Clips Round-Up for 5/4/12
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
NYT: Mitch McConnell praises Citizens United
Nice: "But Mr. McConnell has outdone himself with a legal brief submitted recently to the Supreme Court that’s blind to how unlimited contributions damage the political system." Also, every time McConnell talks about campaign finance, I am morally required to link to this transcript of John Bonifaz's deposition of McConnell a while back.
Helena Independent Record: Schweitzer signs initiative opposing corporate donations
Keep an eye on this: "Gov. Brian Schweitzer signed an initiative Thursday that supporters hope will boost a national effort to overturn the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed corporations to give unlimited money in political campaigns." Related story in Pittsburgh.
Bloomberg: The FEC: A toothless watchdog for a $6 billion election
Truth: "The FEC, which enforces the nation’s campaign finance laws, has one of the most important jobs in the federal government. This year the watchdog will oversee an election season in which political parties and a collection of outside groups are expected to lay out $6 billion. Yet, the lack of fresh blood on the commission has rendered it nearly powerless."
AP: Battle begins between Obama, Republican super PACs
"Independent groups favoring Mitt Romney already are launching TV advertisements in competitive states for the November general election, providing political cover against President Barack Obama's well-financed campaign while the Republican candidate works to rebound from a bruising and expensive nomination fight."
PCAF blog: President Obama breaks fundraising record
President Obama breaks the record for number of fundraisers attended in a cycle!
NYT: Tired of "tainted" image, lobbyists try makeover
"But in a series of steps including pro bono work, ethics training and tightened disclosure requirements, some of Washington’s leading lobbyists are mounting a concerted push to earn, if not respectability, then at least something less than public disdain."
NYT: Plutocracy, paralysis, perplexity
Paul Krugman on income inequality: "Specifically, money buys power, and the increasing wealth of a tiny minority has effectively bought the allegiance of one of our two major political parties, in the process destroying any prospect for cooperation."
Influence Alley: Business groups challenging student loan pay-for
"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups on Thursday sent a letter to Senate leadership to oppose paying for a freeze on student-loan interest rates by raising taxes on a large group of companies known as S Corporations." Will the Senators the Chamber has supported with outside spending listen? You decide!
HuffPost: 5 Reasons Mitt Romney would be first corporation to be elected president
Heh, United Republic's David Halperin: "If Romney wins in November, it will be the first time our country has elected a corporation to be president of the United States."
iWatch News: New questions raised over Aaron Schock's fundraising efforts
Nice catch by Michael Beckel--the $25,000 Schock requested from Eric Cantor wasn't the only donation. "Instead, the $25,000 from Cantor — which came via his own leadership PAC — appears to have been matched by $25,000 from the 18th District Republican Central Committee, the local political party committee in Schock’s home district, which reported the expense as 'committee advertising.'"
WSJ: Romney camp touts $2.3 million haul
"Mitt Romney’s supporters were unusually eager Thursday to boast that they raised more than $2.3 million Wednesday night at a fundraiser in Arlington, Va., just outside of Washington, D.C."
NPR: Do campaign ads seem more negative this year? It's not just you
"A new analysis of TV ads finds that 70 percent of the messages were negative — a trend spearheaded by the heavily financed superPACs supporting the candidates. At this point in the 2008 election, 91 percent of TV ads were positive." ThinkProgress, iWatch, Sunlight.
Cincinatti Enquirer: Portman no rooke when it comes to raising funds
"Sen. Rob Portman is not up for re-election until 2016. But the Ohio Republican is raising big bucks this election cycle anyway – including a haul of more than $1 million through one of his political committees that puts him well ahead of most of the GOP leaders in the Senate."
Politico: Nevada Democrats file FEC complaint on Tarkanian
"The Nevada Democratic Party filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday against [Congressional Candidate] Danny Tarkanian, alleging 'numerous irregularities'"
Cincinatti Enquirer: Another super PAC backs Massie
Like a Prada bag, super PACs increasingly becoming the must-have accessory this spring: "Another super political action committee will support Thomas Massie’s campaign for the Fourth Congressional District."
AP: Former ND Congress candidate to set up super PAC
"A former Republican congressional candidate is using leftover campaign money to establish North Dakota's first super PAC, a new avenue for political money and influence that is already playing a role in the state's U.S. Senate race."
Sunlight: Kentucky Derby: Owners put money on politicians, not ponies
"The real money in the Kentucky Derby isn't in the purse or the pari-mutuel, but in the politics."
The Hill: Republican lobbyist to lead atheist group
"Edwina Rogers will head up the the Secular Coalition for America. Rogers, a longtime Republican lobbyist who has worked in the George W. Bush White House and for GOP senators, will start as the atheist lobby group's executive director on May 3."
Chicago Tribune: Pro-reform Cuomo rakes in big bucks at event here
"About 100 people packed the Crystal Room of the newly renovated Hotel Lafayette in downtown Buffalo on Wednesday evening for a Cuomo 2014 fundraiser that raked in at least $450,000, according to sources familiar with the event. That ranks as one of the most successful political events in Western New York history, and is thought to be the most ever earned locally for a gubernatorial campaign."
Trenton Times: Watchdog group wants Attorney General to investigate ALEC's activities in NJ
"Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa should investigate the American Legislative Exchange Council’s activities in New Jersey, according to a Washington-based group that advocates for government ethics and transparency."
NYT: New bribery charges filed against ex-Senate leader
"Joseph L. Bruno, a former majority leader of the State Senate, was charged on Thursday with taking bribes and kickbacks in a fraud scheme during his long tenure in office, setting up another battle with federal prosecutors who won a conviction against him in 2009. "
Dane101: Democrats attack Walker over legality of criminal defense fund
"Gov. Scott Walker’s assertion that he is not the target of an ongoing John Doe investigation in Milwaukee County means that his criminal defense fund is illegal, the Wisconsin Democratic Party says."