Clips Round-up for 3/26/12
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
NYT: When other voices are drowned out
Another good New York Times editorial on the wealthy capture of our democracy. "This narrow focus on bribery is intellectually dishonest. The corrupting influence of money is not limited to bribery — the broader problem is the ability of moneyed interests to put into office those who support their political agendas or financial interests."
The Atlantic: An open letter to the citizens against Citizens United
Must-read by Lawrence Lessig: "Reversing Citizens United is thus a critical step. But that alone will not restore this democracy. To do that, we must strike at the root of this corruption: how campaigns are funded."
Huffington Post: Could Connecticut be the first to get serious about shareholders rights post-Citizens United?
Ciara Torres-Spelliscy writes, "Connecticut is a small state, but it has a strong record of leadership in addressing the trouble posed by money in politics. Now Connecticut may be the first state to take shareholder protections seriously post-Citizens United."
Public News Service: Groups demand new SEC rules for corporate political spending
"People are gathering outside the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Washington, D.C, this morning to demand transparency from corporations about their election spending."
Roll Call: Let's shine a light on big money in politics
Op-ed from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) on DISCLOSE: "Because of Citizens United, we may not be able to ban super PACs outright, but we can at least shine some light into their activities. Democrats and Republicans alike have acknowledged the importance of doing so, and I hope we can all come together to pass the DISCLOSE Act of 2012, what some call DISCLOSE 2.0."
Burlington Free Press: Vermont Needs Fair Elections
Democracy Matters' Anita Kinney writes, "Public financing of elections is a practical and viable solution to fixing our country’s glaring political problems."
WSJ: Companies should disclose contributions as unions do
Nice letter from the AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka: "Corporations that spend to influence politics have no legitimate gripe against shareholder disclosure resolutions that would require them to publicly disclose that spending—and they have ample opportunity and resources to explain why that spending advances shareholder value and the public interest."
HuffPost: Don't blame the Supreme Court for Citizens United--blame Congress, the FEC, and the IRS
Dan Froomkin writes, "The two most controversial campaign financing practices of the post-Citizens United era aren’t actually the Supreme Court’s fault."
NYT: Lobbyists, guns, and money
Paul Krugman writes about "Stand Your Ground" laws and ALEC: "we seem to be turning into a country where crony capitalism doesn’t just waste taxpayer money but warps criminal justice, in which growing incarceration reflects not the need to protect law-abiding citizens but the profits corporations can reap from a larger prison population." Related column in the Orlando Sentinel.
Roll Call: Administration staffers head out the revolving door
Several senior aides from the Obama administration "have decamped for jobs along the influence corridor."
Middletown Journal: Senate race seeing record-setting advertising money
Ohioans have already seen $5 million in outside spending on the Senate race between Sherrod Brown and Josh Manswl, which is more than the $3.2 million spent for the whole cycle in the Portman/Fisher race in 2010.
WaPo: Could Democratic fears of a Republican super PAC "avalanche" be exaggerated?
I don't know, I think it's still too early: "A month after Democrats warned that Republicans and conservative super PACs were poised to outspend President Obama in the fall, new fundraising reports suggest that such fears could be overblown."
AP: Obama super PAC donors among White House guests
"More than 60 of Obama's biggest campaign donors have visited the White House more than once for meetings with top advisers, holiday parties or state dinners, a review by The Associated Press has found."
Politico: Tom Dems urge focus on oil companies
In a memo to Congressional Democrats about reclaiming control over the gas price debate, John Podesta and Geoff Garin urge them to talk about Big Oil's campaign money.
HuffPost: Super PAC mega-donors still contributing most of the money
"In February, super PACs continued to collect the vast majority of their donations from wealthy individuals and powerful interests. Donors giving more than $500,000 accounted for nearly 72 percent of all contributions last month, and donors giving more than $100,000 accounted for 86 percent."
CRP: Wall Street's huge bet on Romney
"Between his campaign committee and a monster super PAC supporting his candidacy, Romney has benefited from about 72% percent of the near $33 million Wall Street has contributed through February."
San Francisco Chronicle: Mitt Romney coming to California to raise money
"That's why his GOP presidential campaign is diverting to California for two days of private fundraisers this week, including a Monday stop in Redwood City. Only one public campaign event, in San Diego, has been scheduled." One of the co-hosts is the owner of the San Diego Chargers, you know, because Romney has friends that are team owners.
