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 Adam Smith of the non-partisan campaign finance reform group, Every Voice.

Former GOP Sen. Jack Danforth, in a speech he’ll deliver today at the Truman Library: “The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United undermines our republican form of government” and it “should not stand.”

Campaign Finance/Elections

Maxine Waters: Statement on Financial Services Funding Bill –> Rep. Maxine Waters, ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, on a new pro-Wall Street bill: “The measure also takes the harmful step of prohibiting the SEC from forcing corporations to disclose their political spending.”

Daily Times: Attorney General Hector Balderas calls for mandatory campaign finance reporting fines, reforms at Office of Secretary of State –> “New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas is asking for reforms in the Office of the Secretary of State that would overhaul a reporting system that has allowed hundreds of candidates for public office to violate a campaign finance reporting law without paying fines.”

Actor Mark Ruffalo on Citizens United: “Dude, it’s so un-American! I don’t care what your politics are.”


AP: Presidential candidates defy campaign finance limits through well-funded outside groups –> For candidates and outside groups in 2016, “creative financing abounds.”

Center for Public Integrity: Florida pols boost Bush’s super PAC –> Nice find by Michael Beckel: Florida campaign finance filings show some early donors to Jeb Bush’s super PAC, including “prominent Florida politicians, the state’s chamber of commerce and even a labor union.”

AP: Scott Walker takes another step toward presidential run –> “Stepping closer to an all-but-inevitable White House bid, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has created a ‘testing the waters’ committee that allows him to raise money for a presidential campaign. The two-term Republican governor has already been raising unlimited political donations through a tax-exempt group since January. And in April, former senior aides created a super PAC to bring in even more.”

The Hill: Lobbyist bundlers pledge allegiance to Team Bush –> “Power players in the lobbying industry are lining up behind Jeb Bush’s bid for the White House. The growing support will be on full display Friday, when lawyers, consultants, industry executives and lobbyists will gather for a fundraiser at Washington’s Union Station.”

New York Times: Jeb Bush’s Team Aims to ‘Weaponize’ Its Fund-Raising Total –> “The super PAC supporting Jeb Bush, now walled off from the candidate because of campaign finance rules, hopes to ‘weaponize’ its fund-raising total for the first six months of the year, the group’s top strategist told donors on a conference call on Wednesday afternoon.” He also listed off what Jeb’s message will be, because obviously the group is independent.

The joke of the Jeb Bush non-candidacy, in this quote from the guy running his super PAC on the call mentioned above: “Murphy noted that he ‘can’t coordinate any more’ with the campaign, but said he was ‘well-informed as of a week ago.'”

The Wrap: Tyler Perry, Tobey Maguire, Chuck Lorre to Host Obama, Clinton Hollywood Fundraisers –> “President Obama is set to arrive in Los Angeles Thursday, while Hillary Clinton touches down Friday. The Democratic party’s biggest stars are turning to Hollywood once again, to boost the party’s financial fortunes.”

Bloomberg: Obama, Pelosi Will Wear Smiles at Fundraiser After Split on Trade –> At Tom Steyer’s house: “One week after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi ignored personal entreaties from President Barack Obama and helped temporarily scuttle his trade bill, the two top Democrats will be schmoozing donors in Pelosi’s hometown.”

USA Today: Clinton super PAC races to find donations for costly White House fight –> Priorities USA needs some money: “After a tumultuous few months, officials with a super PAC pushing Hillary Clinton’s White House candidacy have installed new leaders and are urging the Democratic Party’s biggest donors to pony up campaign cash — fast.”

AP: Bush was board member or adviser for 15 entities, raising conflict scenarios if he wins 2016 –> “Jeb Bush’s deep dive into corporate America, where he served on the boards or as an adviser to more than a dozen companies, could trigger complications for him if he wins the White House.”

Sun-Times: Jeb Bush campaign money machine hits Chicago again –> “When Bush returns to Chicago next Wednesday for a reception at the Union League Club, 65 W. Jackson Blvd., he will ask that this time, the checks go to Jeb 2016 Inc.” On his breakfast event in New York next week that includes donors from Chris Christie’s New Jersey.

Bloomberg: Donald Trump: Club For Growth is Attacking Me after Seeking $1 Million Donation –> Donald Trump’s response to attacks by the Club For Growth: uh, why did you guys just ask me for $1 million then?

Wall Street Journal: FreedomWorks’s Matt Kibbe Leaving for Super PAC Backing Rand Paul –> “Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, is leaving the organization in July to help run a super PAC called Concerned American Voters that backs the Kentucky Republican. The group will support Mr. Paul with an organizing presence and field operation in key states.”

National Journal: Republicans’ Million-Dollar Campaign Against a Senate Candidate Who Hasn’t Started Running –> “Outside groups are already spending big against New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, trying to prevent a strong challenge to Sen. Kelly Ayotte.”

POLITICO: Charlie Dent got clearance for trip with donor to Nantucket –> “The House Ethics Committee approved a waiver last year that allowed Rep. Charlie Dent — now chairman of the secretive panel — to fly to a posh New England vacation town on the dime of a top campaign donor.”

Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change, released today, talks a lot about the influence of the powerful in our economic and political systems, including this (p. 128): “The 21st century, while maintaining systems of governance inherited from the past, is witnessing a weakening of the power of nation states, chiefly because the economic and financial sectors, being transnational, tend to prevail over the political.”


Center for Public Integrity: Political profiteers push Ohio’s pot vote –> “A political consultant came up with the idea to legalize marijuana in Ohio through a ballot measure, lined up investors to fund the campaign in exchange for ownership of the wholesale pot market and now plans to pay his own firm $5.6 million to push the 2015 initiative.”

New York Times: When Will It End? Much Work Is Left as Albany Session Winds Down –> Albany politicians blaming the “chilling effect” of investigations in failing to do their jobs should consider maybe not being corrupt and passing comprehensive reforms of the process.

WRAL: NC elections board refers Sen. Hartsell to prosecutors –> “More than $600 in shoe repairs, three speeding tickets, magazine subscriptions and tens of thousands of dollars in credit card expenses were among the items that state elections officials say were improper campaign expenditures by Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, R-Cabarrus.”

New York Times: No Charges Against Kansas Governor After Ethics Inquiry –> “A federal investigation into loans made to the re-election campaign of Gov. Sam Brownback by his lieutenant governor will not result in charges, the United States attorney’s office in Kansas said on Wednesday.”

Mother Jones: A Judicial Election Threatened North Carolina Republicans’ Agenda. So They Canceled the Election. –> North Carolina Republicans were concerned that a Republican State Supreme Court Justice would lose his 2016 election so they basically just canceled it.

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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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