Morning Reads

As we continue our effort to keep you up-to-date with all the news on how money continues to corrupt American government and politics, is pleased to publish this daily digest of money and politics news compiled and edited by Adam Smith, communications director of the non-partisan campaign finance reform group, Every Voice.

Jeb Bush, who has not yet declared his candidacy for president, “has headlined 47 fundraisers for his Right to Rise political action committee since the beginning of the year. Including fund-raisers for other conservative groups, Mr. Bush has been featured at 63 since January, dwarfing the totals of other likely candidates for the nomination.”

Bush “is preparing to embark on an experiment in presidential politics: delegating many of the nuts-and-bolts tasks of seeking the White House to a separate political organization that can raise unlimited amounts of campaign cash.”

Campaign Finance/Elections

Yale Daily News: Congress members scrutinize campaign finance –> Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and John Sarbanes (D-MD) spoke in Connecticut yesterday about money in politics and the Government By the People Act. DeLauro, on the news of the day: “Trade policy has become a chilling example of the power of big money in American political life.” NH Register.

Jim Bopp is Peak Jim Bopp in this interview with the Center for Public Integrity’s Michael Beckel, including this scalding hot take: “Among his assertions: the current campaign finance system is broken and liberal campaign finance reform advocates tend to act like Communists.”

WAMC: Security Or Campaign Finance Reform? Which Message Did Gyrocopter Deliver To US Capitol? –> Another story on Doug Hughes, gyrocopter guy. Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY): “Getting dark money out of politics is absolutely important. Wealth happens to be buying seats in Congress. Then we come up with those seats advancing a wealth-related agenda. We need to speak to the needs of the many of us and we do that I think by sound campaign finance reform.” Also a segment on OnPoint yesterday. If campaign finance reform is your issue, Christie is not your candidate –> Editorial in New Jersey: “Christie’s ‘solution’ is to perpetuate no-limit donations, with full disclosure of dark money. Transparency is always a good idea, but you’re still left with an oligarchy.”

ELB: Ex-Candidate O’Donnell Challenges Rules Barring Personal Use of Campaign Money –> Via BNA: “Federal Election Commission regulations prohibiting campaign money from being spent to pay a candidate’s rent are unconstitutional, attorneys for former Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell has argued in a new federal court filing…”

Brennan Center: In Texas, Strict Photo ID Law Hampers Voters  –> Texans talk about how hard it was to vote last year after the very strict photo ID law was put in place.


NYT: David Koch Signals a Favorite: Scott Walker –> This isn’t a big surprise, but at a gathering of rich people in New York City yesterday, David Koch said Gov. Scott Walker’s their guy but the organizations he funds/oversees won’t “intervene in the Republican primary process on behalf of a single candidate.” NYDN.

On the other hand –> “… a top Koch aide revealed to POLITICO that Jeb Bush will be given a chance to audition for the brothers’ support, despite initial skepticism about him at the top of the Kochs’ growing political behemoth.”

National Journal: Trading places –> On 2016 candidate-specific super PACs: “Candidates are looking for the political equivalent of a perfect bridge partner, someone with whom they can continually cooperate without ever being able to coordinate — or ever ask for advice.”

Bloomberg: The Reason Hillary Clinton Will Accept Campaign Donations from Lobbyists –> John Podesta, answering a question about the Clinton campaign’s decision to accept lobbyist donations: “What she’s out there doing is saying that we need to clean up financial — the campaign finance. Just listen to the voices of everyday Americans to, you know, move forward, and if it takes a constitutional amendment, so be it.  I think the first thing that she’ll do, quite frankly — and that this will set her apart from her Republican opponents — is that she’ll appoint Supreme Court justices who protect the right of every American to vote, not every corporation to buy an election.”

NYT: Clinton to Hold Five Fund-Raisers at End of April –> “Hillary Rodham Clinton will hold five fund-raisers in two days this month, low-key events in private homes hosted by a number of longtime supporters of hers — and one prominent 2008 backer of Barack Obama.”

The Hill: Rand Paul: Foundation donations will ‘destroy’ Clinton’s message –> “Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is questioning whether donations [to] her family foundation [are] undercutting Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s message on the campaign trail.” His opinion on Koch spending?

