Daily Media Links 9/5: No ‘Scarlet L’ for lobbyists in Charlotte, Hatch Act Keeps Federal Workers Out Of Politics, and more…


CCP Legal Team Files Suit Challenging Sub-Aggregate Limits Under Buckley v Valeo
By Sarah Lee
The case stems from the efforts of Virginia James, a private citizen, who seeks to give contributions directly to candidates up to the biennial aggregate limit of $117,000. However, federal law allows only $46,200 of that amount, in aggregate, to be given directly to candidates; the rest must be contributed to PACs and party committees. According to Dickerson, James is not challenging the overall limit, but rather wishes to give the entirety of her contributions to candidates directly, instead of being forced to act through PACs and other political organizations.  

Media Watch: Moyers and Weisberger’s Intellectual Hyperventilations 
By Joe Trotter
Fortunately, Mr. Weisberger and Moyer’s intellectual hyperventilations carry little weight with the people who enforce the Constitution; those “black-robed magicians” very appropriately sided with the First Amendment. 

Independent groups

NY Times (Blog): Priorities USA Action Reports Record Monthly Donations
By Nicholas Confessore
The Democratic “super PAC” backing President Obama raised $10 million in August, as donors gave a record amount to the group amid growing concern among some elite Democratic contributors that Republican outside groups will swamp Mr. Obama’s re-election effort.  

Wall Street Journal: Campaign-Finance Reform and Its Casualties 
By Cleta Mitchel
Well, the political parties and their campaigns aren’t what they used to be, either. In a significant way, the culprit is campaign-finance reform. The McCain-Feingold Act of 2002 was intended to diminish the role of money in campaigns, but it has instead had the effect of diminishing the parties themselves.  

Boston Globe: Karl Rove screens Scott Brown ad in Tampa, later sees senator
By Noah Bierman
But a spokesman for Rove’s super PAC, American Crossroads, said the ad was one of two that ran in Massachusetts in November and December. That was before Brown and his opponent, Democrat Elizabeth Warren, signed a pledge in January that was intended to keep outside groups from running commercials designed to influence their race.  

NY Times: Ohio Unions Battle Conservative ‘Super PACs’ for Votes 
COLUMBUS, Ohio — From a line of cubicles inside a union headquarters here, phone-bank volunteers hunched over laptop computers, improvising into their headsets their own versions of an anti-Mitt Romney script, which asserted that he had played a role in factories that closed, wages that dropped, workers who were fired. 

Rutland Herald: Are super PACs shaping Vt. races? 
By Peter Hirschfeld
Save for a nearly $200,000 mass-media campaign launched by a federal super PAC on behalf of Bill Sorrell, Contrada said in a press release last week, the seven-term incumbent would likely have lost to challenger TJ Donovan. 


By Jane Mayer   
David Koch, the co-owner of America’s second largest private company, Koch Industries, an oil, pipeline, chemical, lumber, and finance conglomerate that has been called “the Standard Oil of our times,” has historically been press-shy. But he used the occasion of the Republican National Convention, which he attended as a delegate, to rebrand himself as a good citizen rather than one of the biggest and most secretive behind-the-scenes funders of the opposition to Barack Obama. (There are wealthy people backing Obama’s reëlection campaign as well, but as I reported in the magazine recently, he’s been having trouble on that front.)   

USA Today: ‘Secret money’ taking over campaign funds 
By Stephen Engelberg
The emergence of non-profits as the leading conduit for anonymous spending in this year’s presidential campaign is often attributed to the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, which opened the money spigot, allowing corporations and unions to buy ads urging people to vote for or against specific candidates.  

Candidates and parties

Politico:Playbook Breakfast: Ted Cruz calls for unlimited donations, disclosure  
By MJ Lee
“That is not an accidental side effect. They were drafted by incumbent elected officials,” Cruz told POLITICO’s Mike Allen and Jake Sherman. “I believe in free speech. If it were up to me, I would eliminate all the limits and require immediate disclosure.”   

LA Times: Still a party in Charlotte, but a less lavish one
By Matea Gold
But as the Democratic establishment descends upon Charlotte, N.C., this weekend for the Democratic National Convention, lobbyists and event organizers said they expect next week’s convention-related events to be less splashy than usual.  

NPR: Hatch Act Keeps Federal Workers Out Of Politics 
With only a couple of months before the election, authorities are putting out word that federal employees need to beware of the line between protected political activity and prohibited electioneering. A few high-profile dustups have attracted attention already this year and watchdogs are investigating 168 possible violations of the Hatch Act.  

Lobbying and ethics

The Hill: No ‘Scarlet L’ for lobbyists in Charlotte 
By Kevin Bogardus
Lobbyists aren’t staying away from the Democratic National Convention this week despite President Obama’s harsh rhetoric against K Street.  

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