Clips Round-up for 7/27/12
We released a report yesterday in Missouri on the payday lending industry and the big bucks they spend to shape legislation in the state. Nick Nyhart: "Just as payday lenders trap working class Missourians in a cycle of debt, these same lenders trap lawmakers in a cycle of influence—getting campaign cash to get elected and then getting rewarded for a job well done. It’s another example of how our political system is increasingly tilted toward the wealthy at the expense of everyday people."
The report comes as groups on the ground are working on a ballot initiative that would cap interest rates for these loans at 36%--something the industry opposes. In fact, the industry front group dropped $200,000 into the campaign yesterday. Coverage in the Kansas City Star.
Public Citizen: "Public Citizen today released an updated version of its White House for Sale website, which has kept track of the presidential candidates’ 'bundlers' since 2004. Bundlers are major fundraisers whose efforts are monitored and credited by the campaigns to which they funnel contributions."
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
Press Release: Chicago City Council stands up to U.S. Supreme Court
"Just weeks after the Supreme Court dealt a blow to campaign finance reform efforts in Montana, the Chicago City Council fought back Wednesday with passage of a resolution calling on Congress to pass a constitutional amendment that would reverse the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which swept away a century of precedent limiting corporate spending on elections."
State Journal-Register: Lawsuit challenges state campaign contribution limits
"A conservative political action committee has sued Illinois in federal court, asking that laws that limit campaign contributions be overturned on First Amendment grounds."
HuffPost: Nancy Pelosi escalates call for Citizens United constitutional amendment
"House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) laid out the stakes of November's elections to hundreds of young voters Thursday, amping up her push for a constitutional amendment overturning the Citizens United decision." Here's what she said at a presser yesterday: "Election reformers, I don’t care what party they’re from, any and all parties who want to reform the role of money. Reduce the role of money, increase the level of civility, election more women, young people minorities to public office."
Roll Call: Ethics office began nine probes in second quarter
Amanda Becker reports: "The Office of Congressional Ethics began nine preliminary probes during the second quarter of the year, launched more in-depth reviews of five cases and referred one matter to the House Ethics Committee for further investigation, according to a report released today." The Hill.
NYT: Romney fundraisers in London draw banking crowd
Mitt had a rough day in London yesterday, but he "found a friendlier audience here on Thursday night at fund-raisers heavily populated with American financiers, donors representing an industry that has had troubles of its own."
WaPo: Obama raises millions for 2012 campaign within spitting distance of White House
"Donors in New York and California have given more, but the Washington region, with its vast community of wealthy lawyers, executives, political operatives and players willing to fly in for a few minutes of presidential face time, offers big money virtually at Obama’s doorstep."
TPM: Another London headache? Romney fundraiser raises eyebrows
But: "With his London visit mired in controversy, Mitt Romney is also facing criticism for taking money from individuals implicated in an ongoing banking scandal." HuffPost.
Yahoo News: Olympic ad by pro-Obama super PAC removed over copyright issues
"Both Republicans and Democrats will be forced to use caution when using footage from Olympic Games--past and present--in political commercials."
Politico: Obama repays donors in tax dollars
RNC's Reince Priebus: "President Barack Obama, since taking office, has showered his donors and allies with billions in federal dollars. A steady stream of grants and loans flows from the administration to Obama’s political cronies. And taxpayers foot the bill." He, of course, offers no solution to this or how his party's candidate would change this if elected.
Washington Times: Chamber spends big in Senate races
On new spending by the Chamber: "The expenditure is unusual because it comes from a nonprofit group rather than a political committee, and it is by far the largest of its kind this election cycle." Chamber spokesperson: "Our efforts this cycle will be our largest and most aggressive in the Chamber’s 100 year history." Aggressively secret, too.
iWatch: Texas Senate race attracts $13 million in super PAC spending
Republican Senate runoff in Texas: "Thus far the race has attracted a total of $13 million in spending by super PACs and other independent groups, according to Federal Election Commission records."
WaPo: Wealthy Dems bankrolling new effort to counter GOP "Swift boating" of Obama on Israel
"A group of wealthy and influential Democrats is quietly putting together their own effort to raise several million dollars to counter Adelson’s efforts in key swing states, by aggressively pushing back on criticism of Obama’s record on Israel and reminding Jewish voters that he agrees with them on domestic issues they care about..."
NaJo: Ex-Lockheed lobbyist now Senate Armed Services staffer
"A former Lockheed Martin executive and top lobbyist has joined the Senate Armed Services Committee as the Republican staff director, according to the Project On Government Oversight."
Politico: Marco Rubio to raise cash for Mitt Romney in Texas
"Rubio, a rising Republican star, and Romney’s brother, Scott, will headline two fundraising events for the presumptive GOP presidential nominee on Aug. 15 in San Antonio."
USA Today: Anti-incumbent super PAC's leader starts Congressional elections PAC
"The leader of a super PAC that says it wants to hold entrenched House incumbents accountable by targeting them in primary elections has launched a separate political action committee that's attacking a Tennessee Republican who has served in Congress for less than two years."
iWatch: Million-dollar donation in Indiana race may skirt limits on corporate giving
"The RGA Right Direction PAC is a Washington, D.C.-based super PAC, registered with federal regulators to make independent expenditures supporting or opposing candidates. So what is it doing giving $1 million directly to the Republican running for governor of Indiana? The donation to Mike Pence, the largest to his campaign, appears to be a way around state laws limiting corporate contributions to candidates."
NYT: Campaign money scandal rattles Congressional race in Connecticut
"A growing campaign finance scandal surrounding the State House speaker and Congressional candidate Christopher G. Donovan is threatening his career as one of the most powerful people in Connecticut government and Democratic control of one of the state’s five seats in the United States House." AP.
Arizona Republic: PAC says Dan Quayle "harassed" donor over TV ad
"A political-action committee says former Vice President Dan Quayle 'harassed' a contributor after it ran a TV ad ridiculing Quayle's son, U.S. Rep. Ben Quayle."
Washington Times: Households divided by campaign donations
"A wife writes a $1,000 check to her preferred candidate, President Obama. A week later, her irritated spouse fires back with a $1,000 check to Republican Mitt Romney. The money cancels out, leaving the candidates even, television stations and campaign consultants a little bit richer — and the couple quite a bit poorer."
Albany Watch: Bill Samuels jabs Cuomo on campaign-finance reform
"A one-time Democratic fundraiser said Gov. Andrew Cuomo should 'lead by example' when it comes to reshaping the state’s oft-criticized campaign finance laws, calling on him to reject corporate donations from now through 2014."