Anna Sale is the host and managing editor of Death, Sex & Money, a biweekly interview podcast at WNYC. A veteran public media reporter, Anna covered politics for years, including the 2013 New York City mayoral race, the 2012 presidential campaign, and the statehouse beat in Connecticut and West Virginia. She is a frequent fill-in host for The Brian Lehrer Show and The Leonard Lopate Show and has contributed to This American Life, NPR, Marketplace, Studio 360, PBS Newshour, and Slate.
The Process Is Political: Banks Abandon Obama
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Through the 2012 election cycle, It’s A Free Country will keep a focus on the mechanics of elections, from voting rules, political party rules to redistricting to, of course, the money that fuels campaigns.
As part of that, we'll be keeping a regular eye on top-line news, undercovered stories, and opinion on our changing political process in a weekly roundup. As with most things around here, we welcome tips, thoughts, and fierce debate about whether any or all of this is good for our democracy.
Banks Abandon Obama: America’s six largest banks have dramatically changed allegiances since the 2008 presidential money race, and GOP candidate Mitt Romney is reaping the spoils. Recent campaign finance reports “offer a vivid illustration of how the president's first 30 months in office have fractured what was once a warm relationship with the largest American banks,” reports American Banker, a daily financial industry newspaper. "You could sum it all up in a hyphenated word: Dodd-Frank," University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato tells the paper. (American Banker)
Bloomberg Reelection Effort in Court: How does $110 million add up to a win at the polls for a controversial third term as mayor of New York City? The public is likely to learn more about how Mayor Michael Bloomerg spent that money in his 2009 race in a criminal hearing on September 12. The man on trial is GOP operative Kevin Haggerty, who prosecutors allege illegally pocketed more than $1 million of Bloomberg’s campaign funds, but the NY Post reports the mayor may also face questions on the witness stand. The mayor made a personal donation to the Independence Party for a poll-watching effort that Haggerty organized, and Haggerty allegedly used some of funds to buy a house in Queens, not to watch polls. (The Independence Party endorsed the mayor’s reelection bid.) A judge has already questioned why the party didn’t monitor the Bloomberg money more closely. “Something doesn’t smell right,” Justice Martin Shulman commented at a March hearing, reported The New York Times. (NY Post)
Race and Redistricting: In Georgia, the legislature is in the middle of “the penultimate day of the redistricting session,” writes Jim Galloway in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A key question, he says, involves districts shaped to concentrate the African American vote. The Voting Rights Act created these special majority-minority districts, but legislators are debating what happens when voters in these districts elect white Democrats? Should these reps get special consideration or not? (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)