Daily Media Links 2/26: When campaign finance laws are just regulatory overkill, Suspect in David Rivera campaign-finance scandal charged Friday with federal crimes, and more…

In the News
Salt Lake Tribune: House votes to close loophole allowing secret donors 
By Lee Davidson
However, Allen Dickerson, with the conservative Washington, D.C.-based Center for Competitive Politics, said in an earlier committee hearing that the bill essentially “takes a corporation and transitions it into a PAC … that’s not constitutional,” and would likely challenge it in court.  
The group was a proponent of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that allowed a flood of corporate money into elections. Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, D-Salt Lake City, urged members not to support it because it could lead to expensive court challenges, and might stifle political speech.  
Dickerson Argues LNC v. FEC Monday Morning 
By Sarah Lee
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — CCP Legal Director Allen Dickerson will argue Monday morning, 9:30 am, in the case of Libertarian National Committee (LNC) v. FEC. The hearing will be before Judge Robert L. Wilkins of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The case argues that bequests should not be subject to the same restrictions as contributions from living individuals.  
Independent Groups
NY Times: Obama’s Backers Seek Big Donors to Press Agenda 
President Obama’s political team is fanning out across the country in pursuit of an ambitious goal: raising $50 million to convert his re-election campaign into a powerhouse national advocacy network, a sum that would rank the new group as one of Washington’s biggest lobbying operations. 
Washington Post: Obama’s new political group to lure unlimited donations 
By Tom Hamburger
In close consultation with President Obama, two of his top political strategists are designing an ambitious new organization funded by donations from wealthy individuals and corporations aimed at making political and legislative gains at the federal and state levels.  
Jurist.org: Campaign Finance’s Not-So-Final Exam  
By Justin Levitt
For better or worse, a professor’s thoughts are never far from final exams. The best exams, I think, test students’ understanding not just of the governing rules, but the legal rationales that drive them. And it’s no secret that in devising hypothetical questions for exams, professors often turn to potential scenarios that they’ve otherwise been mulling: scenarios that present tricky issues forcing the better students to dig beneath the surface. Often, these exam issues are drawn from pending or recent cases. 
Wall Street Journal: Justices Won’t Review Campaign-Finance Appeal 
By Brent Kendall
WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court on Monday declined to expand its review of federal campaign-finance laws, bypassing an appeal that sought to broaden free-speech rights of corporations by allowing them to make direct donations to political candidates.  
NPR: Supreme Court Will Not Hear Campaign Finance Case On Corporate Donations 
Congress outlawed corporate contributions to candidates back in 1907. Now, two businessmen say that Citizens United makes that law unconstitutional – and they claim a First Amendment right to give corporate funds directly to candidates.  
Politico: Supreme Court won’t hear corporate contribution case 
By Byron Tau
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a case challenging a century-old prohibition on direct corporate contributions to candidates.   
Reuters: Justices decline to hear campaign finance case 
By Lawrence Hurley and Jonathan Stempel 
In a brief order, the court rejected the appeal of William Danielczyk and Eugene Biagi, two Virginia businessmen who were charged with criminally circumventing federal election laws through their support of the 2006 Senate and 2008 presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton. 

Corporate Governance 

Fox: Gasparino: SEC to Decide on Political Contributions Rule in April 
FBN’s Charlie Gasparino argues the SEC was bombarded with close to 500K letters in favor of more disclosures by advocacy groups. 

Candidates, Politicians and Parties

Washington Post: RESOLVED: President Obama doesn’t (really) care about campaign finance reform 
By Chris Cillizza
Here’s a novel concept: For all of the rhetoric he has devoted to the need to reform how campaigns are funded, President Obama has done little to, you know, actually bring about those reforms. And, it can be argued relatively convincingly that Obama has actually done plenty to exacerbate the influence of money in politics. 

Lobbying and Ethics

Miami Herald: Suspect in David Rivera campaign-finance scandal charged Friday with federal crimes  
By Marc Caputo
The charges against Justin Lamar Sternad stem from an investigation by the newspapers, which first found discrepancies in his congressional campaign-finance reports last August.  The FBI then began investigating Sternad, whose reports could have concealed as much as $100,000 in services and mailers, some of which attacked a Democratic rival of Rivera, who is a Republican.   


Washington Times: WANG: When campaign finance laws are just regulatory overkill 
By Eric Wang
Prominently displayed in the front window of the offices of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is Justice Louis Brandeis’ famous maxim, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” For campaign finance regulators, a corollary to this mantra is an even older proverb: “Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.” The idea is that, if we have better public reporting of campaign donors, not only will politicians be less likely to grant special favors to their contributors, but voters will have a better sense of the politicians’ values by virtue of who their “friends” (read: contributors) are.   

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