Morning Reads – Trade Deal a Boon for Big Pharma, Mega-Donors Are Really White

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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.

With presidential candidates poised to announce their fundraising hauls any day now, Sen. Bernie Sanders says of the chase for cash: “It is a national disgrace that billionaires and other extremely wealthy people are able to heavily influence the political process by making huge contributions.”

And this weekend in New Hampshire, as candidates descend on the state, folks with NH Rebellion will be protesting that disgrace: “hundreds of New Hampshire citizens will take to the streets to declare independence from the corruption of big money in politics.” More details here.

Campaign Finance/Elections

With second quarter fundraising reports due to the FEC on July 15, now is a good time to remind folks that Senate candidates are not required to file their reports electronically. They print them, mail them to DC, and they are then scanned and uploaded as unwieldy PDFs. It wastes about $500,000 a year. The Senate could easily change this.

Time: America’s Founding Principles Are in Danger of Corruption
I missed this piece last week from former Sen. Gary Hart on the corruption of our government: “What brought us to this? A sinister system combining staggering campaign costs, political contributions, political action committees, special interest payments for access, and, most of all, the rise of the lobbying class.”

Newsweek: How Dark Money Shields Political Donors
Karoli Kuns on dark money: “How to reconcile Citizens United, which gave corporations the same rights as individuals with regard to political speech, while shielding them for any accountability for that speech?”

Brennan Center: New Jersey Could Become Second State to Pass Groundbreaking Voting Reform
The New Jersey legislature just passed a really good voting reform bill. What will Gov. Christie do?

Huffington Post: John Lewis, Civil Rights Veteran, Asks Black Clergy To ‘Fix’ Voting Rights Act
Congressman John Lewis on restoring the Voting Rights Act: “We need to fix it before next year’s election. We’ve got to do it, brothers and sisters. We have a moral obligation, a mission and a mandate to do it.”

Campaign Legal Center: In Search of Qualified FEC Commissioners
Larry Noble on the FEC: “There is a large pool of individuals at the local, state and federal level, both lawyers and non-lawyers, who have ‘the experience, integrity, impartiality, and good judgment’ to represent the public’s interest in the administration of our campaign finance laws.”


Politico: Leaked: what’s in Obama’s trade deal?
“A recent draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal would give U.S. pharmaceutical firms unprecedented protections against competition from cheaper generic drugs, possibly transcending the patent protections in U.S. law.” The pharmaceutical industry spent $1M on donations to congressional candidates in 2014 (and any additional dark money donations to groups like the Chamber) and $2M on President Obama’s relection.

OpenSecrets: Donor demographics: old white guys edition, part III
Who are candidates spending time with? They don’t look like the rest of America, that’s for sure: “Of the top 500 donors to federal campaigns and committees in 2014, only 12 were nonwhite by the broadest possible definition, and none of those 12 cracked the top 100. With no people of color among the very largest donors, that means that just over 99 percent of the money from the top 500 donors came from its white members.”

NBC News: The 2016 Money Chase: Everything You Need to Know
“Keeping track of the money in the 2016 presidential race will be harder than ever – with all of the candidates, all of the Super PACs, all of the other outside groups.But here’s a handy guide on everything you’ll need to know.”

Mother Jones: Did Jeb Bush’s Campaign and Super-PAC Cross the Line on Coordination?
Oops: “But recent statements by one of Bush’s top political allies suggest Bush may have coordinated with Right to Rise even after he technically qualified as an official candidate.”

New York Times: US Chamber Fights Smoking Laws While Hospitals and Insurers Sit on Its Board
Wait, you’re telling me the trade association of the world’s largest corporations only cares about profit? “The chamber’s global opposition to antismoking measures, reported by The New York Times on Tuesday, poses a challenge for many of the members of the organization, particularly hospitals and health insurers.”

NJ Advance: Christie sends out the call for cash right after jumping into 2016 race
“Just a couple of hours after formally declaring his candidacy for president, Gov. Chris Christie sent out another announcement: I need money.”

OpenSecrets: Meet Bobby Jindal’s money man
“Louisiana governor-turned-2016 GOP presidential contender Bobby Jindal may not rank high in the polls, but he does have one thing going for him: a super PAC headed by a former member of Congress and longtime lobbyist who knows firsthand a few things about money in politics.”

In his tax return release yesterday, Jeb Bush once again criticized lobbyists (and Marco Rubio?): “But one thing I didn’t do was get paid to lobby or cut deals with the state government I just left. That was a line I drew and it was the right one. And it’s a line more people should be drawing in Washington, D.C. where lobbying has become our nation’s premier growth industry. And this culture of special interest access is a problem I plan to tackle as President.” I’m all ears for the “plan” he has to tackle this problem. If he tells you, let me know.

New York Times: Rubio Increases Ad Buys to $7 Million in Early Voting States
“Mr. Rubio, the Florida senator and Republican presidential candidate, has added to an already significant ad buy in the four early voting states, putting the total airtime he has reserved so far in the contests at more than $7 million.”

Washington Post: Rand Paul raises money with the marijuana industry
“Rand Paul tapped into a new money-raising well Tuesday: the marijuana industry, holding a private fundraiser at the National Cannabis Industry Association’s business summit and expo here. The price to get into the closed-door event not far from the exhibition hall? $2,700.”

Center for Public Integrity: Prison inmate forms super PAC
I feel like he might have a hard time raising money: “Adam Savader this week formed Second Chance PAC — it may raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections — even though Savader himself can’t vote. That’s because Savader is serving a 30-month sentence in federal prison for cyberstalking and extortion after pleading guilty in November 2013 to the crimes.”

Politico: Former Rep. Lee Terry making $275K at new gig
Want to know how much money rank-and-file former members make on K Street? Here’s a hint: “Former Nebraska GOP Rep. Lee Terry, who lost his 2014 reelection to Democrat Brad Ashford, now has an annual salary of $275,000 at Kelley, Drye & Warren.”

The Hill: ObamaCare ruling paves way for lobbying blitz
“Healthcare lobbyists across Washington are hoping to win long-sought changes to ObamaCare now that the Supreme Court has affirmed the law is here to stay.”

AP: Bon Jovi’s politics: Cash for Clinton, music for Christie
“Jon Bon Jovi hosted a fundraiser for Democratic presidential contender Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday night, and Republican Gov. Chris Christie used the New Jersey rocker’s songs as his soundtrack as he announced Tuesday that he was also running for president.”

Huffington Post: Labor Leader Joins Bernie Sanders’ Campaign, Citing Clinton’s ‘Silence’ On Fast Track
Outgoing CWA President Larry Cohen says he’s ready for Bernie and will work for his campaign as an unpaid volunteer. “Without a candidate like Bernie, we’re going to get a repeat of the same stuff,” Cohen said. “Bernie is movement-building, and we need a new movement. We need to get big money out of politics.”

Al Jazeera: Bernie Sanders campaign rallies drawing enthusiastic progressive crowds
In stump speeches, Sanders “laid out policies that included expanding Medicare, eliminating tuition for much of higher education, raising the minimum wage and introducing public campaign financing.”


Politico: Redistricting litigation persists in key states despite court ruling
“The Supreme Court may have knocked out the best-known challenge to existing congressional districts in a number of states on Monday, but maps still remain in flux for 2016 in three important, large battleground states: Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.”

Herald-Leader: Matt Bevin courts big donors at private Lexington event for Marco Rubio
“With his campaign in debt, Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin is trying to make new friends among Kentucky’s well-heeled donor class.”

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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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