Morning Reads

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


The active exploration is over, y’all. After attending dozens of fundraisers, maybe raising $100 million, trips to Iowa, New Hampshire, and lots of other places, Jeb Bush will finally announce if he is going to run for president. The event on June 15th will be almost six months to the day he posted on Facebook that he would “actively explore” a run.

Campaign Finance/Elections

Washington Post: Clinton to call for at least 20 days of early voting nationwide –> Hillary Clinton will offer an incredibly controversial policy proposal at a speech in Houston today: we should make it easy for people to vote. AP. (A reminder, assuming she hits on voter ID laws: “Almost no one shows up at the polls pretending to be someone else in an effort to throw an election.”)

Roll Call: Doug Hughes: Postal Service Firing Me, But Letters Will Get to Congress –> BOOO: USPS says it’s going to fire Doug Hughes for his behavior. But I love this: “The letters Hughes carried may still reach Congress, with the help of a 70-year-old man named Joe Lane. Beginning on June 10, the Connecticut-based thriller writer will walk the halls of Capitol office buildings hand-delivering  Hughes’ letters to members of Congress.”

Center for Public Integrity: Senator would limit lobbyist money that fueled liberal allies –> A ban on lobbyist bundling: “Sen. Michael Bennet, former leader of the Democratic Party’s Senate campaign arm, is sponsoring a bill that would make his successor’s job even harder.”

Auburn Citizen: Zephyr Teachout: Public financing of elections ‘most basic feminist issue right now’ –> Zephyr Teachout on public financing: “Far more women run for office when you have a public financing system. We’ve seen that everywhere we’ve experimented with it — in New York City, in Arizona, in Maine and Connecticut.”

Congress/Admin/2016

AP: Rick Perry says he’s humbler, better prepared for 2016, but can America forget ‘Oops?’ –> Rick Perry announced his presidential bid via his website today and “one thing Perry hopes to emulate from 2012 is his fundraising, when he amassed $18 million in the first six weeks.” The Center for Public Integrity has “12 things to know.”

NYT: Rick Perry, Shrugging Off 2012, Announces He Will Run Again for President –> Oh, also: “And Mr. Perry has another problem, one that political consultants say has the potential to ruin or at least hurt his campaign: a criminal indictment.”

Media Matters: Broadcast Evening News Fail To Cover Jeb Bush’s Super PAC Problem –> Speaking of Jeb: “Broadcast evening news programs on ABC, NBC and CBS completely ignored likely Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush’s questionable delay in announcing his campaign while he sidesteps campaign laws and continues coordinating with his super PAC.”

Washington Post: How Democrats can make voters care about big money in politics –> Greg Sargent talked to Rep. John Sarbanes about that NYT/CBS poll and you should read what he has to say: “… I can start by tapping on the microphone, and saying: ‘I know that 95 percent of people in this room think government is bought and sold by big money special interests. And you’re right.’ All of a sudden they wake up and say, ‘Maybe this guy actually knows how we feel and has something to say to me.’” ThinkProgress.

Esquire: Here’s Some Stupid for Lunch –> Charlie Pierce has this piece on the poll and one critique it got: “If we continue to allow our politics to be little more than richly rewarded legalized influence-peddling, it won’t matter how clever Chris Cillizza is with the poll numbers, democracy simply will die. This would seem to be a serious problem.”

NYT: Lincoln Chafee Takes Winding Road Into Democratic Race –> Linc Chafee announced a run for president yesterday: “Although he did not mention Mrs. Clinton by name, he referred to the controversies surrounding her use of a private email account while secretary of state and foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation, calling them ‘regrettable.'”

CNN: Cruz super PAC claim: $37 million raised –> From how many people? “Three of the top 10 conservative donors in the last presidential election are giving to the super PACs supporting Ted Cruz that now claim to have raised more than $37 million to support his bid, a shocking haul and donor list for such a populist Republican candidate amid a crowded 2016 field.” Also, Cruz appeared at a fundraiser for the “constellation of groups” in New York this week.

Washington Post: O’Malley super PAC to air early television ads in Iowa –> “A super PAC supporting Democrat Martin O’Malley’s presidential bid is preparing to air television ads in Iowa highlighting the former Maryland governor’s willingness to stand up to Wall Street ‘bullies.'”

