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.

Take a few minutes today and read Henry Louis Gates’s op-ed in the Times on Rev. and State Sen. Clementa Pinckney, murdered at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston earlier this week. “I have no doubt that had the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney lived, he would have become known — and celebrated — across our country for his leadership, rather than sealed immortally in tragedy, one more black martyr in a line stretching back to the more than 800 slave voyages that ended at Charleston Harbor.”

Campaign Finance/Elections

The Examiner: Former senator calls for political reform –> Former Republican Sen. Jack Danforth (Mo.) gave a speech yesterday about Citizens United v. FEC and our broken politicial system. Specificially, the decision “further separated candidates and voters by inserting interlopers between the two. These interlopers are well-heeled individuals and corporations that pour massive amounts of money into supposedly independent campaigns.”

Sometime recently, the Clinton campaign added a section to the website about her fight to “revitalize our democracy.” Every Voice President David Donnelly says it needs a little work.

Huffington Post: Federal Election Commission Members Really Don’t Like Each Other –> Yesterday at the FEC, a discussion about the petition filed by Chair Ann Ravel and Commissioner Ellen Weintraub led to some fiesty discussions on the panel. Mother Jones, Washington Post, Sunlight Foundation.

Boston Globe: Guinta campaign finance case underscores election panel’s dysfunction –> Speaking of the FEC, they finally got through the investigation into Rep. Frank Guinta, “But perhaps equally dented by the lengthy query is the FEC itself, which deliberated through three general election cycles — allowing Guinta to win his seat, lose it, and then win it again — before concluding that he should pay back the money plus a civil penalty.”

Orlando Sentinel: Gyrocopter pilot’s call to action: Get Big Money out of politics –> Greenpeace’s Rachel Butler: “Though Hughes flew solo, he is not alone; most Americans now agree it is important for our elected leaders to reduce the influence of money in politics.”

Seacoastonline: Be part of the movement  –> Nice letter: “We here in New Hampshire are in a unique position to press for change in the system. There are many opportunities to meet the candidates in person and ask the the question, ‘If you are elected, what specific reforms will you advance to end the corrupting influence of money in politics?'” Another.


Strangely, in the “Combating Cronyism” section of this Koch-network candidate questionnaire, there are no questions about how candidates will address the problems that come from our elections being driven by the country’s wealthiest people.

Politico: GOP’s House and Senate super PACs step up sales pitch –> Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader McConnell to the business community: where’s that sweet corporate cash for our super PACs?

Herald-Tribune: Rubio fundraiser canceled in Sarasota –> Marco Rubio was supposed to go to Sarasota, but they couldn’t round up enough rich people for him: “Rubio, the U.S. Senator from Florida, was expected to appear at the fundraiser but his local supporters had trouble lining up enough high-dollar donors to make the visit worthwhile for the candidate.”

Politico: Don Young raises money in Puerto Rico, then holds hearing –> Rep. Don Young, no stranger to ethics questions, has a fundraiser in Puerto Rico today with a pro-statehood group. On Wednesday, he’ll chair a hearing on Puerto Rico’s political status. In response to questions from a reporter, Young replied, “I’m not talking to you anymore. … Don’t forget, never address me again.”

McClatchy: For Hillary Clinton, the race for campaign cash is on –> “Clinton is spending much of the month in a dash for cash before the fundraising quarter ends, trying to compete with a bevy of Republican candidates.”

National Journal: Tom Steyer Sends Hillary Clinton a Message, Via Pope Francis and Martin O’Malley –> Billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer “took advantage of Pope Francis’s climate-change encyclical to call on the next president to act on global warming. And he effusively praised Martin O’Malley for taking the lead.”

Wall Street Journal: 2016 Disclosures Show Gulf Between Rich — and Not So Rich –> “The 2016 presidential field has so far divided into two camps: the very wealthy, and the less so.”

Politico: Operation Replace Jeb Bush –> “Sensing the window of opportunity is closing, John Kasich is on a last-minute dash across the country to convince party donors and power-brokers that there’s room for one more candidate in the most crowded Republican presidential field in decades.” With some great color about him getting angry at donors.

LA Daily News: President Obama arrives at LAX for VIP fundraisers, Hillary Clinton also in town raising money –> “President Barack Obama arrived at Los Angeles International Airport today aboard Air Force One, beginning a visit that will last less than 24 hours but will include two Democratic National Committee fundraisers.”

Politico: FreedomWorks head leaves for Rand Paul PAC amid turmoil –> Matt Kibbe is leaving FreedomWorks for Rand Paul’s super PAC but they probably didn’t host a going away party: “Multiple sources told POLITICO that Kibbe had fallen into disfavor at FreedomWorks amid concerns about declining fundraising and lavish spending.”

Mother Jones: Jeb Bush Slams Washington’s Pampered Elites…But Enlists Them for His Campaign –> “Yet, as Bush embarks on his presidential bid, he has surrounded himself with Beltway insiders who have long been part of what he calls the ‘mess in Washington.'”

New York Times: Rand Paul Finds Medium for His Flat-Tax Message: Snapchat –> From Rand Paul’s super PAC: “Coming to a smartphone near you — if you happen to live in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire or South Carolina, that is: the first Snapchat ad for a presidential candidate.”

Yahoo: Rand Paul to raid pot summit for campaign cash –> “Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., the most vocal critic of the ‘war on drugs’ in the 2016 Republican presidential field, will host a ‘private briefing’ on June 30 for campaign donors on the sidelines of the second annual Cannabis Business Summit and Expo in Denver…”

OpenSecrets: The dark money man behind the Donald –> On the guy behind Donald Trump, a political operative formerly with Americans for Prosperity.

National Journal: Et tu, Henry Waxman? –> Henry Waxman surprised a lot of people by becoming a lobbyist after retiring from Congress. Here’s what he has to say about it.

Sunlight: AIG court decision shows influence of big banks on bailout –> “A federal judge’s ruling in a lawsuit spearheaded by former American International Group (AIG) CEO Maurice “Hank” Greenberg against the federal government sheds new light on the 2008 financial meltdown, particularly how government and the banks that caused it collaborated in its aftermath.”


Denver Post: When a lobbyist isn’t a lobbyist –> Op-ed from folks at Common Cause Colorado and Conservation Colorado on ALEC’s influence on the state: “One, an organization that serves up model legislation to lawmakers is engaged in lobbying, plain and simple. But there are no lobbyist disclosures from the organization about this or any other issue in Colorado.”

Journal News: Cuomo scraps plan to attend fundraises –> With Albany unable to come to agreement on rent regulations, it was probably a good idea for Gov. Cuomo to skip a fundraiser at the Plaza Hotel in NYC.

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