Daily Media Links 3/31: Toledo Blade: Challenge to Ohio speech law has DeWine straddling issue, Politico: Darrell Issa rankles some Republicans in handling IRS tea party probe, National Journal: Why Democrats Are Going All In on the Koch Brothers, and more…

Supreme Court

Toledo Blade: Challenge to Ohio speech law has DeWine straddling issue


“… such [commission] hearings can be manipulated by complainants so that the costs they impose on a political opponent form part of the complainant’s campaign strategy,” reads the opinion filed for Mr. DeWine. “There is reason to believe that some complainants do precisely that.

“It is not surprising, then, that a review of the commission’s files shows that a great many charges that result in a finding of probable cause are dismissed by the complainant after the election,” it reads. “It is not overly cynical to believe that in many cases, this is the complainant’s intended strategy from the beginning.”

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Politico: Darrell Issa rankles some Republicans in handling IRS tea party probe


It was supposed to be an easy win: The most loathed federal agency engaged in what amounted to discrimination against tea party-backed nonprofits.

But 10 months out from the first IRS scandal headline, some Republicans are unhappy with their party’s investigation — and they point a finger at the man who helped sustain the national uproar: Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).

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National Journal: Why Democrats Are Going All In on the Koch Brothers

By Alex Seitz-Wald

With a new poll this week showing that fewer than half of Americans know who the Koch brothers are, many observers in Washington are a bit perplexed by Democrats’ recent frontal assault on the billionaire conservative donors.

The criticism, in a nutshell: The Koch brothers aren’t on the ballot anywhere, and most Americans have no idea who they are, so how does this approach end up helping anyone? To Democrats, this misses the point. And they think the 2012 election shows why they’ll be vindicated in the end.

Contrary to some assertions, Democrats contend that the strategy is not about vilifying or intimidating Republican donors, nor is not about fundraising (although that’s a very nice bonus), and it’s not even really about the Kochs themselves. It’s about what they represent.

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Washington Post: The ‘Sheldon Primary’ is one reason Americans distrust the political system

By Dan Balz
Several prospective Republican presidential candidates have gathered in Las Vegas for the opening round of what has been dubbed “the Sheldon Primary,” an event emblematic of how warped the system for financing presidential elections has become.  

The Sheldon Primary is named for Sheldon Adelson, the wealthy casino owner who, with his wife, poured more than $92 million into the 2012 elections. Despite all that money, Adelson made some bad bets in the last election, first on former House speaker Newt Gingrich to win the Republican nomination and then on Mitt Romney to defeat President Obama in the general election.  

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Candidates, Politicians, Campaigns, and Parties


AP: Wealthiest congressional districts represented by Democrats

By Stephen Ohlemacher

WASHINGTON — Republicans are the party of the rich, right? It’s a label you’re hearing as Democrats complain about GOP opposition to raising the minimum wage and extending unemployment benefits.

But in Congress, the wealthiest are more likely to be represented by a Democrat than a Republican.

Of the 10 richest House districts, only two have Republican congressmen. Democrats claim the top six, sprinkled along the East and West coasts. Most are in overwhelmingly Democratic states such as New York and California.

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Real Clear Politics: Reid’s Kin May Have Benefited Beyond Gift Purchase

By Adam O’Neal

His granddaughter has also received financial support for her fledgling New York theater company from two Nevada-based foundations that typically prohibit donations to organizations outside of their service areas. The foundations belong to gaming and energy companies that have also donated to the lawmaker. 

Ryan Elisabeth, in her early 20s and a recent college graduate, describes herself as a “performing arts professional.” In addition to her jewelry company — which is not mentioned on her LinkedIn profile — she also works as an assistant at the Tim Bavington Studio in Las Vegas and as artistic director at Sprat Theatre Company in Brooklyn, N.Y. Donations to the latter organization, which she founded, may raise some eyebrows. 

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USA Today: Harry Reid: ‘Enough is enough’ about my granddaughter

By Catalina Camia

“This has gone too far and it needs to stop now,” Reid said. “I deeply regret any role I had in creating this situation but now, as a grandparent, I say enough is enough.”

The Las Vegas Review Journal reports more than $31,000 has been paid by Reid’s campaign to his granddaughter’s company — which represents about $17,000 that had been questioned by the Federal Election Commission and another $14,000 “flagged” by Republican Party operatives.

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FEC: In the Matter of Gregg for Indiana: Statement of Reason of Chairman Lee E. Goodman


State and Local

California –– AP: Democrats in California capital reel from scandal

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — So far in 2014, each month has brought news of another arrest or conviction of a Democratic California state senator. The latest was Wednesday’s arrest of Sen. Leland Yee of San Francisco on federal corruption charges, news that roiled the capital and led one of Yee’s opponents in the race for secretary of state to call the Legislature a “corrupt institution.”

Democrats hold large majorities in both chambers of the Legislature and should be flying into election season this year, easily passing legislation and setting the agenda after taming California’s busted budgets and turning their Republican rivals into a “superminority” in the nation’s most populous state.

But now their dominance could be dampened by new revelations of dirty dealings by Democrats in the state Senate. One senator was convicted of voter fraud and perjury, and two others face federal charges for alleged misdeeds that include accepting large financial bribes for friends and family in exchange for legislation and orchestrating weapons and drug trafficking to help pay off campaign debts.

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Delaware –– AP: Del. GOP lawmakers eye campaign finance reform

By Randall Chase

Among the bills introduced this week is a measure clarifying how joint contributions to a political committee by more than person are attributed. Another bill extends whistleblower protection to employees who report campaign finance violations by their employers.  

A third measure requires political committees in Delaware to report contributors’ occupation and employment information, as federal campaign finance law requires.  

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