Daily Media Links 3/28: OFA backs New York coalition’s campaign finance reform efforts, Ethics reform now includes incumbent-protection provision, and more…

Independent Groups
 
Political Law Briefing: Think Your Advocacy Group is Not Subject to FEC Rules? Think Again. 
The ruling is an important reminder that advocacy groups cannot always avoid Federal Election Commission rules merely by organizing themselves as a 501(c)(4), 527, or nonprofit established under state law.  
The suit was filed by a group called “Free Speech,” which challenged the FEC’s policies for determining when fundraising appeals are subject to FEC rules and when an entity is a federal political committee, requiring it to register and file reports. The suit also challenged an FEC rule defining when an ad “expressly advocates” the election or defeat of a federal candidate, in which case the ad must contain certain disclosures and the ad’s sponsor must file an independent expenditure report. The court rejected each of Free Speech’s constitutional challenges and dismissed the suit.  
 
NY Times: Pro-Obama Group Details Fund-Raising and Policy Goals 
By MIKE MCINTIRE
In addition to the previously reported “board of trustees” whose members are expected to raise at least $500,000, it turns out there is an even higher tier of donors who are granted entree to the board of directors if they raise $1 million for two consecutive years, according to a memo that describes the organization’s “finance leadership levels.”  
 
Roll Call: K Street Files: SEIU Launches Immigration Ads  
By Kate Ackley
The SEIU said both buys are part of a series of ads that the union plans “to continue the drum beat for immigration reform.” 
 
Washington Post: Fighting big money with big money 
By EJ Dionne Jr.
Put aside that the hypocrisy question rarely is raised against those who defend unlimited contributions except when the big bucks are wielded against them. Can I be grateful for what Bloomberg is doing and still loathe Citizens United? I say: Yes.  
Are opponents of Citizens United and the new super PAC world required to disown those who use their wealth to fight for causes we believe in? I say: No.  
 
Colbert Report: Colbert Super PAC – Ham Rove Memorial Conference Room 
A nonprofit salutes Stephen’s dearly digested friend, Ham Rove, while Karl Rove tries to avoid any confusion with Ham Rove at Easter. 
 

Candidates, Politicians and Parties

 
Mother Jones: Hillary Clinton Holds the Purse Strings 
By Andy Kroll
But there’s a striking dynamic at play in the donor world that is apparently unique to the Democratic side. Call it the Hillary Clinton Cash Freeze. According to Clinton’s friends, fundraisers, and former campaign staffers, big Democratic money isn’t going anywhere until she makes up her mind about launching a second presidential campaign.   
 

Lobbying and Ethics

 
Politico: Menendez donor reveals lobbying effort — 4 years late   
By Tarini Parti and Kenneth Vogel
Melgen’s lawyers had claimed he never hired a lobbyist for himself or his business interests and there were no mandatory reports on record detailing lobbying by Vitreo-Retinal Consultants — until now.   
 
State and Local
 
Georgia –– AJC: Ethics reform now includes incumbent-protection provision 
By Jim Galloway
Mullis replied that it was merely an effort to level the playing field. Incumbent lawmakers and state elected officers are prohibited from accepting campaign contributions during the session.  
No doubt this is true. We are searching the new version of H.B. 143 – it is not yet online —  for other Senate efforts to level the playing field. Such as a clause that might prohibit lawmakers from communicating excessively with their favorite supporters – er, constituents — via newsletters and videos assembled by a state-paid staff.  
 
New York –– The Citizen: OFA backs New York coalition’s campaign finance reform efforts 
By Robert Harding
“Organizing for Action’s support brings unstoppable momentum to the campaign for Fair Elections for New York,” Citizen Action of New York Executive Director Karen Scharff said in a statement. “As our movement for publicly funded elections spreads across New York, we are confident that lawmakers will hear the voters and decide to transform our campaign finance system and restore our democracy during this legislative session.”  

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