By Theodoric MeyerDavid Keating, president of the Center for Competitive Politics, which has called for less restrictive campaign finance regulations, said he doubted the rules would significantly affect the social welfare nonprofits that spend the most on elections, such as Crossroads GPS on the right and Patriot Majority USA on the left.“For the people who are pinning their hopes on IRS rules changing how these groups operate, I think they’re kidding themselves,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to happen.”Kuhn, the former IRS senior attorney, said she expected the agency to come up with rules that are “bland and hard to attack.”“The whole controversy of dark money 2014 I really don’t think that’s going to be solved through the IRS regulatory process,” she said.
By Rachael BadeThe years-long delay has gutted these groups’ membership, choked their ability to raise funds, forced them to reserve pots of money for possible back taxes and driven them into debt to pay legal bills.“If you say the targeting issues have been resolved … how come we still haven’t received a determination one way or the other?” asked Rick Harbaugh, leader of the Albuquerque Tea Party, which has been waiting five years for its tax exemption. “We are still being targeted.”IRS’ website says it has closed 95 percent of “priority” groups that had been pulled for extra scrutiny.
By David BossieAs I read the recent reports about the Clinton Foundation’s acceptance of contributions from foreign governments, I couldn’t help but think about the past. More specifically, I thought of my time as chief investigator for U.S. House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight in the 1990s.I led the investigation into the millions of dollars in contributions that came into the 1996 Clinton-Gore reelection campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) from illegal foreign sources, and whether that money influenced policy and access during the Clinton administration. To quote Yogi Berra, it’s like déjà vu all over again.The latest foreign-money episode involving the Clinton Foundation ties together many different storylines that I’ve become accustomed to with the Clinton modus operandi, and it tells us a great deal about the challenges Secretary Clinton will face if she becomes a candidate for president.
By Jessica GreskoProsecutor Kacie Weston told a judge Thursday that the Supreme Court was taking January’s demonstration very seriously, in particular because it was the first time a group had acted together to disrupt the court. She said disrupting the high court is different from disrupting Congress, where demonstrations are much more frequent, because Congress is expected to answer to the people while the Supreme Court is supposed to be independent.“There is a time and a place for everything,” Weston said, calling disrupting the high court’s session “inappropriate.”One person who was filming the January demonstration, using a pen that doubled as a video camera, was also arrested along with the demonstrators. The man, Ryan Clayton, has asked for a trial in his case. Newkirk, the group’s leader, said Thursday that Clayton’s pen camera had been confiscated but acknowledged the group had other video. He said his group wouldn’t rule out further protests at the court.
By Paul Blumenthal and Ryan GrimWhen Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy cast the deciding vote to gut a century of campaign finance law, he assured the public that the unlimited corporate spending he was ushering in would “not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” Because those authorized to give and spend unlimited amounts were legally required to remain independent of the politicians themselves, Kennedy reasoned, there was no cause for concern.Just five years later, in a development that may be surprising only to Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision is reshaping how, how much and to whom money flows in Washington.How the flood of money released by Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has changed elections has been the subject of much discussion, but the decision’s role in allowing that same money to soak the legislative process has largely gone unreported.
By Eliza Newlin CarneyRepublican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s political organization is opening a campaign office for him in Iowa. Ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is meeting with major donors and hosting dozens of fundraisers around the country. Hillary Rodham Clinton, former senator, secretary of State and first lady, is quietly hand-picking a team of high-level advisers to run her anticipated White House bid.Yet, none of these presidential hopefuls has officially declared their candidacy or even announced plans to test the waters of a White House run. That’s given them free rein to raise money through a crazy quilt of campaign-style committees, from tax-exempt issue groups to personal leadership political action committees, unrestricted super PACs, foundations and political organizations. Oversight is scant and disclosure spotty.With only a couple of exceptions, the nearly 20 hopefuls eyeing the Oval Office are “likely violating” Federal Election Commission regulations that impose strict limits on candidates testing the waters of a White House bid, said Paul Ryan, senior counsel at the Campaign Legal Center. Ryan recently published a white paper dubbed, “’Testing the Waters’ and the Big Lie: How Prospective Presidential Candidates Evade Candidate Contributions While the FEC Looks the Other Way.”
By Anna Palmer and Tarini PartiEight months ago, Eric Cantor was forced out of office amid charges that he had lost touch with his Virginia constituents, derailing the political career of the man who was in line to be the first Jewish speaker of the House.Now he’s back.At a reception Tuesday night celebrating the D.C. office opening of his investment banking firm, it was like he had never left House Republican leadership. Speaker John Boehner of Ohio held court among the guests, including now Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry of North Carolina and Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, plus a few House Democrats and a handful of GOP senators.
By Robert RobbThe U.S. Supreme Court decision simply finding that corporations and labor unions have a First Amendment right to openly advocate the election or defeat of candidates has taken on mythic properties in the eyes of the left. I fully expect to read about it being blamed for global warming, Ebola, and the measles outbreak.In Arizona, it has been dragged into a controversy over robocalls made by American Encore in support of Gov. Doug Ducey’s budget. Citizens Unitedsomehow allows the group to make the calls without disclosing its source of funding, is the inference.Citizens United didn’t change any disclosure laws. And it applied only to campaign speech. Corporations and labor unions have long been deemed to have First Amendment rights to engage in grassroots lobbying campaigns about issues. The same group could have made the same robocalls with the same amount of disclosure (none) before Citizens.
By Lisa BaumannHELENA, Mont. (AP) – Montana senators passed a measure Thursday that would require more disclosure surrounding campaign donations.Republican Sen. Duane Ankney’s Senate Bill 289, which is backed by Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, would require corporations, political committees, unions and individuals to report monetary and in-kind contributions that pay for advertisements, communications and other activities for or against political candidates and issues. The proposal also would require that the attribution “paid for by” be included on political ads in the state.The Senate passed the measure by a vote of 28-22. It will go next to the House for consideration.