Archive - May 6, 2010

The British Parliamentary Elections and Connecticut’s Response to Citizen’s United

It is election day in the U.K. As I started looking around to see if there are any election results coming in, I found the BBC’s page of Frequent Asked Questions about the British General Election


No, there are strict limits on what is spent once nominations close on 19 April. Each candidate has to account for their election expenses after the poll. Candidates in rural (county council) areas can spend up to £7,150 plus 7p per elector. Those standing in urban (borough council) areas can spend £7,150 plus 5p per voter.

So, I was curious, how does that translate into U.S. Dollars? Here in the United States, an average congressional district had 646,946 people as of the 2000 census. Now, the number of people per district is actually more than the number of electors per district, so this will overstate the amount of money allowed, but if every person was an elector, at the current exchange rate, that would allow a U.S. Congressional candidate to spend about $79,000 for a general election.

Yet there is other money that can be spent. Political parties can spend about $45,000 per district, and third parties can spend up to about $22,000 in independent expenditures.

Of course, this is coming from the country that gave us George Orwell. Here in our country, we’ve taken Orwellian language to determine that money is speech and that corporations are persons, so we’ve got a completely different kettle of fish.

This leads us to Citizen’s United. For my British readers, Citizen’s United is not an amateur football team. It is the name of the Supreme Court decision that the United States would accept the Orwellian definition of corporations as persons.

Here in the states, people have been trying to come up with a response to this bastardization of the language. The Connecticut General Assembly just passed House Bill 5471, “AN ACT CONCERNING INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES”. It would “provide that independent expenditures made by an entity are properly disclosed and ensure that such expenditures are properly attributed to the entity making the expenditure.”

In other words, if Goldman Sachs, Massey Energy, or British Petroleum want to spend money on campaigns in Connecticut, they will need to have the CEO’s approval. Of course, an advertisement with Lloyd Blankfein, Don Blankenship or Tony Hayward appearing to state that they approve the advertisements might be more valuable to the opposition.

So, as I wait for the returns, it is interesting the think about the differences not only in language but also in politics from our friends in the British Isles.

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Orient Lodge Music Review and Sonicbids

Orient Lodge has entered into an agreement with Sonicbids to use Sonicbids’ platform for handling electronic press kits for review. Musicians wishing to present their music to Orient Lodge are urged to use the Orient Lodge Music Review Page on Sonicbids.

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