Daily Media Links 11/6: Stop Pay-to-Play Regulatory Creep Before Your Rights Disappear, Presidential Campaigns Make Closing Arguments in Sprint to Election Day, and more…

This is a daily media update on campaign finance and political speech developments prepared by the Center for Competitive Politics. If you would like to be removed from this list, or if you know someone who would like to be added, please e-mail jtrotter@campaignfreedom.org. For e-mail filters, the subject of this e-mail will always begin with “CCP media update”

In the News

Learn Liberty (IHS): What You Probably Haven’t Heard About Citizens United 
Brad Smith
In early 2008, a group called Citizens United sought to air commercials for their documentary that was highly critical of then-Senator Hillary Clinton. This appeared to violate federal election rules that prohibited corporations and unions from broadcasting “electioneering communications” within 60 days of an election. Citizens United sued the Federal Election Commission and ultimately won a landmark Supreme Court case that expanded corporations’ right to political speech. 

Independent groups

Politico: Secret money funds GOP door-knockers 
By Ken Vogel
Liberals, in fact, blazed the path for paid independent canvassing, with unions and environmental groups routinely compensating door-knockers — to say nothing of the 2004 effort by America Coming Together, which used a good portion of the $137 million it raised from rich liberals like George Soros to pay activists to go door-to-door.   

Washington Post: A campaign awash in cash 
WHEN IT COMES to the corrosive influence of money in politics, the 2012 campaign has presented a trifecta of troubling developments. They are, in ascending order of worry: the complete collapse of the presidential public financing system set up in the wake of Watergate; the explosion of the super PAC political committees, which are allowed to take unlimited checks to finance independent expenditures for or against particular candidates; and the proliferation of “dark money,” or spending by nonprofit organizations and trade groups that, unlike super PACs, are excused from having to reveal their donors. The end result is a system awash in cash and dangerously ripe for corruption.  

Politico: Sources: Rahm dials unions for Priorities USA contributions (UPDATED) 
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been calling labor unions over the past week and making a forceful case that they contribute six-figures and up to President Barack Obama’s super PAC, multiple sources tell POLITICO.  


NY Times: Some Voters Are Spelling Out Their Indecision on Their Donation Checks 
For one tiny sliver of swing voters, it is not enough to be wrestling with whether to vote for President Obama or Mitt Romney at a moment when nearly everyone else has long since decided. Their checkbooks, too, are wavering between the two candidates. 

Sacramento Bee: Appeals court denies California’s attempt at Arizona donor audit  
“Just like for some voters it is important to know whether somebody is a Republican or a Democrat, it’s important for voters to know who is behind measures or opposing them,” Ravel said. “The money paid and spent is an important cue to the voters on how to make decisions.”  A Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday that FPPC has the right to audit ARL and obtain the information requested. But the nonprofit group appealed Thursday and does not have to provide documents while the case faces review unless otherwise ordered by the court to do so.   

LA Times: Controversial Arizona nonprofit releases name of contributors — more nonprofits 
By Chris Megerian
In a stunning reversal, an obscure Arizona nonprofit at the center of a legal battle over secret political contributions released on Monday morning the identity of its contributors, which it had been fighting tooth and nail to keep secret.  

Candidates and parties

Wall Street Journal: If Obama Loses . . . 
“Is a ‘Citizens United’ Democracy a Democracy at All?” asked Katrina vanden Heuvel of the Nation recently. Team Obama already has suggested that the election was being bought. “You’ve got a few very wealthy people lining up trying to purchase the White House for Mr. Romney,” said senior White House adviser David Plouffe in October. Added campaign strategist David Axelrod: “They are trying to buy this election.”  

Roll Call: At the Races: House Democrats Lower Expectations, Offer ‘Tea Party’ Narrative  
By Jonathan Strong
For two years, Democratic leaders have focused on winning the 25 seats necessary for their party to take back the House. But with analysts predicting disappointing results for the number of seats they will pick up in Tuesday’s elections, aides and party operatives are privately lowering expectations about the net gain.  

NY Times: With Control of Senate at Stake, Last-Minute Money Pours Into Races 
PAINESVILLE, Ohio — A torrent of outside money has dropped into this state in the closing days of the campaign to try to unseat Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, part of a late onslaught across the country that Republicans hope will salvage a respectable showing in Senate races they once had high hopes for. 

Roll Call: At the Races: Presidential Campaigns Make Closing Arguments in Sprint to Election Day  
By Shira Toeplitz
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney made their closing pitches to swelled crowds of swing state supporters in the final weekend before voters deliver their verdict, while top surrogates hit the Sunday show circuit to spin their map to victory on Tuesday.  

Pay to Play

Forbes: Stop Pay-to-Play Regulatory Creep Before Your Rights Disappear  
By D. Mark Renaud
Lost in the noise over SuperPACs, the government has ordered a group of Americans off the playing field in this year’s elections.  While few will shed tears over the prospect of thousands of business professionals losing their political voice, everyone should worry that future rules could take away their rights too.  

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