CRP: Like Father, Like Son: Rand Paul’s ‘Money Bomb’–> “While the $2.2 million that Paul’s website had reported by Friday afternoon could be only part of his total fundraising picture so far — he has held at least two fundraisers since announcing his bid for the White House, one of which asked for donations ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 — the strategy imitates a fundraising tactic used by his father, former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).”

NY Mag’s Marin Cogan has a great piece on Laura Ricketts, the liberal member of the big spending, mostly GOP family: “He had a fund-raiser for Mitch McConnell, and I was like, Ugh — you know I have to do something for Alison Lundergan Grimes now.

Examiner: Hispanic GOP donors eye Rubio, Cruz and Bush –> “For Hispanic GOP donors, 2016 is an embarrassment of riches. Always-reliable boosters for the party, this election offers Republican donors and bundlers of Hispanic descent their first opportunity to support one of their own for president.”

NYT: George Bush Letter in 1988 Warned Family of ‘New Friends’ Asking Favors –> In 1988, then-Vice President George Bush wrote a letter to his family to say “It would be best, he wrote, to refrain from any kind of activity that could be construed – or misconstrued – as an attempt to peddle influence.”

Enquirer: Kasich’s 2016 fundraising starts, backed by ‘super donor’ –> “A New Day for America, a contribution-limit-free nonprofit formed by Kasich’s supporters, registered Monday with the IRS and will begin fundraising to pay for Kasich’s travel related to his possible presidential bid.” Bloomberg on Kasich.

POLITICO: George Soros’ son builds a PAC for Jewish voters –> Alex Soros “is gearing up to play a more active role in the 2016 election with the launch of new political action committee focused on representing the views of Jewish Americans — beyond foreign policy.”

Center for Public Integrity: Gingrich campaign pays IRS debt –> “Newt Gingrich is once again square with the tax man, his 2012 presidential campaign having finally paid off a lingering debt with the Internal Revenue Service.”

WaPo: Yes, even billionaire Donald Trump has a super PAC –> “Donald Trump, the billionaire reality television star, may be the last person to need one, but a Florida man has a super PAC at the ready if Trump decides to run for president.”

Miami Herald: Rubio refunds old over-the-limit donations –> “Two days before he officially announced his run for the presidency last week, Sen. Marco Rubio’s campaign disclosed that it had refunded more than $23,000 in excessive contributions it previously had accepted.”

Salon: “Just surgically disconnect your shame sensor:” What Ted Cruz gets right about how American plutocracy works –> Ted Cruz gets it right on how bad fundraising is, says Elias Isquith, “because it helps explain why politicians are so exclusively focused on the interests of the rich.”

The Hill: Lobbyists begin to cash in on Republican-led Congress –> “K Street’s largest firms are starting to reap the rewards of the new GOP-controlled Congress, leaving lobbyists bullish about 2015. Nearly all of two-dozen firms that provided their first-quarter earnings totals to The Hill on Monday — the deadline to report the figures to the House and Senate — saw their revenues increase.”

Roll Call: Another Schock Staffer Served Grand Jury Subpoena –> “Another staffer for ex-Rep. Aaron Schock has been served with a grand jury subpoena to testify as part of the investigation into the Illinois Republican’s spending.”

Tampa Bay Times: Florida ethics panel rules former Rep. David Rivera deserves fine, reprimand –> “Without any debate, members of the state ethics commission on Friday agreed that former US Rep. David Rivera should pay $57,821.96 for improperly accepting state money for travel when he served as a state representative.”


Poughkeepsie Journal: Close gaping loophole in NY’s campaign cash –> “The New York State Board of Elections met recently and, despite some point-on prodding by good-government groups, opted not to close a glaring loophole in election law. It’s really no surprise, considering the state Board of Elections hasn’t exactly been the poster child for an aggressive watchdog agency over the years.”

Mother Jones: Politician Tasked With Oil Industry Oversight Gets a Paycheck From Big Oil –> A state senator in Louisiana, vice chair of an environmental quality committee, is also a paid consultant for the oil industry!

Chicago Tribune: Rauner aides form super PAC to back governor’s agenda –> “Two former campaign aides to Gov. Bruce Rauner have formed a new political fund to help the governor push his agenda at the Capitol, the latest effort to give the Republican leverage as his plans face resistance from the Democrat-controlled legislature”

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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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