Morning Reads

Welp, Hillary Clinton is running for president and:

  • Her finance team is having a call with donors and bundlers today and the campaign is asking donors “to find 10 people to write a check for the maximum amount – $2,700 – earning them status as ‘Hill-starters.'”
  • CNN on Wall Street’s likely support for her campaign: “… It will also pose a delicate balancing act when it comes to appeasing a vocal wing of her party that is antagonistic toward the banking sector.”
  • WaPo on Friday: “Her top bundlers are plotting aggressive outreach to thousands of Democratic donors over the weekend and into next week.”
  • The campaign is asking its elected friends to activate their supporters.
  • Bloomberg on fundraising expectations: “In spite of — or perhaps because of — all this, Clinton boosters are already sounding warnings about the stratospheric expectations and trying to tamp them down.”
  • RNC Chair Reince Priebus’s position of “disclosure for thee but not for me” on Clinton Foundation donors is laughable (Also, she resigned from the Foundation on Sunday.)
  • She’ll need that sweet Texas cash.
  • Hollywood should be good to her and she is supposedly headed to LA in May for a series of events, including one hosted by Haim Saban.
  • Center for Public Integrity’s 12 things to know.
  • WSJ: “Republicans have mounted a series of ad campaigns seeking to preempt Mrs. Clinton’s announcement.”
  • Ready for Hillary PAC is now Ready PAC and “[s]oon, the group will shutdown entirely.” WSJ.

And Matea Gold has this must-read today: “A cadre of wealthy liberal donors aims to pour tens of millions of dollars into rebuilding the left’s political might in the states, racing to catch up with a decades-old conservative effort that has reshaped statehouses across the country.” USA Today, NYT.

Campaign Finance/Elections

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in New Hampshire this weekend: “Well, Citizens United has gotta be fixed. Y’all agree with that? You’re gonna need a constitutional amendment to fix this problem.”

Bloomberg: Will Obama Shine Light on Dark Money? –> On efforts to get President Obama to sign an executive order on contractor disclosure. PIRG’s Dan Smith: “What’s he waiting for?” Supportive LA Times editorial.

Congrats to Communities United and others in the Maryland coalition for their work getting this bill to restore voting rights for some ex-felons through the Maryland legislature. Gov. Larry Hogan should sign it.

The Hill: Let Bitcoin into the Campaign –> The head of a Bitcoin advocacy group has this op-ed: “The $100 limit is arbitrary even when a campaign actually accepts Bitcoins because campaigns have an obligation to disclose their donors regardless of how they contributed.”

POLITICO: Keep Shining the Light on ‘Dark Money’ –> I disagree with some stuff in here, but this op-ed by former Obama campaign lawyers Bob Bauer and Samuel Issacharoff on transparency is interesting: “Reformed reporting requirements can be carefully drawn to bring into public view this spending while also addressing concerns about donor privacy and harassment. This would make possible a constructive bipartisan conversation that has to date been unattainable.”

Congress/Admin/2016

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on the Daily Show last Thursday: “There is so much money flowing into Washington, so much power, so many lobbyists, that it becomes the norm. The wind only blows from one direction, from those that have the money.”

POLITICO: Rubio preps for presidential announcement –> And with Sen. Marco Rubio’s announcement coming today: “Even with the former governor in the race, Rubio’s advisers insist they’ll be able to raise enough money — in Florida and around the country — to be competitive.”

NaJo: Secret-Money Group Tied to Marco Rubio Super PAC Has Been Researching Presidential Primary Voters –> “A secret-money group linked to Marco Rubio’s new super PAC has existed for more than a year, during which time it conducted extensive research on early-state primary voters.”

NYT: On the Trail of Super PAC Money –> Editorial on the Menendez indictment and Cruz’s network of super PACs managed by a close friend: “The Justice Department’s willingness to track super PAC money in what are undeniably suspicious circumstances is to be applauded and encouraged. With donors dropping seven-figure checks on grateful politicians, the risk of corruption is mounting.”

NYT: Hedge-Fund Magnate Robert Mercer Emerges as a Generous Backer of Cruz –> On Robert Mercer, Ted Cruz’s billionaire sugar daddy: “He is also an example of how wealthy donors have been empowered by the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the landmark Citizens United case, which paved the way for super PACs.” Daily Beast: “But the billionaire also has some baggage — like, the avoiding billions in taxes kind of baggage.”

CBS LA: Presidential Hopeful Rand Paul in Newport Beach for Fundraiser –> This past Friday: “Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul will be in Newport Beach Friday night for a fundraiser, three days after declaring his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.”

The Hill: For 2016, a tidal wave of cash –> Juan Williams, in his latest column: “But big money getting bigger and bigger does look to fit the bill. And unless federal prosecutors are able to tie PAC money to political favors in the Menendez case, there is no restraint in sight.”

Gannett: Lawmakers’ staffers show revolving door goes both ways –> On lobbyists going back to Congress: “But Isakowitz’s move in the opposite direction shows that Washington’s revolving door swings both ways, with powerful lobbyists giving up big salaries to take key jobs in Congress.” And Isakowitz, in particular, made bank leaving his firm.

The Hill: Suddenly, ‘Schumerland’ is the place to be –> Speaking of lobbyists: “At least 30 former aides to the New York Democrat now work in the influence industry, according to a review by The Hill, and their stock is soaring now that Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) is preparing to hand him the leadership reins.”

Sun-Times: Senate Majority Leader McConnell headlining Sen. Mark Kirk fundraiser –> Sen. McConnell was in Illinois this weekend raising money for Sen. Mark Kirk.

Business Insider: Meet Scientology’s lobbyist who works the halls of Congress for the church –> “For over 10 years, records show the Church of Scientology has had one man lobbying Congress on its behalf.”

WaPo: The sugar lobby’s sour tactics –> From Dana Milbank: “In that same can-do spirit of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Sugar Association industry lobby has stepped up its campaign to convince Americans and their government that sugar is good for us. Or, at least, not bad for us.”

Other/States

Reuters: Ex-NY Assembly speaker loses bid to dismiss corruption charges –> “Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver lost a bid on Friday to dismiss the federal corruption charges he faces due to public statements a top prosecutor made that the once-powerful politician called prejudicial.”

Buzzfeed: Judge Says Preet Bharara ‘Strayed So Close To The Edge’ Of Prejudicing Silver Trial –> Related: “US Attorney Preet Bharara was scolded by a federal judge today for his comments to the press and his office’s tweets in the aftermath of the arrest of former New York state Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver. ”

Tennessean: Four mayor’s candidates now past $1M in fundraising –> “Bill Freeman, Charles Robert Bone and Linda Eskind Rebrovick have joined David Fox in amassing campaign fundraising figures that exceed $1 million in Nashville’s mayoral race.”

To read more go to everyvoice.org.


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Adam Smith is the communications director at Every Voice. He has worked in money-in-politics advocacy since 2006, managing or advising communications efforts for policy and field campaigns in Congress and states across the country. As communications director, he manages media relations and oversees the research and digital teams. Follow him on Twitter: @asmith83.

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