Clips Round-up for 3/25/11
First off, with the McComish arguments scheduled for Monday, I wanted to remind folks of this great editorial memo from the Campaign Legal Center: http://clcblog.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=415:supreme-court-challenge-to-arizona-clean-elections-act-could-have-national-implications-.
Former Ensign aide indicted on lobbying violation
The husband of Sen. John Ensign’s mistress has been indicted on lobbying ban violation. Dude can’t catch a break. From Paul Blumenthal: “This guy is a modern day Job: His boss sleeps with his wife, then helps him circumvent lobbying laws to get clients because Ensign felt bad about cuckolding him, and then Ensign is let off the hook and he gets indicted.”
- More from the Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/afternoon-fix-gingrich-picks-up-sc-strategist/2011/03/24/ABFHw2QB_blog.html.
Rich candidate expected to win again
Rick Hasen on Monday’s McComish v Bennett case. “If you are looking for a common thread between the "more speech is better" theory underlying Citizens United and an expected "more speech is unfair" ruling for the challengers in McComish, it is this: Five conservatives justices on the Supreme Court appear to have no problem with the wealthy using their resources to win elections—even if doing so raises the danger of increased corruption of the political system.
Citizens get united
Really smart tie in to Lady Gaga, Target, and her gay fan base by Ciara Torres-Spelliscy at the Brennan Center. “Lady Gaga breaking ties with Target was great, but now it's time to pressure the Securities and Exchange Commission to change corporate transparency laws — or gay people will never be quite sure who's taking their money and using it to fight against their rights.”
GE’s strategies let it avoid taxes altogether
Wanna get really angry? Read this story about how the largest company in the U.S. gets out of paying taxes due to “an aggressive strategy that mixes fierce lobbying for tax breaks and innovative accounting that enables it to concentrate its profits offshore.
Lawmakers use March madness, other sports events to rake in cash
Lawmakers have to hold so many fundraisers, they are forced to come up with lots of themes. Nice quote from Public Citizen’s Craig Holman: “Sporting events are ideal for lobbyists. You get to talk to the member and root for the congressman's team. It's a lot better than going to an opera, where all you can do is sit and listen."
Top Hill staff have consultants helping raise money
Lobbyists in DC are in a tizzy because Senate chiefs of staffs are hiring out for donor solicitations—why should they give if they can’t actually talk to the members’ staff? At least the lobbyists are honest about why they give money.
James Cicconi, head of AT&T lobbying effort, confident in approval of T-Mobile deal
I bet AT&T’s chief lobbyist gets five bars on all his calls to lawmakers.
Haley Barbour known for fundraising talent and tactics
Sure, Haley Barbour lacks the anti-establishment cred that seems a bit part of our political mood these days, but when it comes to running for president he has what really matters--”fundraising prowess born of decades as a Republican power player.”
Lobbyists’ long effort to revive nuclear industry faces new test
“Nuclear executives, girding for a fight, have already held 20 briefings for Washington lawmakers and others about the events in Japan and the potential lessons learned at home.”
Who wins and who loses if Bachmann runs in 2012?
Looks like Michele Bachmann is in for 2012—and her formidable fundraising base could make things interesting.
Boehner facing Tea-Party pressure
Wow - “Ohio conservatives say they are preparing to call 1,000 of Mr. Boehner's donors to complain that he isn't doing enough to block a debt-limit increase.” Well if there’s a group of people he listens to...
American Lung Association says Fred Upton’s climate-change bill will weaken the Clean Air Act
It’s not just environmentalists going after Rep. Fred Upton’s anti-EPA stance—the American Lung Association is up with billboards in his district telling him not to gut the Clean Air Act.
Romney: $50 million needed to compete in presidential primaries
“Mitt Romney said he needs at least $50 million to win the primary, a whopping figure that was given to about 100 deep-pocketed New York donors at a closed-door Harvard Club event on Thursday.”
- And state parties are benefiting from all this fundraising: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0311/51851.html.
My worlds collide
Recently, a respected Wisconsin history professor wrote in the New York Times about the radical nature of Gov. Walker’s anti-union efforts in the context of state history. Now, Republicans are demanding an open records request of the professor and any correspondence he had with any pro-union group. Small government!
The professor responds: http://scholarcitizen.williamcronon.net/2011/03/24/open-records-attack-on-academic-freedom/.
Gov. Perry fined by ethics commission
Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) had to pay a fine to the Texas Ethics Commission for failing to report rental income and loans on a home in Texas.