Reuters: The CEO of a $2 billion tech company is hosting a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton –> The 30-year old head of tech-company Box will host a fundraiser for Clinton.

POLITICO: George W. Bush headlined private Jeb Bush event during Iraq flap –> A fundraiser in San Francisco: “As Jeb Bush was struggling last month with the political fallout surrounding his position on the Iraq war, former President George W. Bush was quietly going to bat for him.”

Reuters: Authorities unlikely to stop 2016 election fundraising free-for-all –> “White House hopefuls raking in record amounts of money in the 2016 presidential race are already being accused by watchdog groups of breaking campaign fundraising laws. But the Department of Justice is unlikely to prosecute possible violations and halt the funding free-for-all, say current and former department officials.”

Bloomberg: How to Make Friends and Influence Elections –> A look at winery owner John Jordan and how wealthy people have turned politics into a hobby, like yacht-racing.

Roll Call: Democrats Frustrated by Unions’ Cash Freeze Over ‘Fast Track’ –> The AFL-CIO’s cash freeze over trade is making Democrats angry.

Mike Huckabee on Florida Gov. Rick Scott: “Anything I can do to suck up to him and his donors, by God I want to do.”

POLITICO: John Boehner-aligned group plans $1M ad blitz for trade bill –> The American Action Network, a group closely aligned with Speaker Boehner, “is spending close to $1 million to promote a bill that would give President Barack Obama fast-track trade authority, saying China will gain economic prominence if Congress fails to act.”

Washington Post: With some donors doubting Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio seizes an opening –> “Marco Rubio is benefiting from pockets of discontent in Jeb Bush’s sprawling money network, winning over donors who believe the 44-year-old freshman senator from Florida offers a more compelling persona and sharper generational contrast against Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

POLITICO: Dick Morris shuts down anti-Hillary super PAC –> There’s no stopping her now: “Dick Morris has shut down his eponymous super PAC aimed at keeping Hillary Clinton from winning the presidency.”

Mother Jones: Congress Slyly Changed Campaign Finance Rules. Now the GOP Is Cleaning Up. –> The great Russ Choma has left the Center for Responsive Politics and here’s his first byline at Mother Jones on who’s taking advantage of the new contribution limits passed under last year’s omnibus budget bill.

Washington Examiner: Hastert’s self-enrichment indicts Washington establishment –> Tim Carney on Denny Hastert: “That problem boils down to one question: How in the world could a school-teacher-turned lawmaker afford to pay, reportedly, $3.5 million in hush money?” Also, his lobbying firm is basically Denny Who-Stert? right now.

NPR: Sen. Menendez’s Corruption Trial Hasn’t Begun, But Legal Sparring Has –> Helpful update: “It’s been just two months since the Justice Department indicted Sen. Robert Menendez on bribery and conspiracy charges. But lawyers in the case already seem to be, well, getting under each other’s skin.”

The Intercept: Republican Jeb Hensarling Attacks Democrats for “Throwing Wall Street a Big Wet, Kiss.” –> Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas): “Now, how many times have we heard Democrats vilify Wall Street banks? By reauthorizing Ex-Im, my Democratic colleagues are simply throwing Wall Street a big, wet kiss.” (This is a bit different than his predecessor at the committee, Spencer Bachus, who once said his job was to “serve the banks.”)

Other/States

State of Politics: Democratic Lawmakers Disappointed In Cuomo’s LLC Comments –> Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the biggest recipient of the so-called LLC loophole that allows wealthy interests to evade contribution limits in New York, just doesn’t think he has the votes to close that loophole. Also in New York yesterday, in an unusual twist, a few elected officials were arrested of their own volition.

AP: Gov. Brown calls for campaign finance limit study –> Oregon: “In light of a ruling last week by the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals, Gov. Kate Brown today called for the Legislature to create a task force chaired by Secretary of State Jeanne P. Atkins to study campaign finance limits and deliver recommendations by the end of the year.”

AP: Governor’s ethics panel says more ethics reforms needed in campaign finance, legislator pay –> “The leaders of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s ethics committee say Virginia has much work left to do in cleaning up its state government.”

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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