Clips Round-up for 2/6/12
Start your week off by reading this article from The Onion: "according to Capitol Hill sources, Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-IL) came to the painful realization this week that agribusiness lobbyist Stephen Fischer, who had been kind and generous toward him for months and had often met up with him for drinks after work, was not, in fact, his friend."
And second, United Republic launched their new Republic Report investigative blog on Friday. Add it to your bookmarks!
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
Keeping Our Elections Fair
Sen. Durbin (D-Ill.) went to the Senate floor to talk Fair Elections last week. Check it out!
Salon: The tyranny of tiny minds and big money
Do read Larry Lessig's latest piece on Barack Obama and his failure to address the problem he so eloquently described as a candidate.
WaPo: The Citizens United catastrophe
EJ Dionne's latest: "We have seen the world created by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, and it doesn’t work. Oh, yes, it works nicely for the wealthiest and most powerful people in the country, especially if they want to shroud their efforts to influence politics behind shell corporations. It just doesn’t happen to work if you think we are a democracy and not a plutocracy."
Times Union: Study: 127 donors give $16.8M
A new report in New York on big campaign giving, but more importantly--118 groups sent a letter to Gov. Cuomo on Friday praising his move on public financing. More at the Democrat and Chronicle and Politics on the Hudson.
Focus on the influence mopney in politics buys rather than the money itself
Jeremy Peters at Americans United to Rebuild Democracy writes about campaign finance, "While it is a near certainty that the media will portray the opposing views of those on the left & right as being incompatible with one another, there is more common ground on this issue than meets the eye; and a solution which benefits all sides equally is possible.
HuffPost: Koch brothers, allies pledge $100 million at private meeting to beat Obama
"At a private three-day retreat in California last weekend, conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch and about 250 to 300 other individuals pledged approximately $100 million to defeat President Obama in the 2012 elections."
AP: Big money donors in campaign will have business to discuss with the next president
"The millionaires, billionaires and companies giving big sums to political committees supporting Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Barack Obama have important business with the next president."
CNN: Forgetting a key lesson from Watergate?
"While the nation marks the 40th anniversary of the Watergate break-in later this year, some observers say our political leaders have already forgotten a key lesson of Watergate: that anonymous money corrupts political campaigns."
Star-Telegram: Texans among top presidential donors
"Texans have been among the biggest donors in this year's presidential race, pumping more than $20 million into candidates' campaigns with 10 months left to go."
Forget super PACs. A modest proposal for legalizing bribery
Great column from Steve Pearlstein over the weekend. "So, I propose that we finally give up the charade that we are not 'buying' elections and, in fact, do exactly that — mount an all-out political and legal challenge to laws preventing us from buying votes directly."
Roll Call: Records show Ron Paul trips paid twice
Oops: "Rep. Ron Paul appears to have been paid twice for flights between Washington, D.C., and his Congressional district, receiving reimbursement from taxpayers and also from a network of political and nonprofit organizations he controlled, according to public records and documents obtained by Roll Call."
CBS: Super rich prop up super PACs
"Sixteen billionaires on the "Forbes 400," the business magazine's list of the richest Americans have given to "super PACs," according to a CBS NEWS review of the 2011 fundraising reports disclosed to the Federal Election Commission."
Daily Beast: Obama campaign aims to collect $1 billion while GOP relies on super PACs
"While Obama has demolished his Republican rivals when it comes to fundraising, conservative Super PACS are making up some of the difference."
Reuters: Obama has small-check donor advantage over Romney
"It does not guarantee him re-election in November, but it is an advantage President Barack Obama is likely to carry into the fall: a broad base of supporters who have given him the symbolic vote of confidence with a donation of less than $200."
Sacramento Bee: Rulings let big campaign donors throw their weight around
Dan Morain talks to one of the Romney super PAC donors--an Idaho millionaire whose company definitely has interests in Washington. "It's the way of the Wild West with few rules. Voters should beware."
Commercial Appeal: Television broadcasters may be big winners this election year
Broadcasters are going to be sitting pretty after this election.
NYT: Gingrich patron Adelson called open to aiding Romney
"Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino executive keeping Newt Gingrich’s presidential hopes alive, has relayed assurances to Mitt Romney that he will provide even more generous support to his candidacy if he becomes the Republican nominee, several associates said in interviews here."
Politico: Adelson, Newt, donors convene at Venetian in Vegas
Don't worry, outside money can in no way be corrupting. "Newt Gingrich's campaign held a briefing for donors at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas Friday afternoon, an hourslong affair that was attended by a string of the candidate's finance chairs — and his super PAC mega-donor Sheldon Adelson."
Politico: Republicans trailing in Senate cash race
"Republicans are losing the money battle in four crucial majority-making Senate races. But they might win the war regardless." And National Journal on freshmen House fundraising.
AP: Rehberg underreports lobbyist cash, even as he attacks Tester's lobbyist money
"For months, Montana Republican congressman Denny Rehberg has been criticizing U.S. Sen. Jon Tester for being the leading recipient of campaign cash from lobbyists. But it turns out Rehberg has been taking donations from some lobbyists without disclosing their place of employment." More at The Hill.
USA Today: Super PAC taps source of anonymous cash to target Hatch
"A group aligned with the Tea Party has funneled more than $1.3 million in anonymous contributions to a super PAC working aggressively to unseat Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and other congressional veterans, raising alarms among some watchdogs that these outside groups are emerging as a new avenue for secret political money."
The Hill: On Keystone pipeline, GOP plays Buffett card to counter Dems' Koch claims
LOL: "But Republicans backing Keystone are playing a billionaire card of their own in the fight over the proposed pipeline, which would bring oil sands crude from Alberta to Gulf Coast refineries."
AP: Warren raising bulk of campaign funds out of Mass.
"Warren’s campaign said of the more than $5.7 million she collected during the last three months of 2011, about 69 percent came from out of state."
Bloomberg: Private-equity rallies around Mitt Romney's Dodd-Frank cure
Interesting piece on Romney and private equity. "Romney’s benefactors include prominent executives at hedge funds and in private equity, an investing specialty that his candidacy has put under fresh scrutiny because its deals can lead to lost jobs."
Inforum: Oil money flows to Berg, Hoeven
Letter to the editor: "How much does it cost to buy votes from members of Congress? The oil and gas industry has figured this out, according to recent data on contributions to senators and congressman who support the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline."
National Journal: Health aide to Isakson heading to Bockorny Group
"Tyler Thompson, the lead health aide to Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), is joining the health care practice at the Bockorny Group. Thompson."
NYT: Congress appears to be trying to get around earmark ban
Obviously Congress found a way around the earmark ban.
iWatch: Landmark diesel exhaust study stalled amid industry and congressional objections
"Publication of a landmark government study probing whether diesel engine exhaust causes lung cancer in miners — already 20 years in the making — has been delayed by industry and congressional insistence on seeing study data and documents before the public does."
Politico: Football lobbies blitz the Hill
Politico notes the "record-level spending on federal lobbying by many of football’s most notable special interest groups."
Maine Today: Control of both houses once again up for grabs
It's going to be a battle in November as Maine Democrats fight to take back the majority.
NYDN: Donors spent $145G to fly Gov. Andrew Cuomo on private jets to fundraising events
"Gov. Cuomo was a high-flying fund-raiser in the last six months — thanks to campaign donors who lent him their private jets, the Daily News has learned."