Clips Round-up for 9/21/12
Here’s a round-up of the discussion yesterday with Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), Public Campaign’s Nick Nyhart, and other reformers. The press release also has a summary of the mechanisms in Sarbanes’s Grassroots Democracy Act.
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
Public Campaign: Statement on FEC Approval for Low Fees for Text Message Donations
"The Federal Election Commission should be commended for allowing AT&T and other wireless providers to charge uniformly low fees for text message campaign contributions," stated Aaron Scherb, legislative program manager at Public Campaign. "With billionaires, super PACs, and special interests using megaphones to drown out the voices of everyday Americans, text message campaign contributions can be a megaphone for the masses.
The Nation: 'Citizens United' and the Corporate Court
Jamie Raskin looks at the pro-corporate ideology on the Supreme Court underlying Citizens United v. FEC.
SSRN: Citizens United, States Divided: Evidence of Elasticity in Independent Expenditures
Original research by Douglas Spencer and Abby Wood, so it’s a little dense, but very interesting. It uses Citizens United v. FEC as a “natural experiment” and compares changes in outside spending in “treated” states that had a corporate/union expenditure ban struck down after Citizens United to changes in “control” states that never had a ban.
National Journal: Pelosi: If Dems Win the House, I'll Pass Jobs Bill, DISCLOSE Act
If Minority Leader Pelosi (D-Calif.) is returned the Speaker’s gavel, second only to passing a jobs bill will be passing the DISCLOSE Act. After that, the plan is to "amend the constitution to overturn Citizens United, reform the whole money in politics to take it to public financing of campaigns, and elect -- and I don't care if they're Democrats or Republicans -- elect reformers to save our democracy. Keeping it the government of the many not the government of the money."
August FEC Filings Roundup
- Washington Post: Romney campaign gave bonuses to top staff
“Mitt Romney’s campaign handed out more than $200,000 in bonuses last month to senior staffers, according to new disclosure records filed Thursday.”
- Politico: Mitt Romney ended August with $50M in the bank
Romney’s campaign took in $67 million, spent $66 million, and ended up with $50 million on hand.
- Politico: Obama fundraising machine at full steam
Obama’s fundraising total jumped up $35 million to $84.7 million in August, including $25 million in small donations of less than $200.
- Washington Post: Pro-Romney super PAC spent heavily in August
Is the Death Star running out of gas? After its second declining month of fundraising, “The top super PAC devoted to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign spent three times as much as it raised in August, as the GOP nominee’s campaign faced a cash shortfall.” Restore Our Future was left with $6.3 million in the bank.
- NYT: Democratic ‘Super PAC’ Outraised Republican Counterpart in August
Well this is new: Priorities USA Action turned the tables and outraised Restore Our Future $10 million to $7 million in August.
- Roll Call: DCCC Outraises NRCC in August
The DCCC raised $11.6 million to the NRCC’s $6.8 million, but still has less cash on hand.
- Politico: RNC has big cash advantage over DNC
“The RNC, which has consistently been crushing the Democratic National Committee in fundraising, reported having $75.6 million at the end of August. The DNC ended the month with $7.1 million.”
- Politico: Paul Ryan fundraising numbers jump
“Prosperity PAC took in $333,000, according to a report filed Thursday – about $100,000 more than its average monthly tally this year. Most of the cash appears to have come after news leaked late on August 10 of Ryan’s selection, highlighting how the Wisconsin congressman’s increased prominence could boost his political prospects, separate and apart from the GOP presidential ticket.”
- Politico: Romney's small donor decline
The lower amount of small, unitemized donations taken in by Romney’s campaign could be a bad sign, because “Small contributions can be an important, if imperfect barometer of any campaign’s bottom-up support.”
- NYT: Cash Low, Romney Striving to Find New Large Donors
“The new numbers, along with disclosures filed by major “super PACs” supporting the two candidates, challenge the appearance of financial strength that had burnished Mr. Romney over the summer, and show unexpected strengths for President Obama going into the fall.”
Washington Post: Conservative groups reaching new levels of sophistication in mobilizing voters
It's not just TV ads. Much of the money being raised by outside groups is being spent on a highly advanced voter turnout program for conservatives.
Fox Business: Wall Street Donors Stick with Romney, For Now
“Campaign officials representing Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney are scrambling to shore up their support on Wall Street, which is growing increasingly alarmed about their preferred candidate’s chances to unseat President Obama in the November presidential election.“
Georgette and Lyn: A tale of two sisters
An interesting look at the life of one of the Republican Party’s top fundraisers.
Roll Call: Online Political Advertising Gets Personal
“With an increased ability to target, campaigns are seeing new avenues of persuasion online, not simply a mechanism for raising money like Obama's campaign did so successfully in 2008. Digital strategists would argue that, with DVR, smartphones and tablet use on the rise, a significant portion of the electorate is completely missing candidates' messages on TV.”
Washington Post: Why all that money won’t save Mitt Romney
Jamelle Bouie argues: “But money isn’t a magic bullet; ads require particular circumstances to be effective. They require a strategy grounded in flooding the airwaves in the very last days of the campaign, an overwhelming cash advantage, and opinions of the opponent to not be locked in. At best Romney has only the first of those — so all that money is unlikely to save him.”
Washington Examiner: Wells joins call for D.C. campaign reforms
Council member Tommy Wells proposed constituent services funds from leftover campaign money, and also said he wants to forbid donations from corporations and lobbyists to D.C. candidates.