PR Watch

The Billionaires Behind the Supreme Court Case Poised to Dismantle Public Sector Unions

The Roman god Janus was known for having two faces. It is a fitting name for the US Supreme Court case which heard oral arguments February 26, Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31, that could deal a devastating blow to public-sector unions and workers nationwide.

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GOP's Rigid Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Tilted the 2016 Election Enough for Trump to Win

A new study of registered voters in Dane and Milwaukee Counties who did not vote in the 2016 presidential election found that approximately 17,000-23,000 eligible voters in those counties were prevented or deterred from voting by Wisconsin’s voter ID law. Due to financial constraints, the social scientists were only able to do a study of two of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, but the authors say that extrapolating statewide as many as 45,000 people stayed home because of the law.

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It Looks Like the Kochs' Dream of a Right-Wing Constitutional Convention Has Been Roadblocked

This year's legislative season saw a strong push in the states from right-wing groups, bankrolled by the Koch brothers and other ultra-conservative billionaires, hoping to convene a national constitutional convention in order to inject rigid fiscal constraints into our country's founding document. Advocates of a federal "balanced budget amendment" (BBA) picked up two more states, Wyoming and Arizona, in their drive to win the 34 resolutions needed to bypass Congress and convene a convention to propose changes to the U.S. Constitution.

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ALEC 2016 Agenda Boosts Charters, Coal and Other Corporate Funders

The American Legislative Exchange Council will push bills to protect failing charter schools, silence political speech, and obstruct environmental protections in the ALEC 2016 agenda introduced at its annual meeting in Indianapolis this week.

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Kochs' 'Grassroots Leadership Academy' Is Training an Astroturf Army

With no clear favorite in the 2016 U.S. presidential primary race—following Gov. Scott Walker's early exit and Trump's march toward the nomination—the Koch brothers have turned their attention (and opened their wallets) to races for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House and state governorships.

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A Reality Check for 'Charter School Week'

One could be forgiven for thinking "National Charter School Week" already happened. The made-up "National School Choice Week" was just 14 weeks ago. It's an easy mistake to make.

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Big Business Charter School Chains Seek Millions in Taxpayer Dollars With No Accountability

Charter schools are big business, even when they are run by "non-profits" that pay no taxes on the revenue they receive from public taxes or other sources.

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Colorado's Not Quite Independent Oversight of Charter Schools

A new review of documents provided to the Center for Media and Democracy/PRWatch from the state of Colorado shows close relationships between the agency charged with administering public education and the growing charter school industry.

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Ted Cruz Surges Ahead in Wisconsin Primary, Reveals Secret Weapon

In the last Wisconsin poll before the election, reliable Marquette University pollster Charles Franklin found that Ted Cruz had surged ahead of Donald Trump 40-30 in the contest for the GOP primary. John Kasich, trailed at 21 percent.

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How a Democratic PAC Is Channeling Out-Of-State Dark Money to Enshrine Corporate Education Reform

March 21, 2016--At first glance, "Democrats for Education Reform" (DFER) may sound like a generic advocacy group, but a closer review of its financial filings and activities shows how it uses local branding to help throw the voice of huge Wall Street players and other corporate interests from out-of-state.

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Cashing in on Kids: Corporate Lobbying Powerhouse ALEC Pushed 172 School Privatization Bills Last Year

Despite widespread public opposition to the corporate-driven education privatization agenda, at least 172 measures reflecting American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model bills were introduced in 42 states in 2015, according to an analysis by the Center for Media and Democracy, publishers of ALECexposed.org and PRWatch.org. (A PDF version of this report may be downloaded here.)

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Exposing the Kochs' Real Motive to Reform the Criminal Justice System

Charles and David Koch have received positive press for backing a bipartisan effort to reform American criminal justice laws, which have helped make the U.S. the world's biggest jailer and whose burdens have fallen disproportionately on people of color.

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Climate Deniers' Paris Event Sparsely Attended, Journalists Kicked Out

Paris, FRANCE--A climate change denial event in Paris, organized jointly by two US groups, the coal-funded Heartland Institute and The Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), held to coincide with the UN climate COP21 talks, quietly flopped Monday when hardly anyone turned up to listen to what actual experts consider to be Heartland's counter-factual nonsense.

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Scott Walker, Back in Wisconsin After Quitting The 2016 Race, Targets His Critics With Revenge Legislation

Wisconsin Republicans are out for revenge following the bipartisan "John Doe" investigation into campaign finance violations by Governor Scott Walker that shadowed his failed presidential campaign. And the Kochs have their back.

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Web of Secrecy Surrounding Federal Half-a-Billion Handout to Charter Schools

The U.S. Department of Education is poised to spend half a billion dollars to help create new charter schools, while the public is being kept in the dark about which states have applied for the lucrative grants, and what their actual track records are when it comes to preventing fraud and misuse.

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Scott Walker's Message To Black Lives Matter Movement: Sit Down and Be Quiet

Scott Walker's solution for racial injustice? Ignore it.

