Clips Round-up 6/18/12
Must-read from the Washington Post's Dan Eggen writes on Watergate's anniversary, "Four decades later, there’s little need for furtive fundraising or secret handoffs of cash. Many of the corporate executives convicted of campaign-finance crimes during Watergate could now simply write a check to their favorite super PAC or, if they want to keep it secret, to a compliant nonprofit group." Los Angeles Times.
And related: Sen. Mitch McConnell referred to efforts to increase transparency in the political process as "Nixonian" on Friday. PCAF's David Donnelly responded: “To equate President Obama’s or any politicians’ support for disclosure of million-dollar campaign contributions with creating an enemies list is about as out of touch with today’s reality as you can get. Senator McConnell should crack open a history book and understand that he is advocating a return to something that's actually Nixonian--the days of brown paper bags stuffed with campaign cash from illegal sources." David also wrote something on the PCAF blog about McConnell's Virgin Islands vacations.
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
Public Campaign: Connecticut governor vetoes important transparency legislation
Unfortunately, Gov. Malloy vetoed the disclosure bill on Friday. Public Campaign's Nick Nyhart: "Malloy had a chance to be a national leader on reform, but opted to side with wealthy special interests and secret money.”
Huffington Post: Mitch McConnell blames Bush for campaign finance reform law
More on McConnell's AEI speech on Friday. "Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday that President George W. Bush 'made a mistake' when he signed campaign finance reform into law in 2002, a moment that he described as 'a low point.'" And he's worried his Republican colleagues will give in on disclosure.
CNN: McCain on campaign finance: "The system is broken"
McCain had lots to say about campaign finance yesterday on Meet the Press. "I think there will be scandals associated with the worst decision of the United States Supreme Court in the 21st century."
TPM: Sheldon Whitehouse: Don't expect outbreak of bipartisanship on Citizens United
Whitehouse on DISCLOSE, etc: "I think that going in there’s very little prospect of bipartisanship. John McCain has made some friendly noises in this discussion. No other Republican has found a kind word to say about requiring disclosure by these big contributors."
NPR: "Citizens United" gets renewed scrutiny
"As early as Monday, the Supreme Court could decide to revisit its landmark Citizens United ruling of two and a half years ago."
Politico: White House answers FEC petition
The White House responded at 5:15 on Friday to a petition reform groups worked on at WhiteHouse.Gov: "The White House is 'committed to nominating highly qualified individuals' to lead the maligned Federal Election Commission because 'the agency … deserves no less,' it said late Friday in response to a petition from campaign finance reform advocates." The Hill.
Roll Call: Texts could draw small donations
Eliza Carney writes about text contributions. Public Campaign's Aaron Scherb: "We think this will amplify the voices of everyday Americans." National Journal.
Huffington Post: Sheldon Adelson to lavish $71 million in casino money on GOP super PACs, nonprofits
USAdelson continues: "Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, whose net worth makes him one of the world's richest men, is on a check-writing spree that will soon bring his total political contributions in this election cycle to at least $71 million, according to sources familiar with his spending. That money is spread across the spectrum of GOP super PACs, which are required to disclose donors, and nonprofits, which are not." The Obama campaign is, unsurprisingly, raising money off it. NYT.
NBC New York: Obamas raise $2M in star-studded NYC fundraiser
"President Barack Obama soaked in the support --- and the campaign cash -- of Manhattan's elite entertainers Thursday as his re-election team sought to fill its fundraising coffers."
WaPo: A GOP bait-and-switch on disclosure
Fred Hiatt gets this one right on why Republicans like Mitch McConnell have changed their minds on disclosure: "Sadly, only one thing, and it’s not the merits of the argument. The playing field has tilted toward Republicans, and they’re in no hurry to tilt it back. "
Politico: Josh Mandel kept afloat by outside cash
Outside money is keeping some Republican Senate candidates afloat, including the troubled campaign of Ohio's Josh Mandel: "Behold the post-Citizens United era of unlimited outside spending, where even a blunder-prone candidate can stay in the game if there’s sustained firepower trained against his opponent."
PCAF: Josh Mandel returns to DC for a series of lobbyist fundraisers
But, Mandel is getting direct help from DC too--he's returning today for a series of fundraisers.
The Cable: Adelson funding Romney super PAC with "foreign money"
Ouch: "Senator and Romney presidential campaign surrogate John McCain (R-AZ) said Thursday that casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is indirectly injecting millions of dollars in Chinese 'foreign money' into Mitt Romney's presidential election effort."
BuzzFeed: Friess says he'll donate to Romney super PAC "undercover"
"Foster Friess, the Wyoming businessman who backed Rick Santorum during the Republican primaries, told BuzzFeed on Friday that he plans to give to the Romney superPAC through 501(c)4 organizations, and not directly."
PCAF: House GOP leadership to push giveaway for dirty energy donors
The House will push a package of dirty energy bills this week, pleasing some of their biggest campaign donors.
Bloomberg: Chamber Democratic attack ads outpacing political parties
"The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s advertising is outpacing both political parties in close Senate races, adding volume to attack ads -- some of which have been questioned by fact-checkers -- being aired against Democrats."
WaPo: The super PAC election? Not quite.
Super PACs and outside groups have to spend more money for ads than candidates and candidates can't appear in them, so "That said, having a well-funded super PAC eye you for defeat is a problem that nobody wants — and it’s a problem that didn’t exist four years ago — so the GOP’s super PAC advantage still looms very large over the 2012 election. Just maybe not quite as large as the dollar amounts suggest."
Roll Call: New York: Michael Grimm racks up huge legal bills
"Rep. Michael Grimm (R), who the FBI is reportedly looking into investigating, racked up more than $321,000 in legal fees from April 1 to June 6, according to a Federal Election Commission report filed late Thursday."
AP: Citizens United divide highlights Montana senatorial debate
"Stark disagreement over the Citizens United campaign finance ruling highlighted Montana's first U.S. Senate debate Saturday, as Republican challenger Denny Rehberg defended the Supreme Court decision as vital to free speech. Incumbent Democrat Jon Tester responded that the widely criticized ruling puts democracy at risk by giving corporations more power than people."
Moyers & Company: Dark money in politics
The show shines "light on the gobs of money corrupting elections and democracy."
Charleston Gazette: Swint says he'll accept no PAC money in Congress race
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito's (R-WV) Democratic opponent Howard Swint says he won't take PAC money for the race. Swint: "There's only one special-interest group that I will represent. That is the Second Congressional constituency and our children and grandchildren"
Roll Call: Haley Barbour criticizes campaign finance law
Haley Barbour is back at his old lobbying firm, fundraising for American Crossroads, and thinks we just need to get rid of contribution limits to candidates.
Roll Call: Some least wealthy members move up
"Some Members of Congress who landed in Roll Call’s 'Have-Not Caucus' last year appear to have improved their lot since, chipping away at the personal loans, credit card balances and other liabilities that placed them on the poorest list during 2010."
PCAF Tumblr: That's birth certificate fraud!
Great Tom Toles cartoon on "voter fraud."
Tampa Bay Times: Sheldon Adelson pumps $250k into Rick Scott's re-election bid
"Sheldon Adelson, the gambling magnate who pretty much kept Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign in business, wrote a $250,000 check to Gov. Rick Scott's "Let's Get to Work" political action committee last week, records show."
Public Campaign: Maryland Commission hears Public Campaign testimony on public financing
Public Campaign's Aaron Scherb testified in Maryland recently on public financing.