The Process is Political: Transparency and Obama Supporters' Lobbying Ties

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Obama "Transparent" About Bundlers: After the New York Times reported last week that donors with clear ties to lobbying are among President Obama campaign donation bundlers — in violation of the spirit of the president's pledge not to take money from lobbyists — Obama campaign strategist argued that its Obama's unique transparency that allows for the criticism to begin with.

The bundlers cited by the Times are not registered lobbyists, but have close ties to major lobbying powerhouses. Axelrod countered that Republican candidates have not put limits on donations from lobbyists. ""There are people who are promising to spend you know hundreds of millions of dollars against us who don't have to disclose anything," Axelrod told CNN on Sunday. "So we have to be prepared to ward that off."

None of the Republican candidates have voluntarily released the names of their bundlers, but the Wall Street Journal pointed out over the weekend that while Romney leads Perry over former Bush contributors, about 400 out of 550 big bundlers for Bush in 2004 have yet to make a donation to anyone this year. (CNN)

Texas Redistricting in Court: Federal judges in both Washington and Texas are set to hear challenges to new Congressional and legislative district maps in Texas, with a hearing set in San Antonio today. The lawsuits allege that the redrawn lines will dilute the power of minority voters. The federal Department of Justice already concluded in September that as is, the maps appear to have been “adopted, at least in part, for the purpose of diminishing the ability of citizens of the United States, on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group, to elect their preferred candidates of choice to Congress.” 

The court challenges could have major implications for the 2012 election, but in the meantime, political strategists are moving forward with the new maps. "Until we're officially told otherwise, those are the maps that we're using," a Democratic Party spokeswoman told the Austin Star-Telegram. The Texas Tribune has a handy guide to those new maps here. 

Tennessee Rushes to Photo ID Voters: Tennessee is among the five states that passed a new law this year to require photo IDs to vote, starting in 2012. Now, the state is trying to equip the 47,000 registered voters in the state who don't have a driver's license and the 126,000 voters over age 60 who have legal driver's licenses without photos. The state is sending out letters to those voters, and driver-testing centers are staying open on Saturdays through at least March, when the presidential primary is held, to serve those voters needing new IDs.

Voters can cast ballots without an ID if they vote absentee or if they sign an affidavit on Election Day that they can't afford to pay the feels to get a driver's license. Or, if a voter simply comes to the polls without their ID in hand, they must cast a provisional ballot, and have two business days to present ID at a state Election Commission office. In Mississippi next week, voters will consider a ballot measure to require photo ID there. (Daily News Journal)