Clips Round-up for 5/21/12
In an interview with George Stephanopoulos this weekend, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, "What I would like to see in this election is a recognition that we must reduce the role of money in campaigns. Move on to public financing of campaigns, overturn the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United and generally reduce the role of money in campaigns, increase the civility and elect more women into Congress."
May FEC Filings
AP: Conservative donors slow to back Romney's campaign
"Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney and his party raised a sizable $40 million last month from donors who want him to replace President Barack Obama. But even as Romney solidifies his position as the eventual GOP nominee, many supporters who backed his primary election challengers have not yet come to his aid." Politico.
USA Today: Analysis: Republican ex-rivals' donors didn't flock to Romney in April
"Less than 7% of the money Republican Mitt Romney raised for his presidential campaign in April came from people who had donated to one or more of his rivals, suggesting that some of his party's conservatives have not quickly embraced him as the party's standard-bearer."
Politico: Obama super PAC slump continues
"The pro-Barack Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action is still struggling to keep up with GOP super PACs preparing to unleash millions of dollars in independent advertisements."
Politico: Mitt Romney, Barack Obama in tight money race
"In all this cycle, super PACs, committees and the campaign supporting Romney have outraised Obama and his backers $402 million to $340 million — an analysis of federal records and voluntary disclosures by POLITICO shows." LA Times.
PCAF Blog: 25 lobbyists have bundled over $3 million for Romney's campaign
"Four lobbyists bundled $130,260 in contributions for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in April, bringing to $3 million the contributions that registered lobbyists have bundled for the Romney campaign, according to Public Campaign Action Fund analysis of Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports."
LA Times: Ann and Mitt contribute $150,000 to Romney campaign
Ann and Mitt Romney "donated a combined $150,000 this week to the Romney Victory Fund."
Bloomberg: Obama money edge competes with Republican cash "tsunami"
"Super-political action committees backing the presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney are raising money at a faster clip than Democrats, threatening to erase an Obama financial advantage that allowed him to expand the battleground map in 2008 to include such states as Indiana and North Carolina." WaPo.
- Updated Pinterest: 27 Forbes 400 members have now donated to Romney's super PAC
- Politico: $1M donor once wanted for "criminal mischief."
- Politico: Crossroads cash 5 times Obama counterpart
- Reuters: Pro-Romney super PAC sees fundraising dip in April
- Politico: GOP dropouts end in debt
- WSJ: Obama campaign spending about half of total raised
- Politico: DNC outraises RNC in April
- MSNBC: Super PACs having wide impact
- Politico: Stephen Colbert super PAC numbers pick up
- USA Today: President Obama ended April with $115 million
- Politico: Google clocks biggest giving month with PAC
- Politico: Romney fundraising trails Obama
- Huffington Post: Rick Santorum campaign debt increased after quitting race
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
AP: States rally in campaign finance legal battle
"Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia are backing Montana in its fight to prevent the U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision from being used to strike down state laws restricting corporate campaign spending." Missoulian, WaPo.
NYT: Bring back the real Maverick
"Senator John McCain has retreated from the campaign finance fight, once his signature issue. He may finally be ready to get back in." The Hill on the amicus brief on the Montana case that McCain filed with Sen. Whitehouse. USA Today, Bloomberg, Roll Call.
Roll Call: Advocacy groups faces new ad rules
"With the stroke of a pen, a federal appeals court ruling has drastically altered the calculus for nonprofits and trade groups poised to spend millions of dollars in this election, from well-funded partisan players to grass-roots groups on the left and right."
CSMonitor: Appeals court upholds key provision of Voting Rights Act
"A federal court on Friday rejected an Alabama county's argument that a key part of the 1965 Voting Rights act is outdated. That could set the stage for a Supreme Court hearing. "
Roll Call: Ethics panel amends rules at hastily called public meeting
Amanda Becker writes "The House Ethics Committee tweaked its rules related to filing financial disclosure statements and those that outline when it can take testimony during a rare public meeting today."
NYT: Super PACs changing how political operatives operate
Good read from Nick Confessore: "And for a growing number of strategists and operatives in both parties, the very nature of what it means to work in politics has shifted. Once wedded to the careers and aims of individual candidates, they are now driven by the agendas of the big donors who finance outside spending."
WaPo: White House visitor logs show lobbying going strong
"The visitor logs for Jan. 17 — one of the most recent days available — show that the lobbying industry Obama has vowed to constrain is a regular presence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The records also suggest that lobbyists with personal connections to the White House enjoy the easiest access."
WaPo: Conservative groups outspending liberal counterparts 4 to 1 on congressional races
"Conservative interest groups have dumped well over $20 million into congressional races so far this year, outspending their liberal opponents 4 to 1 and setting off a growing panic among Democrats struggling to regain the House and hold on to their slim majority in the Senate." NYT.
Public Campaign: Senators rewarded for oil subsidies vote
"On March 29th, the U.S. Senate failed to pass legislation to end billions of dollars in wasteful subsidies to oil companies. In the month after the vote, seven Senators were rewarded for their “no” vote with campaign contributions from the country’s top oil companies (Exxon, BP, Chevron, and ConocoPhillips) and their trade association (American Petroleum Institute), according to filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC)."
Politico: Wanted: Lobbyists who raise cash
"These fundraiser-lobbyists have started moving into the lobbying business in recent years, cashing in on their strong relationships with lawmakers and mega-donors. And unlike Hill staff, fundraiser lobbyists don’t have to wait out a cooling-off period before they jump to K Street."
