Daily Media Links 12/17: Monserrate Gets 2 Years in Prison for Misusing City Funds, Rep. Schock under scrutiny by House ethics panel, and more…

Fireside Chats with Governor Cuomo 
By Sarah Lee
Slow news week in campaign finance land so let’s revisit that bastion of campaign finance reform — and haven for political corruption — New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo is fireside chatting about his desire to be a “progressive leader” when it comes to campaign finance reform. Building off New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s desire to uncloak all those dark money monsters slipping bills to politicians via third-party groups to ensure their special interests are met, Cuomo says he’s really just interested in simplification — and extending the witch-hunt to national groups.  
Independent Groups
Roll Call: Colbert-Controlled Groups Ship Money to Campaign Watchdogs  
By Eliza Newlin Carney 
Both the Center for Responsive Politics and the Campaign Legal Center responded in Stephen Colbert-like fashion to news that the two political nonprofits would receive about $135,000 each from the comedian’s now-defunct super PAC. 
Article continues: The rest, about $270,000, “will be split between two pro-transparency groups who fight against the corrupting influence of outside money in politics,” his email said. “Luckily, they were both fine with the corrupting influence of outside money in their offices.
Bloomberg: Defense, CEOs Push Budget Deal as Labor Invokes Scrooge 
By Julie Bykowicz & Greg Giroux
“We are not big on threats, but we have clearly taken Republicans to task on spending, wind energy and other issues over the years. And we’ll do so on this,” said Tim Phillips, AFP president. “AFP has a history of good, strong grassroots organization in districts back in the states. We’ve shown a willingness to fund an effort to talk to the American people.”  
TPM Muckraker: Rove Group’s IRS Filing Promised ‘Limited’ Election Work 
By Eric Lach
In the confidential document, Crossroads GPS acknowledged that it intended to influence elections. “Consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the organization may, in the future, develop and/or distribute independent political communications,” it said. But, the group added, “[a]ny such activity will be limited in amount, and will not constitute the organization’s primary purpose.” 
The article continues:  “As far as we know, the Crossroads application is still pending, in which case it seems that either you obtained whatever document you have illegally, or that it has been approved,” Jonathan Collegio, the group’s spokesman, [told ProPublica] in an email. 
Bloomberg: Debt Group Airing Sunday Show Ads 
More than a month after Election Day, the political TV ads keep coming. 


Philadelphia Inquirer: Congress can shed light on secret political donors
Applaud a group of retired state and federal judges from Pennsylvania who want Congress to open the curtain on secret campaign donors. 
Washington Post (LTE): A path to greater campaign transparency 
By Sen. Michael Bennet
The good news is that we can fix this. This year, a group of senators introduced the Disclose Act, which would create greater transparency in elections through new disclosure rules. Also, several colleagues and I have urged the Internal Revenue Service to explore whether “social welfare” organizations receiving certain tax advantages were improperly engaged in substantial campaign activity, which is barred by their 501(c)(4) status under the tax code. As the editorial pointed out, these organizations must report their donors to the IRS, but they are not required to report them to the public.

Lobbying and Ethics

Chicago Tribune: Rep. Schock under scrutiny by House ethics panel 
The committee didn’t make public how the Peoria Republican may have violated House ethics rules but said an outside ethics panel, the Office of Congressional Ethics, transmitted a “matter” to the committee Aug. 30 and the House panel’s “course of action” would be announced by Jan. 28.  
State and Local
New York –– NY Times: Monserrate Gets 2 Years in Prison for Misusing City Funds 
By Colin Moynihan
Hiram Monserrate, a former New York City councilman and state senator who acknowledged misusing about $100,000 in city money to help pay for one of his Senate campaigns, was sentenced on Tuesday to two years in prison. 

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