Daily Media Links 11/20: Admissibility of campaign contributions at issue in appeal by ex-Abramoff associate Ring, Judicial Elections, Unhinged, and more…


Changing the Debate 
By Joe Trotter
Instead, the talks focused more on how potential voters were desensitized by media saturation, and how mobilizing voters is significantly more important in winning than running flashy TV advertisements on the six o’clock news.

“More competition, more voices” 
By Sarah Lee
PBS’ “Need To Know” offered on Friday a good attempt at a fair and balanced discussion of money in politics in the first presidential election since the 2010 Citizens United ruling. CCP President David Keating is joined by National Review’s Richard Brookiser in arguing that money is a necessary part of speech in elections and that the disclosure regime has been tightening up — to the country’s detriment — since the early days of the Republic. 

Independent groups

Associated Press: Outside money buys elections? In Ill., not so much 
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — So much for the fear and loathing over anonymous fat cats buying elections, at least this year. The Democrats’ near sweep of last week’s congressional races in Illinois might give big-spending super PACs pause.

Washington Post: Politically connected firms hit jackpot in Maryland casino fight 
By Aaron C. Davis and T.W. Farnam
In total, gambling interests spent more than $90 million at a rate of over $1 million a day, making the Maryland ballot measure fight one of the costliest in U.S. history. With huge sums of money to spend, and not a lot of time to do it, those for and against the measure turned to a handful of politically connected firms to help them get their message across.  

Associated Press: La. Gov. Jindal’s advice to the GOP: If we want people to like us, we have to like them first 
Former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez has a more nuts-and-bolts approach to bringing in some of the largest and fastest growing groups of Americans: He’s forming a super PAC to support Republican candidates who back comprehensive immigration reform, including legalizing the status of an estimated 11 million immigrants in the U.S. without authorization.  


NY Times: Judicial Elections, Unhinged 
This year’s round of state judicial elections broke previous records for the amounts spent on judicial campaigns around the country. The dominant role played by special-interest money — including money from super PACs financed by undisclosed donors — has severely weakened the principle of fair and impartial courts. 

Tax financing

NY Daily News: NYC Campaign Finance Board Throws The Book At Ex-Brooklyn Councilman Kendall Stewart 
The city Campaign Finance Board on Thursday slammed former Brooklyn Councilman Kendall Stewart with its strongest possible sanctions, sticking him with just under $61,000 in fines and ordering him to pay back the nearly $137,000 in public funds he got for his failed 2009 campaign.   

Candidates and parties

VT Digger: Campaign finance: Winners spend less? 
By Nat Rudarakanchana
The latest state campaign finance reports for candidates show that in some key races, large outlays of cash made little difference. Winners in three statewide races spent far less than their opponents, who ended up losing at the polls.  

Lobbying and ethics

Washington Post: Forget creativity: Can lobbying be taught? 
By T.R. Goldman
It’s been almost 30 years since Steve Billet, at the time a newly minted lobbyist for AT&T, pulled up behind a car at a red light in Washington and noticed the bumper sticker: “Don’t tell my mother I’m a lobbyist. She thinks I play piano in a whorehouse.”

Associated Press: Admissibility of campaign contributions at issue in appeal by ex-Abramoff associate Ring 
By Fred Frommer
WASHINGTON — Federal appeals court judges reviewing the conviction of former lobbyist Kevin Ring in the Abramoff scandal questioned Thursday whether evidence of campaign contributions should have been allowed at his trial.  

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