Morning Reads

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 Laura Friedenbach of the non-partisan campaign finance reform group, Every Voice.

Martin O’Malley (D-MD) plans to announce his White House bid on May 30th in Baltimore.

Meanwhile, O’Malley criticized super PACs yesterday on a visit to New Hampshire saying “any member of Congress” should welcome public financing of elections since under the current system politicians have been reduced to “telemarketers.” Also, “how can you tell me that you’re actually representing the interests of your district when you’re spending 20 hours a week on a telephone like an idiot in some little room calling people again and again and again asking for PAC checks. I mean, this is bull—-.”

Another White House announcement is hours away. Former ambassador to the UN John Bolton will announce at around noon today he is running for president. Washington Post, POLITICO.

Campaign Finance/Elections

TIME: Meet the Man Who Invented the Super PAC –> “The plaintiff in a landmark campaign finance case [ vs. FEC] wants to loosen regulations even further.”

Reuters: Non-profit sues US SEC to force political disclosures rules –> Campaign for Accountability “sued the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday in an effort to force the agency to adopt rules requiring companies to disclose political contributions…The SEC has been under mounting pressure from liberal groups, as well as a handful of law professors, to enact rules requiring companies to tell investors about campaign contributions.”

First Senate ad of 2016 comes from Senator Mark Kirk.

The Hill: Celebs give big money to California Senate candidate –> “Big-name celebrities — including John Legend, Seth MacFarlane, Sean Penn and Sheryl Sandberg — are coughing up big cash to back Kamala Harris in her Senate bid.”


USA Today: Bush money machine in high gear even without official campaign –> Jeb Bush “is raising record amounts to build a political infrastructure that could overwhelm his rivals for the Republican nomination and break ground on campaign finance.” Election law expert Rick Hasen says a precedent is likely being set: “The Supreme Court got the ball rolling and candidates are pushing the ball down the hill as fast as they can.”

CNN: It’s getting harder for Jeb Bush to pretend he’s not running for president –> “For two full seconds on Wednesday, Jeb Bush was running for president. ‘I’m running for president in 2016 and the focus is going to be about how we …’ Bush said. A half-beat later, the former Florida governor seemed to recognize his mistake. ‘If I run,’ he belatedly added, after an event in Reno, Nevada. Bush’s verbal cover-up was the most obvious miscue by Bush in his assiduous attempt to avoid tripping over campaign finance rules.” The Washington Post, MSNBC The Hill.

Mega-donor Sheldon Adelson is now “the owner of a genuine George W. Bush” (painting, that is).

The Hill: Oracle billionaire said to plan Rubio fundraiser –> “Billionaire Oracle founder Larry Ellison is reportedly backing Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) bid for the White House. POLITICO reported on Wednesday that Ellison will host a June 9 fundraiser for the Florida senator’s presidential campaign at his California home.”

The Guardian: Marco Rubio says US not the ‘world police’ but must intervene more –> “Rubio denied… that his intensifying proximity as a presidential candidate to mega-donors such as Sheldon Adelson, the staunch supporter of Israel and opponent of a two-state solution, had pulled him in a hawkish direction.”

Reuters: Why Ted Cruz is wowing some of Wall Street’s money men –> Despite the uncompromising rhetoric, Cruz is winning praise from some potential Wall Street donors, including bankers and hedge fund managers, who told Reuters there is more to him than the conservative firebrand of the campaign trail. He has been courting financiers in their homes in New York and Greenwich, Connecticut, they said. But the praise does not appear to be translating into cash donations — at least so far.

The Washington Post: 10 members of Congress took trip secretly funded by foreign government –> “The state-owned oil company of Azerbaijan secretly funded an all-expenses-paid trip to a conference in Baku, on the Caspian Sea, in 2013 for 10 members of Congress and 32 staff members, according to a confidential ethics report obtained by The Washington Post. Three former top aides to President Obama appeared as speakers at the event.”


The influence of money in politics continues to be inescapable as editorials in the Connecticut Post and the Albany Times Union call for state-based reforms to end to dark money.

Capital New York: Former Catsimatidis staffer indicted over Ulrich flyer –> “A member of former mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis’ campaign staff has been charged with two counts of filing a false instrument by Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance, Capital has learned.”

San Antonio Express News: Bill to ban dark money in political campaigns faces House and Senate hurdles –> “Republican leaders in the Texas House, eager to shine a light on secret campaign spending, are hoping to pass a controversial proposal Thursday to prevent politically active nonprofits from hiding the identities of their donors. But a legislative deadline could derail the disclosure effort for the session.”

Post Bulletin: Our View: Don’t end Minnesota’s public campaign funding –> “Minnesota’s public financing fosters more participation in the election process. Repealing the Political Contribution Refund would deter it. The void would be filled by special-interest groups, and no reasonable person wants that.”

The Washington Post: Special prosecutor intent on pursuing investigation in possible illegal coordination by Scott Walker campaign, but major legal hurdles remain –> “Francis D. Schmitz, a veteran federal prosecutor who heads the five-county probe, argued in [a] recent court filing unsealed Wednesday that there is reason to believe that campaign finance violations occurred when Walker’s strategists collaborated with conservative advocacy groups during the state’s contentious recall campaigns in 2011 and 2012.”

AP: Clean Elections panel to mull modified spending oversight –> “Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan is opposing a proposal by the Citizen’s Clean Elections Commission to modify campaign spending reporting rules for outside groups… The commission meets Thursday to consider whether it should open a public comment period on a rule requiring new outside groups to file reports if they spend more than $500 to advocate for or against a candidate or voter initiative. The reports would disclose spending and donors.”

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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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