Clips Round-up for 4/23/12
Important curtain-raiser in the Times over the weekend on ALEC, featuring the awesome work of our friends down the hall, Common Cause: "But a review of internal ALEC documents shows that [creating model bills] is only one facet of a sophisticated operation for shaping public policy at a state-by-state level. The records offer a glimpse of how special interests effectively turn ALEC’s lawmaker members into stealth lobbyists, providing them with talking points, signaling how they should vote and collaborating on bills affecting hundreds of issues like school vouchers and tobacco taxes."
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
WaPo: How to beat Citizens United
Great EJ Dionne column today on the Fair Elections campaign in New York. "A nation looking for a way out from under the money regime created by Citizens United badly needs the example of politicians who believe in democracy enough to democratize the mother’s milk of politics."
NYT: Bartleby would understand
"Senators, file your fundraising reports electronically!" - New York Times editorial, basically.
Statesman Journal: Uphill effort to curb corporations
A talk with Move to Amend's David Cobb about their efforts to overturn Citizens United. A story from Florida on Rep. Ted Deutch's efforts.
Public Campaign: Think money is a peoblem? You ain't seen nothin' yet
PCAF's new research associate Kurt Walters makes his debut with this story on Thursday's Citizens United hearing in the House.
The Republican: Warren and Feingold unite to push campaign finance legislation
"And at a campaign event in Somerville, Mass. on Friday, Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Elizabeth Warren stood alongside former Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., in a call to pass the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections Act of 2012."
USA Today: Report show stealth donors dominate political giving
It was another FEC filing day on Friday. "Millions of dollars flowing to independent political groups dominating this year's presidential and congressional contests have come from mystery and hard-to-find donors, newly filed campaign reports show." Good stuff on the big players and the amoun of secret money. iWatch.
AP: Romney pulls in $12M as GOP super PAC amasses cash
"In its first publicly available financial report since the Super Tuesday primaries, Mitt Romney's presidential campaign said it raised $12.6 million in contributions last month, a figure that puts Romney at a disadvantage with the man whose job he wants come November."
Politico: Obama raised $46M in March
"President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in March raised $46.4 million and spent $37.7 million — not including money raised with the Democratic National Committee, new federal campaign finance filings indicate."
CRP: Obama bundlers pick up the super PAC slack
On Obama's bundlers: "There are now 534 of them, 90 more than three months ago. Together they've helped raise at least $106.4 million -- $32.2 million of it this quarter." WaPo, iWatch.
Additional stories on first quarter presidential and super PAC fundraising:
- PCAF: Lobbyists have bundled nearly $3 million for Romney campaign
- Sunlight Foundation: Super PACs first quarter haul: More than $100 million in political contributions
- Public Campaign: Big Oil's first quarter donations
- PCAF: Ken "insufficient influence" Griffin hands over more money
- NYT: Obama campaign faces dropoff in big donations
- iWatch: More than half Crossroads' cash comes from three Texas tycoons
- CRP: Unions finally make a showing on super PAC stage
- Politico: Shadow super PAC spent big in March
- USA Today: Pro-Romney super PAC to amend report
- LA Times: Obama has 10 times what Romney has in war chest
- Washington Examiner: Obama team breaks pledge, taps lobbyists for cash
- Washington Times: Romney lags in smaller campaign donations
- LA Times: Obama "super PAC" out-raises American Crossroads in March
- USA Today: Corporations give to pro-Romney super PAC
- Politico: Santorum fundraising tanked with campaign
- LA Times: William Koch gives another $1 million to pro-Romney super PAC
- Politico: Adelson tally to Gingrich: $20M
- Gannett: Wealthy New Yorkers funnel cash to presidential campaigns
- Politico: Paul raised $2.6M in March
- HuffPost: Mitt Romney super PAC raises $8.6 million from wealthy, corporations
WaPo: Outside group plans to focus on air war, ground game in 2012 election fight
Nice Washington Post story highlighting the difference between right and left outside spending. "With just more than six months to go before the November elections, two distinct strategies have emerged among political interest groups: an air war on the right and a ground game on the left." Labor and corp/millionaire spending ARE different.
