Clips round up for 3/19/2012
Check out United Republic's new video, "Sh*t lobbyist say."
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
MSNBC: FEC: John Edwards campaign owes U.S. $2.1 million
"John Edwards’ defunct presidential campaign must repay the U.S. Treasury $2.1 million within 30 days, the Federal Election Commission said in a report released Friday."
Detroit Free Press: No donor should be exempt from laws requiring disclosure of political spending
Free Press editorial: "Every citizen has a right to know when someone is spending money to influence the political process -- and any elected or appointed government official who believes otherwise needs to find work outside the public sector."
PCAF blog: House Freshmen caught in the act
On Friday, CBS published an undercover investigation of a recent Florida fundraiser for House Republicans. We've rounded up the press those members faced back home on it.
LA Times: Federal contractors donate to "super PAC" backing Romney
Interesting: "A 'super PAC' that has spent more than $35 million on behalf of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has accepted donations from federal contractors despite a 36-year-old ban against such companies making federal political expenditures."
NYT: Obama parries criticism as fundraising eats into his schedule
"The White House insisted this week that Mr. Obama still spends 'the vast preponderance of his time on his official duties.' But with his schedule increasingly crowded by fund-raisers and speeches that could easily double as campaign rallies, that case is getting harder and harder to make. "
AP: Barack Obama raises $45 million for re-election campaign in February
"Picking up the pace, President Barack Obama raised $45 million for his re-election bid in February, bringing his total to about $300 million for this election cycle, his campaign said Monday." And "Obama's campaign said nearly 350,000 people contributed in February and the average donation was about $59 for the entire election cycle. Nearly 98 percent of the donations were $250 or less."
Washington Post: Obama's high-dollar donations lagging
"President Obama is struggling to draw in big-dollar donations, with half as many people writing large checks to his campaign than at this point four years ago."
Time: How an Obama-Romney election battle would pit small donors against large
On Romney's big donors and Obama's small ones: The 2012 election is, in many ways, shaping up to be a contest defined by financial disparity."
AP: Santorum's surprise surge taking toll on Romney's wallet in lengthy battle
"New signs of financial stress are emerging in Romney's campaign, which has built a wide lead in delegates thanks, in part, to the might of his bank account and multistate operation."
Politico: Rick Santorum turns to secretive group for money muscle
"And, last weekend, when conservative bigwigs gathered in Houston for a meeting of the Council for National Policy, they helped raise $1.8 million in pledged donations for Santorum’s cash-strapped campaign and the super PAC supporting it."
NYT: The wrong way to shake up Congress
NYT editorial on the Campaign for Primary Accountability: "But the method they are using — a super PAC that can collect and spend unlimited amounts of money — is the opposite of good government, and demonstrates the inherent danger in allowing big money to steer election results. The handful of donors say their motives are pure, but the public has no way of knowing what their long-term goals are, or whether they have personal interests in the races they have chosen."
Politico: Mitt Romney's top fundraising zip codes
Politico looks at the top zip codes giving to Romney's campaign--Palm Beach, Manhattan, Greenwich, Conn.
Huffington Post: Post-Citizens United money may swamp Congressional candidates
Important story from Dan Froomkin: "A billionaire or corporation writing a check for $1 million -- or even $10 million -- isn't enough to swing a presidential election. But when it comes to congressional campaigns, it could be plenty."
WaPo: Amendment to highway bill sideswipes Little Tobacco
Interesting story that shows how small business and smaller industries just don't have the influence in Washington, giving bigger industries a leg-up.
Politico: Rep. John Mica money comes from outside Florida
Wow: "Mica had collected just $6,550 from a total of seven people in his district through the end of last year — less than 1 percent of the $700,149 he had raised for this election cycle. His charges at Acqua Al 2 — the Washington sister of the same restaurant in Florence, Italy — over the same time period: $9,232." Story back home in Florida.
NPR: Buying a political ad: Let a super PAC foot the bill
"If you add up the numbers, the bottom line looks like this: Romney and the superPAC backing him outspent Newt Gingrich and the superPAC backing him by more than 5-to-1 in advance of last Tuesday's primaries in Alabama and Mississippi."
Politico: Fred Uptron finds it's good to be the chairman
"Major corporate donors and PACs from the energy, health care and technology industries are giving to the House Energy and Commerce chairman at a breakneck pace this election cycle, helping the Michigan Republican amass a $2 million war chest as he prepares for an Aug. 7 primary against a tea party challenger."
Politico: Cantor rakes in big bucks in NY, LA
Like Randy Newman, Eric Cantor loves LA: "House Majority Leader Eric Cantor proved in February you don’t have to be an actor to make big money in New York and Los Angeles."
Common Cause: Cantor quietly acknowledges failing to report ALEC gift
Nice work, CC! "In February, Common Cause wrote to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, asking for an explanation about an apparently unreported $1,350 gift from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 2009. Cantor’s office immediately responded, claiming our inquiry was without foundation, but last week his office quietly amended his financial disclosures to include the gift from ALEC."
News-Leader: McCaskill racks up millions
"Sen. Claire McCaskill’s campaign bank account, flush with millions from a bevy of big donors representing a variety of interests, is proof positive of the power of incumbency."
NYT: In the House, bipartisan finger-pointing on ethics
"Shades of 2006: House Democrats are once again trying to make political inroads against majority Republicans by accusing them of fostering an atmosphere of lax ethics and allowing misconduct to go unpunished."
The Hill: Senate Dems top $5.3 million in February
"Senate Democrats raised more than $5.3 million in February, marking the third straight month where they have raised more than the month before."
Roll Call: Occupiers plan protests despite power battles
"OccupyWashingtonDC.org, a group of occupiers that split this winter from the protesters camping in McPherson Square and Freedom Plaza, has invited activists from around the country to gather in Franklin Square for a monthlong sit-in starting March 31."
AP: 73 arrested at Occupy protest
"Hundreds of protesters had returned to Zuccotti Park near Wall Street on Saturday to mark the six months that have passed since the movement began. They locked arms and sat down after police announced on a bullhorn at around 11:30 p.m. that the park was closed."
Politico: Birth control controversies a fundraising boon
"The sudden focus on contraception and abortion in the 2012 campaign has meant a surge in fundraising for abortion rights groups that support women as congressional candidates."