Daily Media Links 7/16: Service Employees International Union targets four House Republicans, Dem Super PAC Drops $3.5 Million on Alaska Senate Race, and more…

Independent Groups

Politico: Service Employees International Union targets four House Republicans

By Seung Min Kim

The Service Employees International Union will launch a new ad campaign Tuesday pummeling four House Republican lawmakers over their chamber’s inaction on immigration reform this year — part of a broader attempt to wield the political influence of Latinos in key congressional races.

The union is targeting Republican Reps. Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman of Colorado, as well as David Valadao of California and Joe Heck of Nevada with a round of Spanish-language television ads that will run for about two weeks, SEIU officials said. The ad buy is in the mid-six figures.

Gardner is running for the U.S. Senate, challenging Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in the one Senate race where immigration could play an influential role in November. The other three are vying for reelection in districts with a significant population of Latino voters.

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Washington Free Beacon: Dem Super PAC Drops $3.5 Million on Alaska Senate Race

By Lachlan Markay

Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich’s reelection effort is getting a massive boost from a top D.C.-based Super PAC with ties to top national Democrats as Begich touts his supposed independent streak and attacks his likely opponent as an outsider.

Senate Majority PAC, a Democrat-aligned group backed by some of the nation’s most wealthy liberals, gave more than $3.5 million in the second quarter of 2014 to Put Alaska First, a group supporting the reelection of Begich.

The contributions, disclosed in a Monday filing with the Federal Election Commission, more than quintuple Senate Majority PAC’s financing for the group during the current election cycle.

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Washington Free Beacon: Library Coordinated with Clinton Staff Prior to Free Beacon Ban, Internal Emails Show

By Alana Goodman

University of Arkansas library administrators were in contact with Clinton Foundation officials the same day the university rushed to take action against the Washington Free Beacon for publishing recordings of Hillary Clinton discussing her 1975 defense of a child rapist, according to internal emails obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Administrators scrambled to “get the lawyers involved” to draft a “cease and desist” letter to the Free Beacon the morning after the “Hillary Tapes” report, and over a week before the university admitted it did not actually own the copyright for the recordings.

Additional emails revealed that other media outlets had previously questioned the constitutionality of a university policy that requires news organizations to ask for permission to publish archival materials.

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Washington Free Beacon: Teachers Union Fights for Campaign Finance Reform Exemption

A Massachusetts teachers union is lobbying Democrats to exempt them from strict reporting guidelines in state campaign finance reforms, according to the Boston Globe.

The Massachusetts Teachers Association, the state’s largest teachers union, has attempted to parlay millions for the Democratic Party to shield itself from transparency requirements in the bill.

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Wall Street Journal: Roberts Turns Supreme Court Into Friendliest Bar in Washington


To a greater degree than any time since 1955, when the court started recording its proceedings, the nation’s top justices have taken to referring to the lawyers arguing cases not as “opponents” or “adversaries” but “friends.”

“Your friend says nobody can reasonably think this person is innocent,” Chief Justice Roberts told a lawyer at a 2013 argument. “What happens in the animal-shelter hypothetical that your friend proposed?” he asked in 2010. And this, in 2011: “Your friend said that is exactly what you do with respect to the visual body-cavity search.”

The term’s fashionable status may reflect the chief’s desire to lift the tone of oral arguments. Also, Chief Justice Roberts came from the clubby world of the Supreme Court bar where a handful of lawyers handle the lion’s share of cases—sometimes teaming up, sometimes in opposition.

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WSJ: Book Review: ‘Six Amendments’ by John Paul Stevens

By Steven G. Calabresi

Over the course of his 35-year career on the Supreme Court, Justice John Paul Stevens distinguished himself as one of the most articulate, disciplined and accomplished jurists in U.S. history. He struck down both state-imposed term limits on members of Congress and the so-called Line Item Veto Act, two actions critically important to upholding the meaning of the Constitution. He was also a paragon of fairness: During the bruising 1987 confirmation fight over Supreme Court nominee Robert H. Bork, Justice Stevens gave a speech in favor of Bork’s confirmation. Bork’s views, caricatured by Democratic politicians as extreme, were well within the legal mainstream, Justice Stevens argued.

