Daily Media Links 2/28: Montana Senate backs campaign-finance bill, Jim Messina to open consulting firm, and more…

Appearance of Corruption 
By Joe Trotter
White House spokesman Jay Carney was asked about President Obama’s relationship with Organizing for Action on Monday.  Specifically, he was asked about the NY Times allegations that donors who give more than $500,000 to the organization would be granted quarterly meeting with the President. 
Independent Groups
Huffington Post: OFA and the Fundraising Thing 
By Mike Lux
Here’s the other point that I think is worth making: not all interest groups, and not all money raised in politics, are the same. I know this point will raise the hackles of the pox on all their houses crowd, but if you are raising money to, say, keep five-year-olds from being killed by semi-automatics, it is qualitatively different than, say, raising money to make sure your massively profitable Wall Street bank doesn’t have to worry about regulations or being taxed much. Groups like Wall Street trade associations that are specifically about helping their narrow industry to keep maximizing their profit have a fundamentally different purpose than non-profits who are trying to serve the broader public interest. To say that all money is the same, that all lobbying is the same, is deeply wrong — and Common Cause — a public interest group that raises millions of dollars per year, some of it in very large contributions, to promote the greater good — should know better.  
Politico: Group under fire for McConnell tweets also faces FEC questions  
By Tarini Parti
The super PAC under fire for posting racist tweets about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife failed to disclose its December fundraising numbers and received a warning notice from the Federal Election Commission.  
The Hill: Obama group selling White House access to rich donors, says watchdog 
By Justin Sink   
A nonpartisan watchdog group on Tuesday demanded President Obama shut down the nonprofit group built from his campaign organization, the latest voice in a growing chorus accusing the newly founded Organizing for Action (OFA) of selling access to the White House.  
Politico: OFA: Fake-tweet accusations baseless 
By Donovan Slack
The Obama group Organizing for Action is fighting back against accusations that it generated fake tweets supporting the president’s call for gun control legislation.  
Bloomberg: Clinton Backers Plead Guilty to Campaign Funds Violation 
By Andrew Zajac
Two contributors to the presidential primary campaign of Hillary Clinton pleaded guilty to illegally reimbursing straw donors in a case that tested a century-old ban on direct corporate giving to political candidates. 
InsidePoliticalLaw.com: The Dangers of Sua Sponte 
By David Shaw
Yesterday’s guilty pleas in the Danielczyk criminal trial leaves open an important question that campaign finance practitioners must consider closely going forward: when does the government consider a sua sponte submission itself to constitute a criminal violation, and seek to compel counsel to become a witness against their client?  As BNA first reported, the Justice Department fought to compel the testimony of two experienced campaign finance lawyers against William Danielczyk, the CEO and Chairman of their client Galen Capital, and his co-defendant, Eugene Biagi, the Secretary and Treasurer of Galen Capital.  The basis for this effort to convert advocates to witnesses: the lawyers prepared and filed a sua sponte submission to the FEC on behalf of their client, which the Justice Department intended to use against the defendants at trial.  

Candidates, Politicians and Parties

AP: Backed by NYC mayor, anti-gun Democrat wins Chicago primary to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. 
CHICAGO — The newly elected Democratic nominee to replace disgraced former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. vowed to become a leader in the fight for federal gun control and directly challenged the National Rifle Association in her victory speech.  

Lobbying, Ethics, and Consultants

Politico: Jim Messina to open consulting firm 
Messina will also remain chairman of Organizing for Action, the nonprofit successor to Obama for America, which was the president’s campaign committee.  Continue Reading Messina told POLITICO that he will only be a consultant — not a lobbyist. 
The White House, which has tried to limit the role of lobbyists in the administration, has also tried to avoid the potentially embarrassing specter of former aides moving to K Street to cash in on their ties to top officials.  
State and Local
Montana –– AP: Montana Senate backs campaign-finance bill 
HELENA — The Montana Senate has endorsed a bill that would limit corporate campaign finance spending after changing the measure to allow news-media outlets to continue publishing editorials during election season.  

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