Clips Round-up for 5/1/12
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker raised an eye-popping $13 million in the first few months of 2012 (due to a quirk in the law, he can raise money free of contribution limits): "Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's fan list reads like a who's who of some of the richest people in America — financial gurus, a Las Vegas casino president, even an NBA team owner."
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
HuffPost: FCC brings sunlight to elections, but the SEC needs to help, too
Ciara Torres-Spelliscy writes that the FCC decision on ad files is important but "To fill in the gaps that remain, other federal agencies need to step up to improve disclosure about who is spending in American elections. There is a petition pending before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by 10 prominent law professors asking for a new disclosure rule for publicly traded companies that spend money on elections."
WaPo: The GOP's crackdown against those who would vote
Great Eugene Robinson column: "In the name of safeguarding the sanctity of the ballot, Republicans are trying to exclude citizens they consider likely to vote for Democrats — the young, the poor, the black and brown. Those who love democracy cannot allow this foul subterfuge to succeed."
NYT: Ties to Romney '08 helped fuel equity firm
Must-read from Michael Luo: "About a month after Mitt Romney ended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination in February 2008, his eldest son, Tagg, and Spencer Zwick, the campaign’s top fund-raiser, met with a beef company executive who had been a major campaign donor over dinner at the posh Torrey Pines resort in San Diego."
NYT: What a dearth of small donations may mean for Romney
Yup: "For the Romney campaign, however, a paucity of small-dollar donations is inauspicious not because it means that it will have trouble raising enough money. ... Rather, a lack of small-dollar donors could indicate tepid support for Mr. Romney among the Republican base."
The Hill: Ethics charges against Rep. Bachus dropped
"House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) announced Monday that ethics claims against him had been unanimously dismissed by the Office of Congressional Ethics." Roll Call, WaPo, HuffPost.
Roll Call: Groups file FEC complaint against Aaron Schock
Yeah, I thought this looked fishy: "Two nonprofit groups have asked the Federal Election Commission to investigate whether Rep. Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) violated campaign finance law by soliciting House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to make a large contribution to a super PAC." Politico.
HuffPost: Friends of Democracy, PAC-super PAC hybrid, launched to go after other super PACs
"Hoping to put a harsh spotlight on the coercive effect super PACs are having on the political process, a prominent progressive activist and a long-time good government watchdog are joining forces to start one of their own."
Politico: Top '08 GOP donor areas shut wallets
"Some of the most affluent communities across the country aren’t donating as generously to Republican presidential candidates as they did four years ago, a function of the recession — which struck between election cycles — and a primary schedule that pushed back the dates of several key donor states."
The Hill: GOP money floods battlegrounds, threatens Dems' hold on Senate
"Third-party groups allied with the Republican Party have vastly outspent Democratic incumbents and their backers in Senate battlegrounds. The disparity in advertising firepower threatens Democratic control of the Senate and could have an impact on the presidential race as well."
The Hill: For Sen. Lugar, GOP primary defeat could be ticket to K Street career
"Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) is expected to lose his bid for another term in Congress next Tuesday, raising speculation that he might head to K Street to cap off his long career in politics."
Daily Herald: Chicago billionaires back candidates to the tune of $2.1 million
"Eleven of the Chicago area’s billionaires are showing major muscle in the 2012 election — with a collective $2.1 million in campaign donations in the past six months alone, an audit of campaign finance filings shows."
PCAF blog: Tea Party congressmen accept cash from bailed-out bankers
We look at yesterday's Bloomberg story on the Wall Street cash of Tea Party members.
Post-Dispatch: Sarah Steelman's new fundraising tool could "PAC" a punch
"Karl Rove's Super PAC may not be the only one chasing U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. While groups like American Crossroads have collected millions from donors around the U.S. to unseat the Missouri Democrat, one of McCaskill's potential November rivals could benefit from her own home-grown Super PAC."
NYT: Wal-Mart's good citizen efforts face a test
Interesting Wal-Mart story on how it sells itself: "The country’s biggest retailer has adroitly used millions of dollars in campaign contributions, charity drives, lobbying campaigns, and its work for popular causes like childhood nutrition and carbon emissions to build support in Congress and the White House."
LA Times: Sherman questions super PAC cable buy for Berman
The Sherman campaign is calling foul on the Berman super PAC: "The Sherman campaign announced details of the purchase and raised several questions, including why the Super PAC had not listed other campaign expenditures in its report to federal election officials and suggested that it was trying to hide the source of its contributors by waiting until the latest filing period ended, on March 31, to make the cable TV ad buys."
Sunlight Foundation: Fact checking group accuses Romney super PAC of spending $20 million on deceptive ads
"Restore Our Future, the super PAC backing presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, spent more than $20 million on deceptive ads in early primary and caucus states, according to a just-released study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center."
Portland Press Herald: Clean Election "fix" will bring more mysterious money to Maine
On Clean Elections in Maine: "The GOP vote to gut Clean Elections essentially put up a welcome sign for Washington-style super political action committees, or SuperPACs."
WBFO: Advocacy groups tie fracking to campaign cash
"About a dozen representatives of Citizen Action, The Sierra Club, and several other public advocacy groups gathered in front of the Mahoney State Office Building in downtown Buffalo Monday to reiterate their strong opposition to hydrofracking in New York." Buffalo News.
Jackson Sun: Campaign finance bill advances in state House
In Tennessee: "A proposal that seeks to lift a cap on contributions from political action committees is advancing once again in the state Legislature."