Daily Media Links 8/31: What do they want in return?, Mega-donors lavished with attention at convention parties, and more…

In the News

Washington Examiner: D.C. campaign finance reform, or cynical politics? 
By Brad Smith
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, as he rolls out his long-promised campaign finance reform plan this week, exemplifies why so many outside the beltway distrust D.C. politicians. The cynicism in the timing of such a plan is hard to miss, coming shortly after three members of Gray’s 2010 campaign against Adrian Fenty pleaded guilty to federal charges that they ran a $650,000-plus illegal shadow campaign to guarantee Gray’s win over Fenty in 2010.  

Independent groups

Huffington Post: The Adelsons and Super PACS Are a Fair Counter to Incumbency 
By Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
But while I absolutely agree that it would be wonderful if ideas rather than money was definitive in American politics — and I have steadfastly run a Jewish-values based campaign founded entirely on new political initiatives — I would remind those who decry Super PAC spending that the biggest problem in American politics today is incumbency.  

Wall Street Journal: Super PACs Hunt for New Donors 
By Danny Yardon
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—The Republican National Convention is providing super PACs access to a new group of potential donors to fund TV ads this fall attacking President Barack Obama and supporting Mitt Romney.  


Bloomberg: Union Investors Demand Aetna Disclose Political Donations
By Drew Armstrong
The New York State Common Retirement Fund and the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust are among 25 investors who demanded to know how Aetna, the third-biggest U.S. health insurer, is wielding its political influence and giving money to advocacy groups such as the American Action Network, an organization opposed to President Barack Obama’s policies. 

LA Times: Money is on the unofficial agenda at the Republican National Convention 
By Melanie Mason
“We’re looking at where our next donation should go,” said VanderSloot, who declined to specify how much he plans to give. “It’s one of the reasons we’re here.”  

Tax financing

Wisconsin Reporter: Conventions cost federal taxpayers as much as $136 million 
By MD Kittle
“The general public does not know that taxpayer dollars are used to underwrite these conventions. I think it’s wrong,” said Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause Wisconsin, part of the national nonpartisan public-interest organization. The group traditionally supports left-leaning issues.   

Candidates and parties

Wall Street Journal: Obama Talks Campaign Finance on Reddit 
By Jared A. Favole
President Barack Obama on Wednesday suggested amending the U.S. Constitution to undo a Supreme Court decision that allows unlimited spending on elections by corporations, unions and anyone else who can write a big check, looking to highlight the influence of money in politics even as there is little he can do about it this election.  

LA Times: Obama, on Reddit, proposed overturning Citizens United
By Christi Parsons
Asked by a member of the Reddit community what he would do to end the influence of money in politics, Obama wrote that, “Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United (assuming the Supreme Court doesn’t revisit it).”  

Washington Post: Mega-donors lavished with attention at convention parties 
By Jason Horowitz and Dan Eggen
TAMPA — As members of the Wisconsin delegation lined up for a luncheon and straggling Mississippi delegates looked for their group down the hall, the money delegation — clad in the state uniform of business suits and designer dresses — walked into the Buccaneer Suites on the second floor of the Hyatt for an off-the-record political analysis session from Karl Rove.  

Bloomberg: CSX And Microsoft Woo Republicans With Baseball, Trains 
By Jonathan D. Salant
With pitched baseballs and idled rail cars, companies such as Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), CSX Corp. (CSX) and AT&T Inc. (T) this week put their names, representatives and issues in front of the elected officials, senior aides and delegates attending the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. 

Fox: What do they want in return? 
By Doug Smith
It takes millions of dollars to put on a convention.  While taxpayers foot some of the bill, corporations and high rollers contribute tens of millions of dollars, and those who give a lot usually expect something in return.   

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