Morning Reads

As we continue our effort to keep you up-to-date on how money continues to corrupt American government and politics, is pleased to publish this daily digest of money and politics news compiled and edited by Laura Friedenbach of the non-partisan campaign finance reform group, Every Voice.

Washington Post: Jeb Bush leans on nonprofit group as he prepares likely presidential run –> Nonprofit group Right to Rise Policy Solutions plays “more expansive role” than previously known: “Bush’s reliance on the non­profit as he prepares for a likely presidential bid puts him on untested legal ground, cloaking who is paying the salaries of his expected advisers.”

Also, Jeb hires John Boehner aide Michael Steel as Right to Rise advisor. POLITICO, WaPo.

Campaign Finance/Elections

Washington Post: Amid gridlock in DC, influence industry expands rapidly in the states –> “Lobbyists aren’t having much luck on a gridlocked Capitol Hill — so more and more, they’re opening their wallets in state capitols around the country.”

Reuters: The new US office politics: funding your boss’s political causes –> “Today employers are increasingly approaching workers to fundraise, lobby and campaign in ways they never have before, according to a Reuters analysis of FEC filings and data compiled by the Business Industry Political Action Committee.”


POLITICO: Bill Shuster aided Virgin Islands — then asked for cash –> Transportation committee chairman delivers legislation worth millions to Virgin Islands and rakes in campaign donations. Noah Bookbinder: “It does seem like a fairly stark example of an official being influenced by something other than what is in his constituents’ interest and what’s in the public interest.”

New Jersey Watchdog: Christie buys $300K of food & booze with NJ expense account –> Expenses including $82,000 in concessions at NFL games — Christie claims the Republican Party, not taxpayers, paid for snacks at Giants and Jets games. MSNBC, TIME, NYPost, NYMag, POLITICO, WaPo, Forbes.

POLITICO: As Jeb Bush delays announcement, opponents wonder if “he’s a bankroll in search of a soul.”

CNN: Ted Cruz to host fundraiser along US-Mexico border –> Cruz to hold $1,000-a-head fundraiser on June 9 in the border town of McAllen, Texas.

WSJ: Why Is Clinton Making the Case for More Transparency? –> Answer: “She’s playing to win.”

Clinton Camp sends top lawyer to join Ohio voting rights lawsuit. Columbus Dispatch, USA Today.

AP: Super PACs Rise in Influence in 2016 Campaign –> Super PACs’ “influence in selecting the next president will be without precedent.”

Wondering what the world’s first super PAC was? The Onion explained.

USA Today: Tea Party sets sights on White House –> “Tea Party groups still have strong fundraising and an Internet presence, and if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, they will undoubtedly coalesce in opposition to her.”

Pres. Obama launches foundation:

National Journal: Harry Reid’s Parting Gift to Democrats –> $$: “Freed from the commitments of a reelection race, Reid is embarking upon an aggressive schedule of fundraisers designed to fill the bank accounts of allied candidates, political committees, and super PACs.” In other news, Reid and Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson might have something they agree on.

National Journal: How Candidates Are Doubling Their Campaign Donations –> Special election candidates double dip on fundraising asks to get a head start on 2016.

As the Senate plans to vote on fast-track trade authority, worth revisiting MapLight’s analysis on how major political donors have access to TPP documents, while everyone else doesn’t.


New York Times: Dean Skelos, New York Senate Leader, Vacates Post –> Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos steps down from his leadership post following corruption charges: “In a span of only 16 weeks, the leaders of both legislative chambers have been arrested and replaced as a result of separate corruption cases, a head-spinning change in a capital known for its inertia.”

International Business Times: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Donors Get More State Bond Work –> “New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration is undeterred. Despite revelations last week that the governor’s officials have steered state housing bond work to his campaign contributors in apparent defiance of federal pay-to-play rules, New York state officials on Friday announced they are giving those same donors even more lucrative business — this time on a massive new transportation revenue bond.”

Meanwhile, AP reports NY lawmakers have put off a vote on closing the campaign finance LLC loophole — which Skelos’ indictment cites as a means by which business interests funneled bribes to Skelos’ campaign fund.

Loudoun Times asks: What do donations buy in Virginia politics?

Las Cruces Sun-News: Lobbyists, groups spend large on New Mexico lawmakers –> Lobbyists and organizations feted New Mexico legislators and other officials with more than $519,000 worth of food, drink and gifts from Jan. 15 through the end of April.

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Laura Friedenbach, Every Voice
Laura Friedenbach is the press secretary at Every Voice. You can follow her on Twitter @LauraFriedy.
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