Daily Media Links 3/19: The Wrong Way to Shake Up Congress, Big donors are fueling democracy, and more…

In the News

Federalist Society (Event): Campaign Finance & Super PACs in the 2012 election 
The Federalist Society presents Professor Allison Hayward, Vice President of Policy for the Center for Competitive Politics. She will be speaking on recent efforts at campaign finance reform, including the emergence of Super PACs and their effect on the 2012 election cycle.  

Independent groups

NY Times: The Wrong Way to Shake Up Congress
Incumbents in Congress usually have a huge fund-raising advantage over challengers. Big donors correctly assume they will probably be in office for years, and curry favor with contributions that only wealthy challengers can match. So why not try to neutralize this advantage by spending money on behalf of challengers? 

NY Post: Big donors are fueling democracy 
by Jacob Sullum
If so, super PACs are more like a jolt from a defibrillator than a dagger in the chest. In both presidential and congressional primaries, these independent groups, funded mainly by wealthy individuals, have increased competitiveness, which is usually considered good for democracy.   

Wall Street Journal: New ‘Super PAC’ Takes Aim at Incumbents 
by Alicia Mundy and Douglas Belkin
The leaders of the Campaign for Primary Accountability, a new political-action committee that is roiling House primaries across the country, are conservative and mostly Republican. But the heartburn they have been causing is bipartisan.  

Salt Lake Tribune: Elections for sale 
It’s against the law for rich people and corporations to buy elected officials. But we’re about to find out whether they can buy elections, which is virtually the same thing.  

Huffington Post: Post-Citizens United Money May Swamp Congressional Candidates 
by Dan Froomkin
Political spending by deep-pocketed donors and cash-rich corporations threatens to sow chaos in this year’s congressional races, political consultants warn.

Federal contractors donate to ‘super PAC’ backing Romney 
by Ian Duncan and Matea Gold 
A “super PAC” that has spent more than $35 million on behalf of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has accepted donations from federal contractors despite a 36-year-old ban against such companies making federal political expenditures.  At least five companies with government contracts gave a combined $890,000 to Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney super PAC, a review of federal contracting records and campaign finance data shows.

NPR: Buying A Political Ad? Let A SuperPAC Foot The Bill 
by Brian Naylor
There has been one constant throughout the GOP campaign — Mitt Romney and the superPAC that supports him have vastly outspent his rivals.  


Wall Street Journal: TV Stations Balk at FCC Proposal 
by Amy Schatz
Congress decreed in 1971 that candidates must get the lowest price for ads in the weeks before an election. The Federal Communications Commission followed up by requiring that stations make political-ad information public so candidates can be assured they’re all getting the same deal.  

AEI: Who Should Know about Your Political Contributions? 
by Howard Darmstadter
We view the secret ballot as a fundamental democratic principle. Without it, citizens could be subject to intimidation or reprisal. Why should we feel differently about political contributions? 

Candidates and parties

Politico: CEO challenges cap on candidate donations 
by Robin Bravender 
Lawyers at DB Capitol Strategies are telling the campaign finance watchdog agency that it’s unconstitutional to bar individual donors from spreading their wealth among as many candidates as they’d like, despite the legal limit of $46,200 that they are currently permitted to give to candidates each two-year election cycle.   

CNN: 2012 GOP race is ‘nastiest’ campaign yet, McCain says
by Gregory Wallace
He predicted Sunday “there will be scandals and then maybe we will reform again.”

Washington Post: Obama’s high-dollar donations lagging  
by T.W. Farnam
President Obama is struggling to draw in big-dollar donations, with half as many people writing large checks to his campaign than at this point four years ago.  

Rick Santorum turns to secretive group for money muscle   
by Kenneth P. Vogel
Rick Santorum can’t keep up the fight against Mitt Romney with momentum alone: He needs cash and organization.  


Connecticut –– CT Mirror: Watchdogs worried clean elections fund could run dry in next race for governor
by Keith M. Phaneuf
Connecticut’s public financing program for state elections has “adequate resources” to fund this year’s legislative campaigns, according to a new report released Friday from the state’s chief elections watchdogs.  

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