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.

Campaign Finance/Elections

POLITICO: Pulling Up The Curtain On Dark Money –> New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has this piece calling on President Obama to sign an executive order requiring government contractors to disclose their political spending. “Just as we did four decades ago, it’s time to turn outrage at the pay-to-play culture of Washington into meaningful reform. The true outrage would be if Washington waits for another scandal before taking action.”

Wall Street Journal: House Aims to Prevent SEC from Requiring Corporate Political Disclosures Again –> “The US House of Representatives is trying again to prevent US securities regulators from requiring companies to disclose corporate political spending, despite continuous pressure for the government’s investor protection agency to act.”

Brennan Center: The FEC and the Breakdown of the Rule of Law –> Ciara Torres-Spelliscy: “There is a serious rule of law problem in how rarely campaign finance laws are enforced at the federal level by the Federal Election Commission, the agency set up to regulate money in politics.”

Salem News: Congressman should support campaign finance reform –> Letter in Massachusetts: “Unfortunately, Congressman Seth Moulton has yet to sign on to any proposal that would fundamentally reform our campaign finance system. But the time to lead is now. It would be a great start if US Rep. Moulton would co-sponsor the Government By the People Act.”

The Nation: Voter Participation Is at Historic Lows. It’s Time to Rethink GOTV. –> Rep. Keith Ellison on his new voter participation effort, “to put voters at the center of our politics with effective grassroots organizing and a commitment to increasing turnout.”

Courier-Journal: Saying heart still in it, Yarmuth to run again –> Democratic Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth will run for re-election and “said he would like to continue work on issues including reforms to federal immigration and campaign finance laws.”

Huffington Post: Corporations Are People, FEC Commissioners Are Not –> “Federal Election Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, appearing on HuffPost Live Monday, expressed frustration that the FEC considers corporations people, but doesn’t consider FEC commissioners people.”


National Journal: Outsourcer in chief –> Carly Fiorina’s campaign is taking a cue from her days at HP: outsourcing the work to someone else. “Her official campaign has shifted some of the most fundamental political tasks to the super PAC, from rounding up endorsements to assembling a ground game and even answering questions about Fiorina’s business background.”

New York Times: Democratic ‘Super PAC’ to Take On Koch Brothers –> David Brock on American Bridge upping its Koch Brothers game: “You have to connect three dots — the Kochs’ anti-government agenda to how that benefits their bottom line to how their businesses hurt workers in specific communities. It isn’t easy — you need slam-dunk research. That’s why we’re making this investment.”

Washington Post: Inside Scott Walker’s $20 million push to lay groundwork for presidential run –> “Donors have given or promised at least $20 million to various pro-Walker fundraising groups, including an allied super PAC, said three Walker allies with inside knowledge of the fundraising operation.”

NJ Advance: Christie 2016 rival Marco Rubio coming to NJ for fundraiser –> “A rival Republican 2016 presidential candidate is now raising money in Gov. Chris Christie’s backyard. US Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will hold an Aug. 13 fundraiser at the Colts Neck home of Juan and Marta Gutierrez.”

National Review: A New Super PAC Prepares to Demolish Jeb Bush’s Opponents –> Jeb Bush’s Right to Rise super PAC is ready for battle.

Sunlight Foundation: May was a kind month to RNC, some super PACs, FEC filings show –> “The Republican National Committee lapped its Democratic counterpart while the House Democrats outraised their GOP rivals; super PACs received six- and seven-figure checks, and outside groups attacked presidential candidates.” And $5 million from Tom Steyer to his NextGen super PAC.

Mother Jones: Running for President Hasn’t Stopped Rick Perry From Taking Oil-Industry Money –> “But this year, [Rick] Perry gained a new incentive for helping energy companies: He started working for one. And two weeks into his presidential campaign, he’s still on its payroll.”

IBT: As Florida Governor, Jeb Bush Provided Special Access to Lobbyists –> Jeb Bush criticized lobbyists in his announcement speech, “But those words contrast with Bush’s longstanding relationship with the Southern Strategy Group, whose lobbyists enjoyed extraordinary access to his gubernatorial administration.”

Mother Jones: Jeb Bush Just Got His Big Chance to Impress the Koch Brothers –> “Jeb Bush will finally get his chance to audition for the Koch brothers,” when he speaks at the Americans for Prosperity conference in August.

New York Times: Presidential Hopefuls Sell Swag, Collect Data –> Interesting story on online presidential campaign stores.

Sen. Bernie Sanders on Republican presidential candidates: “The only thing they have going for them is they have the Koch brothers and other billionaires supporting them. Nobody in America supports that.”

Washington Post: Is big industry shifting to the right? Not so fast. –> “We took the top 50 contributing industries since 2000 and figured out, on average, how much each gave to Republican candidates.”

Fox News: Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga headlining Clinton fundraising spree –> “Clinton is scheduled to attend over 20 fundraisers between Monday and July 3 — including 11 in New York — according to a list obtained by Fox News.”

Wall Street Journal: Republicans Relinquish Donations from White Supremacist Cited by Charleston Suspect –> Republican presidential candidates and members of Congress on Monday said they were returning or otherwise relinquishing donations from the head of a white supremacist organization whom the alleged killer of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, SC, cited as an influence.”

Common Cause has released new analysis on NRA election spending.

New York Times: When the Wrong People Give Money to Politicians –> “In the rush to comply with other FEC rules requiring that contributions be deposited within 10 days, few campaigns make it a priority to vet every donor, and the information supplied (name, address, employer and occupation) sometimes says little about a donor’s political toxicity.”

Roll Call: House Ethics Committee to Review Lawmakers’ Azerbaijan Trips –> “The House Ethics Committee announced plans Monday to extend its review of nine members of Congress alleged to have accepted gifts and airfare to Azerbaijan that were secretly paid for by that country’s state-owned oil company.”


Bloomberg: New York Lawmaker’s Trial May Hold Clues for Silver, Skelos –> That’s former Sen. John Sampson’s trial: “Former New York power brokers Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos, facing political corruption charges in Manhattan federal court, may be peering across the East River to see whether a trial unfolding in Brooklyn holds clues to their fate.”

WAER, Syracuse public radio: Movement to Overturn Citizens United Decision Reaches Syracuse City Hall –> “The effort to take large amounts of anonymous campaign donations out of political campaigns came to Syracuse City Hall Monday where common councilors approved a resolution supporting a constitutional amendment to overturn the US Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling.”

New York Times: Third-Party Groups Sue FEC to Try to Open Up Presidential Debates –> “Now advocates for third-party groups are making the case that the election laws are rigged to make it impossible for candidates who are not Republicans or Democrats to ever get elected.”

Post-Gazette: The state House should move this proposed ban –> Editorial in Pittsburgh supporting a proposed gift ban for lawmakers in Pennsylvania: “Given the steady parade of state officials who have been caught in gift-based corruption, it’s the kind of law that’s been long overdue.”

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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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