Justice Stevens would abolish the death penalty and take away Americans’ individual right to keep and bear arms. His proposals would limit First Amendment freedoms by overturning Supreme Court decisions disallowing campaign-finance laws and allow state governments to be sued for money damages for the first time in history. Two additional amendments would compel state officials to work for Congress and force the courts to get involved in redrawing congressional-district boundary lines.

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Candidates, Politicians, Campaigns, and Parties

Politico: White House asks Darrell Issa to drop subpoena

By Lauren French

The White House is asking Rep. Darrell Issa to withdraw a subpoena of a senior adviser to President Barack Obama and is offering instead to hold a private briefing on activities in the administration’s political affairs office.

In a letter sent Monday, White House Counsel W. Neil Eggleston offered to brief Issa, a California Republican who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on the role of the the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach on Tuesday. That’s one day before the office’s director, David Simas, is under subpoena to testify on potential violations of the Hatch Act.

The Hatch Act prevents executive branch employees from engaging in political races and campaigns. The White House insists the office is in line with the law, while Issa is accusing Simas of leading an organization designed to boost Democrats.

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Lobbying and Ethics

Roll Call: Ernst & Young Agrees To Pay $4 Million Over Lobbying Violations

By Kent Cooper

A national accounting firm has agreed to pay $4 million to settle charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission that the firm violated rules relating to lobbying activities while claiming to be an independent auditor.

In the settlement, Washington Council EY, a unit of Ernst & Young, agreed to pay $4,071,925.98 including disgorgement, interest, and civil penalty. The settlement details the House and Senate lobbying activities of the firm, including letters, meetings, and draft legislation.

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Roll Call: Partisan Activities of Lerner Co-Worker at FEC

By Kent Cooper

The blatant partisan activities of an employee of the Federal Election Commission have been detailed by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is seeking information relating to a former co-worker, Lois Lerner. The loss of emails has hampered discovery.

The committee released a letter from chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., to Lee Goodman, the chairman of the Federal Election Commission, asking for records and information about the activities of April Sands. The Inspector General of the Commission reported she could not obtain some of Sands’ emails, since the Commission had recycled her computer hard drive. As a result, there was no prosecution.

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Cleveland.com: Rep Jim Jordan wants information on computer crash of federal lawyer who campaigned for Obama at work

By Sabrina Eaton

Theorizing that the Federal Election Commission may have destroyed evidence that could be used against a former FEC attorney who admitted campaigning for President Obama’s re-election while on the job, Rep. Jim Jordan wants the agency to provide his investigative subcommittee with information on how it happened to recycle a hard drive that belonged to the lawyer, April Sands.

“The FEC’s failure to retain Ms. Sands’ hard drive prevented the FEC (Office of Inspector General) from fully pursuing appropriate criminal sanctions for Ms. Sands’ admitted violations of federal law,” said a letter Jordan wrote on Monday with House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa.

“Like the IRS’ destruction of Lois Lerner’s hard drive, the FEC’s recycling of Ms. Sands’ hard drive may have also destroyed material responsive to Freedom of Information Act and congressional oversight requests,” it continued before demanding documents and a congressional briefing from FEC by July 28.

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State and Local

New York –– Wall Street Journal: Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Campaign War Chest Grows to $35 Million

By Erica Orden

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has more than $35 million on hand for his re-election effort, according to campaign finance reports filed with the state Board of Elections released on Tuesday.

Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, raised $8.5 million in the past six months, while his campaign spent roughly $6.8 million, according to the filings.

In January, the last time the governor’s campaign reported its finances, Mr. Cuomo had $33.3 million in cash on hand.

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