Clips Round-up for 9/24/12
The New York Times looked at how Mitt Romney talks to donors and voters. There's overlap, sure, but "a review of his remarks at dozens of fund-raisers, in well-off neighborhoods from Los Angeles to Miami over the past year, highlights differences both subtle and significant in how he speaks to voters and donors, the two most important constituencies in his bid for the White House."
And, this, obviously applies to both Obama and Romney: "Presidential candidates have always tailored their messages: the speech delivered to oil workers may vary from one to religious leaders. But this year, a single group — wealthy donors — has consumed time and energy as never before, creating an almost parallel campaign with its own rhythm, format and sometimes even message."
The Rep. David Rivera (R-Fl.) scandal is really the soap opera of the cycle: "A key witness in a federal grand jury case involving U.S. Rep. David Rivera is still missing, but she left important evidence behind for investigators: at least four envelopes that had been stuffed with unreported campaign cash." The FBI is looking at them for fingerprints and handwriting samples."
And, when you have a few minutes, read this fascinating Jill Lepore article in this week's New Yorker about the very first political consulting firm, with great details on campaigns paid for by medical associations to stop compulsory, universial insurance plans in California and DC.
Finally, Politico has a must-read interview with Sheldon Adelson about his giving this cycle, featuring this tidbit: "And Adelson has already given about one-third of the amount that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) spent on his entire campaign in 2008."
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
Roll Call: John Cornyn open to campaign finance reform
Sen. Cornyn (R-Texas), who voted against DISCLOSE, told Roll Call, "I think it would be a worthwhile exercise, not now - not 46 [or] 47 days before the election - but next year, to look at our campaign finance system in light of the Supreme Court decisions and say, 'What makes sense in terms of accountability and with concerns to transparency?' That I think would be important."
AP: Michelle Obama Congressional Black Caucus Speech: Voting Rights Is 'Movement Of Our Era'
"The first lady tells a gathering of black lawmakers and leaders that they owe it to those who fought and died for equal rights in the 1960s to make sure every voter can freely cast a ballot."
AP: Study: ID laws could deter millions
Wow: "The combined effects of voter roll purges, demands for proof of citizenship and photo identification requirements in several states may hinder at least 10 million Hispanic citizens who seek to vote this fall, civil rights advocates warn in a new report."
NYT: Congress' unpopular watchdog
New York Times' editorial on the Office of Congressional Ethics: "The Office of Congressional Ethics, a proven force for good on Capitol Hill, is in need of a fresh lease from House leaders if it is to continue conducting discreet preliminary investigations of corruption allegations against lawmakers."
Sunlight: Federal election commissioners versus the Federal Election Commission
LOL: "Bizarrely, a group suing the Federal Election Commission submitted a statement supporting its case in court this week by Republican commissioner Donald McGahn. Which means McGahn is backing a suit against the body on which he serves."
NYT: Montana and Citizens United
On challenges to rules in Montana around judicial elections: "An easier alternative would be a less rigid, better informed view of the First Amendment: rules about spending in judicial elections can be different from rules for political elections because the legitimacy of courts depends on their reputation for nonpartisanship. So does the rule of law."
Kansas City Star: Texting donations to political campaigns could catch on
Kansas City Star on text donations. Public Campaign's Aaron Scherb: "It’s a quick and easy way to give money. It gets more people involved.”
CPI: 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."
AP: Vandals break into Michael Grimm campaign office
Staten Island didn't want to be outshined by David Rivera: "Someone broke into the campaign offices of Staten Island Congressman Michael Grimm, ransacked the place, and erased confidential campaign files." Um, how often do vandals log onto computers and clear hard drives? Police are skeptical that it was a burglary, according to the NYDN.
Politico: Mitt: Obama at fault for fundraising focus
Mitt Romney blames Obama for all the time he's spending raising money: "fundraising is a part of politics when you’re opponent decides not to live by the federal spending limits." I'd be interested in hearing his answer to the question, "so would you work to update the outdated presidential system if elected?"
NYT: An evangelical is back from exile, lifting Romney
Jack Abramoff is so 2005, Ralph Reed is back: "...but Mr. Reed has a plan. And he has the money to back it up: an estimated $10 million to $12 million from contributors across the Republican spectrum, according to a partial list of donors and people with direct knowledge of his operation." Here's an ad that PCAF's Campaign Money Watch ran during his failed 2006 campaign for Georgia Lt. Governor.
Politico: Republican super PACs hit a crossroads
"Republican super PACs are about to face a potentially existential test of their reach and impact as the 2012 election cycle comes to a close, with their spending being closely watched as a way of answering a central question at the core of modern American politics: can an avalanche of money from outside groups move the needle in the presidential race and Senate contests across the country."
Roll Call: House Ethics Committee clears Maxine Waters in conflict of interest case
"After three years, two Congresses and perhaps close to $1 million in outside legal fees, the House Ethics Committee has finally concluded its probe into alleged misconduct by Rep. Maxine Waters."
Chicago Tribune: Many Chicago Democrats untapped by pro-Obama super PAC
Some of them have said they haven't been asked: "So far, almost all of Chicago's top Democratic donors have abstained from giving to Priorities USA Action, the leading super PAC supporting President Barack Obama's re-election campaign."
60 Minutes: Unaired excerpts from the Obama, Ronney interviews
Some honesty: "President Obama says some of his campaign ads might 'go overboard' or contain mistakes, but most of them simply highlight the differences between him and Gov. Romney."
