Clips Round-up for 9/13/12
Great stuff in the NYT today about Obama's bundlers and some of their perks. This stat: "All told, Mr. Obama’s top 'bundlers' — people who gather checks from friends and business associates — raised or gave at least $200 million for Mr. Obama’s re-election bid and the Democratic National Committee through the end of May, close to half of the total up to that point, according to internal campaign documents obtained by The New York Times."
Also a reminder that the Romney campaign has refused to release any information about its bundlers, which as the Times points out, "monthly disclosures filed by his campaign suggest that he is even more dependent than Mr. Obama on big bundlers and donors who have given the legal maximum."
And, Sen. Byron Dorgan writes in Politico: "When a country is struggling to find its footing after a near collapse of the economy, you would expect a national election to be a robust debate about the new ideas needed to fix our economy and put people back to work. But it’s not happening. This campaign is about money — an avalanche of money. And it’s corrupting our democracy."
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
Public Citizen: Connecticut Legislature Signs Letter, Calls For Curbing Corporate Power Over Elections
"Connecticut has taken a stand against the corporate takeover of elections, calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission and related decisions...A majority of the members of both houses of the state Legislature have signed a letter calling for Congress to pass a constitutional amendment."
Burlington Free Press: Sen. Patrick Leahy hosts hearing on the impact of court decisions on voting rights
"With the next session of the U.S. Supreme Court beginning in a month, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., convened a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chairs, to examine 'how Supreme Court decisions including the Citizens United case in 2010, and the move in June to summarily struck down a 100-year-old Montana state law barring corporate contributions to political campaigns, have affected the rights of hardworking Americans.'" More at the Atlantic, PFAW, and Legal Times.
NYT: Pennsylvania's bad election law
New York Times editorial on today's Pennsylvania Supreme Court hearing on the state's new voter suppression law: "The law will result in disproportionate harm to minorities, people with low incomes and senior citizens. The court should enter an injunction against it before the November elections." Roll Call and WaPo on the impact of all these voter ID lawsuits.
AP: Republicans ask court to axe Montana's campaign contribution laws
"Conservative groups told a judge Wednesday that campaign contribution limits in Montana get in the way of running effective political campaigns."
WaPo: New group buys TV ads to help endangered Blue Dog Democrats
"The nonprofit group, called Center Forward, has poured nearly $4 million into broadcast commercials aimed at helping conservative House Democrats keep their seats. Unlike previous groups that have focused solely on Democrats, Center Forward has also given a boost to several Republican moderates in its ad buys as well."
NaJo: Most corrupt lawmakers in Congress, according to CREW
"Four Democrats and eight Republicans topped the latest list of the most corrupt lawmakers in a report released Wednesday by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., was the only member of Congress' upper chamber." Full report.
Sunlight Foundation: House passage of Cravaack land swap bill boosts freshman's profile, fundraising
"In a win for freshman Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-Minn., the House today passed a measure he sponsored that could open thousands of acres of federal wilderness to mining interests." Critics have said this is a boon to mining interests, who have donated big money to his campaign.
Plain Dealer: Mitt Romney to raise money Friday at Kirtland Hills home of multimillionaire industrialist Ed Crawford
"A large collection of deep-pocketed Cleveland-area donors will chair a Friday evening fundraiser for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at Fox Spring Farms, the Kirtland Hills home of Ed and Mary Crawford."
Above the Law: Obama leads ROmney in terms of lawyer fundraising
"Though Obama’s lawyer and law firm fundraising doubles Romney’s, the NLJ reports that Obama raised three times as much from lawyers in 2007-2008."
TPM: Watchdog warns Sebelius wrongly mixed politics with work
"The Office of Special Counsel notified President Barack Obama on Wednesday that Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius violated the Hatch Act when she 'made extemporaneous partisan remarks in a speech delivered in her official capacity' during a speech before the Human Rights Campaign earlier this year." WaPo.
The Hill: Scandals are making uphill battles even steeper for some lawmakers
"Both Republicans and Democrats have doubled down on attacks on candidates facing allegations of corruption and misconduct, indicating that these could be potent issues giving otherwise safe lawmakers a tough reelection fight."
News and Observer: Attack ad hits David Rouzer for his ties to lobbyists, makes questionable claim
Rep. Mike McIntyre's opponent: "A Democratic super PAC hit David Rouzer with another attack advertisement Wednesday, highlighting his ties to lobbyists."
CPI: House candidates fear super PACs
Yup: "Super PACs — which were made possible by the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision — have played pivotal roles in high-profile national and statewide races, but have the potential to make a far greater impact on House contests."
Roll Call: The 50 richest members of the 112th Congress
Roll Call has released its list of the 50 richest members of Congress, topped by Texas Rep. Michael McCaul.
Plain Dealer: Super PAC targets Rep. Bill Johnson with $400,000 in TV ads
"A Super PAC that favors election of Democrats to the U.S. House of Representatives is spending $400,000 to run a television ad that portrays freshman GOP Rep. Bill Johnson of Marietta as a jobs outsourcer."
Watauga Democrat: James Taylor to play Obama fundraiser
James Taylor is doing an Obama fundraiser on October 12.
Politico: A fundraising festivus for do-nothing Congress
"During the brief amount time this month that federal lawmakers are in D.C., dozens of them — if not hundreds — are making the most of it with a flurry of campaign fundraisers throughout the district before making their final campaigning pushes toward Election Day. "
NaJo: House's most endangered chairman fights for survival
National Journal calls House Administration Chair Dan Lungren the "most endangered chairman." As chair of the Houe committee that has some jurisdiction over campaign finance issues, and as he is an opponent of common sense reforms, this is something to watch.
Roll Call: Lobbyists keep busy despite legislative lull
"While much of K Street expects a lull in actual legislating before then, lobbyists say they'll be busy with preparations for a lame duck that could decide major items such as budget cuts and whether to renew expiring Bush-era tax cuts. Fundraising events and keeping clients stocked with political intelligence are also on the docket."
The Hill: Georgian opposition leader turns to K Street
"Georgia’s opposition party leader is pulling no punches in his campaign to win backing from the United States and has hired close to a half-dozen firms in Washington to plead his case to Obama administration officials."
Journal Star: AG: Sen. Council withdrew campaign funds at casino
Oops: "State Sen. Brenda Council has apologized and is expected to plead guilty to misdemeanor charges related to using campaign funds to gamble at casinos, without reporting the expenditures or deposits on her campaign finance reports."