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Scott Walker Wins Koch Summit Poll, Now Awaits $900 Million From Right-Wing Plutocrat Network

The Koch brothers and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) held their annual summits in California this year. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was a featured speaker at both, capturing enthusiastic applause as he won the Koch summit straw poll last night reports Politico.

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Right-Wing ALEC Now Says School Vouchers Are for Kids in Suburbia, Not the Poor

School vouchers were never about helping poor, at-risk or minority students. But selling them as social mobility tickets was a useful fiction that for some twenty-five years helped rightwing ideologues and corporate backers gain bipartisan support for an ideological scheme designed to privatize public schools.

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ALEC's Scary Corporate Agenda: 7 of Its Most Anti-Democratic and Science-Denying Ideas

Starting Wednesday this week, the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council, or "ALEC," will bring together hundreds of corporate lobbyists with state and local politicians at a posh hotel in San Diego for the group's annual meeting.

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Would Scott Walker Be a Puppet President Controlled by Arch Right-Wingers at ALEC?

When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker addresses the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in San Diego this July, it will be more than a political homecoming.

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This Is What a Terrorist Looks Like to Scott Walker

One of the most remarkable things about the 2011 Wisconsin uprising was how a protest so massive and so sustained managed to be entirely peaceful. Thousands of people occupied the capital building, around the clock, for two weeks straight, without incident. For months, as many as 100,000 people at a time marched around the statehouse, and exercised their right to free speech and assembly--without arrests or violence.

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Money Trail Revealed: Who Paid James O’Keefe For Hatchet Job on Wisc. GOP Senate President?

In 2014, as March drew to an end but the cold Wisconsin winter refused to let go, State Senate President Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) stopped at his favorite after-work hangout to relax after a long session in the Capitol. After a few drinks, Ellis was approached by what he thought were two young constituents and the veteran GOP lawmaker started holding forth, as he was wont to do.

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Why 'Selma' Resonates so Strongly Right Now in America

"Selma," the new biopic of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., offers a snapshot into the civil rights leader's time in Selma, Alabama, as he led a march through hostile territory to pressure President Lyndon B. Johnson into promoting the Voting Rights Act.

The film is centered on a few weeks in 1965, but it raises indisputable parallels between protests for voting rights in Selma and the recent wave of civil rights demonstrations following police killings of unarmed African-American men like Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York. Besides the similarities between civil rights movements confronting injustice in 1965 and 2015, there are clear parallels in tactics: the protests in both 1965 and 2015 used disruptive public demonstrations to promote necessary political change, and intentionally leveraged emerging media -- TV cameras in 1965, social media in 2014 -- to elevate civil rights issues to a broader audience. 

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Koch-Tied Group Tries to Trick Stoners Into Voting for Wisconsin Libertarian

The Koch-backed American Future Fund is running a series of web-only ads urging Wisconsin stoners not to vote for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke, but instead to support the Libertarian Party candidate, Robert Burke. 

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Google Condemns ALEC For Lying About Climate Change

Google chairman Eric Schmidt said Monday that the American Legislative Exchange Council is "literally lying" that climate change is not a reality, and that its membership in ALEC "was some sort of mistake."

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Paid Sick Day Campaigns Gaining Traction Across U.S. Despite Opposition From Fast Food Chains

On July 11, Elizabeth Taff was sick, vomiting—and preparing sandwiches at Subway.

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The Radical Past of Charles Koch -- a Former Die-Hard John Birch Society Member

Today, as announced on Amy Goodman's DemocracyNow!, the Progressive Inc. and the Center for Media and Democracy are publishing new information and analysis documenting that billionaire oil industrialist, Charles Koch, was an active member of the controversial right-wing John Birch Society during its active campaigns against the civil rights movement.

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Hawaii Is Ground Zero in the National Fight Between Huge Agribusiness Companies and a Public That Wants No Part of GMO

Hawai'i has become "ground zero" in the controversy over genetically modified (GMO) crops and pesticides. With the seed crop industry (including conventional as well as GMO crops) reaping $146.3 million a year in sales resulting from its activities in Hawai'i, the out-of-state pesticide and GMO firms SyngentaMonsantoDuPont PioneerDow ChemicalBASF, and Bayer CropScience have brought substantial sums of corporate cash into the state's relatively small political arena.

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Wall St. Journal Freaks Out as Scott Walker Seeks Legal Settlement Over Campaign Money Laundering

Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s re-election campaign is negotiating a legal settlement in a long-running criminal probe into campaign finance violations—and the Wall Street Journal editorial board, which for months has attacked prosecutors and called the investigation baseless, is livid.

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The Top Five Things You Need to Know About Email Scandal Enveloping Gov. Scott Walker

I spent the day reading Kelly Rindfleisch’s emails. They were released as part of the final court proceedings regarding the first John Doe, the closed-door, criminal investigation of Scott Walker's staff during his time as Milwaukee County Executive and running for governor in 2010.

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What a Victory: How a $40 Million Attack on the Middle Class Went Up in Smoke

It’s debt ceiling time, and the United States economy is once again on the brink, held hostage by extremists hell-bent on forcing cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

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