Daily Media Links 2/25: Sequester Spells Bitter K Street Failure, GOP super donor’s foundation leans left, and more…

Smith on HuffPost Live Debating Wertheimer on Election Law Revolution 
By Sarah Lee
In case you missed it, CCP Founder Brad Smith was on Huffington Post Live yesterday debating the Election Law Revolution happening in the wake of Citizens United as the Supreme Court decides to hear McCutcheon v. FEC. Smith is debating Democracy 21′s Fred Wertheimer and Huffington Post’s own Paul Blumenthal. 
Independent Groups
WSJ: Rove v. Gingrich 
By Stephen Moore
Even Newt Gingrich has entered the fray. In a memo to fellow conservatives, the former House Speaker scoffs at the idea of Mr. Rove as kingmaker. “I am unalterably opposed to a bunch of billionaires financing a boss to pick candidates in 50 states,” he writes. “This is the opposite of the Republican tradition of freedom and grassroots small town conservatism. No one person is smart enough nor do they have the moral right to buy nominations across the country.”  
Washington Post: Organizing for Action ads pressure GOP lawmakers on gun-buyer background checks 
By Philip Rucker
The advocacy group started by President Obama’s former campaign officials began its first advertising campaign Friday, pressuring 13 Republican members of Congress in their home states to expand background checks to all gun buyers.  
Politico: Priorities USA thinks about life after Obama 
By Tarini Parti
Priorities USA Action, which spent roughly $65 million helping President Barack Obama win reelection, isn’t ready to close up shop, but its place in the Democratic money world is uncertain.   
Politico: Sierra Club goes bolder in climate fight 
By Talia Buford
At the helm of the Sierra Club, Brune has even exposed one of the group’s own demons: A year ago, he went public with the admission that Sierra had secretly taken $26 million from natural gas interests to fund the club’s campaign against coal.  
Huffington Post: Don’t Get too Comfortable: The Koch Brothers Will Be Back 
By Heather Taylor-Miesle
Word spread this week that the Koch brothers were temporarily slowing their funding of the extremist Tea Party as they complete an audit of their failed 2012 electoral efforts. This shouldn’t be viewed as surrender. Anyone willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to win the White House and Congress doesn’t give up after they lose one round (especially when they are worth billions). The Koch brothers are committed to gutting environmental protections and devouring government agencies, and they will live to fight another day.  
The Hill: Former Bush Commerce secretary quits job to run pro-immigration super-PAC 
By Cameron Joseph 
Former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez (R), who served under President George W. Bush, is leaving his job at Citigroup to run a super-PAC backing Republicans who support immigration reform.


NY Times: Qualcomm Reveals Its Donations to Tax-Exempt Groups 
New York had brought a lawsuit against the company, a new tactic in the battle by officials and advocates nationwide to bring more sunlight to tax-exempt groups that they believe help corporations spend money on political influence outside the jurisdiction of federal campaign disclosure laws.  
CPI: Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states 
By Paul Abowd
In fact, 95 percent of Franklin’s revenue in 2011 came from a charity called Donors Trust, according to Internal Revenue Service records.  
CPI: GOP super donor’s foundation leans left 
By Paul Abowd
Since 2010, the Harold Simmons Foundation has also given $50,000 to Public Campaign, a D.C.-based nonprofit that institutionally aims to “dramatically reduce the role of big special interest money in American politics.”  
“I can see how it would seem ironic,” Public Campaign spokesman Adam Smith said.  

Candidates, Politicians and Parties

Slate: Can Ed Markey Ever Recover From A Gaffe That Democrats Actually Agree With? 
By David Weigel 
Stanton reminds us, helpfully, that Dred Scott codified the idea that the black man had no rights that the white man “need respect.” This is offensive, we’re told, because Citizens United merely built on the precedent that corporations are, legally, people, and trashed many of the limits that used to prevent businesses and wealthy people from plowing money into campaigns.  
I’ll buy that it’s a dumb analogy, but why is it harmful to Markey? He’s trying to win a Democratic primary. None of his opponents in the primary or general are credibly offended by the comparison, and, as Elspeth Reeve points out, Markey is hardly the first politician to make it. More importantly for him, Democrats really, truly despise Citizens United—or at least they despise what they think it stands for. One year ago, Democracy Corps tested a number of questions (PDF) about corporate/big money and politics and found voters, led by Democrats, easily spun on its badness. Sixty-two percent of all voters said they opposed Citizens United. Sixty-three percent said they wanted to limit money in politics; among Democrats, the number rose to 69 percent. Conservatives don’t blanch when their politicians compare Roe v. Wade to Dred Scott. Liberals show no signs of blanching at Markey.  

Lobbying and Ethics

Roll Call: Rules of the Game: Sequester Spells Bitter K Street Failure  
By Eliza Newlin Carney
From university professors and scientists to cancer victims, defense contractors and federal workers, hundreds of advocacy, trade and labor groups have lobbied aggressively for months to head off the cuts. They’ve run ads, testified on Capitol Hill, staged demonstrations and hounded lawmakers, all to no avail. 

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