NYT: Presidential v Political trips - A blurry line for Obama
"The trips yield a payoff not only in donations — collected at small-crowd, big-dollar events in the sumptuous homes of donors and at small-dollar, big-crowd rallies — but also in local headlines trumpeting Mr. Obama’s message of the day. Taken together, they raise the quadrennial question of how much of a president’s travel should be paid for by taxpayers and how much by his party."
Roll Call: U.S. Chamber continues to spend heavily on lobbying, filings show
"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the 100-year-old big business group, spent more than $20 million on lobbying in the first quarter of the year, nearly double what it spent in the corresponding period of 2011, according to just-filed reports with Congress."
Politico: Big lobbying spending dips
"Many of the nation’s most powerful political forces scaled back their lobbying expenditures early this year during a do-little congressional season, a POLITICO analysis of new federal disclosures indicates."
Politico: RNC at a Crossroads
"But it’s not just Crossroads’ money that poses a threat to the RNC. While the official GOP navigates bureaucracy and internal tensions, outside groups led by just a handful of seasoned operatives are quickly and quietly coordinating their strategies and ad buys in regular meetings held in Crossroads’ conference room."
Reuters: New curbs on voter registration could hurt Obama
New Voter ID laws working as planned: "New state laws designed to fight voter fraud could reduce the number of Americans signing up to vote in this year's presidential election by hundreds of thousands, a potential problem for President Barack Obama's re-election bid."
WSJ: Pushback for Romney fund
"Lawyers for investment companies have warned their clients that a donation to the Romney Victory fund could trigger SEC rules meant to bar investment advisers from influencing elections in states where they are trying to win business."
WaPo: McCaskill targets super PACs in reelection campaign
Claire McCaskill is a big target of outside money this cycle. "McCaskill’s response has been an unconventional and risky strategy: She’s targeting the super PACs right back."
NYT: Rep. Don Young misused campaign funds, ex-aide said
"Representative Don Young and his family routinely used campaign funds for personal expenses, like hunting trips, meals and charter flights to his home in Alaska, a former campaign aide to Mr. Young told federal criminal investigators."
The Hill: Obama campaign seeks to inspire action, dinations from green-focused voters
"President Obama is urging green-minded voters to work on behalf of his reelection with a video pitch that calls the next few months crucial to continued progress on environmental protection."
NYT: At Wal-Mart in Mexico, a bribe inquiry silenced
With debate in Congress over weakening the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Wal-Mart's big role in the DC influence game, this is an important story on bribes coming from its Mexico branch: "But The Times’s examination uncovered a prolonged struggle at the highest levels of Wal-Mart, a struggle that pitted the company’s much publicized commitment to the highest moral and ethical standards against its relentless pursuit of growth. "
Miami Herald: Unraveling Rep. David Rivera's maze of campaign finances
Nice long look at David Rivera's campaign finance problems. "State prosecutors did not charge Rep. David Rivera, but their 18-month probe revealed that the ex-state lawmaker practically lived off campaign contributions for nearly a decade."
The Week: 41 annoyingly ridiculous super PAC names
"Here are 41 other (very real) super PAC names that annoy, amuse, or just plain perplex."
WaPo: Turned off from politics? That's exactly what the politicians want
Steve Perlstein looks at why Americans hate politics. "This transformation has its roots in what has become the dominant reality of American politics: the arms race in campaign finance. Candidates and parties now raise and spend enormous sums, well beyond what would reasonably be needed to provide for a well-informed electorate and well beyond what is raised and spent in other advanced democracies."
News Journal: Super PACs corrupted GOP primaries
Former Sen. Ted Kaufman writes, "There are some new gangs in our political neighborhoods called 'Super PACS' and they distorted the outcome in a number of states during the Republican presidential nomination campaign."
WAFB: John Edwards campaign finance trial begins Monday
The Edwards trial begins.
LA Times: AT&T wields enormous power in Sacramento
Great LA Times story on AT&T's influence in California