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.

In Iowa Monday, Clinton reiterated publicly her commitment to “do everything I can to appoint Supreme Court justices who protect the right to vote and do not protect the right of billionaires to buy elections.” The Des Moines Register, LATimes, AP, USNews.

Campaign Finance/Elections

CNN: Super PACs coming to a city near you –> “A century ago, party bosses ruled cities. Today, super PACs are in charge. Elections in the nation’s cities are increasingly the territory of deep-pocketed donors who are finding that a dollar spent in a low-cost municipal race can easily put an ally in power.”

Bloomberg: Supreme Court Won’t Block Probe of Walker’s Recall Campaign –> “The US Supreme Court refused to end a state investigation into Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s 2012 recall campaign, rejecting an appeal from a conservative group that says its constitutional rights are being violated. The rebuff leaves the future of the investigation in the hands of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which is considering a separate bid to stop the probe.” AP, Reuters.

LA Times: Supreme Court refuses to shield names of donors to political advocacy groups –> “Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy dealt a speedy setback Monday to conservative advocacy groups that had sought to shield the names of their major donors in California. Without waiting to consult the full court, Kennedy turned down for now an emergency appeal from the Virginia-based Center for Competitive Politics, which has refused to reveal its donors to California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris.”

Gyrocopter pilot travels to DC to learn his fate Thursday.

Washington Post: Shareholders press companies to disclose more about political spending –> “As regulators wrestle with whether to force companies to disclose more about their political spending, an increasing number of shareholders are taking matters into their own hands, thrusting the issue before boards of directors at companies across the country. The number of shareholder proposals demanding more transparency in political spending has more than doubled since 2010, jumping from 61 to 128 this proxy season, according to the Sustainable Investments Institute, a research group that tracks the issue.”

Pres. Obama to attend Stamford, CT, fundraiser with donors giving up to $33,000 per head.

USA Today: Rove-backed group to launch ads to help 3 Senate Republicans –> “A new nonprofit group will launch radio ads Tuesday touting the work of three vulnerable Republican senators in New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania, — the latest indication that allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, will invest heavily to keep the chamber in GOP hands.”

Vox explains what it means to be in a post Citizens United era.


CNN: The dirty little secret of 2016 announcements –> “The dirty little secret of the 2016 campaign is that would-be candidates like Bush and Walker in particular can use super PACs, campaign accounts that allow unlimited contributions, to raise millions of dollars as long as they aren’t official candidates.” Slate.

Wall Street Journal: Lindsey Graham Jumps Ahead of His Presidential Announcement –> Graham states twice in interview “I’m running” before his campaign officially launches on June 1st. As WSJ explains, “Part of the reason candidates delay is to raise money.” The Guardian.

CBS: Groups lobbying on trade paid Hillary Clinton $2.5M in speaking fees –> “Since leaving her post as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton earned millions of dollars delivering 41 paid speeches in the US to a variety of companies and organizations. At least 10 of those groups have been lobbying Congress and federal agencies on trade, an issue that has divided Democrats as the Obama administration pushes for a 12-nation pacific trade deal – and around which Hillary Clinton has remained mum.”

The tech industry has paid Hillary over $3 million for speeches since 2014.

Huffington Post: Republicans Very Troubled By Clinton Donors See No Conflict With Their Own Dark Money –> “For four months, the Republican Party and its many presidential hopefuls have laid into likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton over donations to a family foundation. That these attacks contradict the GOP’s broader stand on campaign finance — and call into question their own weighty burden of donor conflicts — hasn’t troubled them at all.”

AP: Bush returns to South Florida for grassroots PAC fundraiser –> “Jeb Bush returned Monday to his South Florida political roots with a $25-a-person fundraiser for his political action committee, a contrast with recent private high-roller events.”

BBC: What happens to Jeb Bush’s ‘independent’ campaign war chest if he loses? –> “Mr. Bush could get knocked out of the race but still have tens of millions of dollars (or more!) in his PAC. And the thing about an ‘independent PAC’ is, if Mr Bush is done, that money could go just about anywhere, says Larry Noble, senior counsel for the Campaign Legal Center, a public interest watchdog group.”

Washington Post: Bobby Jindal launches presidential exploratory committee –> “Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) on Monday formally launched a presidential exploratory committee, the clearest indication yet that he is gearing up for a White House run. Jindal said he will decide whether or not to launch a full-fledged presidential campaign after the Louisiana legislative session ends on June 11.”

Wall Street Journal: In April, RNC Raised $10 million, Bolstered Anti-Clinton War Chest –> “The Republican National Committee raised $10.1 million last month as it continues to target Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton, and has expanded its cash reserves to $11.7 million.” DNC April fundraising totals have yet to be reported with a deadline of midnight on Wednesday.

Washington Post: A GOP convention fight? Unlikely, but not impossible in the super PAC era. –> “The existence of Super PACs can make up a lot of empty space where votes should be.” With candidates embracing super PACs like never before, many candidates may stick around longer thanks to external PAC support.

President Obama expands his presence in the Twitterverse with new personal handle @POTUS. The response from @billclinton: “Welcome to , ! One question: Does that username stay with the office?

Roll Call: Embattled Guinta Not Backing Down, Despite Calls for Resignation –> “It’s been a rough week for Rep. Frank Guinta, capped Monday with Sen. Kelly Ayotte calling on her fellow New Hampshire Republican to step down amid a campaign finance scandal. But the embattled congressman is not backing down.” State Republicans declined to call for resignation. MSNBC, Roll Call, CNN, WaPo, Star Tribune.

Roll Call: Lobbyists-Turned-Staffers Disclose Salaries, Clients –> “Lobbyists who left K Street in recent months to take jobs on Capitol Hill left behind big salaries and numerous clients that have a stake in the debates their new bosses are engaged in.” Recent disclosure filings reveal staffers of Sen. Rob Portman, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Rep. Devin Nunes and more left K Street with payouts ranging from the hundreds of thousands to multi-millions of dollars.

Mitch McConnell’s policy chief previously lobbied for Koch Industries including lobbying against a resolution to overturn Citizens United.

Roll Call: Out of Prison, Ex-Lobbyist Pushes Sentencing Overhaul –> “Kevin Ring helped write a bill in the 1990s that toughened penalties for methamphetamine charges. Now, recently out of prison, the former Team Abramoff lobbyist says he wants Congress to overhaul the nation’s justice system and to undo mandatory minimum requirements altogether.”


In Arkansas, activists will march to the state capitol to rally behind a ballot initiative which would require increased disclosure of political spending and call for an amendment to overturn Citizens United. Check out op-eds from The Arkansas Times and Arkansas Democrat-Gazette supporting the initiative.

Associated Press: Reagan, Clean Elections clash over proposed ‘dark money’ rule –> In Arizona: “A proposal by the Citizens Clean Elections Commission to crack down on some ‘dark money’ groups has aroused the opposition of the Secretary of State’s Office and escalated the ongoing dispute over the extent of the commission’s authority.”

To read more go to

You can get our Morning Reads delivered to your inbox every weekday! Just enter your email address below…

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