Madeleine Scinto is finishing up her masters in online journalism this May as an Annenberg Fellow and Dean's Scholar. She enjoys working in all mediums including radio and video, and has a passion for politics. She has reported for Hayes FM radio 91.8 in London, The Hill newspaper in Washington D.C., and Annenberg Digital, Annenberg TV and Annenberg Radio News. During her time in Los Angeles, she's been published in the L.A. Times homicide blog and in LA Downtown News. Madeleine speaks Spanish fluently and has lived in Spain, Argentina and the Dominican Republican. Before jumping into the journalism world, Madeleine survived the whole no running water and no electricity gig in the Peace Corps. While in Washington, D.C. Madeleine also wrote for the Cato Institute media department. She majored in Government at Claremont McKenna College and Spanish at Pitzer College.
Although Israeli policy often clashes with the goals of its Arab neighbors, especially with those of the Palestinians, the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S. confronts almost no opposition.
"There's really no comparison to be made between the number of organizations that we would consider to lobby on the pro-Israel side versus those that would be pro-Palestinian or otherwise," said Dave Levinthal, spokesperson for the Center for Responsive Politics, a non-partisan research group that tracks money in American politics.
Since 1990 the Israel lobby has contributed $78 million to congressional incumbents and $94 million when including non-incumbents. The pro-Israel lobby ranks 40 in total campaign giving as compared to more than 80 other industries, reports the Center for Responsive Politics.
Most of the lobby's campaign contributions come from local political action committees and individuals who give to candidates favored by pro-Israel PACs.
How did he get that gig?
By Election Day in 2010, Yoder's fundraising total amounted to nearly $2 million, more than twice that of his opponent, Stephene Ann Moore. Moore's husband, Democrat Dennis Moore, had triggered the open seat race when he decided not to run for a seventh term.
Yoder won the seat, and while most representatives wait their turn for a spot on one of the most sought-after congressional committees, Yoder forged ahead by proving he knows how to get cash fast — particularly from big-bucks industries like pharmaceuticals and oil and gas.
Giving money to a campaign does not equal outright vote-buying, of course, but Yoder's agenda does appear to be closely in line with that of his biggest contributors.
In the face of severe state budget cuts, the California Teachers' Association has been cozying up to Gov. Jerry Brown to lobby for higher taxes and to help minimize the damage to public education.
The CTA gave Brown $49,300 in campaign contributions for his 2010 gubernatorial run.
Now both want to extend higher sales and income taxes and fee increases for five years to soften projected blows to the education budget. They hope to put their tax extension initiative before voters in a June special election.
But getting the extensions to pass will be an uphill battle, and if they fail, funding for the 2011-12 school year faces a $4.5 billion cut.