Morning Reads

As we continue our effort to keep you up-to-date on how money corrupts American government and politics, 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 Washington Post reports that Jeb Bush’s super PAC won’t hit the $100 million mark it kept bragging about and “any figure short of $100 million will probably be seen as a sign of weakness by senior party strategists and donors, many of whom now expect the group to greatly exceed that total.” And six months, dozens of fundraisers, and almost $100 million later, he has filed his paperwork.

Flashback to 2003: “Senator John Edwards of North Carolina said today that he had raised $7.4 million for his presidential campaign in the first three months of the year, an amount likely to put him near the top of a crowded field of candidates in the money race…”

And, get ready, presidential candidates headed to Iowa: “A new bipartisan group in Iowa is pushing for campaign finance reform in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election. The organization, called ‘Iowa Pays the Price,’ was set to officially launch Tuesday. The effort is being chaired by Democrats, Republicans and an independent and is funded by Issue One, a national group also focused on similar issues.” Follow on Twitter.

Campaign Finance/Elections

New York Times: Corporations Open Up About Political Spending –> Good on New York Comptroller Tom DiNapoli: “Twenty-eight public companies — including major corporations like Comcast and Delta Air Lines — have adopted or agreed to adopt political spending disclosure procedures since New York’s fund started pressing the case five years ago, after the Citizens United ruling.”

Media Matters: WSJ Dismisses Scrutiny Of Jeb Bush’s Shady PAC Coordination As Criticism From “The Speech Police” –> On yesterday’s “speech police” editorial from the Wall Street Journal: “But the Journal’s dismissal of the criticism of Bush’s questionable PAC coordination ignores the growing number of legal experts who have raised questions about his actions.”


Bloomberg: John Kasich’s Super PAC Hires Fred Davis as Media Strategist –> John Kasich is staffing up and note this line on those “independent” super PACs: “Add into the mix that every campaign is trying to staff its main super-PAC with a parallel array of strategists in all of the same roles, and it is clear just how intense the battle is for top shelf players.”

This Vanity Fair/60 Minutes poll on corruption is interesting, with “the federal government” listed as the most corrupt institution (followed by the “news media”).

POLITICO: Wall Street fears leftward swerve by Hillary Clinton –> Wall Street is worried that Hillary Clinton is going to be too anti-Wall Street in the campaign: “For Clinton, losing public support from Wall Street backers would cost her a ready source of campaign funds but also spare her the criticism that comes with it.”

Huffington Post: Congress Votes On Bill To Aid Wall Street Banks … And The Koch Brothers –> “House Republicans will vote Wednesday on a bill to help Wall Street banks and the Koch Brothers avoid regulatory scrutiny for risky trades similar to those at the heart of the 2008 financial crisis.” (Republicans in the House received about 63 percent of financial industry donations to that chamber in 2014.)

Rick Santorum, on being in Iowa (and having an event with just one attendee): “It’s not glamorous, and you’re not out there raising money, but you’re doing what the money is ultimately supposed to do — getting votes. This is a lot more fun than being on the phone raising money.”

New York Times: The Lobbying Bonanza –> Tom Edsall’s latest on lobbying: “A once-decrepit section of downtown Washington has become a luxury marketplace, feeding off the lavishly paid men and women successfully representing the political agenda of the corporate sector.”

Bloomberg: Latest Congressional Fundraising Draw: Taylor Swift –> Another story on the 19 fundraisers at the Taylor Swift concert this July. Sunlight’s Gabriela Schneider: “There’s only so many rubber chicken lunches on Capitol Hill that a donor can stomach.”

CBS: Obama promises election help for Democrats who support trade –> Assume that means fundraising help too: “President Obama has an offer for Democrats who fear political attacks if they back his trade agenda: Give me your vote now, and I’ll have your back come re-election next year.”

National Journal: Russ Feingold Is Back, But Has He Changed? –> On Russ Feingold’s run for Senate in 2016: “Democrats expect that, unlike in 2010, he’ll green-light independent expenditures from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to aid his effort. (Super PACs, which were conceived in the middle of Feingold’s last election but not yet popular among Democrats, might also help.)”

The Hill: American Bridge slams Kochs over Ex-Im –> “The policy arm of the liberal super-PAC American Bridge is attacking Charles and David Koch for opposing reauthorization of the the Export-Import Bank, arguing the conservative billionaires are trying to kill the agency for financial gain.”

Huffington Post: Wall Street’s Revolving Door Spins Again In Congress –> “The revolving door in the nation’s capital took another spin last week, when Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) hired Sam Mahler, a lobbyist from Fidelity Investments, one of the country’s largest asset managers.” Mahler lobbied the Labor Department on an investment advisors rule that Kirk opposed in a letter to OMB just a few months ago.

POLITICO: Hastert’s House of Sleaze –> Peter Stone on Denny Hastert: “In his eight year run as Speaker, the House was a morass of ethics scandals—but what was most remarkable was how little Hastert did to address it.”

Roll Call: Van Hollen’s Former Staffers to Host Fundraiser –> “Along with congressional leadership experience and some high-profile endorsements, Rep. Chris Van Hollen has another source of funds for his US Senate campaign: some influential former staffers.”

The Hill: Former Rep. Waxman lobbying for T-Mobile –> “Former Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) is now a registered lobbyist for T-Mobile and four other groups.”


If you haven’t already, go ahead and follow Honest Elections Seattle on Facebook to keep track of the initiative campaign!

NYDN: Legislating 101: Take notes, Albany pols, on how to do your job without being arrested on corruption charges –> Earlier this week, a New York State Senator said all the corruption investigations have gotten in the way of getting work done in Albany. Bill Hammond responds: “There you have it: Albany has been so sleazy for so long, the people who work there have forgotten how to pass laws without breaking them.”

Decatur Daily: Legislation puts more enforcement in campaign finance reporting laws –> “Legislation approved in the Alabama Statehouse gives more clarity and enforcement capabilities to the state’s campaign finance reporting laws, the bill’s sponsor and drafter said.”

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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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