Morning Reads

In Iowa yesterday, Hillary Clinton said, as one of the “pillars” of her campaign: “We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all — even if it takes a constitutional amendment.” The Hill.

Every Voice’s David Donnelly, in the Boston Globe: “That one of Clinton’s first policy proposals in her campaign is to address our broken campaign finance system speaks volumes about the role money and politics will play in the 2016 campaign.” Other statements from Public Citizen and PFAW.

In a follow-up interview with WaPo on the subject, Clinton said, “We do have a plan. We have a plan for my plan.” As she puts her “plan for my plan” together, I offer these principles and policies to round it out.

Of course, regular readers know she’s not the first candidate in the race to talk about money in politics or offer some sort of policy proposal.

Campaign Finance/Elections

Across the country today, activists with Represent.Us. will participate in “Representation Day” events across the country, rallying against corruption and for a political system that works for all of us. Follow along @representdotus.

HuffPost: Taxation Without Representation –> Represent.Us’s Josh Silver and Theodore Roosevelt IV have this op-ed on tax day and the rallies: “For the vast majority of Americans, ‘taxation without representation’ isn’t just a relic of high school social studies — it’s a perfect description of their relationship with a political system that’s been thoroughly corrupted by money.”

MSNBC: How to shine a light on dark money –> Brennan Center’s Larry Norden and Dan Weiner note President Obama has been all talk on money in politics and “the president has the power to strike a major blow against dark money in our elections now, without congressional approval, and without running afoul of Supreme Court precedent,” by signing en executive order on contractor disclosure.

Rep. Rod Blum Introduces Lifetime Ban On Lobbying for Members of Congress –> “Today Congressman Rod Blum (R-IA) introduced his first bill, H.R.1740, the No Golden Parachutes for Public Service Act. This legislation would prohibit Members of Congress from ever engaging in lobbying activities after they leave office.” The Hill.

Steptoe: Political Intelligence Regulation: Insights into Senator Grassley’s Call for Legislation –> “Firms engaged in ‘political intelligence’ activities may soon face new requirements, following a recent announcement by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) that he will once again push for legislation that requires disclosure of these activities.”

Public Citizen: At Spring Shareholder Meetings, Resolutions Call for Increased Transparency of Corporate Lobbying and Election Spending –> “At more than 100 annual meetings this spring, shareholders will ratchet up the pressure on corporations to disclose information about corporate lobbying and electioneering expenditures so investors can make informed investment choices.”

Missoulian: Montana Senate OKs amended campaign finance bill –> A bill in Montana to address dark money spending is getting closer to passage, with one final vote needed: “The Montana Senate, by a large margin Tuesday, endorsed a major campaign finance bill as amended by the House.”


POLITICO: Menendez donor indicted on 76 counts –> No wonder he was trying to buy influence with officials: “A Florida ophthalmologist at the center of the corruption charges against Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) was hit Tuesday with a new, 76-count federal indictment that accuses the doctor of engaging in an elaborate Medicare fraud scheme.”

Cook Political Report: “Only 4 percent of all TV ad occurrences captured by Kantar Media CMAG in the 2016 presidential race so far have been positive.”

Texas Tribune: Rubio Looks to Texas for Campaign Cash –> “Fresh off becoming the fourth major candidate to announce a run for president, US Sen. Marco Rubio is heading to Texas next week to raise money for his new campaign.”

MySanAntonio: Local attorney to handle Clinton cash –> Jose Villarreal: “A local lawyer who has been active in national politics for more than two decades has been tapped to handle Hillary Clinton’s campaign cash.”

CRP: Will Clinton Win Back Wall Street for Democrats? –> More on the tightrope Clinton will walk if she tries to raise cash from Wall Street. Christie to kick off potential 2016 candidate talks to DC business leaders –> People with $$$: “Gov. Chris Christie will be the first of eight potential 2016 presidential candidates to address Washington-area technology and business leaders when he kicks off a series of talks on May 1.” Also, Chris Christie just trusts too much. That’s why the bridge scandal happened, he said.

Sunlight: Liberal dark money group eyeing Iowa TV ads –> Looks like Americans United for Change might go up in Iowa soon.

Yahoo notes that Hillary Clinton bashes CEOs while taking their money. The real problem, of course, would be if she takes their money and only says and does things to make them happy, right?

USA Today: Clinton starts small in campaign fundraising –> “Although she will need at least $1 billion in her quest for the White House, Clinton is collecting money for the primary election only. The Democrat is going without a finance chairman to corral wealthy contributors. And her fundraisers will only have to collect a relatively modest sum of $27,000 in the next month to earn their titles as ‘HillRaisers,’ far less than the six-figure goals candidates typically set for bundlers.”

LA Times: Hollywood likely to line up behind Hillary Clinton in presidential race –> Without Obama to compete with in Hollywood, “Clinton is expected to face little primary competition — and the left-leaning entertainment industry is poised to become a major source of campaign cash.”

IBTimes: Jeb Bush’s Administration Steered Florida Pension Money to George W. Bush’s Fundraisers –> “He is one of 19 top fundraisers for George W. Bush — known as ‘Pioneers’ and ‘Rangers’ — whose financial firms received state business from Jeb Bush’s administration in Tallahassee.”

Every Voice: Senate sets sights on consumer protection agency –> Sens. Pat Toomey and David Perdue have been trying to weaken the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We take a look at their Wall Street cash.

The Hill: Scalise sets record fundraising pace –> “House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (LA) raised $1.5 million for the first quarter of 2015, a fundraising record for the No. 3 GOP leader, according to people familiar with his campaign operation.”

Mercury News: Congress rematch? Ro Khanna outraised Mike Honda 3-to-1 in first quarter –> Ro Khanna, “who came close to unseating fellow Democrat Honda in November, raised $801,000 in this year’s first quarter, a report he’ll file Wednesday shows — more than three times what Honda reportedly raised.”

Hutchinson News: Huelskamp says he’s fiscally positioned for any challenge in 2016 –> “US Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler/Hutchinson, announced Tuesday his Kansans for Huelskamp campaign has more than $605,000 in the bank, and he’s ‘well-positioned’ in case he is challenged in the 2016 election.”

In other fundraising news: Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) raised $1.6M in the first quarter and Indiana Senate candidate Rep. Todd Young (R) brought in $525,000.

WaPo: Three Republican congressmen will fight for your right to barbecue –> “Three Republican congressmen filed with the Federal Election Commission Tuesday an ‘Americans for BBQ’ fundraising committee.”

Salt Lake Tribune: Citizens United spending $200,000 on Mike Lee ads –> “The first campaign ads of the 2016 race are hitting Utah’s airways Tuesday. Citizens United is spending $200,000 on a series of TV, radio and web ads supporting Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, that will run through April 27.”

POLITICO: Aaron Schock staffers tell House they’ve been subpoenaed –> “Four members of former Rep. Aaron Schock’s staff reported to the House that they have received subpoenas to testify before a grand jury in Illinois.” Roll Call.

Daily Beast: Exclusive: Donor Ready to Sue Schock to Get His Money Back –> “A former donor to disgraced ex-Rep. Aaron Schock will file a class action lawsuit against him Wednesday morning, in hopes of preventing the Illinois Republican from using campaign funds for his legal defense.”


With the “LLC loophole” on the agenda at tomorrow’s New York Board of Elections meeting, Capital New York looks at how wealthy real estate interests use it to buy access and influence in Albany.

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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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