Clips round-up for 7/25/11
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
Plan to cut budget of ethics office fails House vote
Rep. Mel Watt's (D-N.C.) efforts to slash the ethics office budget failed after people weren't allowed to vote anonymously.
Lobbyists campaign contributions are the real issue
Read this piece by Public Campaign President Nick Nyhart. On Friday, American League of Lobbyists President Howard Marlowe wrote about how angry he was that lobbyists kept being scapegoats and that the money was the real issue. We agree--and asked him and his colleagues to endorse Fair Elections.
- Here's his original piece: http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/172981-lobbyists-need-to-break-our-code-of-silence
The House's farcical self-investigation
The New York Times says the solution to the Ethics Committee's problems: "The solution should be obvious to all: bolster the powers of the Office of Congressional Ethics. This is the independent, nonpartisan House agency created three years ago by the then Democratic leadership in the wake of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal.
Federal Election Commission vs. the super PACs
The Los Angeles Times agrees with the FEC decision on members fundraising for super PACs--but says more must be done.
Our view: Clean Election Act will need major overhaul
An editorial in Maine on the impact of the McComish decision: "That's why it will take not just a "tweak" to fix Maine's public financing system, but an extensive examination into what it will take to bring the once-ground-breaking law up to date with the new reality." It looks like one idea is allowing private fundraising once the CE candidate is outspent, making up for the lack of trigger funds.
Obama cancels fundraising appearances amid stalled debt talks
President Obama has canceled two fundraising appearances Monday amid the debt talk stalemate. Good!
Consumer vs. the Banks
The Times editorializes on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. "The banks — big campaign contributors — don’t want robust consumer protection because complex and obscure products are lucrative."
When choosing your billionaire, money matters
Six GOP House members withdrew their support for a natural gas bill opposed by the billionaire Koch brothers. Within weeks, they got money from the Koch PAC.
Candidates should identify their bundlers
The Washington Post editorial board calls on 2012 candidates to release the names of their bundlers. President Obama has done so, Republicans should follow suit.
Fred Upton holding court with polluters that fund his campaign
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) had a meeting with polluters last Friday. He got big bucks from them in the second quarter of the year.
News Corp. PAC boosted political donations in June
The Staunton News Leader in Virginia picks up the Washington Post article about News Corp's donations quoting David Donnelly: "The question today for any member of Congress who took money is whether they will stand up to Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. by joining the growing demand for congressional hearings."
- Also the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia: http://www.smh.com.au/world/news-corps-donations-to-us-politicians-more-than-doubled-in-june-20110722-1ht0o.html
- And the Telegraph in the UK does a separate story, quoting Media Matters' (and Public Campaign board member) Ilyse Hogue. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/8656021/Democrats-calling-for-Murdoch-investigation-received-thousands-from-News-Corp.html
Financial sector helps Barack Obama score big money for re-election fight
Interesting: "President Barack Obama has relied more on well-connected Wall Street figures to fund his re-election than he did four years ago when he campaigned as an outsider and an underdog."
End tax breaks for Big Oil
An op-ed in Salt Lake City on ending the taxpayer subsidies to oil companies: "However, up to now, voters have been no match for Big Oil’s army of high-priced lobbyists and hefty campaign contributions."
Roemer 2012 campaign kicks off
"Limited by his pledge to only accept contributions to his campaign totaling $100 or less, former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer announced Thursday that his campaign’s movement from exploratory committee to formal candidacy was complete."
Right dominates debt-ceiling ad war
"While the battle over raising the debt ceiling plays out in Washington, conservative groups are outspending liberal ones in the effort to frame the issue through a sharply edged media campaign that some Democrats worry could put them at a serious disadvantage headed into the 2012 elections."
Voters' renewed anger at Washington spurs formation of third-party advocate groups
Voters are angry and new advocacy groups hope they can use that to help build support for a third party candidate for President. Worked really well for Unity 08.
Michele Bachmann film ads to be aired in Iowa by Citizens United
"Conservative organization Citizens United will hit Iowa airwaves next week with advertisements touting its film about Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who’s already sitting toward the top of most polls in the first-caucus state."
Shadowy group thinks for Walker, Fitzgerald
John Nichols writes about ALEC and their role in writing state model legislation. Common Cause President Bob Edgar: “Dozens of corporations are investing millions of dollars a year to write business-friendly legislation that is being made into law in statehouses coast to coast, with no regard for the public interest. This is proof positive of the depth and scope of the corporate reach into our democratic processes.”
Democrats: Riley violated PAC-to-PAC transfer ban
Alabama Democrats are charging that former Gov. Bob Riley violated the state's new PAC-to-PAC transfer law.