Daily Media Links 8/26: 15 Things Vox Forgot to Mention about “Money in Politics” (Part I), It’s ‘safe money’ in modern political campaigning, and more…


15 Things Vox Forgot to Mention about “Money in Politics” (Part I)
By Scott Blackburn
That contributors donate their money to only one party should be unsurprising. You similarly don’t find many individuals who are fans of both the Yankees and the Red Sox. And, for those who are worried about the undue influence of “money in politics,” this should be heralded as great news. If money really did buy influence, then an individual that wanted said influence would not care whether the last name of the politician he was attempting to “buy” was followed by a D or an R; you would expect this graph to be a bell curve or at the very least a straight line. In reality, donors are not buying influence; they are giving to candidates that already share their political positions. This, again, is basic common sense. If you think more environmental regulations are needed, you are going to support candidates that agree with you – you are not going to attempt to “buy off” the opposition and simultaneously support your preferred candidate.  
So, are wealthy donors actually more radical then small donors? A graph of small donor polarization is notably lacking from the Vox piece, so allow me to supplement with these two charts (courtesy of The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog)  
In actuality, larger contributors are less polarized than smaller contributors. This chart looks not at multi-party donations, but at how close a particular politician is to the political center and where donations flow. As is clear, small donors tend to give more heavily to more extreme candidates and large donors tend to give to establishment and moderate candidates.  


The Arizona Republic (LTE): It’s ‘safe money’ in modern political campaigning
By Linda Mueler
I contend that donating anonymously to a political campaign or issue is a safety issue, not some evil way to push an agenda. My personal experience of having property damaged and being bullied in a parking lot for displaying a political bumper sticker makes me realize free speech isn’t free.
The reality is expressing a difference of opinion or candidate support has serious repercussions. Friends have expressed concern over financially supporting a candidate for fear of attacks at their place of employment.
Until the people of Arizona can feel safe supporting a political position or candidate without fear, let’s call donating to a group that supports a personal belief what it really is: “safe money” not “dark money.”

Candidates, Politicians, Campaigns, and Parties

Wall Street Journal: OPINION Opinion: Stop the Presses! Scott Walker Fundraises.
Editorial Page Editor Paul Gigot on the media outrage over Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s fundraising campaign.
NY Times: Obama Is Seen as Frustrating His Own Party
In interviews, nearly two dozen Democratic lawmakers and senior congressional aides suggested that Mr. Obama’s approach has left him with few loyalists to effectively manage the issues erupting abroad and at home and could imperil his efforts to leave a legacy in his final stretch in office.
Grumbling by lawmakers about a president is nothing unusual. But what is striking now is the way prominent Democrats’ views of Mr. Obama’s shortcomings are spilling out into public, and how resigned many seem that the relationship will never improve. In private meetings, Mr. Reid’s chief of staff, David Krone, has voiced regular dismay to lawmakers and top aides about White House operations and competency across a range of issues, according to several Democrats on Capitol Hill.

State and Local

Colorado –– Colorado Springs Independent: Penalties aside, couple forms drainage committee
By Pam Zubeck
Gardner says in an interview that he was the attorney for the Alliance group, which he says is a 501(c)(4), which means it doesn’t have to file campaign finance reports unless it takes an advocacy role. “That’s a First Amendment right, not to disclose your identity,” he says. “Any organization only has to file if it does certain activities. We maintain they didn’t do any of those things and the definition of political committee doesn’t apply to us.”
Jack was the director of the Alliance, he says.
Gardner says he filed a motion for a stay with the Colorado Court of Appeals on Friday and also filed a request to delay the effective date of the judge’s decision.
Connecticut –– CT Post: Super PACs make mockery of campaign finance reform
When a candidate for office gets handed $6.5 million in public money to run a campaign over about four months, it seems that should be enough, right? But no.  
Maryland –– Washington Post: Hogan demands TV stations take down ad saying he supported ‘massive’ tuition hikes
By John Wagner
“Therefore, we demand that your station stop airing this advertisement immediately to protect your viewership, the integrity of your station and to fulfill your responsibility to operate in the public interest,” Hogan, an Anne Arundel County businessman, wrote in a letter to the stations airing the ad.
Election law gives candidates great leeway in the content of their ads, and there was no immediate response from the stations Saturday night.
New Mexico –– AP: Supreme Court vacates campaign finance hearing
Duran’s office last week reversed course and agreed with King’s legal view of a state law limiting campaign contributions.
Duran said King could keep $10,900 in contributions if the money was to help retire his primary election debt.
The secretary of state initially had contended the contributions exceeded state caps because the money was given after the primary election.
New York –– Albany Business Review: Halfmoon home builder faces charges tied to campaign finance law allegations
By David Robinson
Tanski is accused of evading campaign contribution limits, Scheiderman’s office said. The case is pending before Saratoga County Court Judge Jerry J. Scarano
The contributions tied to the charges were allegedly funneled to then-Town of Halfmoon Supervisor Melinda “Mindy” Wormuth.
Wormuth is separately charged with stealing thousands of dollars from campaign accounts in a case pending in Saratoga County Court, Schneiderman’s office said.
Texas –– AP: Texas panel considers political donation rule
AUSTIN (AP) — The Texas Ethics Commission has moved forward with a measure to out secret campaign donors despite a pending federal lawsuit by a conservative group over whether the commission has the authority to regulate dark money disclosure.
The San Antonio Express-News reports the eight-member commission presented a draft proposal Thursday to require some politically active nonprofits to reveal their anonymous donors. It seeks to require a nonprofit to disclose donors if 25 percent or more of the nonprofit’s expenditures can be classified as politically motivated. It would also require disclosure if political contributions account for more than 25 percent of the group’s total in a calendar year.

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