Daily Media Links 11/30: Putting the squeeze on super PACs in Vermont, Campaign finance laws fail, and more…


Corporate Political Disclosure: Response to a Changing Landscape 
By Sarah Lee
The Hill coverage of this issue rightly acknowledges that, should the petition be successful in producing legislation, it would “send shockwaves through Washington, where corporate money flows to a panoply of trade groups and associations that lobby the government. Many of those groups keep their donors secret.”  

Independent groups

The Hill: Activists press Obama’s SEC to expose political giving of US companies 
By Kevin Bogardus
Blair Bowie,  a democracy advocate at U.S. PIRG,  said Schapiro’s exit is a “game-changer” for campaign finance activists. 

Volokh: Citizens United and the Fall of the Roman Republic
By Ilya Somin
The problem with electoral bribery is that bribed voters vote for whoever pays them off rather than based on their perception of the public good. By contrast, political speech – whether financed by corporations and unions or not – is only effective if it persuades the public. And, Mitt Romney’s notorious comments notwithstanding, the overwhelming evidence is that voters generally do not form their political opinions on the basis of narrow material self-interest. The problem with modern voters is not that they are selfish, but that they are often ignorant and irrational. That problem cannot be solved by restricting corporate and union-funded political speech.

Politico: Grover Norquist’s not over 
By Anna Palmer
And his most recent statements, refusing to declare war on the Republicans who have signaled they won’t be beholden to the pledge, is just another example of his ability to maintain flexibility. While remaining committed to the pledge, Norquist won’t say specifically what tax increase Republicans can agree to in a deal without breaking the pledge.   

Candidates and parties

Bloomberg: The Science Behind Those Obama Campaign E-Mails 
By Joshua Green
One fascination in a presidential race mostly bereft of intrigue was the strange, incessant, and weirdly overfamiliar e-mails that emanated from the Obama campaign. Anyone who shared an address with the campaign soon started receiving messages from Barack Obama with subject lines such as “Join me for dinner?” “It’s officially over,” “It doesn’t have to be this way,” or just “Wow.” Jon Stewart mocked them on the Daily Show. The women’s website the Hairpin likened them to notes from a stalker.  

WSJ: Democratic Lawyer/Obama Advisor Bob Bauer to Teach at NYU 
By Jennifer Smith
Switching gears after his most recent turn as top lawyer to President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, prominent Democratic attorney Robert Bauer is returning to New York University Law School this spring to teach a seminar on political reform.  


The Hill: House Dems reelect Pelosi as leader 
By Mike Lillis
House Democrats will go into the 113th Congress with their leadership team largely unchanged after rank-and file members voted Thursday to keep Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and her top lieutenants at the head of the party.

State and Local

Colorado –– Durango Herald: Gessler: Campaign finance laws fail 
By Joe Hanel
Gessler, a Republican elected in 2010, is the state’s top enforcer of campaign-finance laws. But he said the laws – especially a 2002 constitutional amendment that set low donation limits and high fines – have given more power to rich, independent groups at the expense of candidates.  

Vermont –– Rutland Herald: Putting the squeeze on super PACs in Vermont 
By Andrew Savage
With all the campaign ads over, the take-home from this past election has largely been that super PACs in Vermont didn’t have the outsized electoral impact many expected. 

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