Daily Media Links 4/25: An Unlikely Coalition in New York Pushes Cuomo on Public Finance, and more…

In the News

Politico: Legal experts question theory of Edwards case 
By Robin Bravender
“Government officials should not be stretching laws beyond their normal meaning to get people just because they don’t like those people, because they want to get a nice scalp,” said former FEC Chairman Bradley Smith, a conservative.   

Politico: Is John Edwards a criminal or just a jerk?   
By Bradley A. Smith
It is hard to see how money that is neither given to the campaign nor spent on the campaign violates campaign finance laws – even if those paying off Hunter hoped that the payments would benefit Edwards. The usual test under the Federal Election Campaign Act for whether something counts as a campaign expenditure is whether the obligation would have existed but for the campaign. If so, it is not a campaign expenditure. Thus Edwards’ $400 hair cuts may helped him in his campaigns (at least until the public found out how much they cost) but they were not a campaign expenditure, because the obligation would have existed anyway. Payments to Hunter may have benefited Edwards in his run for office, but they do not appear to have been campaign expenditures.  

CNN: Campaign 2012: Bring on the cash money
By Charles Riley
“I think we will break all the records,” said Brad Smith of the Center for Competitive Politics. “We break all the records almost every cycle now.” 

Mother Jones: Poll: Super-PACs Will Hurt Voter Turnout in 2012 
By Andy Kroll
Brad Smith,  chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics,  which supports deregulating the campaign system,  wrote in an email that the Brennan poll’s result were “utterly predictable” but said there was no hard evidence proving that a spike in political spending depresses voter turnout. He also noted that Gallup’s tracking of public trust in government had ticked upward since the advent of super-PACs. “Given the hysteria over super-PACs and the well-documented errors in media coverage of them, it is not surprising that people feel negatively about them,” he added. “But the facts don’t square with conventional wisdom.”


Super PACs are just a “new bottle containing some very old wine (or, perhaps, whine…)”
By Sarah Lee
In short,  while it’s easy to get swept away in the political method of controlling the narrative by pointing out the rampant negativity and then pointing a finger at the culprit (here at CCP we see a lot of finger pointing at legislation like Citizens United and SpeechNow),  the truth is both simpler and more complicated than very new legislation that,  in many ways,  was just a reaction to previous bad campaign finance legislation (ahem, BCRA). 

Independent groups

NY Times: Conservative Groups Spending Heavily in Bid to Win a Senate Majority
By Jeremy W. Peters
The conservative groups that helped Republicans win the House in 2010 are pouring money this year into an aggressive campaign to capture the Senate, a goal that they consider just as vital as winning the White House. 


Associated Press: Romney super PAC gift among mysterious donations
By Jack Gillum
A once-mysterious $400, 000 check written to a “super” political action committee supporting Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign rekindled a nagging question this election season: Just how much disclosure is enough to satisfy transparency?

Roll Call: Broadcasters Betray Trust With Citizens United  
By Norman Ornstein 
On Feb. 15, Leslie Moonves, the brilliant CEO of CBS, gave a piece of good news to investors — there would be an addition to the bottom line in 2012 of about $190 million, thanks to huge spending on political commercials coming into the network and its owned and operated affiliate broadcast stations. 


U.S. Chamber of Commerce Faces Changing Times
By Eliza Newlin Carney   
At Centennial, Group Faces Reshaped Landscape  


New York –– The Nation: An Unlikely Coalition in New York Pushes Cuomo on Public Finance 
By Ilyse Hogue 
These words, uttered by Governor Andrew Cuomo at his State of the State address in January, could have been discounted as a rhetorical nod to a base issue by a Democratic governor a year into his four-year term. That’s the risk of a system where money in politics feels as pervasive as sand on the beach: its ubiquity creates a dangerous inertia that prevents citizens from seizing real opportunities for change. But thanks to a coalition of New Yorkers dedicated to elevating and actualizing Governor Cuomo’s pledge, this year could not only rewrite the rules in New York but also change the risk calculation on engagement for the entire country.  

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