Daily Media Links 2/29

In the News

NPR: Shareholders Want Political Spending Transparency
Quotes Allen: In practice, what this will do is require any corporation that wants to use its constitutional rights to submit to a highly politicized, highly partisan debate every year on how they go about doing it.


Brad Smith: Has the Supreme Court implicitly overruled NAACP v. Alabama? How campaign finance reform threatens our rights.
On Monday (Feb. 27) the Supreme Court refused to hear National Organization for Marriage v. McKee. In that case, the National Organization for Marriage (“NOM”) had unsuccessfully challenged a Maine law that required it to register with state and disclose detailed information about its members and its finances before it could speak out about politics in the Pine Tree State. In ruling against NOM, both federal district judge Brock Hornsby and then the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit had concluded that the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Citizens United v. FEC had implicitly overturned two prior Supreme Court decisions, Talley v. California and McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission, which had upheld a right to engage in political speech without having to register and disclose oneself to state authorities. (Note that this issue was not raised in the cert petition in McKee).  

Jason Farrell: Just when you thought it was safe… 
John Liu’s campaign is in legal trouble again. The New York City comptroller has again found himself the subject of scrutiny since his campaign treasurer has been charged with funneling illegal contributions to his campaign, allegedly in order to circumvent the $4,950 limit on individual contributions.  

Independent groups

LA Times: McManus: Revenge of the ‘super PACs’  
Chalk up another win for the law of unintended consequences. When federal courts ruled in 2010 against restricting donations to political action committees, Republican strategists rejoiced. Here, they thought, was a way for the GOP’s deep-pocketed donors to gain an advantage over President Obama’s fundraising machine.  

Statesman Journal: What’s the fine line between bribery, politics? 
Is it strictly limited to quid pro quo bribery or is it more broadly based, as in decay or undermining of an assumed ideal, such as the abuse of power or subversion of the democratic political system by use of political power for selfish personal gain for oneself or others?  

Candidates and parties

Politico: Santorum super PAC robos against ‘Romneycare’
Rick Santorum’s campaign has spent much of today defending its automated phone calls urging Democrats to cross party lines and support the Pennsylvanian in today’s Michigan primary.  

Bloomberg: Gingrich Tells FEC to Drop Dead: The Ticker
The book-selling, professional marketing and all-purpose political organization known as “Newt 2012” is being pestered by the Federal Election Commission. 

Lobbying and ethics

The Hill: Democratic lobbyists giving cold shoulder to Obama super-PAC
Democratic lobbyists who have been barred from fundraising for President Obama’s campaign are showing little interest in donating instead to a super-PAC that supports him.  


New York –– Bloomberg: John Liu Weighs Next Steps in NYC Mayoral Campaign After Treasurer Charged 
Fraud charges against his campaign finance chief have New York City Comptroller John C. Liu considering “how to move forward” in his bid for mayor.

New York –– NY Post: Liu’s campaign treasurer busted in ‘straw donor’ scheme: feds, 
Embattled city Comptroller John Liu’s campaign treasurer was busted today on charges she helped funnel illegal political donations into the Queens Democrat’s war chest.  

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