Daily Media Links 4/10: Maine Senate candidate asks for FEC permission to use federal contractor services ‘pro bono’, That Campaign Promise About Campaigning, and more…

In the News

Bloomberg, Podcast: David Primo Discusses Corruption in New Jersey (Audio)
David Primo,  a political science professor at the University of Rochester,  says a study that indicates that New Jersey has a low risk of corruption is flawed. Primo talks with Bloomberg’s Ken Prewitt and Tom Keene on Bloomberg Radio’s “Bloomberg Surveillance.”
Note: Professor Primo is an Academic Advisor to CCP


Van Hollen Decision: Disclosure No Matter Why You Gave 
Sarah Lee
“After it lost the Wisconsin Right to Life case, the FEC faced a difficult job drafting these regulations and struck a reasonable balance,” said Chairman Brad Smith. “There’s a reason why judges typically grant deference to the agency which administers a statute. Under Judge Jackson’s interpretation, it appears that persons who specifically gave for reasons other than to support ads will now be associated with having given for particular ads.  And in some cases persons who give for communications that are unrelated to elections will face more disclosure than persons who give to groups that specifically advocate the election or defeat of candidates.”  

Independent groups

LA Times, Opinion: ‘Super PACs’: Can American Crossroads unseat President Obama?
by Alexandra Le Tellier
The presidential race is about to get nasty. American Crossroads, the “super PAC” in Mitt Romney’s corner, is about to unleash a campaign that aims to unseat President Obama. If money truly buys power, the super PAC may end up being more persuasive over voter opinion than Romney himself.    


Chicago Sun-Times: Obama gets court ‘activism’ wrong
by Steve Huntley
The government had made a startling assertion of a right to censorship,  demonstrating that if you give bureaucrats an inch,  they’ll take a mile. The court wisely ruled to rein in government control of political speech.


International Business Times: Obama Looks Set To Abandon Order Mandating Federal Contractors To Disclose Political D
by Ashley Portero
The Obama administration has all but abandoned its push to require federal contractors to disclose their political donations, after composing a draft executive order last year that would have forced companies pursuing federal contracts to release their campaign contributions as a condition for submitting bids.  

Fire Dog Lake: Administration Shies Away from Executive Order on Campaign Finance Disclosure
by David Dayen
A year ago, in the wake of the Citizens United decision, the White House floated a plan to issue an executive order which would require federal contractors to disclose their political contributions. This mirrored the kind of transparency they wanted out of the DISCLOSE Act. In the absence of that, this would serve as a pretty decent substitute, since most major corporations did some manner of business with the federal government.  

The Nation: White House Drops Campaign Finance Disclosure Push
by George Zornick
One year ago, news leaked that the Obama administration was contemplating an executive order that would require all corporations with a government contract to disclose political spending. The ostensible purpose was to make the federal contracting process more transparent, but campaign finance reformers were particularly excited—since so many companies have a federal contract, the order was seen as a de-facto DISCLOSE Act, which requires all corporations to reveal political spending over $10,000.  

Fire Dog Lake: FCC Poised to Pass New Local TV Disclosure Requirements for Political Ads
by David Dayen
Here’s some potentially good news. I wrote back in January about an FCC proposed rule that would force local TV stations to put the results of the political ad spending on their airwaves online, rather than in an obscure filing room at the station that few people ever see. This would increase the transparency of political spending, which now relies on just a few reports by independent watchdogs and self-reporting from campaigns. Under this new standard, anyone could look up on the Internet the mass of ad spending. It obviously wouldn’t discourage the spending itself, but it would provide better real-time tracking of the purchase of democracy.  

Candidates and parties

Washington Post, The Fix: Can the campaign of “hope” go negative? 
by Aaron Blake
The national Republican Party this week sets out on a quest to label President Obama a “hypocrite,” seeking to contrast his 2008 message of hope and results with his 2012 campaign’s already more combative and negative tone.  

Washington Post: Why is Newt Gingrich still running? 
by Karen Tumulty
“It never occurred to me — and this is one of the lessons I’m contemplating for some future memoir — it never occurred to me the scale of the Romney fundraising capability,” Gingrich said. “I was fully prepared to be outspent 2-to-1, even 3-to-1. But when you’re up to 5- or 6-to-1, you’re being drowned. You’re not going to be able to match it.”  

Lobbying and ethics

The Hill: Lobbyists push Congress to toughen rules for their industry
by Kevin Bogardus
Washington’s corps of registered lobbyists could swell under a long-awaited reform plan from the American League of Lobbyists (ALL).  


NY Times: That Campaign Promise About Campaigning
As a candidate for the White House, President Obama left no doubt about his determination to reform the Federal Election Commission, widely seen as dysfunctional in its role as the referee of campaign politics. “What the F.E.C. needs most is strong, impartial leadership that will promote integrity in our election system,” Mr. Obama said in reply to a voter questionnaire in 2007. 

Associated Press: FEC expected to deny California senator’s request to replace donations stolen by her treasurer
A draft opinion that the Federal Election Commission issued Friday indicates that it probably will reject a request from Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s re-election campaign to allow her to replace millions of dollars in contributions embezzled by her treasurer with new donations from the original donors.

The Hill: Maine Senate candidate asks for FEC permission to use federal contractor services ‘pro bono’
by Rachel Leven
A Senate candidate’s campaign asked the Federal Election Commission (FEC) Monday if his campaign could use pro bono legal services from a federal contractor. 

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