Clips Round-up for 7/30/12
Huffington Post reports that half of all outside spending this cycle has come from groups that don't disclose their donors: "Through July 26, politically involved groups that do not disclose their donors have spent at least $172 million on campaigns that include television, radio and Internet advertising...Total spending by these groups is likely far greater, since they are required to report only a fraction of their spending to the FEC."
And the FEC made news on Friday. Washington Post: "The Federal Election Commission told political advocacy groups Friday that it would enforce new disclosure rules for some nonprofits under a recent court ruling, but many key groups have taken steps to evade the requirements." Roll Call, National Journal, and Andy Kroll at Mother Jones has a good rundown of what groups that don't want to disclose can do.
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
The Atlantic: Thanks, Citizens United, for the campaign finance mess we're in
Brennan Center's Adam Skaggs: "To be sure, it would be an oversimplification to suggest the decision is the only cause of our current Wild West campaign finance environment. But those criticizing the critics of Citizens United miss the forest for the trees. Their myopic focus on debunking overstatements about the case downplays the major role Citizens United played in ushering in current conditions -- and how it fits with the Roberts Court's ongoing project to put our democracy up for auction."
AP: Mass Senate OKs resolution on corporate spending
"The Massachusetts Senate has approved a non-binding resolution calling for a federal constitutional amendment that would reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case."
The Hill: Conservative group challenges red line dividing candidates, super PACs
"A conservative outside spending group has asked the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to soften the red line that divides super-PACs from the fundraising committees of federal candidates."
Free Press: Free Press pleased that court denied broadcasters' attempt to stall political file rules
"On Friday, a U.S. Court of Appeals rejected a request by the National Association of Broadcasters to stay the implementation of Federal Communications Commission rules requiring television stations to post their political files online."
Politico: Poll: Corruption is No. 2 issue
Interesting: "Americans view reducing government corruption as the second-highest priority for the next president, behind only job creation, according to a new Gallup poll released Monday."
AP: Candidates look overseas for cash
"The Democratic president and his Republican challenger have been aggressively courting Americans living abroad at fundraisers held far beyond U.S. shores. Such efforts serve the dual purpose of raising money to pay for what may be the most expensive election in U.S. history, and galvanizing a largely untapped group of eligible voters."
USA Today: Romney opening Israeli fundraiser to some press
A bit of a kerfuffle over the weekend as the Romney camp tried to keep press out of his Jersualem fundraiser, one being attended by Sheldon Adelson but then reversed that decision.
In 2012 campaign, Obama and Romney inundate swing states with ads
"But with just 100 days until the 2012 election, President Obama faces a far more difficult financial task in his bid for reelection — battling a well-funded challenger in a narrow band of swing states, which will be inundated with attack ads and campaign visits."
Huffington Post: Super PAC mega-donors surpass 100
"In total, super PACs have raised $298 million in the 2012 election cycle, with the vast majority coming from mega-donors giving at least $500,000. Seventy percent of all contributions to super PACs in the 2012 election cycle have come from donors giving $500,000 or more."
Huffington Post: What super PAC donors really want
On big super PAC donors: "The Huffington Post looked behind the rhetoric for the potential policy payoffs -- there's truly no other word for it -- sought by 15 individual and institutional super donors in the 2012 campaign."
Chicago Tribune: Biden in Chicago today for fundraiser
"Chicago once again will open its presidential campaign cash drawer Monday when Vice President Joe Biden holds a re-election luncheon fundraiser for himself and hometown President Barack Obama at a downtown hotel."
NYT: Where's the outrage?
George Blow column on the impact of the combination of big outside spending and voter ID laws: "Republicans are leveraging the deep pockets of anti-Obama billionaires and sinister voter suppression tactics that harken back to Jim Crow to wrest power from the hands of docile Democrats."
NYT: Killing a fly with a bazooka
Thomas Edsall on voter suppression efforts: "The riskiness of the Republican strategy in enacting restrictive election laws suggests that the party has reached an internal consensus that it must, in fact, tilt the playing field in order to win."
Politico: Voter ID laws could swing states
"At least 5 million voters, predominantly young and from minority groups sympathetic to President Barack Obama, could be affected by an unprecedented flurry of new legislation by Republican governors and GOP-led legislatures to change or restrict voting rights by Election Day 2012."
NYT: Behind big political gifts, a mysterious donor
Crazy story this weekend on a mysterious donor who has given big bucks to state and federal candidates: "It is a small apartment in a scrubby section of Jamaica, Queens, where the average household income is $33,800 and many residents receive government assistance...Yet Mr. Williams, who has few apparent assets and no obvious source of income, has become a major benefactor to political candidates and risen to V.I.P. status in New York Republican circles."
Roll Call: Mitt Romney's fundraising boost stems from unique technique
"Individuals are limited to contributions of $2,500 to Romney for President and $30,800 to the Republican National Committee. But through the Romney Victory Inc. joint fundraising committee, which raised $140 million in the second quarter, maxed-out Romney and RNC donors can contribute to the Republican parties of Idaho, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Vermont."
NYT: Mitt Romney courts campaign donors in Israel
And later in the day: "When Mr. Romney delivered his speech overlooking Jerusalem’s Old City later that evening, roughly 25 percent of the crowd was filled with donors, who sat in reserved front row seats and gave Mr. Romney a standing ovation when he took the microphone."
Capitol Column: Romney super PAC buys $1 million in radio ads
"On Friday, the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future released a new radio attack ad against President Barack Obama as part of a new $1 million radio ad blitz being launched in nine swing states."
Roll Call: Farming a team of former members doesn't guarantee a win
Interesting piece from Kate Ackley on Bob Dole's lobbying firm and, more broadly, members going to K Street. "Almost every big K Street practice has at least one ex-lawmaker on the payroll. But Alston & Bird has pursued what it calls an all-star model, betting that its marquee names will bring in business even in a tough economy."
The Hill: McCain's trip to publicize military spending cuts drawing scrutiny
McCain's tour to battle defense cuts is raising some questions: "Debate over whether McCain’s trip is official business or a traveling political campaign has been fueled by questions over how it is being funded."
Politico: Presidential also-rans stiff small business
On 2012 primary candidates who still owe big bucks to various vendors.
iWatch: The Army tank that could not be stopped
Interesting: "Sharp spikes in the company’s donations — including a two-week period in 2011 when its employees and political action committee sent the lawmakers checks for their campaigns totaling nearly $50,000 — roughly coincided with five legislative milestones for the Abrams, including committee hearings and votes and the defense bill’s final passage last year."
Politico: Sharia law, super PACs roil GOP primary
"Tennessee multimillionaire Andy Miller has been warning for years about the lurking threat he says Sharia law poses to America. But this summer, his anti-Islam campaign has become the main act of a riveting Middle Tennessee congressional race, as Miller has pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into a pair of super PACs aiming to take out GOP freshman Rep. Diane Black in her Thursday primary."
Kennebec Journal: Fewer Maine candidates using Clean Elections
"Maine's system of public campaign financing, which has been enormously popular with legislative candidates, appears to be losing its luster in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling outlawing so-called matching funds in taxpayer-financed campaigns."