation and with good reason. Billions ofdollars of special interest money dictate who gets elected and predicts whose side candidates are on once they get to Congress,” said Ilyse Hogue co-director of Friends of Democracy. “Confidence in Congress is collapsing. We cannot afford any more bought and paid for politicians who refuse to challenge thestatus quo, which is why we are targeting these Foes of Democracy.”

“Real change won’t come from Washington, it will come from voters in Sacramento county, San Antonio, and Syracuse, who will reject politicians who care more about keeping their own jobs than serving all their constituents,” said David Donnelly, co-director of Friends of Democracy. “Voters are fed up with the collusion between large donors and politicians and they’re ready to embrace champions of a new citizen led politics.”

A copy of one of the mailers can be seen here:

A poll released yesterday by Democracy Corps and Public Campaign Action Fund of voters in the 54 most competitive House districts underscores the resonance of a anti-corruption, pro-reform message. Among the findings: Seventy-eight percent of voters say it is personally important to them for candidates to promote a plan to fix the broken campaign finance system, and 71 percent say they are less likely to vote for a candidate after finding out the candidate voted for the Ryan budget to turn Medicare into vouchers while taking thousands of dollars from insurance interests. A full report of the polling can be found at

Member-specific press releases: Rep. Nan Hayworth | Rep. Jim Renacci | Rep. David Rivera | Rep. Francisco Canseco | Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle | Rep. Mary Bono Mack | Rep. Dan Lungren | Rep. Charlie Bass


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In Light of Ryan Pick, SuperPAC Calls on Rep. Lungren to Defend Both His Vote Against Medicare and Ties to the Insurance Lobby

Washington, D.C.— Today, Friends of Democracy, a SuperPAC working to fight political corruption and advance citizen-led elections, is calling on Rep. Dan Lungren to defend his support of new vice presidential pick Paul Ryan’s budget. Rep. Lungren voted for the Ryan budget in 2011, including the plan’s proposal to end Medicare, while taking in at least $180,564 in campaign contributions from the insurance industry and $5,000 from Congressman Paul Ryan’s leadership PAC.

“Paul Ryan and the insurance industry have placed their bets on Rep. Dan Lungren and he has voted their way,” said David Donnelly, Co-Director of Friends of Democracy. “He has taken more than $180,000 combined between Paul Ryan and the insurance industry and voted for policies that are a windfall for them at the expense of everyday voters.”

“Rep. Lungren’s race is ground zero in the fight for Medicare because he is part of a growing epidemic of members of Congress raking in millions from the insurance lobby while voting to end Medicare. With political corruption second on list of voter’s concern, this is a concern Rep. Lungren needs to answer to,” said Ilyse Hogue, Co-Director of Friends of Democracy.

Bloomberg News reported that the Ryan budget would benefit private insurers, a large source of campaign cash for members of Congress. Rep. Lungren has received $180,564 in campaign contributions from HMOs and insurance industry donors, according to an analysis of data coded by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. He has also received $5,000 from Prosperity PAC, Congressman Ryan’s leadership PAC.

Lungren’s vote for the Ryan budget indicates he would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a system of vouchers to help seniors buy private insurance coverage. In addition to not providing guarantees for coverage, this system would be a boon to the insurance industry.

Friends of Democracy is currently advertising on television and the web throughout the congressional district with advertising that criticizes Rep. Lungren for putting the interests of Wall Street donors ahead of middle class families in the district. The television ad can be seen at:


Friends of Democracy is working to fight political corruption and advance citizen-led elections, and will educate voters in approximately one dozen House races this election cycle. For more information, visit

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New Super PAC Launches $700,000 Ad Campaign Targeting Four Members of Congress for Political Corruption

“Empty Seat” Ads Aim to Unseat Four of the Most Vulnerable House Incumbents For Doing Bidding of Corporate Interests

Friends of Democracy, a new Super PAC co-founded by Jonathan Soros working to fight the corrosive effect money is having on our political system, released their first TV ad campaign today. Their first buy will target Representatives Dan Lungren (CA-7), Chip Cravaack (MN-8), Sean Duffy (WI-7) and Charlie Bass (NH-2) for putting the interests of their financial backers above the needs of their constituents. Friends of Democracy will spend $700,000 on the campaign that will run for one week in each district.

This cycle, Friends of Democracy is deploying a breakthrough strategy – one that puts us on the path to force our elected officials to help fix our broken campaign finance system – by delivering electoral consequences to those who stand in the way, and lifting up those who champion policies that move us in the right direction.

Later in the cycle, Friends of Democracy will have a heavy online advertising, direct mail and phone program in these districts and others.

“Americans have made it clear that they are fed up with being voiceless in the age of SuperPACs and mega-million dollar donors. This frustration should be read as a warning for politicians as they head into the final stretch before the elections,” said Jonathan Soros, co-founder of Friends of Democracy. “There’s a great opportunity here for leaders who embrace the challenge of putting voters back at the center of our democracy and there should also be a political price to pay for ignoring the erosion of public trust in Washington, D.C.”


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