Clips Round-up for 3/22/12
Times-Union: Ah, reform, Mr. Cuomo?
The Albany Times-Union is waiting for Gov. Cuomo to come through on his reform promises. "With the failure of redistricting reform, overhauling those laws is essential if Mr. Cuomo's wants to keep his promise to fix state government."
HuffPost: Disclose Act's latest incarnation would force vote on secret political slush funds
DISCLOSE Act II introduced in the Senate: "Senate Democrats are setting up a showdown with Republicans on the issue of unlimited secret campaign donations, proposing new rules that would expose those donations to public view." More at The Hill, Roll Call, Politico, ThinkProgress.
Politico: Congress should not serve Wall Street
Chuck Grassley on the political intel provision dropped from STOCK Act: "While there is no official record of who these “political intelligence” gatherers are, we’re beginning to learn – by chance – how they buy and sell political intelligence at the expense of the average investor." Recently, Grassley said we should get rid of contribution limits--and let me tell you, talk about making Congress serve Wall Street.
NYT: New focus on publicizing information about political TV ads
On efforts to get broadcasters to put their political ad files online: "A band of major TV broadcasters is battling a government proposal to put the public files online."
USA Today: GOP candidates, allies raise millions in February
"Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul trails his rivals in the polls, but he has been one of the stronger fundraisers in the GOP field, collecting $34.4 million in this election cycle." And a fun graphic from them on super PAC donations.
Politico: Of super PACs and corruption
Rick Hasen writes, "Though I have no confidence that it will — the Supreme Court should reverse course from Citizens United. It should recognize real evidence showing that unlimited spending by these groups can undermine society’s interest in preventing corruption and the appearance of corruption. It is time to rein in the Super PACs and the their non-disclosing cousins, political 501c4s."
WSJ: Election's biggest billionaire donor
Do read this interview with billionaire Republican donor Harold Simmons.
The Hill: One hundred companies sign on to disclose political spending
"One hundred companies have signed on to a watchdog organizations’ effort to disclose political expenditures."
NYT: Pity the poor gun lobby
Gail Collins has finally written a column that is not about Seamus Romney: "People, do you think there is a loud public outcry for more guns on school buses? I truly believe that this is all the product of a desperate N.R.A., trying to show its base that there are still lots of new battles to be won."
US PIRG and Citizens for Tax Justice
Here's the full report from US PIRG and Citizens for Tax Justice on tax dodgers and their political spending.
Roll Call: Nonprofits dive into PAC world
"As politically active tax-exempt groups draw scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators, leaders in the sprawling nonprofit sector are torn between circling the wagons and joining in calls for reform."
NYT: Study shows House members profit
New report from CREW: "A nonprofit ethics group here spent the last nine months examining every member of the House — for campaign spending, budget earmarks, office accounts and lobbying by any relatives — and found that the families of more than half of all the House lawmakers have received payments or otherwise benefited financially from their affiliation with a lawmaker in the two previous election cycles."
ABC: Meet Annette Simmons; woman put $1 million toward Rick Santorum
After Annette Simmons made a $1M donation to Rick Santorum's super PAC, Santorum and his family flew to Texas to thank her...cause the campaign and super PAC are totally separate entities.
Bloomberg: Payday lender political donors hidden in corporate names
Jonathan Salant looks at the payday lenders that flooded Romney's super PAC in February--and the lengths they went to to hide who they were.
WSJ: NRCC cracks down on anti-incumbent super PAC
"The House Republicans’ campaign arm has begun playing hardball with political consulting companies working with an anti-incumbent super PAC, the Campaign for Primary Accountability."
Roll Call: Dollar fight is paper vs. metal
"With legislation to eliminate the dollar bill in favor of a dollar coin gaining traction in both chambers, the parochial tug of war between paper and copper has become an increasingly public battle."
Reuters: Romney's man in Congress seeks to rally support
"On Thursday, the soft-spoken [Sen. Roy] Blunt, 62, is gathering members who have endorsed Romney for a breakfast fundraiser, figuring the money will swell the candidate's campaign war chest and the financial commitment will bolster lawmakers' enthusiasm."
Republic Report: Banking Committee Policy Advisor Scott Eckel: “I will begin work in my new role as Vice President, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, at Charles Schwab & Co"
Check out this email Matt Stoller at Republic Report got.
WaPo: Lobbying association responds to criticism by calling for more regulation, education
"The main professional association for paid influencers, the American League of Lobbyists, is expected to call for tough new rules that would require more people to register as lobbyists with the House and Senate."
Student-drive PAC aims to blunt GOP in South
"At a party last month, a group in their 20s, many of them enrolled in the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of Arkansas, unveiled a new state and federal PAC. Called Naturally Blue, its aim is to maintain the tenuous majority of Democrats in the Arkansas legislature to promote an agenda of economic populism and to take the fight to the rest of Dixie."
NBC: Santorum gave paid speeches during presidential campaign
"On Sept. 29 and 30, while he was mired in single digits in the polls and no one was giving him a chance to win the nomination, Santorum went and made $18,200 in two speeches, according to an amendment to his personal financial disclosure released today."
CBS: New liberal super PAC focuses on growing minority influence
"A new liberal super PAC is seeking to harness the growing wealth and political clout of minorities to advance its politics." More at LA Times.
San Antonio Express-News: Shine a light on political bundlers
Good editorial on the need for bundler disclosure. Odd that it makes no mention that President Obama has actually released his bundler list in 2012.
Politico: Dick Lugar to repay home state hotel expenses
"Indiana Sen. Dick Lugar’s residency problems just grew more uncomfortable: He’s reimbursing the Treasury for erroneously billing taxpayers for a series of hotel stays in Indianapolis in recent years."
Common Cause: Common Cause files IRS complaitn against Liberty Central
"Extensive political activity in the 2010 elections by a nonprofit group founded and formerly run by lobbyist and Tea Party activist Virginia 'Ginni' Thomas appears to have violated federal tax laws, Common Cause said today."
Politico: Rick Santorum campaign a boon to sweater vest maker
"Rick Santorum’s campaign has been a boon for the sweater vest industry. The presidential hopeful’s campaign spent nearly $100,000 in February to buy sweater vests from Bemidji Woolen Mills in Bemidji, Minn., according to campaign finance reports released Tuesday."
TPM: ALEC, NRA Pushed ‘Stand Your Ground’ Legislation At Center Of Trayvon Martin Killing
"Florida was the first state in the country to pass such a bill, but they weren’t the last. And like many legislative trends, this one has its roots in the conservative American Legislative Exchange Counsel (ALEC)."
Connecticut Mirror: Connecticut leading the way on voting rights
From Myrna Perez and Nicolas Riley at Brennan Center: "Fortunately, however, even as some states continue their push for regressive voting laws, Connecticut lawmakers are working to advance a more progressive voting rights agenda."