Daily Media Links 3/25: Wall Street Journal: Rigging Campaign Finance to Rig Elections, Forbes: The Real Dark Political Money Is The Kind Raised Involuntarily, MSNBC: Democratic super PAC looks to counter Kochs’ influence, and more…

In the News

Janine Turner: Brad Smith

Brad Smith talks about the proposed IRS rules governing the political activity of social welfare groups that would almost surely drive them out of the political process. 


Independent Groups

Wall Street Journal: Rigging Campaign Finance to Rig Elections

By Ed Cox

New York City’s Campaign Finance Board was established in 1988 by Mayor Ed Koch ostensibly to help combat campaign finance corruption. But the CFB has developed decidedly undemocratic habits. Most recently, the board cleared the Democratic primary field for new New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. Having shut out private money while opening the floodgates to unions, along the way it also has played favorites with millions of dollars of taxpayer money.

Exhibit A: John Liu, former city comptroller and a candidate for mayor in 2013. At the 11th hour of the primary campaign, the CFB denied his request for matching public funds, which would have nearly doubled his war chest. The board’s rationale was concern about the wire and donor fraud charges brought against Mr. Liu’s campaign treasurer and chief fundraiser (who had been arrested in 2012 and whose trial was under way during the 2013 primary season). Mr. Liu, however, was never accused of anything.

The CFB demanded that Mr. Liu justify 1,751 of his 6,500 claims for matching funds, giving him less than two weeks to provide supporting documentation for each donation. To no one’s surprise, Mr. Liu failed to meet the deadline. The CFB denied all 6,500 of his matching-fund claims.

Read more…


Forbes: The Real Dark Political Money Is The Kind Raised Involuntarily

By Patrick Gleason

For some context on how detached from reality this approach is, consider that unions, who are by far the most powerful force in politics and almost exclusively support Democrats, are the biggest political spenders. According to The Center for Responsive Politics, unions have spent $620 million on politics since 1989, which is over 3,400% more than the paltry in comparison $18 million spent by the Koch brothers during that same period.

It’s important to keep in mind that unions fill their vastly larger political and campaign coffers with money that was confiscated from worker paychecks without their consent. Meanwhile the political spending by individuals, corporations, and non-profit organizations so maligned by the Obama administration and Democrats on the Hill is a completely voluntary expression of 1st amendment rights. The good news is that two states – Pennsylvania & Louisiana – are set to pass laws this year that would put an end to the dubious practice of government automatically deducting union dues from government employee paychecks, much to the chagrin of union bosses who live large on union dues and Democratic politicians whose reelection depends on them.

Read more…


MSNBC: Democratic super PAC looks to counter Kochs’ influence

By Jane C. TImm

A Democratic super PAC is looking to counter the Koch brothers’ big-money influence in battleground states as the 2014 midterm election cycle heats up.  

The Senate Majority PAC, a group that supports Democrats up for re-election, is set to spend $3 million on ads in Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, and North Carolina, nearly doubling what they’ve spent so far this cycle, according to the New York Times.   

Read more…


The Hill: Shaheen hits Brown on People’s Pledge By Alexandra Jaffe

By Alexander Jaffe

A narrator goes on to note that “now Scott Brown won’t sign his own pledge to stop them. Maybe it’s because Big Oil and Wall Street want to buy him a Senate seat.”

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Tulsa World: T.W. Shannon supporters set up for-profit corporation to pay for ads

By Randy Krehbiel

Supporters of U.S. Senate candidate T.W. Shannon are using an unusual, potentially controversial and possibly revolutionary maneuver to pay for campaign advertising in support of Shannon.

Oklahomans for a Conservative Future, which has spent more than $300,000 for television and print advertising on Shannon’s behalf, is a for-profit corporation set up Feb. 5 by Manhattan Construction Co. executive Xavier Neira and lobbyist and longtime Republican operative Chad Alexander.

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Politico: Kochs aide slams Democratic ad buy

By Burgess Everett

The big spending by the Democratic group “is the latest round in a series of attacks and attempts to silence private citizens who dare to disagree with the policies of the Majority Leader and the current administration,” said Philip Ellender of Koch Industries. “Rather than focusing on job creation and improving Americans’ lives for the betterment of this country, Senator Reid has decided to focus instead on intimidating political opposition and squelching dissent.”   

Read more…


Candidates, Politicians, Campaigns, and Parties


CBS: Hillary Already Wounded By Growing Campaign Finance Scandal

Washington businessman Jeffrey Thompson told prosecutors that Clinton adviser Minyon Moore sought his help in funding “street teams” to bolster Clinton’s get-out-the-vote effort during primary contests in Texas, Pennsylvania, Indiana, North Carolina and Puerto Rico, according to court papers. Thompson funneled more than $600,000 to a New York marketing executive to fund the street teams and canvassers, the documents show, an expenditure that was never reported to the Federal Election Commission.  
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PJ Media: Unethical Media Helps Sweep Democrat Bribe-Taking Under the Rug

When the New Jersey bridge closure scandal broke in January, the big three news networks led the way in turning what was a local story into a national one. In the bridge scandal’s first 24 hours, the networks devoted 34 minutes and 28 seconds to covering it.

That was 17 times the amount of coverage that the networks had given to the IRS abuse scandal, across six months.

Read more…

State and Local

District of Columbia –– Washington Post: Machen tramples on the mayor’s due process

By Monroe H. Freedman and Abbe Smith

We are troubled, therefore, by Machen’s lengthy statement at his March 10 news conference. Surrounded by members of his staff and of the FBI and Internal Revenue Service, Machen decried the “sad truth” of “widespread corruption,” that had been “suppressed for far too long.” He then detailed a series of allegedly illegal acts by someone he called “Mayoral Candidate A.” This person is obviously Gray.  

Read more…

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