Clips Round-up for 11/8/12
While the conventional wisdom seems to be gelling around "look, super PACs don't matter," the reality for voters and for candidates is much different. When facing an avalanche of outside spending, candidates had to spend even more time raising money, less time with their constituents, and small donors voices were drowned out. Voters despise the non-stop negative ads from billionaire-backed super PACs. Candidates fear them and are forced to depend on deep-pocketed donors to keep up. These are not insignificant impacts. The only people who like them are those who benefit from them: TV station owners, political consultants, and the billionaires and millionaires who are trying to finance a hostile takeover of Congress.
CRP: "But that's not to say super PACs and secretive nonprofit groups had no influence on the election: Although they heavily favored conservative candidates, many of whom lost, they created an arms race that helped drive the cost of election to record levels."
With that said, here are a few post-mortems on the campaign cash:
- Washington Post: "Spending by independent groups had little election impact, analysis finds"
- Politico: "The billion-dollar bust?"
- NYT: "Little to show for cash-flood of big donors"
- Roll Call: "Time to second guess super PACs"
- LA Times: "Effect of 'super PACs' proved to be less than expected"
Sunlight Foundation lays out all the outside groups and how they fared.
A ballot initiative in Montana saying that corporations aren't people got 75 percent of the vote on Tuesday, with lots of Republican support. And it wasn't the only initiative across the country. The full rundown from Common Cause and more at HuffPost.
A state senate race in New York turned into a referendum on which candidate would champion reform in Albany--and the champion appears to be winning. Jonathan Soros: "Being on the wrong side of reform can cost you your seat."
Campaign Finance/Fair Elections
Public Campaign: Senate will see at least six new reform champions in 2013
We tally up the reform supporters going to the Senate, and returning incumbents to the House. At least six new Senators - Baldwin, Heinrich, Murphy, Hirono, Warren, and King - have a history of supporting reform and will replace Senators who have been either inactive/absent/opposed on the issue.
The Nation: A progressive surge
In its post-election editorial, The Nation calls for the Fair Elections Now Act.
Times-Standard: The vital issue Congress won't address
Former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton writes about the need for ethics reform.
Roll Call: Office of Congressional Ethics must survive
Norm Ornstein writes on the need for the Office of Congressional Ethics: "If House Republicans, with the active support of many Democrats who would just as soon see the OCE fade away, try to drop the watchdog group from the rules package, I can guarantee it will not happen quietly."
WaPo: Long voting lines suggest need for reform
Editorial: "But they — and, for that matter, the federal government — should also be thinking about streamlining the process in more fundamental ways, like experimenting with online voting." Dan Froomkin at HuffPo on Obama talking about this in his speech Tuesday.
Roll Call: Plum K Street jobs scarce in post-election market
"If a revolving door between government and downtown actually existed, the line to get through it in the next few weeks would easily snake for miles." One K Street headhunder had this to say: "It will be pandemonium." The Hill.
Boston Globe: Brown-Warren pledge made for cleaner campaign in super PAC era
While it had flaws, the outside spending pledge mostly worked: "As expensive and tense as it was, this year’s Senate contest in Massachusetts provided a national model for how other high-profile campaigns can keep outside interest groups from hijacking a campaign."
NYT: Saving wealthy donors from themselves
Heh: At this point, however, the richest Americans might view reform as an act of mercy, the regulatory equivalent of a referee stepping in to stop an even (but bloody) match. Congress should save the rich from themselves."
HuffPost: Labor unions deliver for Obama with post-Citizens United ground game
"For a labor movement that's found itself on its heels for much of the past two years, President Barack Obama's decisive victory in Tuesday's election proved that unions' political ground game may be as potent as ever in the new age of super PACs."
Orlando Sentinel: This year's winner? big money
Editorial: "The U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision and other court rulings, along with permissive laws and regulations on the federal and state levels, allowed powerful special interests and individuals to pour an unprecedented amount of money — often secretly — into this year's races. Of course, these patrons will be expecting plenty in return for their support." Philly Inquirer.
Huffington Post: David Rivera defeated by Joe Garcia
"A campaign finance scandal may have cost a South Florida Republican his congressional seat and handed victory to his challenger, who will be Miami's first Cuban-American Democratic representative."
Sunlight: Four House races where outside money may have pushed the needle
"Outside spending can have its biggest impact in smaller races. And in a number of contests for congressional seats where there was a significant money advantage for one side, independent expenditures seemed to help push the needle."
CPI: Spending by outside groups tops $1 billion by election day
"Super PACs and other outside groups made possible by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision spent more than $1 billion on advertising in federal races through Election Day, with 10 organizations accounting for more than half the total."
WaPo: Big money from super PACs hit House races
"The drama in northern Minnesota was mirrored in dozens of races across the country in the final days of the campaign. Much of the money came from anonymous donors. Republican-leaning groups generally outspent Democratic groups, but not by much as Democrats had feared early in the election cycle."
CAPAF: Big polluters' big ad spending in the 2012 election
"In just the last two months of the campaign, outside groups linked to dirty energy sources or the promotion of a dirty energy agenda spent more than $270 million on TV ads in the presidential, House, and Senate races and industry ads promoting oil, gas, and coal interest, and more than $31 million was spent on energy-related ads..."
CRP: Mixed results for challengers that outraised incumbents
"An election cycle that was inundated with cash like never before allowed some challengers to neutralize the incumbent advantage by winning the money race and succeeding in the new campaign model."
NYT: Karl Rove's on air rebuttal of Fox's Ohio vote call raises questions about his role
Did y'all see Rove's performance on Fox Tuesday night? "What followed — an extraordinary on-air confrontation between Mr. Rove, a Fox commentator, and the network’s team of voting analysts — drew renewed focus on the Republican operative’s complicated and conflicting roles in this presidential campaign." Trump said mean things about Rove on Twitter.
Forbes: With Obama win, Wall Street is the big loser
"Wall Street made a huge bet on Mitt Romney and lost. The financial services sector contributed $61 million to Mitt Romney’s campaign compared to giving only $18.7 million to Barack Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Chicago Sun-Times: Jesse Jackson, Jr. in plea deal talk with feds, sources say
"Sneed has learned U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who handily won re-election Tuesday despite a lengthy stay at Mayo Clinic for depression and bipolar disorder, is in the midst of plea discussions with the feds probing his alleged misuse of campaign funds."
Politico: Bloomberg's super PAC tally
"We won't know for awhile the full output of the Independence USA PAC, the Mike Bloomberg-funded group that the New York mayor unveiled a few weeks ago, but he notched some victories that his team is pointing to."
Roll Call: Lobbyists eager for short-term fiscal deal
"K Street’s calls for a legislative Band-Aid to carry clients past the 'fiscal cliff' and into the next Congress became increasingly desperate Wednesday." NaJo.
Sunlight: House freshmen faring well as incumbents
"A vast majority of the freshmen swept into office two years ago on an anti-incumbency tide managed to survive their first reelection as incumbents, and while some appear to have been helped by last-minute infusions of cash from outside spenders, in many cases, independent expenditures don't appear to have made much of a difference."
LA Times: Sheila Krumholz, she follows the money
Q&A with the executive director of the indispensable Center for Responsive Politics.