Clips round up for 9/19/2012
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
Public Campaign: Romney: 'Frankly What I Need You to Do Is to Raise Millions of Dollars'
How Romney’s statement in the secret videos urging his biggest donors to raise him millions of dollars (and they don’t have to worry that Romney would release their names as bundlers, like George W. Bush, John McCain, and Obama!) fits in to a broader pattern of views on money in politics:
“This all adds to the troubling body of statements that Mitt Romney has made on money in politics during this election. Rather than supporting needed reforms to empower small donors and support a democracy of, by, and for the people, Romney’s proposed policies would only worsen the domination of politics by a wealthy elite.”
Huffington Post: Dark Money Groups Free To Spend Money Without Disclosure Again After Appeals Court Ruling
Anyone have a gif of Karl Rove doing a happy dance? An appeals court overturned a ruling that nonprofit groups spending money on “issue ads”—usually indistinguishable from normal election ads except for their lack of phrases like “vote against” or “re-elect”—would have to disclose their donors. “The decision will immediately open the door for non-profit groups spending millions on this fall's election, like the Karl Rove-founded Crossroads GPS and the Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity, to shift their funds back to these ads in order to help protect their tax-exempt status under Internal Revenue Service regulations.”
(More coverage from the LA Times, Politico)
Center for Public Integrity: Campaign finance reformers gain new ally
“How mainstream has advocating for public financing of elections become? So mainstream that moderate North Dakota Democrat Byron Dorgan endorsed the idea in an op-ed in Politico last week.” “For the first time, Dorgan also endorsed legislation sponsored by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) [the Fair Elections Now Act] that would create public financing for congressional elections as a ‘worthy idea.’”
Washington Post: Outside campaign spending draws wide concern
A full three-quarters (75 percent) of registered voters say they are “very” or “somewhat” concerned when asked “How concerned are you, if at all, about the amount of money being spent on political campaign advertising by companies, unions and wealthy individuals?”
Washington Times: Toothless, overwhelmed FEC is ignored by campaigns
This year’s political campaigns are saturated with money, yet the Federal Election Commission, the watchdog on all the raising and spending, is issuing fewer warnings and completing fewer audits — and even when it does issue fines, political committees routinely don’t bother to pay.
The FEC’s powers are so weak that for most offenses it can only ask political groups to enter a voluntary process in which they bargain to agree to a monetary settlement.
Center for Responsive Politics: What Citizens United (et al) Wrought: The Shadow Money Explosion
CRP takes a graphical look at the explosion of outside “independent expenditures” as compared to “electioneering communications.”
NYT Editorial: Mitt Romney, Class Warrior
Last paragraph: ”The right wing has long been whining about people who don’t pay taxes and who, therefore, don’t deserve a say in government. They have it backward. The shame is not that those people don’t pay income taxes. The shame is how many poor people there are when the top 1 percent can amass uncountable fortunes fed by tax breaks and can donate tens of millions of dollars to political candidates to keep it that way.”
Politico: House Democrats brace for super PAC ad blitz
Expecting to be outspent 3-to-1 by conservatives, “Democrats say they may need to make painful decisions about how to best allocate resources in their already uphill fight for the House — including cutting off underperforming candidates if necessary in order to focus on hopefuls who have the best chance of winning.”
The Daily Beast: The Super-PAC Economy
“Beneath the still struggling American economy, there is a gold rush going on.” That gold rush, of course, is being enjoyed by the super PACs, 501(c)4 “shadow PACs,” and the consultants they employ. According to a Democratic consultant, “This is the greatest windfall that ever happened for political operatives in American history.”
NBC: Outside groups make up almost half of all presidential campaign ads
“Groups supporting the presidential candidates but not affiliated with the campaign, including super PACs, have spent $267 million of the $605.7 million spent on television and radio ads.”
Politico: Mitt Romney woes jangle Republican nerves
Among the complaints from “nervous Republicans” is “Romney’s fundraising-focused schedule.”
Washington Post: Romney and Obama: Open your fundraisers
Erik Wemple says presidential campaigns will have to either clamp down at their fundraisers, confiscating cell phones to prevent leaks, or give in and allow the media access to the events.
National Review: Romney Campaign Borrowed $20 Million
Before his official nomination at the conventions gave Romney access to his general election funds, his campaign borrowed $20 million to keep things going. A senior Romney aide: “We realized that we could collateralize this debt with $20 million of general-election funds that were already sitting in our bank account.”
ThinkProgress: Obama Campaign Advertises in Electronic Arts Games, But Will It Make a Difference?
Welcome to the Matrix: Obama advertising on billboards… inside of video games.
NYT: Beyoncé and Jay-Z Host Obama Fund-Raiser
Obama attended a $40,000-a-plate fundraiser at Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club in Manhattan, expected to raise $4 million for his re-election. Quote of the story: “Mr. Obama said he felt a sense of kinship with Jay-Z because, he said, ‘we both have daughters and our wives are more popular than we are.’”
Bloomberg: Wall Street Walks as Defense, Tech Back Obama’s Campaign
Health care, telecom, and defense are picking up the slack with Wall Street giving largely to Romney. These industries either benefitted from Obama’s policies in his first term or, in defense’s case, desperately want to head off the automatic spending cuts in the sequester.
ABC News Radio: Pro-Obama Super PAC Ads to Use Romney Secret Videos
No surprise here: Priorities Action USA is already working on videos using Romney’s “off the cuff” remarks found in secret videos from a fundraiser leaked by Mother Jones. The ads are expected to be cycled into a $30 million buy for CO, FL, IA, OH, VA, and WI.
TechPresident: With "RePurpose," AFL-CIO Invites Supporters to Join in Playing Politics
Democratizing super PACs? “Workers' Voice, the Super PAC of the AFL-CIO, pulled the wraps off of its high-tech organizing model on Tuesday, which it has named rePurpose. The idea is to use points to better reward campaign volunteers — but rather than those points earning t-shirts or buttons, organizers say, they go towards a stake in how the PAC actually spends its resources.”
TPM: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Casts Doubt On Voter ID Law
Looks like Pennsylvania’s voter ID law could be struck down after all: “In a 4-2 ruling, the justices ordered the lower court to block the law unless Pennsylvania can prove it is currently providing ‘liberal access’ to photo identification cards and that there ‘will be no voter disenfranchisement’ on Election Day.”
(More from Rick Hasen at the Election Law Blog)
NYT: Gambling Industry Money Is Streaming Into Albany
More evidence on why it’s so important to pass a Fair Elections small donor matching program in New York: “Indian tribes, racetrack casinos and other gambling interests have spent nearly $50 million on lobbying and campaign contributions in the state since 2005 […] The surge in spending comes as the Cuomo administration and the Legislature are discussing how and where to allow new casinos.”
Slate: How Much Voter Fraud Is There?
“A state-by-state map reveals the answer: almost none.” Interactive map by Slate.