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.


Just in: The US Supreme Court rules that Arizona can fight against partisan gerrymandering by giving an independent commission the power to determine federal congressional districts.

NPR: One-Third Of Congressional Districts Could Be Affected By Supreme Court Ruling –> “Because other states also use similar commissions to redraw their congressional lines after each decennial reapportionment, states and districts far beyond the borders of Arizona could be affected.”

Campaign Finance/Elections

The New York Times editorial page calls on President Obama to sign an executive order requiring government contractors to disclose their political spending: “In doing so he would expose some of the bigger players in today’s big money politics, while offering a healthy counterpoint to Republican efforts to squelch disclosure.”

Washington Post: Ted Cruz calls for judicial retention elections for Supreme Court justices –> If you think, “Retain Justice Scalia (Paid for By Exxon)” sounds like a good idea then Ted Cruz is for you: he “has proposed a constitutional amendment that would subject Supreme Court justices to periodic judicial elections in the wake of rulings that upheld a key portion of the Affordable Care Act and affirmed gay couples’ right to marriage.” Mike Huckabee wants term limits.

Reflector: Super PACs destroying confidence –> Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) responds to a letter to the editor praising his support for the Government By the People Act: “The rising influence of Super PACs and the prevalence of money in campaigns is helping destroy the American people’s confidence in their government.”

Seacoast Online: Rebels for a cause –> Going to be in New Hampshire? Join the NH Rebellion: “On July 4, hundreds of New Hampshire citizens will take to the streets to declare independence from the corruption of big money in politics.”

SCPN: Remembering Sen. Clementa Pinckney –> Our friends at the South Carolina Progressive Network have this remembrance of the late Sen. Clementa Pinkney, with a link to this video of Sen. Pinckney talking about his support for small donor public financing.

Huffington Post: Stephen Colbert Destroys Dissenting Justices In Same-Sex Marriage Decision –> Stephen Colbert on Friday’s marriage decision: “It’s hard to believe that gay Americans achieved full constitutional personhood just five years after corporations did.”

Slate: Where was all this “five unelected judges” chatter when they handed down Citizens United? –> Dahla Lithwick on the marriage dissents: “And all I could keep thinking was, ‘Where was all this five unelected judges chatter when you all handed down Citizens United? Or Shelby County? Why does this rhetoric about five elitist out-of-touch patrician fortune-cookie writers never stick when you’re in the five?'”

Congress/Admin/2016

Huffington Post: It Only Took Five Months For Billionaire GOP Donors To Set New Records –> Republican billionaires are taking advantage of the new political party contribution limits. Already, Warren Stephen’s $800,000 “tops the more than $570,000 that hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer gave over the entire 2014 election cycle” to candidates and party committees.

Bloomberg: Hoping to Score: Presidential Hopefuls on Last-Minute Money Drive –> “From Lower Manhattan to Orange County, California, presidential hopefuls are shuttling between hotel ballrooms and millionaires’ mansions ahead of a big fundraising deadline.”

NJ Advance: Will Christie have enough campaign cash for his 2016 White House run? –> Chris Christie will announce his presidential bid tomorrow and a top Christie donor says the reason he has waited so long “has to do with those federal campaign finance laws just mentioned: As soon as he’s a candidate, he won’t be allowed to coordinate with his super-PAC, America Leads, and, as of only today, can’t ask for contributions in excess of $2,700 to it once he’s a candidate.”

POLITICO: Chris Christie’s nothing-left-to-lose campaign –> And: “Once a national fundraising powerhouse who hoped to convert his Republican Governors Association chairmanship into a financial launching pad for a presidential bid, Christie’s camp now estimates that he will raise only between $20 million and $30 million by the end of the year.”

Huffington Post: Hillary Clinton’s Newest Consultant Was A Major Keystone Lobbyist –> “The newest hire for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign is a longtime strategist who played a key role in her 2008 primary defeat while working for then-Sen. Barack Obama. He’s also a Washington lobbyist who lobbied the State Department — led, at the time, by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — on behalf of the company seeking to build the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.”

Columbus Dispatch: Kasich officially to enter presidential race on July 21 –> Gov. John Kasich will announce his bid next month and “has made fundraising trips to at least New York City, California, Florida and Texas, and just last week he spent two days in the Chicago area.”

