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.

Breaking News

Same-Sex Marriage is Legal in All 50 States –> “They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy in the majority opinion. “The Constitution grants them that right.”

Campaign Finance/Elections

Hundreds of people rallied for voting rights outside Rep. Bob Goodlatte’s office in Roanoke yesterday, calling on him to hold a hearing on legislation to restore the Voting Rights Act. More from The Roanoke Times. Some great pics here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Campaign Legal Center: Bipartisan Overhaul of Dysfunctional FEC Introduced by Representatives Kilmer and Renacci –> Congrats to Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Jim Renacci (R-OH) on their bipartisan bill to overhaul the FEC. Campaign Legal Center’s Trevor Potter: “This bill will enable the FEC to do its job. I commend this bipartisan group of Members of Congress for addressing this urgent issue. This is a subject on which bipartisan solutions are badly needed, and they have provided that.”

Rep. Seth Moulton became the 150th cosponsor of the Government By the People Act this week. Impressive work by our friends at Mayday on helping to make that happen!

AP: Montana responds to US Supreme Court rulings with expansive campaign finance regulations –> Update on Montana’s new disclosure rules: “Proposed rules released Wednesday to guide the state’s expansive election law approved earlier this year would increase disclosure requirements for corporations and committees granted free-speech rights by the US Supreme Court in its 2010 Citizens United ruling.”

This July 22nd event, American Elections at the Crossroads, sponsored by the New York City Campaign Finance Board, Center for Economic Development, and the Brennan Center looks really interesting.

AP: IRS workers mistakenly erased tea party emails –> “Investigators are blaming mistakes by IRS employees – not a criminal conspiracy – for the loss of thousands of emails related to the tax agency’s tea party scandal.”


Clementa Pinckney will be laid to rest today in Charleston. Take a few minutes to read this beautiful profile of him by Buzzfeed’s Joel Anderson.

Huffington Post: Mike Huckabee: ‘Donor Class’ Pushed Senate Republicans To Approve Obama’s Fast-Track Trade Authority –> Mike Huckabee on the trade bill: “I understand the donor class has pushed them and pushed them to vote for this bill.”

Common Cause: The Political Money Behind The Trans-Pacific Partnership –> Speaking of the trade deal: “a review of public records indicates the corporate alliance supporting the proposed TPP spent at least $658 million on federal lobbying in 2014 and political action in the 2014 cycle. This does not count money donated to dark money political nonprofits.”

Washington Post: In NH, Marco Rubio defends sponsoring Sheldon Adelson-backed gambling bill –> Yesterday in New Hampshire, Sen. Marco Rubio faced questions about his support for a new Sheldon Adelson-backed online gambling bill. He said, “When I run for office, I tell people where I stand … My stands are not influenced by my contributors; I hope my stands influence my contributors.”

Washington Post: Pro-Rubio nonprofit to launch seven-figure ad campaign on Iran –> With undisclosed donors: “A nonprofit created by allies of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is preparing to launch a more than $1 million+ advertising campaign highlighting the presidential candidate’s resistance to an emerging Iranian nuclear deal, marking its first commercials since Rubio launched his campaign in April.” Wall Street Journal.

POLITICO: Big labor targets Steyer, Soros in massive 2016 fundraising effort –> “Big labor, which once relied almost exclusively on member dues to fund its political activity, is now hoping to raise huge checks for its 2016 efforts from billionaires like George Soros and Tom Steyer, according to confidential documents.” Hillary cancels Philadelphia fundraiser for Charleston trip –> “Hillary Clinton is postponing a fundraising trip to Philadelphia Friday so she can attend the funeral in Charleston, SC for state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, the pastor gunned down with eight others at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last week.”

Bloomberg: Jeb Bush and His Favorite Strategist Try to Win Without Speaking –> “All the major candidates in the 2016 race will have super PACs working on their behalf, but Jeb Bush and Mike Murphy are trying something unprecedented in US presidential elections.”

Time: Pro-Martin O’Malley Super PAC Targets Bernie Sanders –> “A super PAC supporting Democratic presidential candidate Martin O’Malley released a video Thursday attacking liberal rival Bernie Sanders’ gun control record, marking the first critical advertisement of the 2016 primary for the Democratic nomination.”

National Journal: New Rick Perry Super PAC Ad May Amount to an Illegally Large Campaign Donation –> “A new ad from the super PAC supporting Rick Perry may amount to an illegally sized campaign contribution because it prominently features official signs and paraphernalia from the Perry campaign.”

Sunlight Foundation: Jindal soft money group hits airwaves — then goes offline –> “A soft money organization that poured over $224,000 into Iowa TV ads during the month of June favorable to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal had its website go offline Wednesday — the same day that Jindal formally announced his candidacy.”

Washington Post: Ted Cruz: I was target of ‘venom’ during debt ceiling fight –> In a new book, Ted Cruz says “the person who headed up fundraising for his PAC quit ‘under pressure from folks connected to the GOP leadership.'”

Public Citizen: Nation’s Wealthiest Families Behind the Effort to Kill the Estate Tax –> “Just nine families could dodge $25.7 billion in taxes, and perhaps as much as $54.7 billion, if the estate tax were repealed. Half of these families have spent more than a million dollars apiece lobbying Congress to repeal the tax between 2012 and the first quarter of 2015, a new Public Citizen report shows.”

USA Today: Clowns, slumlords and ‘pimp daddies’ all donate to campaigns –> “Unusual occupations — ranging from ‘clowns’ to ‘hip mamas’ and ‘Obama Mamas’ — pop up throughout campaign filings.”

Wednesday’s Frank & Ernest comic on Congressional ethics.

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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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