Daily Media Links 9/25: The Opacity of “Transparency,” The next Citizens United could affect campaign spending in the states, and more…

In the News

More Soft Money Hard Law: The Opacity of “Transparency”
By Bob Bauer
The Keating-Durbin argument may be primarily about the means by which the Senator was seeking information about the relationship between ALEC and its funders. If the information the Senator wanted was not, rightly or wrongly, available by operation of existing disclosure law, then Keating objected to the use of the official-seeming inquiry, on United Senate letterhead, that might rattle recipients into responding only because of an unwillingness to risk the wrath of the authorities. Durbin, if he spoke to the point, might say, as does his letter, that he was only “seeking information,” and that he had acknowledged the “company’s right to actively participate in the debate of important political issues, regardless of your position.” 
Washington Post: The next Citizens United could affect campaign spending in the states 
By Niraj Chokschi
“If the federal limit falls, I think the states are likely to fall, too,” says Lawrence Norton, co-chairman of the political law practice at Venable and a former general counsel of the FEC. If the Supreme Court rules against the limits, it will likely do so in a way that affects those state caps, he says. In a February blog post, Norton identified roughly 10 states with state-level spending limits. 
The Center for Competitive Politics, which filed a brief on behalf of McCutcheon puts the number of states with limits even higher at 13. Still, they argue, the majority of states have no cap and are doing fine. And, besides, Citizens United opened the floodgates for unlimited independent corporate political spending, so removing the aggregate limit for individuals acts as a counterbalance, they and others argue. 

Independent Groups

By Matthew Boyle
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has offered election integrity group True The Vote its tax-exempt status in what appears to be a bid to keep the group from proceeding with discovery on its lawsuit against the agency, Breitbart News has learned exclusively. 
CPI: Pro-Clinton super PAC creators have dubious pasts 
By Michael Beckel
Linking super PACs to popular political brands like Clinton’s presents a potentially lucrative business opportunity as there is little in federal law that dictates how the unlimited amounts of money that such committees may raise must be spent. Super PAC operators can easily collect money from activists in the name of a well-known politico and pocket what they amass, so long as the expenditures are disclosed.  
This makes them an attractive option not just for political professionals and grassroots activists — the unrelated Ready for Hillary super PAC has already raised more than $1.25 million — but also grifters.  

Candidates, Politicians, Campaigns, and Parties

Roll Call: House Republicans Raise $3 Million for Vulnerable Members 

By Emily Cahn
The National Republican Congressional Committee will announce it has raised $3 million total for the 20 vulnerable incumbents through its Patriot program, according to figures provided first to Roll Call.  

State and Local

Arizona –– AP: Campaign finance law throws twist at candidates 
PHOENIX (AP) — An election law change that raised Arizona’s campaign contribution limits also provided candidates with an unwanted and apparently unintended surprise.  
That surprise is new wording that the Secretary of State’s Office says requires candidates to have separate campaign finance committees for the primary and general election elections, the Arizona Capitol Times reported (http://bit.ly/1evIE71).  

Massachusetts –– Boston Globe: Campaign finance pact gets push in gubernatorial race  
By Jim O’Sullivan
The so-called People’s Pledge, which held down third-party spending in the last two US Senate races in Massachusetts and has percolated as a point of debate in the Boston mayoral campaign, appears destined for a reprise in the 2014 gubernatorial contest.  

New York –– AP: NY corruption commission presses on after conflict
ALBANY, N.Y. — New York’s anti-corruption commission continued its bold if legally uncertain quest to investigate the Legislature on Tuesday, days after a confrontation between the panel created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers threatened to stymie the effort.  

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