Clips round up for 3/15/2012
Great statement from the AFL-CIO executive council yesterday on Citizens United, calling for a constitutional amendment, public financing, etc. "The AFL-CIO supports the overturning of the Citizens United decision and calls for immediate action to end the dominance of our political system by corporations and the 1%. "
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
Maine Sentinel: House kills Clean Elections matching funds
Without the re-qualifying option or other way to make up for it, the Maine House "voted Wednesday to eliminate public matching funds for Clean Election Act candidates who get outspent by privately funded opponents."
Roll Call: Ethics delays decisions
"The delay in the resolution of cases referred to the Ethics Committee by the Office of Congressional Ethics has government watchdog groups and legal experts questioning whether the process has been weakened; others posit that the panel could simply be overworked and unable to complete its review in the time allotted."
Bloomberg: Senate Republicans warn IRS against scrutiny of Tea Party
"Senate Republicans today expressed concern that the Internal Revenue Service was singling out Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny in deciding whether to grant them tax-exempt status." At WaPo.
Colorado Independent: Bennet joins group to address super PAC situation
"On the heels of a new poll that shows 70 percent of Americans think Super PACs should be outlawed, Colorado Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet has joined a task force to craft a new legislative response to blunt the impact from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision allowing corporations and anonymous special interests to spend unlimited sums to influence elections."
HuffPost: What Goldman's whistleblower teaches us about Washington
David Donnelly's response to the Goldman Sachs op-ed yesterday: "There are easy comparisons to make between Smith's piece about the internal culture at Goldman and our money-drenched political system."
Fox News: Donations to GOP presidential campaigns down despite talk of big political spending
On WaPo's story earlier in the week about the GOP primary spending. "Nick Nyhart, President of Public Campaign, believes the flood of big money from a small group of high-dollar donors can be a turn off to everyday people. 'It sends a bad message to ordinary voters. You begin to feel like politics is a playing field that only millionaires and billionaires are allowed on.'"
WFPL: Campaign finance group targets McConnell
On PCAF's criticism of McConnell: "A nonpartisan organization that favors public financing for U.S. elections is targeting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., accusing the lawmaker of being more concerned about keeping his seat than creating new jobs for Kentuckians."
WSJ: Obama's money and enthusiasm gap
Sort of LOLing at this Karl Rove concern trolling on Obama's fundraising
Politico: Dozens of Obama fundraisers attend state dinner
"In all, at least 50 bundlers -- people who have raised at least $50,000 for Obama 2012 -- were expected to attend the dinner honoring British Prime Minister David Cameron." We only know this, of course, because the President has released the names of his bundlers, something Romney, Santorum, etc., have not done. More at The Times.
WaPo: Pro-disclosure groups often don't disclose themselves
"In a bid to limit the impact of “secret money” in the 2012 elections, a coalition of liberal-leaning groups announced a campaign this week aimed at pressuring corporations to reveal donations to political groups." To be fair, of course, a lot of us do provide some sort of disclosure on our website, while groups like Crossroads GPS do everything they can to keep theirs secret.
Des Moines Register: Grassley: Drop individual campaign contribution limit
"U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley said today that the way to render so-called Super PACs obsolete is to do away with the limit on individual donations to campaigns."
HuffPost: The insufficient influence of the wealthy
David Donnelly writes about billionaire Ken Griffin's comment that the wealthy have "insufficient influence" in our politics. "And we won't solve our economic problems with more influence from people like him. We'll solve them with more influence from more everyday Americans, not fewer."
NYT: In New York, a pep talk to big donors
"While Mr. Santorum and Newt Gingrich hunted for votes in Puerto Rico and Illinois, Mr. Romney traveled to New York City to raise money and reassure top Republican donors — a constituency that favors his candidacy, and one perhaps most rattled by his inability to win the confidence of the party’s conservative base."
Roll Call: Lobbyists ask Obama for a hand
On the American League of Lobbyists calling on Obama to stop being so mean to them: "The American League of Lobbyists is sort of like the teen outcast who somehow comes up with the gumption to ask the most popular guy at school not only to stop making fun of her, but also for a date."
Chicago Tribune: Pro-Romney super PAC loads up on TV airtime in advance of Illinois primary
Mitt Romney and his super PAC have "poured in another $1.35 million into Chicago's TV ad market, sources familiar with the buy said Tuesday."
Huffington Post: Citizens United decision could lead to foreign interests influencing US elections
Sunlight Foundation's Lisa Rosenberg writes, "it should come as no surprise that the trigger for foreign contributions possibly finding an inroad into US elections is none other than the Citizens United decision."
The Nation: When a Congressman becomes a lobbyist, he gets a 1,452 percent raise (on average)
Republic Report's Lee Fang writes, "Our research effort uncovered the partial salaries of twelve lawmakers-turned-lobbyists. Republic Report’s investigation found that lawmakers increased their salary by 1452 percent on average from the last year they were in office to the latest publicly available disclosure"
PCAF: Kelly Ayotte's financial industry dinner
On Tuesday, Sen. Ayotte pledged to make sure the Bush tax cuts wouldn't expire at the end of the year. On Wednesday, she raised money with "financial services,"people that might very well benefit from those cuts.
TPM: LGBT advocates call on Romney to fire finance chair
"The Human Rights Campaign, one of the nation's largest LGBT rights groups and a backer of President Obama's reelection bid, is calling on Romney to fire Frank VanderSloot, Romney's national finance chair and a major donor to Romney's super-PAC." Vandersloot has a history of not being very nice to gay people, to put it mildly.
Mother Jones: The Home Depot man who wants to demolish Obama
A profile of Ken Langone, the wealthy Home Depot co-founder and his efforts to make sure Obama doesn't get re-elected.
Politico: Super PAC comes to Kaine's aid
If you can't beat 'em: "A day after George Allen rejected Tim Kaine's proposal to keep anonymous donors out of Virginia's Senate race, a group of Democratic consultants have formed a Super PAC to assist the former DNC chair."
NaJo: Jobs bill attracting attention from financial lobbyists
"Our colleague Stacy Kaper reports (for members) in today's NJ Daily on how financial-sector lobbyists are hustling to get certain provisions attached to the jobs bill."
Daily Haymaker: Congressman McHenry's GOP opponent levels crony capitalism charge
"Ken Fortenberry, Congressman Patrick McHenry’s GOP challenger in NC’s 10th district, is alleging that McHenry utilized his office and taxpayer funds to financially benefit himself and a business partner."
Politico: Appeals court won't delay Stevens report
"A 500-page report on alleged prosecutorial misconduct in the criminal case against the late Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) looks likely to be released Thursday, after a federal appeals court refused one prosecutor's request to block disclosure of the report."
CNN: Blagojevich to begin serving 14-year prison term
"Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is scheduled to arrive at a Colorado federal prison Thursday to begin serving a 14-year sentence on a corruption conviction."