Clips Round-up for 6/16/11
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
Citizens United Rules Stall at FEC
“After almost 18 months of discussions, memorandums and regulatory debates, the Federal Election Commission failed Wednesday to begin its process for updating regulations in light of the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United.”
Campaign Finance Reform in Albany
The Chairwoman of Citizen Action of New York City has a letter in the New York Times is support of Comptroller DiNapoli’s efforts to fix the campaign finance system in New York and urges support of Voter Owned Elections.
Organization Seeks Deeper Disclosure of Camapign Contributions
‘Common Cause, a self-described nonpartisan advocacy group, is assisting a group of Santa Monica residents who want to make it easier for the electorate to find out who may be behind certain donations to local elected officials.”
Alabama Voices: New GOP Leadership Delivered Promises
This story, written by the Alabama Speaker of the House, is basically a giant pat on the back to the Alabama GOP and conservative ideals – but it does highlight some campaign finance reforms that were passed this year.
· “The Legislature also took steps to end the widespread government corruption that has plagued our state for decades. Tough laws requiring officials and candidates to disclose government contracts and potential conflicts, a new measure of transparency in our campaign finance system and a strong statute shielding the Alabama Ethics Commission from retaliation by elected officials they investigate are just a few of the protections we put in place.”
Judge: Super PACs May Donate to Candidates
““Under U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer’s decision in the case Carey v. Federal Election Commission, a PAC may use soft money for independent expenditures and donate hard money to federal candidates as long as the funds are kept in different accounts.”
Can Justice Be Bought?
The New York Times editorializes on judicial elections, recusal, and campaign finance laws.
Editorial – Regresing : Voting Bill a Setback for Fair Elections
North Carolina’s Fayetteville Observer editorializes on the awful voting bill currently in the state legislature and urges the Governor’s veto.
· “And the jackpot: It lets corporations make donations directly to party "headquarters funds," which can be used for a variety of purposes, including those misleading direct-mail campaigns that assaulted our mailboxes during the last statewide campaign. Some of those measures make it easier for deep-pocketed special interests to put their favored candidates in office. Others will cut voter participation, especially by groups that traditionally vote Democratic.”
News Companies Popular Investments Among Congressmen
From the Center for Responsive Politics: “About 60 U.S. senators and representatives, or their spouses, hold assets in at least 19 different news organizations or media conglomerates, according to the Center's analysis of federal personal financial disclosure documents. “
Top Obama Fundraisers Have an Inside Track
“Nearly 200 of President Obama's top fund-raisers have won political appointments to government posts, obtained federal contracts for their business interests, or been invited to exclusive White House events.”
Some Republican Freshmen in Congress Hold Major Debt, Disclosure Forms Show
“Members of the firebrand class of Republican freshmen on Capitol Hill — elected on a pledge to attack the U.S. debt problem — have, in some cases, accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in personal debt, according to financial documents released Wednesday.”
Congress Gets Richer in Bad Economy
Thought this story was interesting.
· “Yet members of Congress remain far wealthier than the average American, and their net worth keeps shooting up, regardless of the real world economy. And Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), one of the most controversial members of the House, has moved to the top of the list, with a minimum net worth in excess of $220 million, according to new financial disclosures released Wednesday.”
Trial, Reform ‘Changed Rules’ for Lobbyists
From the great state of Massachusetts: “The Legislature passed an ethics reform package in 2009 that broadened the definition of a lobbyist and put tighter restrictions on gifts to lawmakers. The new rules — passed in response to a string of scandals, including the DiMasi case — have increased the number of registered lobbyists as anyone who works as a strategist or a consultant on any piece of legislation now has to register with the secretary of state’s office.”
Hacker to HDMK
“Mike Hacker, floor director and senior adviser to Assistant Democratic Leader Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), is headed to the HDMK as the GOP firm’s first Democratic hire.”