Earmarks to campaign contributors: Just a symptom of the larger problem of influence-peddling in Washington

Special interests contribute enormous amounts of money to congressional campaigns — this is common knowledge to any political observer. Less talked about is that large donations make up the large majority of campaign contributions: In 2008, less than 0.5 percent of the U.S. population made contributions of $200 or more, but these large donations made up 82 percent of total funds.

Less talked about still is the ease with which large contributors secure preferential treatment for special interests: bailouts, government contracts, tax breaks and earmarks — all at the expense of American taxpayers.


The League of Women Voters on the DISCLOSE Act

In its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court opened the floodgates for big-money special interests in our elections. Corporations and unions can now make unlimited secret expenditures seeking to elect or defeat candidates.


Individual rights

Kundera writes of a balcony scene in the winter snow of 1948 Prague. Clementis offers his fur cap to the new leader Gottwald. Later Clementis is purged by the Communists and airbrushed from all the photos. All that remains of Clementis is the fur cap on the Gottwald’s head.

In the end, all that remains of any of us is our reputation. Mine has been sullied over the past week by lies and innuendo.

I’ve spent the past 14 months traveling around the Commonwealth, giving over 400 speeches, and talking to thousands of Kentuckians.


Looking ahead at the issues: immigration

On June 8th, Nevada Republicans will nominate the candidate they want to see take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this November. Senator Harry Reid has already said that he supports some form of a "path to citizenship" for illegal immigrants in any legislation he brings to the Senate floor. This is amnesty - and it runs contrary to America's roots as a nation of laws.


Real help for Nevada

Nevada is suffering from an unemployment rate of just under 14%.  In Las Vegas, where the majority of Nevadans live and work , the housing price index is a minus 17.5% over just the past year.  Unfortunately, the policies backed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Obama administration have done nothing to put Nevada back on the road to recovery and instead are hampering efforts to create private sector jobs.  The artificial boost given to job numbers by hiring temporary census workers isn’t going to change that.

Nevadans today see a federal government bent on ramming through programs that are ideologically driven and ignore their real-life economic consequences.  The health care bill Reid got through the Senate only through parliamentary maneuvering is a good example.  Our business owners face the


An opportunity for change in Nevada

Under the failed leadership of Harry Reid, our government has spiraled out of control.  The United States has racked up a national debt of nearly $14 trillion and our budget deficit is four times higher this year than it was just a year ago.  Government is growing, taxes are increasing, and personal freedoms are diminishing.  Change in Washington is long overdue.

In order to reverse this trend, we must put an immediate stop to out of control government spending.  It is a travesty that our own government is severely encumbering this and future generations of Americans with trillions of dollars of debt while offering no solution to pay it off.  Harry


Sen. DeMint less than a shoo-in for reelection

Despite South Carolina’s national image as among the reddest of the red states, Senator Jim DeMint is less than a shoo-in for reelection.  Three recent polls show him approval rating in the 48-52 range, barely ahead of President Obama in the state, with voters indicating significant concern about DeMint’s seemingly greater interest in stimulating a national ultra-conservative movement than in South Carolina issues and interests.


An idea-based conservative future

America’s proud legacy of limited government, free enterprise and personal responsibility is under assault in Washington in the form of Obamacare, the so-called stimulus and cap and trade. Washington is broken, and there’s a fundamental question voters must ask themselves this election year: Who do you trust to fix it?

With the right leaders, the right agenda and the right movement of people and ideas, we can reverse this trend. America can remain exceptional, but it’s going to require bold and decisive action in the very near future. It’s going to require leaders who are willing to not only stand up to the Obama agenda, but offer clear alternatives as well.

Saying no to bad ideas is very important in the Obama Era, but so is laying out an alternative conservative vision. We did just that in Florida. As I prepared to become Speaker of the House, we created a book called 100 Ideas for Florida’s Future. It was a book of ideas and proposals collected over many months from all across the state. Many of them came from political leaders, academics and researchers. But some of the best ideas came from everyday working Floridians who simply wanted to promote limited government, maintain our freedom and keep Florida great. We took the 100 best ideas on issues like tax reform, education and insurance reform and put them in a book which became the foundation of my agenda as speaker.


The Big Question: What deals should Obama get from Mexico?

Some of the nation's top political commentators, legislators and intellectuals offer their insight into the biggest news of the day. ...

Today's question:

What agreement should come out of President Barack Obama's meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon?


Prescription drug disposal programs can deter drug abuse, protect our environment

Bruce T. Roberts is the executive vice president and CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association in Alexandria, Va.

Prescription medications, when utilized properly, can indeed be “miracle drugs,” but what’s a patient to do when these pills expire or go unused?  Experience has shown that improper drug disposal can harm the environment and contribute to drug abuse and accidental ingestions.

During the recent 40th anniversary of Earth Week, more than 800 community pharmacies across the country launched a “Dispose My Meds” campaign, coordinated by the National Community Pharmacists Association. At, patients can learn about the negative impact of improper medication disposal and find a participating pharmacy. In the Washington, DC area, disposal options include the Neighborhood Pharmacy of Alexandria, Leesburg Pharmacy in Leesburg and a number of pharmacies in the Baltimore area.

The need to properly dispose of unused prescription medication is evident. More than 2.1 million children ages 12 to 17 reported abusing prescription drugs in 2008. That’s second only to marijuana use, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The same survey found the majority of teens obtain these prescription medications through family or friends.