Daily Media Links 2/27

In the News

Roll Call, Eliza Newlin Carney: Campaign Finance Onus Placed on Agencies  
And even regulatory fixes could prove elusive. The IRS, for one, has long proved loath to involve itself in fights over regulating political activity, noted David Keating, president of the Center for Competitive Politics, which promotes free speech and political deregulation. If anything, Keating said, campaign finance changes are likely to move in the direction of less regulation, not more. 
“I sense growing frustration among candidates and political leaders,” Keating said. “They are not controlling the message as much as they like.” 

Independent groups

Wall Street Journal: Three Cheers for Super PACs 
Everyone hates Super PACs, or claims to. The campaign-finance scolds deplore “secret money” in politics. The candidates who benefit feel compelled to wish for some alternative. Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart recently set up a Super PAC to mock and denounce Super PACs.  

The Atlantic: The New York Times’ Disingenuous Campaign Against Citizens United 
The paper is promoting the misconception that the ruling allowed for unlimited campaign contributions from super-rich individuals. It didn’t.  

Washington Post: Bill Maher gives $1 million to pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA
Comedian Bill Maher has pledged $1 million to a super PAC supporting President Obama’s reelection bid, some welcome news for a group that has struggled to raise money compared with its conservative rivals.  

International Business Times: What is a Super PAC? Everything You Need to Know 
Super PACs are new this election season, but the term is popping up everywhere in politics. That’s because these deep-pocketed fan clubs have become a major force in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.  

AlterNet: 6 Pathetic Right-Wing Attempts to Defend the Indefensible Citizens United (Debunked) 
The apologists are falling all over themselves to tell us not to worry. 

Poynter: What journalists need to know about Super PAC ads  
This is the first presidential election in which Americans will be inundated with television advertisements aired by Super Political Action Committees. Often negative, these ads frequently mislead voters, provide little or no information, are often inaccurate and reveal the media’s unclean hands when it comes to undermining democracy, observers warn. And it’s about to get worse.  


Washington Post: Does the Supreme Court think like the average American?
By November’s elections, the Supreme Court will have heard challenges toPresident Obama’s health-care overhaul, Arizona’s immigration law and, as announced this past week, the consideration of race in college admissions. If the court preserves “Obamacare” or affirmative action, conservatives will cry judicial activism. If Arizona’s immigration statute survives, liberals will take up the charge, just as they did after the court’s Citizens United campaign finance decision in 2010.  

Corporate Governance 

Wall Street Journal: SEC Commissioner Calls For Greater Corporate Disclosure Of Political Spending 
WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–The Securities and Exchange Commission ought to require corporations to disclose their political spending to ensure shareholders aren’t left in the dark about how their money is used, SEC Commissioner Luis Aguilar said Friday, the first time a top agency official has publicly supported the idea.  


Boston Globe: Each new attack ad shows need to disclose super PAC donors
Super PACs give wealthy people and organizations grossly disproportionate influence over the political process, all but guaranteeing the election of a president indebted to special-interest backers. It’s doubtful that much can be done to limit the size of these campaign contributions, because the Supreme Court, in its Citizens United decision in 2010, declared them to be a form of free speech. But much more can, and should, be done to ensure that groups disclose their significant contributors immediately upon making a campaign expenditure, and that those donors take open responsibility for any attack ads that they fund.  

Candidates and parties

Washington Post: Can the Republican party survive its billionaires?
Friess did have some explaining to do. On Feb. 16, the Wyoming investor — who had donated roughly $1 million to the Red White and Blue Fund, the independent campaign organization supporting Rick Santorum — appeared on MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.” Asked about Santorum’s stance on contraception, the 72-year-old Friess told Mitchell: “You know, back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.”  

Georgia –– Huffington Post: Georgia Now Ground Zero for Super PACs and Citizens United 
The “Nastiest Show on Earth” otherwise known as the “Slimary Process” — the prolonged and agonizing Republican primary to select a presidential candidate — is already being called the dirtiest of all time by political pundits and voters alike.  

Montana –– AP: Judge blocks more Montana campaign finance laws 
U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell of Helena also upheld Montana’s ban on direct corporate contributions to campaigns, rejecting a request by several businesses and conservative lobbies to block it during the 2012 election.   

Nebraska –– The Republic: Nebraska Supreme Court to hear arguments on campaign finance law AG says in unconstitutional 
The Nebraska Supreme Court will hear arguments next week in a challenge to the state’s embattled campaign finance law, which gives “fair fight” money to some candidates who agree to stick to campaign spending limits


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The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.