Daily Media Links 8/30: Ex-senator to FEC: Scandal aside, legal expenses arose on business, Obama Wrong on Reddit, and more…

In the News

Washington Post: GOP plank in 2012 platform wants to leave campaign spending alone 
By Bill Turque
“We’re not opposing any disclosure rules that we’ve supported in the past,” said Bradley Smith, a former Federal Election Commission chairman and now chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics, a group that advocates for lighter regulation of campaign finance.  


Obama Wrong on Reddit 
By Sarah Lee
President Barack Obama today held an impromptu session on Reddit, an online community, and floated the idea of a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United saying, “Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something new in the no-holds barred flow of seven and eight figure checks, most undisclosed, into super-PACs.”  

Independent groups

NY Times: Unleashing the Campaign Contributions of Corporations 
By Eduardo Porter
This is the first presidential election since the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case removed the last barriers to campaign spending by corporations and other groups. Analysts are bracing for a tidal wave of money from rich individuals, companies and labor unions that could alter the political landscape and transform American democracy.  

Associated Press: Campaign finance watchdog: churches can’t be intermediary for gay marriage referendum money 
By Rachel La Corte
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington state’s campaign finance watchdog said Tuesday that the state’s Catholic churches can’t collect donations from their parishioners for the campaign seeking to overturn the state’s gay marriage law.  

Washington Times: Outspent on ads, Dems pay ‘trackers’ to tail candidates for dirt  
By Luke Rosiak
On Tuesday, American Bridge sent a fundraising plea to supporters asking for money to pay for “trackers,” a term for political operatives who sometimes tail opponents.   Read more: Outspent on ads, Dems pay ‘trackers’ to tail candidates for dirt – Washington Times 

NY Times: Super PACs and Party Stalwarts Mix in Tampa 
Tucked away amid the parties, speeches and junkets on Wednesday was a private breakfast briefing thrown by Restore Our Future, the super PAC that helped Mitt Romney win the Republican nomination and now hopes to help him win the White House. The group, founded by three former Romney aides, set up shop at the Vinoy Renaissance resort in St. Petersburg, the same hotel booked by Mr. Romney’s campaign and the Republican National Committee to house top “bundlers” and donors.  

Politico: Money can’t buy wins in Senate races 
By David Catanese
For all of the carping about the outsize impact of spending on elections, a pack of Republican Senate nominees this year has proven that money isn’t everything.   

Candidates and parties

Mother Jones: GOP Platform Calls for Nuking What’s Left of McCain-Feingold Law 
By Andy Kroll
At this time during the last presidential campaign, the Republican Party’s campaign finance law opponents were in something of a pickle. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was their nominee; the tough law banning so-called soft money bore his name; and so, during the 2008 election, the GOP platform couldn’t take a rhetorical buzzsaw to the laws curbing the flow of campaign cash into elections.  

NY Times (Blog): Over Loud Boos, Romney Supporters Pass New Rules 
TAMPA, Fla. — Mitt Romney’s supporters passed new rules governing future primaries over the loud boos of Ron Paul supporters and other conservative activists who had objected to what they said was a power grab by the party’s establishment leaders.  

Lobbying and ethics

Philadelphia Inquirer: House ethics panel due to weigh in on Rob Andrews’ use of campaign funds  
By Jonathan Tamari
The answer may come by the end of this week. The House Ethics Committee is due to release a statement on allegations that Andrews misused campaign funds by spending tens of thousands of dollars on expenses that benefited himself and his family.  

ABC News: Pols, Lobbyists Schmooze at Lavish Convention Parties 
By Brian Ross
TAMPA — The Republican National Convention, which got into full swing here Tuesday, and next week’s Democratic version in Charlotte, will be the two most expensive, extravagant pairs of political conventions in U.S. history.  

The Nation: Lobbyist Parties at RNC Narrowly Skirt Ethics Rules 
By George Zornick
It’s actually against Congressional ethics rules for lobbyists to throw parties for lawmakers at the national conventions—thanks to a 2007 reform bill passed in the wake of the Abramoff scandals—but Monday night showed that the system can easily be gamed.  


LA Times: Ex-senator to FEC: Scandal aside, legal expenses arose on business  
By Richard Simon 
Not John Edwards. This time, it’s former Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), who’s fighting the Federal Elections Commission’s attempt to force him to pay back more than $200,000 in campaign funds. Craig used the funds for his legal expenses in connection with his 2007 arrest at a men’s restroom.   


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