The Hill: IRS takes heat from both GOP, Dems over Tea Party grou's tax-exempt status
"The Internal Revenue Service is taking heat from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers for its oversight of certain groups engaging in political activity, in particular Tea Party organizations seeking tax-exempt status."
WaPo: House ethics panel launches new probes of Reps. Shelley Berkley, Vern Buchanan
"The House Ethics Committee said Friday it has launched an investigation into allegations against Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) and a fresh inquiry into Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.)."
NYT: The wall between contractors and politics
Editorial on the government contractors giving to Romney's super PAC. "Mr. Romney improbably claims his campaign has nothing to do with his super PAC, but if it acquires a reputation for skirting the law, it will rub off on him, too. He should make clear that he wants the group to return all contractor contributions, and accept no more of them."
Politico: Duckworth backs off super PAC pledge
"When Illinois congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth asked her Democratic primary opponent to sign a pledge rejecting the involvement of Super PACs, she also promised to take the same proposal to GOP Rep. Joe Walsh," but: "the Iraq war veteran appeared to back away from that statement after a reporter noted a Super PAC was organizing to defeat Walsh."
NYT: The full employment Congress
The New York Times editorial on CREW's report from last week: "But a new report detailing how the families of more than half of all House members similarly benefited financially from their ties with a lawmaker makes for particularly interesting reading when politicians all over are promising voters: jobs, jobs, jobs. "
The Nation: Wall Street's killer day on Capitol Hill
George Zornick writes on the weakened version of the STOCK Act and the JOBS Act: "While there are some important features to the STOCK Act, it purposefully leaves out any penalty for hedge funds or other Wall Street entities that trade in insider Congressional information. And the JOBS Act is simply a naked attempt to deregulate Wall Street even further."
CNN Money: Can 46 rich dudes buy an election?
Yes? Also, worth a click just for the picture they use.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Out-of-state donations fuel McCaskill bid
"Of the more than $3.7 million McCaskill has raised from individual donations of $200 or more since 2007, 60 percent came from donors outside of Missouri."
Salt Lake Tribune: Campaign sleaze
"Elections attract money like garbage attracts flies. Perhaps that’s why this year’s campaigns smell so putrid."
NYT: Lobby groups blanket Supreme Court on Obama health care plan
On the SCOTUS health care reform hearing: "In all, groups involved in the debate have spent tens of millions of dollars in the last two years to steer the political and legal debate. And a record number of organizations — 136 so far — have filed amicus curiae or 'friend of the court' briefs, densely packed with historical citations and legal arguments, to urge the court to either strike down or uphold the law."
Politico: Generation X joining K Street
On Silicon Valley lobbying: "The tech companies pluck top Gen X talent from the White House and Capitol Hill and assemble A-teams of lobbyists — or “evangelists,” as some of them are known — who are super connected inside the Beltway and geek chic enough to fit in at the West Coast enclaves of the industry’s titans."
WaPo: Planners for Democratic convention in Charlotte scramble to raise funds
The DNC ban on corporate money and donations in excess of $100,000 from individuals is making it hard to raise the money necessary for the convention.
Fox 6: John Doe investigation documents name sheriff's comm. director
"Another name has surfaced in the ongoing John Doe investigation that has led to criminal charges against several aides to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, back when he was serving as Milwaukee’s County Executive."
WaPo: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's recall vote: big money fuels small-government fight
"Millions of dollars are pouring into Wisconsin from wealthy conservatives nationwide, and labor unions are preparing to pump resources into the campaign of whichever Democrat faces off against Walker. "
Mother Jones: For Pennylvania's doctors, a gag order on fracking chemicals
"Under a new law, doctors in Pennsylvania can access information about chemicals used in natural gas extraction—but they won't be able to share it with their patients."
Minnesota Daily: $61M spent on lobbying in 2011
"More than $61 million was spent on lobbying in Minnesota last year, according to the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board."
Austin American Statesman: State tries to keep legislators from giving depositions on voter ID
"Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott this week asked a federal court in Washington to prevent 12 state lawmakers from giving depositions in the state's voter identification case."