Morning Reads

The Republican-controlled Nevada Senate passed a bill yesterday “that would bar lawmakers from accepting gifts from lobbyists and would require candidates file more frequent campaign finance reports.”

Gird your loins: Hillary Clinton’s announcement is coming this weekend. And, according to Daily Beast, “After that, the nascent campaign will embark on a fundraising push that the Clinton camp says will dwarf anything seen in the history of presidential politics.”

Campaign Finance/Elections

CPI: Congressman to colleagues: Surrender surplus campaign cash –> Interesting new bill from Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA): “The California Democrat’s bill — H.R. 1518, also known as (cue Elsa) the “Let it Go Act” — would force former federal candidates who aren’t again seeking federal office to ‘dispose of’ lingering campaign money within six years of their last race.” (All campaign finance bill titles should have Disney references, imho.)

If you missed yesterday’s Twitter Town Hall on a proposed executive order on contractor disclosure, ReThink Media has you covered.

Cap Times: Mark Pocan, Keith Ellison push to add right to vote to US Constitution –> “Reps. Mark Pocan and Keith Ellison don’t expect their proposal to explicitly grant the right to vote in the US Constitution will be swiftly approved by Congress. But they plan to keep at it until it is.”

PFAW: New Report Examines Supreme Court’s “Citizens United Era” –> “A new report released today by the People for the American Way Foundation explores the extreme pro-corporate jurisprudence of the Supreme Court in recent years, identifying parallels to the Court’s infamous Lochner era a century ago”

Reminder: The FEC is having an open house on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon to celebrate its 40th anniversary. I’ll see you there!

NYDN: Close New York’s biggest campaign finance loophole: The Board of Elections must make one simple fix –> Brennan Center’s Larry Norden on the new ethics “reform” bill in New York: it didn’t touch the LLC loophole but “[w]ith one stroke of the pen, three commissioners on New York’s Board of Elections can help fix the problem.”

New paper from Larry Lessig in the Fordham Law Review: “The debate about the nature of the corruption of the American democracy presents a false choice. This essay shows the connection between the conception of corruption that properly describes the United States government, and the conception of equality that corruption entails.”


USA Today: Super PACs move to forefront of 2016 campaigns –> “Only two major presidential candidates have formally declared their bids, but the allies of at least 11 White House hopefuls have launched committees to raise unlimited money to back their campaigns — the latest sign that big money will swamp the 2016 presidential race like never before.”

Buzzfeed: Rand Paul Campaign Sends Cease-And-Desist To Stations Running Iran Attack Ad –> Haha: “A lawyer for the Rand Paul campaign has sent a legal notice to TV stations that ran a hawkish attack ad based on Paul’s views on Iran, calling the ad defamatory and asking stations to stop showing it.”

NYT: In Accepting Bitcoin, Rand Paul Raises Money and Questions –> Interesting look at Rand Paul accepting bitcoin donations, which “raises questions about whether illegal contributions could make their way into campaigns more easily.”

WSJ: PAC Backing Rand Paul Changes Its Name to Avoid Tangle with Election Rules –> I disagree with lawyer Dan Backer on almost everything but he does have a sense of humor: “A grassroots super PAC formed to support Sen. Rand Paul’s run for president in 2013 officially changed its name this week to SWR PAC — cheekily citing concerns that the deceased libertarian writer Ayn Rand may run for office.”

Gov. Chris Christie will be in the DC area in May for his leadership PAC.

National Journal: Why a Political Chameleon From Rhode Island Thinks He Can Beat Hillary Clinton –> The man nobody was asking to run for president declared his bid for 2016 yesterday: “Lincoln Chafee is a soft-spoken, party-switching Rhode Island Democrat. And he thinks he deserves the Democratic nomination for president in 2016 more than Hillary Rodham Clinton.” He calls Clinton “a little too close to Wall Street.”

Martin O’Malley, in an interview airing on MSNBC today, will say, “I think that the SEC has been pretty feckless when it comes to reining in reckless behavior on Wall Street. We can’t expect Wall Street to police itself – that’s why we have a federal government.”

CNN: Ted Cruz super PACs: A new era of political fundraising –> More from CNN on the unusual Ted Cruz super PAC set up and don’t forget: “Each is tethered to a big donor or donor family.” Super PACs, the new bowling night for super rich families?

I made this Oprah/super PAC gif yesterday and y’all are welcome to steal it.

WaPo: Meet Marco Rubio’s $10 million man –> Ed O’Keefe interviews the sugar daddy behind Sen. Marco Rubio’s super PAC. Interestingly, the man’s foundation employs Rubio’s wife. On the guy who’ll run the PAC.

WaPo: FEC reminds Rubio (again) to clean up his campaign finances –> “Just because he’s running for president now (it’s nearly official!) the FEC isn’t going to let the Florida Republican off without him cleaning up his Senate campaign committee.”

CBS: Eyeing a 2016 bid, Rick Santorum forms “testing the waters” account –> “Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has set up a testing the waters account in anticipation of a possible 2016 presidential bid, CBS News has learned.”

Last night: RT @ZekeJMiller: Huckabee: “Iowans cannot be bought. They can’t even be rented. Heck, I tried!”

POLITICO: Keeping a distance from Robert Menendez’s money –> How do you solve a problem like Menendez? “But in the aftermath of scathing 68-page federal bribery indictment, some Democrats are taking a hard look at money they received from New Millennium and from the Florida eye doctor charged along with the senator.”

POLITICO: Kevin McCarthy hauls in more than $3.5 million –> Wow: “Showing his fundraising muscle, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy raised more than $3.5 million in the first quarter of 2015.”

CRP: Trans-Pacific Partnership Deal Has Mighty Lobbying Power on Its Side –> CRP takes a look at the money behind the lobbying battle over TPP. Living the High Life After Congress –> Michael Winship on former members living high on the hog, including Wall Street lobbyist Eric Cantor: “Rarely do they follow the example of ancient Rome’s Cincinnatus and go back to the farm – or take that teaching job at the local university or join a hometown law practice. They stay in DC to reap the bountiful harvest that comes from Capitol Hill experience and good old fashioned cronyism.”

Reuters: Democratic candidate for US Senate swears off Wall Street money –> Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), running for Senate, will not accept PAC money from the financial industry. WaPo. The Nation: Who’s next?

Gannett: Strickland trails Sittenfeld in early fundraising –> In 35 days: “Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland raised about $670,000 in the first fundraising quarter since launching his bid for the 2016 Senate campaign.”

National Journal: Conservative Group ALEC Threatens Legal Action Against Telecom Critics –> LOL: “Last month, attorneys representing ALEC sent a cease and desist letter to Credo Mobile, a progressive wireless carrier, asking it to stop making claims that it opposes the expansion of municipal broadband services.”

Dinesh D’Souza gets a feature in Vanity Fair this month for some reason, and he says of prison: “D’Souza tells Peretz that on his first night in the center, his 400-pound bunkmate struck up a conversation: ‘He goes, ‘Hey, man, what are you in for?’ I go, ‘Campaign-finance violation.’ He goes, ‘What the **** does that mean?’”

Because it’s Friday, read this delightful story on riding the subway with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Chuck Schumer.


RIPR: Bills Introduced To Curb Misuse Of Campaign Finances –> In Rhode Island: “Two bills meant to discourage the misuse of campaign accounts have cleared an initial hurdle at the General Assembly. Efforts to restore the state Ethics Commission’s oversight of the legislature continue to languish.”

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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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