Greenwitch Patch: Romney's Riverside fundraiser attracks super PAC protesters
"The protest, held in front of the Riverside Commons Shopping Center at the busy Exit 5/Route 1 intersection, coincided with a $2,500 a person fundraiser for Mitt Romney at the Riverside home of state Sen L. Scott Frantz."
Politico: Mitt Romney campaign outlines donor perks
"It pays to be a friend of the Romney campaign. The campaign sent out an 11-page document Friday that details the perks high-dollar donors and fundraisers get in exchange for cutting or bundling checks."
NYT: Are you safe on that sofa?
Nick Kristof column on how lobbyists have made your sofa unsafe. "It’s not easy for a democracy to regulate technical products like endocrine disruptors that may offer great benefits as well as complex risks, especially when the hazards remain uncertain. A generation ago, Big Tobacco played the system like a violin, and now Big Chem is doing the same thing." Based on this Chicago Tribune series.
iWatch News: Ameritrade founder Ricketts' Nebraska contribution worries watchdogs
Will the $250k Joe Rickett's put into the Nebraska Senate primary give him special access to Deb Fischer? Public Campaign's Adam Smith: "I don't think there is any doubt Ricketts will get more access to Fischer than regular Nebraskans. This is about electing politicians that will benefit his bottom line and the TD Ameritrade lobbyists will know they have a likely champion if she's elected in November."
HuffPost: John Sarbanes experiments with his own campaign to promote public financing
Paul Blumenthal looks at Rep. John Sarbanes' Grassroots Donor program. Public Campaign's Nick Nyhart: "This is not a one-off experiment. He's doing this to craft a system where people can rely on small donations and money from a public fund."
BuzzFeed: Ricketts' lessons in the cost of politics
Good piece on the limits, as they are, on political contributions. "But SuperPACs like the one Ricketts contemplated, and an array of other vehicles for political money, require the disclosure of contributions; and as donors to Mitt Romney’s SuperPAC have learned this year, attempts to channel anonymous contributions through shell corporations tend to draw intense publis scrutiny."
NYT: Behind Army's $17,000 drip pan, Harold Rogers's earmark
So how did a Kentucky company get an earmark to make a $17k drip pan for an Army helicopter? Hal Rogers. "The company’s owners are political contributors to the congressman, who has been called the “Prince of Pork” by The Lexington Herald-Leader for his history of delivering federal contracts to donors and others back home. "
National Journal: Big Oil's love triangle
"Only in Washington could a stormy love triangle form among congressional Republicans, big oil, and President Obama."
Politico: Dems, GOP fear bomb from outside groups
"A super PAC’s abortive plan to launch incendiary, personally charged attack ads against President Barack Obama sent a sharp warning message to candidates up and down the federal ballot: This year more than ever, they are not in control of their own destinies."
Republic Report: Koch operative steered $55 million to front groups airing ads against Democrats
"Now, a new document filed with the IRS reveals how the Koch political machine funneled over $54.5 million in previously undisclosed funds to a litany of front groups designed to smear Democrats."
NPR: Secret donors still find ways to remain anonymous
"But there's a lot of political spending that isn't being reported. Outside money groups are spending millions of dollars, and the donors remain anonymous. Two recent court rulings could force those groups to file public disclosures, but there already seems to be a way around that."
Chicago Tribune: Political advocacy piques shareholders' interest
"In this presidential election year, shareholders are increasingly curious about the political agendas of public companies."
Seattle PI: Meet Mitt Romney: Price has gone up
"The national inflation rate is low, but the price of meeting or having a picture snapped with Mitt Romney has soared since the former Massachusetts governor became the Republicans’ nominee-in-waiting."
Public Campaign: JPMorgan's PAC donations
Now facing Congressional scrutiny, we looked at which members got PAC money from JPMorgan in April.
NaJo: Lobbyists seeing boost in pay
"Lobbyists have been seeing higher salaries for about the past decade bolstered by intense legislative battles and the seemingly endless change of party control in Congress and the White House - and 2010 was another boom year, CEO Update reports:"
PCAF Tumblr: Quote from Bernie Sanders and Keith Ellison
Sen. Sanders and Rep. Ellison write of oil subsidies: "With the enormous sums these industries spend on lobbying and campaign contributions – made worse by the unlimited corporate campaign spending ushered in by Citizens United – passing a bill like ours will not be easy."
CRP: Mystery health care group funneled millions to conservative nonprofits
"A secretive, well-funded group whose name gives the misleading impression that it is solely concerned about health care gave more than $44 million in 2010 to other tax-exempt groups, many of which spent millions on TV ads attacking Democrats running for the House and Senate and have begun spending for the same purpose this year."
iWatch: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walkeer grants significant access to companies, donors
"Walker received contributions from employees or political action committees at more than half of the 130-plus companies that appear in his official calendars, according to an analysis by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism."
ProPublica: Donations to Scott Walker flagged as potential fraud
"Ultimately, all we can say at this point is that Capital One appears to be flagging donations to Friends of Scott Walker as potentially fraudulent."
NYDN: Fair Elections for NY targets eight state Senators
"Advocates of public election financing will go door to door Saturday, targeting eight state senators to push them on reform. Fair Elections For New York will also release info on donations from the board of the Business Council of New York State to Sens. Mark Grisanti, Thomas Libous, David Valesky, Roy McDonald, Steve Saland, Martin Dilan, Martin Golden, and Kemp Hannon. (Valesky and Dilan are Democrats; the rest are Republicans.)" Times Union.