Daily Media links 4/12: A Case Study of the Super PAC Era, Why the John Edwards Trial Is a Bigger Deal Than You Think, and more…

Independent groups

Reuters: Lawyer behind Super PAC ruling launches his own
by Susan Heavey
Republican James Bopp, who advised Citizens United in its case to eliminate restrictions on campaign contributions by companies and unions, filed paper work last week with the U.S. Federal Election Commission to create his USA Super PAC.  

Wall Street Journal, Washington Wire: Super PAC Helped Topple Santorum 
by Jeremy Singer-Vine
To the many obstacles that insurgent presidential candidates face, add another: super PACs. By the time Rick Santorum suspended his campaign, Restore Our Future–the main super PAC supporting Mitt Romney–had spent nearly $21 million opposing the sweater-vested candidate. That sum makes Mr. Santorum the single largest target of super PAC attack spending to date.  

American Independent: Super PAC targets entrenched incumbents for defeat in primaries
by Teddy Wilson 
A relatively unknown group spending hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to influence primary elections around the country has been meet with criticism from those trying to understand the group’s motivations. The targets of the group, both Republicans and Democrats, have accused the group of trying to “buy” elections. The New York Times criticized the group’s methods in an editorial saying that “unlimited political money breeds corruption and cynicism, and cannot produce a better government.”  

Washington Post: Anti-incumbent group to designate Eric Cantor donation for specific primary
by Paul Kane
Trying to defuse a political a firestorm on Capitol Hill, the founder of an anti-incumbent political committee said Tuesday that his group will agree to designate $25,000 from House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) as a donation for one Illinois primary last month.  

Candidates and parties

Huffington Post: Foster Friess, Rick Santorum Super PAC Contributor, Willing To Help Out Mitt Romney
by Luke Johnson
“I’m obviously going to be of help in whatever way I can,” Friess told Politico on Tuesday after Santorum had suspended his campaign. The wealthy Wyoming investor added that he hadn’t talked to representatives of Romney’s campaign or the super PAC supporting him and would share his plans later.  

Roll Call: Aaron Schock’s Office Insists Super PAC Solicitation Was Legal
by John Stanton
Although federal law and a memo from the Federal Election Commission appear to limit the size of a solicitation to $5,000, a spokesman for the Illinois Republican said his camp is confident his efforts were legal. 

Huffington Post: Presidential Election 2012 To Play Out On New Campaign Finance Field 
by Paul Blumenthal
WASHINGTON — As Rick Santorum exits the Republican presidential primary campaign stage right and Newt Gingrich wallows in a sea of debt, the general election match-up between President Barack Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney begins in earnest. Thanks to a sea change in campaign finance laws brought about by the Supreme Court and a shift in fundraising norms driven by Obama’s decision to opt out of presidential matching funds in 2008, this campaign will be unlike any other in recent memory.  

Lobbying and ethics

The Atlantic: Why the John Edwards Trial Is a Bigger Deal Than You Think
by Hampton Dellinger
Jury selection in the federal criminal trial of John Edwards begins Thursday April 12th in a Greensboro, N.C., courtroom. As the world now knows, Edwards chose to cheat on his cancer-stricken wife during his 2008 presidential run. Two wealthy political supporters then spent hundreds of thousands of dollars supporting Edwards’s mistress as part of a failed effort to keep the affair quiet. Prosecutors decided that the financial support constituted unreported, excessive and thus illegal campaign donations, and indicted Edwards for his role in the arrangement. 


National Journal: Aaron Schock and the FEC: A Case Study of the Super PAC Era
by Scott Bland
Here’s yet another consequence of the confusing super PAC era: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., may have irritated members of his conference by donating to an anti-incumbent super PAC before the Illinois primary, but Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., could have violated campaign finance rules when he solicited Cantor’s donation.  

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