Morning Reads

There’s a Jeb Bush leadership PAC, a pro-Jeb Bush super PAC, and now, as The Washington Post reports, a pro-Jeb Bush dark money nonprofit. And he’s still not an official candidate?

Relatedly, the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 filed complaints against a handful of not-candidates yesterday — Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Rick Santorum, and Martin O’Malley. CLC’s Paul Ryan: “These guys aren’t just ‘testing the waters’ for president. They’re soaking wet.” Press Release. WSJ, McClatchy, CRP, Bloomberg, National Journal.

Center for Public Integrity’s Dave Levinthal: “Indeed, the FEC, which exists largely to regulate and enforce campaign finance laws, sometimes takes longer to rule on complaints than it took the United States to win World War II.”

But FEC Chair Ann Ravel has an op-ed in the Post on these not-candidates, saying the agency is paying attention and: “Citizens care that everybody plays by the rules, and they believe that those who break the rules should be held accountable. Americans do not so easily dismiss unlawful activity, and politicians and journalists should not, either. Candidates from every party who have decided to seek the highest office in the land should be straight with the American people.”

And be on the lookout: “An indictment of Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez on federal corruption charges is expected as early as Wednesday, according to sources familiar with the case.”

Campaign Finance/Elections

HuffPost: Taking Back Democracy –> Reps. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Jared Huffman (D-CA), and John Sarbanes (D-MD) have this op-ed on their support for the Government By the People Act: “But there is another way [to] dilute big money’s influence: we can set up a small-donor fundraising system to compete with today’s big-money politics.”

Brennan Center: Waiting for Godot, Superman and Mary Jo White… –> Ciara Torres Spelliscy on those new ads about SEC Chair Mary Jo White and the need for the agency to move on disclosure: “Now at first blush, it might seem that the Chair of the SEC has no jurisdiction over corporate political spending but this is a common misconception.”

Post-Gazette: Open the Books: US Contractors Should Disclose Political Spending –> Editorial in Pittsburgh in support of an executive order on contractor disclosure: “Now is definitely time for him to act, quickly, before the 2016 campaign proceeds further.”

There will be rallies across the country tomorrow calling on the president to sign the executive order, including one in front of the White House at noon. Here’s a map of events.

NPR: Alabama Judge Says Raising Money to Be Elected Is “Tawdry” –> Former Alabama Judge Sue Bell Cobb was on Fresh Air talking about judicial elections: “It’s just not the way that judges ought to be elected because it is really tawdry. It’s difficult. It demeans the court, demeans the position.”


USA Today: Koch Donors Step Into Public View –> But who knows if they are really the ones providing the big cash? “Donors to the Koch-affiliated Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce have penned at least eight newspaper opinion pieces recently, declaring their support for the Kochs’ small-government, free-market agenda.”

Roll Call: Supporters Say Schumer’s Ties, Interests Go Beyond Wall Street –> Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has close ties to Wall Street, including several former aides who now lobby for the industry and “over the next two years, as he awaits his expected promotion, the New Yorker will have to navigate around the policy divisions between the party’s populist wing and its members who are friendlier to business.”

The Hill: O’Malley Rails Against Wall Street in New Hampshire –> Martin O’Malley likes this line: “It seems like one party is entirely owned by big money, and the other party is nearly intimidated by it, and people expect better.”

The digital team at Every Voice has been running a money-in-politics bracket alongside the NCAA tournament. See the final four.

SFGate: Jeb Bush Defends Indiana Law as He Seeks Bay Area Funds –> Jeb Bush might face some awkward questions during his Bay Area fundraising swing today over his support for Indiana’s new anti-gay “religious freedom” law. Chris Christie is in NYC today for a “meet-and-greet” with donors.

POLITICO: California Donors Still Not Sold on Jeb Bush –> Anna Palmer on the hunt for California cash: “Reliable top-tier Republican donors in Orange County — one of the nation’s most lucrative fundraising locales — are leery of committing until they get a better feel for his electability.”

NYT: Trucking and Rail Industries Turn State Troopers Into Unwitting Lobbyists –> Super interesting story on an influence battle between the trucking and rail industries: “What stands out in this transportation battle is how law enforcement officers are being used as lobbying surrogates to make contradictory arguments in the name of public safety.”

WaPo: Rep. Chris Van Hollen Raised More Than $1 Million in 1st Quarter of 2015 –> A strong first quarter for CVH: “Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) has raised over a million dollars for a likely bruising and expensive primary campaign to succeed retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski.”

POLITICO: Mitch McConnell-Rand Paul Alliance Has Its Limits –> In this story about Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell helping Rand Paul only in as much as it also helps McConnell is this: “Senators with deep connections to big GOP donors could be important, as well — if they lend their financial support to the presidential hopefuls.”

Sun Times: Sen. Kirk to Report Raising $1 Million in First Quarter of 2015 –> “Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, who spent Tuesday fundraising in New York, will report contributions of more than $1 million in the first quarter of this year, according to a Kirk aide.”

The Hill: Google Backs Out of GOP Senator’s Fundraiser –> “Google is backing out of a prescheduled fundraiser Tuesday night for Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who is questioning the search giant over a years-old antitrust probe.”

The Hill: Former Senior House Aide to Mayer Brown –> “Warren Payne, a former senior aide at the House Ways and Means Committee, has landed at Mayer Brown’s Washington office.”

The Hill: Financial Adviser Rule Draws Industry Fire –> “Financial services industry firms are locked in a battle to shape the final language of contentious draft regulations meant to crack down on financial advisers.”


NH Register: Committee Sends Modified Connecticut Campaign Finance Bill to Senate –> In Connecticut: “In an attempt to reach a compromise with their colleagues in the House, the Senate Democratic caucus modified a campaign finance bill Monday.”

Journal-Sentinel: Bradley Outpaces Daley in Fundraising for Supreme Court Race –> There’s a ballot question in Wisconsin to basically make sure conservative justices can keep a liberal from the chief spot and “Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business lobbying group, is spending $600,000 on an ad campaign backing the change.” It was “one of several groups backing conservatives that were subpoenaed as part of an investigation into whether Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign illegally worked with conservative groups in recall elections in 2011 and 2012.”

VTDigger: Court Hands RGA $40,000 in Fines for 2010 Campaign Finance Violations –> “The Republican Governors Association will pay $40,000 in penalties for campaign finance violations stemming from its spending during Vermont’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign.”

To read more go to

You can get our Morning Reads delivered to your inbox every weekday! Just enter your email address below…

  • submit to reddit