Money Talks: Must-Read Stories About Money and Politics

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Welcome to this week’s roundup (Jan. 13-20, 2015) of must-read stories in the world of money and politics. Check back on Tuesday afternoons for more on the increasing influence of the super-rich on American government. In the comments section below, we’d love to hear your thoughts on these stories and any we may have missed.

 

red-quotation-50If you had to appear before a judge, what would be your personal calculus if your attorney accepted or refused to accept a judge’s direct, in-person request to donate to his or her campaign? What if the opposing attorney or the opposing party contributed but you refused the request?”

— Yael Bromberg of Common Cause explaining the case for judicial campaign regulation. The Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar, a case determining the constitutionality of direct solicitations from judges, on Tuesday.

 

red-quotation-50The FEC exists to serve the public. But for too long it has been a cloistered agency which hears from certain stakeholders with a direct interest in the Commission’s actions, but rarely interacts with the public.”

— Federal Election Commission Chair Ann Ravel, speaking at the organization’s open meeting marking its 40th anniversary. She briefly outlined a plan to introduce “more public voices and more speech at the Commission.”

 

red-quotation-50Over the last six years, the Fox News host’s political action committee, which was created to raise money for GOP candidates, has paid nearly $400,000 to members of Huckabee’s extended family, while spending just a fraction of its multimillion-dollar fundraising haul on the Republican contenders.”

Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy on Huck PAC’s tendency to hire — and highly compensate — Mike Huckabee’s family members.

 

red-quotation-50The limited role for average voters in funding campaigns has implications for the types of candidates who make it through the process and into office, as well as the policies that end up getting enacted once they get there.”

— Karen Shanton of Demos, speaking at the Brennan Center for Justice’s symposium marking the fifth anniversary of Citizens United. Eight good government groups presented new research on outside spending and its impact on democracy.

 

red-quotation-50More money is better: Candidates spend money to generate information for voters … Sure, some of it is slanted and at times outright false, but quite a lot of it is accurate reporting of candidates’ positions on public policy. If parties and private interests are willing to fund that information, that’s a good thing.”

Bloomberg’s Jonathan Bernstein, in defense of Citizens United.

 

red-quotation-50These funders just had a very successful cycle, and I imagine some of the folks want to go for the big enchilada. They are the most sophisticated operation, which would be a huge asset.”

— An unnamed operative familiar with the Koch operation, speaking to POLITICO about the brothers’ potential influence on the presidential race if they choose to back a Republican candidate. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker received invitations to speak at a Koch event this weekend.

 

red-quotation-50No one brought up or addressed the continuing fallout from a 2002 speech Scalise gave to a white supremacist group.”

POLITICO’s Anna Palmer, on a well-attended meeting between Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) and lobbyists last week. Nearly 300 K Street operatives attended the kickoff of Scalise’s new fundraising operation.

Katie Rose Quandt reports and produces for BillMoyers.com. She was previously a senior fellow at Mother Jones and has written for America, In These Times and Solitary Watch. Follow her on Twitter: @katierosequandt.

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