Roll Call: Phone company PAC funds campaigns against Republicans with customer overpayments
Credo: "A liberal phone company is asking customers to overpay their bills to support its new super PAC and is using the money to wage a ground war against 10 tea-party-aligned House conservatives."
Sunlight: King of fundraising: Obama leads Romney by $242 million
"In the 2012 campaign cycle, Obama's campaign, the Democratic National Committee and two joint fundraising committees supporting them have collectively raised $743.5 million. The campaign of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, his joint fundraising committee and the Republican National Committee have raised $500.6 million." Obama gets more for his buck too--since most of the money is to his campaign while Romney goes to the RNC, which pays a higher ad rate.
NaJo: Romney's fundraising comes down to earth
"But the GOP presidential nominee’s deflating fundraising numbers this week suggest that Team Obama might get some sleep this fall after all."
Tamba Bay Online: In Florida, more donor money flowing to Romney
"With simultaneous campaign fundraising visits to Tampa and Sarasota on Thursday, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney took yet another dip into Florida's pool of electoral cash."
CRP: Liberal super PACs outraise conservative groups; Obama still strong with small donors
"Liberal super PACs outraised conservative ones in August for the first time all year." Politico, CPI.
Reuters: For Romney, another day, another donor event
Romney's still doing more fundraisers than campaign events, worrying some GOP advisers. At his rally in Vegas (after a fundraiser), Romney said, "I don't know how it is that Sheldon Adelson got in the front row." Businessweek: "Romney delays swing state visit to woo donors in California." AP. LA Times on his California fundraising.
Denver Post: Mitt Romney's $3 donation to campaign fund is outside the GOP mainstream
Mitt Romney joined President Obama (and me!) in checking the box to give $3 to presidential public financing system.
Roll Call: NRCC launches 26 new ads backed by $6.3 million
Headline basically sums it up.
PCAF Tumblr: Sen. Jim Inhofe has donated $10,000 to Sen. Scott Brown
Elizabeth Warren said during a debate last week that a vote for Scott Brown is a vote for Jim Inhofe. Brown fired back that she wasn't running against Inhofe, but didn't mention the $10k he's received from the Oklahoma Senator.
Rolling Stone: Eddie Vedder rejects "upsetting" Romney comments at Obama fundraiser
Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder had some strong words for Romney at an Obama fundraiser over the weekend
Boston Globe: Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan fundraising in Massachusetts with high-dollar events in Chestnut Hill
"Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, are coming to Chestnut Hill next week for a reception at the home of former Reebok CEO Paul Fireman, followed by a $75,000-a-plate dinner at the home of New England Patriots President Jonathan Kraft."
Las Vegas Review Journal: Ann Romney to attend private fundraiser in Las Vegas
"Ann Romney will visit Las Vegas on Oct. 1 to attend an evening fundraising reception for her husband, GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, at Miriam and Sheldon Adelson's home, according to an invitation to the event at the generous GOP donors' Summerlin residence."
Newsworks: Michelle Obama attends fundraiser in Princeton
"Speaking before roughly 230 people during a fundraiser held at a private home in Princeton on Sunday afternoon, she touched on numerous topics - including the economy, health care reform and salary parity - while speaking for nearly 30 minutes."
Examiner: FEC launches two new campaign finance disclosure tracking tools
Took some getting used to, but I think I like it: "The Federal Election Commission yesterday introduced its Candidate and Committee Viewer and an enhanced Electronic Filing RSS feed, two new disclosure tools designed to help the public access federal campaign finance data and information more quickly and efficiently."
NaJo: Hite leaving Inhofe's staff for Chamber
Sen. Inhofe's senior counsel is heading over to the Chamber of Commerce, highlighting a few of the corporations that dropped out of the group due to its position on climate change.
Tribune: Former President Clinton says Republican super PAC money is a challenge
Clinton: "But I think you can't know because of the enormous financial advantage that Citizens United gave to these Republican super PACs and because of the work they have done and will do on Election Day to try to reduce the number of young people, first-generation immigrants, and minorities voting."
Concord Monitor: Outside groups set to pour money into state
Watch out New Hampshire: "Millions of dollars are set to flow into this fall's gubernatorial campaign from labor unions, interest groups and national political organizations - sums that could blanket local television and dwarf spending by the candidates themselves."
Worcester Telegram: Brown camp fails to file info on $2M in donations
"The re-election campaign of U.S. Sen. Scott Brown has failed to disclose employment information for more than $2 million of his contributors, according to an examination of the campaign’s filings with the Federal Election Commission."
DOJ: Two lobbying firms agree to pay total of $80,000 in fines for violating the LDA
"The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia has reached settlements with two lobbying firms for repeated violations of the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA), U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced today."
Post-Dispatch: Akin changes position on earmarks in return for campaign cash
Akin has a friend in Jim DeMint: "Todd Akin will support an earmark ban in return for fundraising support from a Super PAC, the National Journal reports. "
Politico: Campaign expense list: beer, limos, Chick-Fil-A
Where are the pres campaigns spending their money? Tarini Parti takes a look.
Courant: Former legislative campaign treasurer charged with larceny
In Connecticut: "A former legislative campaign treasurer was arrested Friday and charged with embezzling more than $4,000 in public campaign financing money." This highlights the importance of strong enforcement mechanisms in campaign finance systems.
NWI Times: Report: Tuition waivers went to campaign donors' children
"Illinois lawmakers handed out hundreds of college tuition waivers in the past decade to children of campaign donors or state workers, according to a published report."