Daily Media Links 7/15: McCutcheon hysterics should breathe deep and look at facts, House Democrats to unveil campaign finance amendment, and more…

In the News

Washington Examiner: McCutcheon hysterics should breathe deep and look at facts

By Luke Wachob

A new report analyzing the policy implications of the Supreme Court’s biggest campaign finance case of the year, McCutcheon v. FEC, suggests that the controversy surrounding the decision is severely overblown.

Prior to the case, few people seemed to care about, or even be aware of, aggregate contribution limit laws, which limit how much individuals can contribute not to one candidate, PAC, or party, but to all candidates, all PACs, and all parties combined over a two-year period.

Despite the law’s obscurity, the Court’s decision that the federal aggregate limits are unconstitutional provoked all the usual outrage against a First Amendment victory – hyperbolic condemnations, hysterical political leaders, and Left-stream media hyperventilation.

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Amending the First Amendment

Politico: House Democrats to unveil campaign finance amendment

By Lauren French

House Democrats will introduce a constitutional amendment on Tuesday that seeks to overturn two controversial Supreme Court decisions that loosened campaign finance laws.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will introduce the House’s version of legislation that would overturn decisions like Citizens United v. FEC and McCutcheon v. FEC – court cases that helped create modern-day super PACs and stripped rules limiting aggregate limits on donations.

The amendment would give Congress and the states the power to regulate campaign financing, fundraising and spending, including money spent by independent expenditures.

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Independent Groups

More Soft Money Hard Law: The Coordination of Issue Advocacy Part II: Progressive Conflicts and a Hypothetical

By Bob Bauer

The theory behind keeping candidates from coordinating with “outside group” issue advocacy is that the candidates have to account for the benefits they receive from associating with their allies. If the groups spend money on issues also identified with the candidates, then the candidates are getting “contributions” that must be tracked and limited—or prohibited, as in the case of corporate contributions.

Of course, much of the energy behind this demand for strict limits on “coordination” is derived from suspicion of the ads: the belief that they are shams, adding nothing to the debate and merely transferring media expenses from the candidates to the supporters.  But the  arguments to regulate this advertising go farther, as now evident in the Wisconsin legal controversy over the Walker recall election.  The complaint is not only about ads that name and either praise or condemn candidates, or contain some other obvious electioneering language or imagery. It extends to ads that carry none of that content, but that take up a cause a candidate shares, in coordination with the candidate. The circle of suspects at risk of illegal coordination is all-inclusive: established gay or women’s rights organizations, or labor unions, as well as fly-by-nights with names like Citizens for a Just World and Americans against Evil.

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Free Beacon: Democracy Alliance President: Campaign Finance Reform a Means to Push Liberal Policy Goals

By Lachlan Markay

The campaign finance reform efforts of a massive network of liberal and Democratic groups are explicitly designed to limit conservatives’ ability to oppose key parts of the left’s agenda, according to the head of the group coordinating those efforts.

The admission comes as parts of that network attempt to present the case for campaign finance reform as politically and ideologically neutral, and to recruit and reach out to conservatives and Republicans who might support it under those pretenses.

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Roll Call: Terri Lynn Land Targeted in Super PAC Ad in Michigan

By Kyle Trygstad

Senate Majority PAC launched a TV ad Saturday aimed at the Republican vying for Michigan’s open Senate seat.

The Democrat-aligned super PAC’s spot, backed by a nearly $650,000 buy and running for two weeks, features three state residents criticizing former Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land on issues including tax breaks for the wealthy and women’s health, while labeling Land a “career politician.”

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Roll Call: AFL-CIO Moves $3 Million to Super PAC

By Kent Cooper

The AFL-CIO moved $3 million to a Super PAC for use during the 2014 elections, as well as for its Immigration Activism program.

A new quarterly report from Workers’ Voice, a Democratic-oriented super PAC, showed it received $3 million on April 7th from the AFL-CIO COPE Treasury account and $200,000 on June 30th from the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Pipe Fitting Industry.

Workers’ Voice reported it had receipts of $3,223,402 and disbursements of $739,185, leaving $3,941,636 cash on hand as of June 30th. The report detailed $307,401 in operating expenses, such as staff costs and services, and $431,785 in other disbursements, such as $400,850 given in April to the AFL-CIO Immigration Activism Program in Washington, D.C.

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SCOTUS/Judiciary

Institute for Justice: Washington’s Unconstitutional Limits on Donations to Recall Campaigns Avoids Review

In a decision that leaves the free speech rights of Washingtonians in limbo, late on Friday, July 11, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals announced it would not consider whether Washington laws that protect incumbents from recall elections by arbitrarily limiting how much money and time citizens may contribute to recall campaigns violates the U.S. Constitution.  

The ruling comes three years after Robin Farris and the Recall Dale Washam campaign, which Farris headed, first filed their lawsuit challenging the Washington restrictions. Farris began her campaign after watching with dismay how Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam was running his office. 

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Candidates, Politicians, Campaigns, and Parties

Politico: Shaun McCutcheon wades into Mississippi race

By Bryan Tau

The plaintiff in a landmark campaign finance case is asking Mississippi to investigate allegations of election fraud in that state’s Republican primary between Sen. Thad Cochran and Chris McDaniel.

Shaun McCutcheon —an Alabama GOP donor, tea party activist and the victorious original plaintiff in the 2014 Supreme Court that bears his name — has filed a complaint with the Mississippi secretary of state arguing that Democratic crossover voters in the June primary are guilty of a misdemeanor under state law.

“It appears thousands of people who apparently voted in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate on June 3, 2014, were permitted to vote in the Republican runoff for U.S. Senate on June 24, 2014,” the complaint alleges.

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