AP: Political opposition groups want to tear down 2016 hopefuls –> “Big political opposition operations, which didn’t even exist five years ago, will be important players in the 2016 presidential election.”

POLITICO: Bernie Sanders doesn’t follow the money –> “In order to meet his fundraising goal, Sanders will travel sporadically to New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago and other Democratic strongholds in the coming months to raise cash, according to Sanders’ advisers. But the campaign does not want to spend time courting major donors or enlisting them to bundle money in the way that Clinton has with her ‘Hillraisers’ program.”

New York Times: Bernie Sanders’s Early Online Haul: $8.3 Million –> Wow: “Mr. Sanders, the Vermont independent senator running for the Democratic presidential nomination, has raised at least $8.3 million online through June 17, according to Federal Election Commission records.”

Colorado Statesman: Sanders rocks Denver crowd, calls for ‘political revolution’ –> In Denver on Saturday, Sanders “received a huge reaction when he took aim at the Supreme Court’s controversial 2010 decision in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case.”

Washington Post: Jeb Bush dogged by decades of questions about business deals –> On Jeb Bush: “But records, lawsuits, interviews and newspaper accounts stretching back more than three decades present a picture of a man who, before he was elected Florida governor in 1998, often benefited from his family connections and repeatedly put himself in situations that raised questions about his judgment and exposed him to reputational risk.”

Mother Jones: Why Does Jeb Bush Have a Mysterious Shell Company? –> Odd: “An entity called BHAG is trying to trademark the candidate’s logo for use on ‘key chains of precious metal’ and other campaign merchandise.”

The Advocate: LSU coach Les Miles in crowd at Bobby Jindal event that raises half a million dollars –> “Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says his presidential campaign raised half a million dollars at its first major fundraiser held in Baton Rouge on Saturday.”

Washington Examiner: Jindal PAC launches $500,000 ad campaign in Iowa –> Bobby Jindal super PAC going up in Iowa: “Sources confirmed Friday that Believe Again, the group formed earlier this year to boost the Louisiana Republican, has invested nearly $502,000 on a two-week ad buy that will run stateside in Iowa, host of the first nominating contest on the 2016 primary calendar.”

Roll Call: GOP Tries to Portray Feingold as a Hypocrite Over PAC Spending –> Progressive United’s spending doesn’t really have anything to do with Russ Feingold’s support for reforming our broken campaign finance system but saying it does is a good way for Ron Johnson to dodge questions about whether he’ll support an outside spending pledge.

The Hill: Al Gore: ‘Too early’ to pick Hillary –> Al Gore: “The most serious dysfunction in American democracy is now in the legislative branch, in Congress, because they spend most of their time begging rich people and special interests for money.”

Times-Picayune: Bill Cassidy, Rob Maness deal with unwelcome donations –> “Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge and former Louisiana Senate GOP candidate Rob Maness are among a large group of politicians who received campaign donations from Earl Holt, head of the Council of Conservative Citizens.”

National Journal: Yes, Ted Cruz Raised $4 Million in 8 Days. No, He Can’t Spend All of It. –> Ted Cruz is raising money for the primary and general so he won’t be able to spend everything he announces he has in the bank.

Reuters: Corn lobby goes after old foe sugar with new lobbying tactic –> “The powerful US corn lobby is launching an unusual offensive against the country’s sugar sector, an old foe in the lucrative sweetener market: seeking to overturn the controversial, near-century old US sugar program.”

WMUR: Pro-Democratic PAC to hit Ayotte with digital ad campaign –> “A pro-Democratic political action committee with close ties to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid is launching a digital advertising campaign Monday targeting Republican US Sen. Kelly Ayotte for what the group calls her ‘cozy relationship with Washington, DC special interests.'”

POLITICO: Iranian-Americans set up lobbying arm to counter pro-Israel groups –> “An Iranian-American group that has actively backed the US-Iran nuclear talks — and battled allegations it works for the Iranian government — will launch a lobbying arm next week, a move it casts as part of a growing push against neoconservative and right-leaning pro-Israel advocacy groups.”

Other/States

Concord Monitor: Budget is a result of money in politics –> New Hampshire State Rep. Timothy Smith writes that the budget debate is being fueled by big money and we need a constitutional amendment.

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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