Daily Media Links 10/23: Conservative PACs Turn Attack on G.O.P. Leaders Into Fund-Raising Tool, With New SEC Nominees, 4 of 5 Commissioners Would Be Women, and more…

Independent Groups

New York Times: Conservative PACs Turn Attack on G.O.P. Leaders Into Fund-Raising Tool

Eric Lipton and Jennifer Steinhauer

“This is clearly an organized effort and an attempt by these groups to raise money for themselves,” said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, who added that she was the target of a similar attack during the 2013 Senate debate over gun safety legislation. “They hurt our party, they hurt our Congress and they hurt our country.”

Organizers of the petition efforts said such criticism was unfair and propagated mostly by entrenched politicians who have lost their way.

“That is an absolute self-serving lie fostered by people who are usually on the receiving end of political attacks of these organizations,” said Dan Backer, whose Virginia-based consulting firm, DB Capitol Strategies, is treasurer and legal adviser to several of the groups, including the Tea Party Leadership Fund, the Constitutional Rights PAC and the Conservative Action Fund.

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Politico: Pro-Trump super PAC shuts down

Eli Stokols

Ciletti told POLITICO that his decision Thursday to shut down the organization, which he launched in July in an effort to boost Trump’s candidacy, is an attempt “to erase any questions as to whether he has a super PAC.”

“Mr. Trump has said he doesn’t have a super PAC,” Ciletti continued. “So to honor his wishes, I’m shutting my organization down.”

Ciletti declined to say how much money he was able to raise in roughly four months or whether anyone specifically asked him to shut the organization down. He plans to refund contributions after making sure existing contractual obligations to various vendors (mostly related to voter targeting and advertising) are met.

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New York Times: Clinton ‘Super PAC’ Responds to Benghazi Hearings With ‘Research Center’ and a Flurry of News Releases

Eric Lichtblau

When some of Hillary Clinton’s top supporters created a “super PAC” in March to work with her presidential campaign on media responses, they promised a “rapid response” to political attacks on her from all comers.

They certainly delivered on Thursday.

The “super PAC” – Correct the Record, founded by David Brock and other staunch Clinton allies – flooded the emails of Washington reporters with a running, blow-by-blow critique of Mrs. Clinton’s contentious appearance before the House Benghazi committee.

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ABC News: With New SEC Nominees, 4 of 5 Commissioners Would Be Women

Marcy Gordon

President Barack Obama is nominating two women, both attorneys and academics at Washington-area universities, as members of the Securities and Exchange Commission. If they are confirmed by the Senate, four of the five SEC commissioners will be women, a first for the agency.

The nominees, announced Tuesday, are Lisa Fairfax, a Democrat, who teaches law at George Washington University, and Hester Peirce, a Republican, who heads a financial markets program at George Mason University and was formerly a Senate aide.

The Senate Banking Committee will hold a nomination hearing for Fairfax and Peirce. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a member of the committee, said in a statement that one of the chief issues is whether the SEC will enact a rule requiring public companies to disclose their political spending to investors.

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Free Speech

Los Angeles Times: Trump donors: No qualms about giving money to billionaire who doesn’t need it

Mark Z. Barabak and Michael Finnegan

Although some might question the point of sending money to a person of such extraordinary means, especially one with such conspicuously lavish tastes, more than a dozen interviews with Trump donors around the country found no such hesitation.

People gave because Trump says things no conventional politician dares to say. They gave because it makes them feel like a part of his campaign and, they said, like they were investing in a better future for America…

Treen, 48, a foundation contractor in south Texas, bought more than $300 worth of bumper stickers and Trump T-shirts, the latter for “the green-card workers” — those with documented legal status — he hires for his building projects. It is, he suggested, a way to make a political statement.

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Candidates and Campaigns

National Review: Jeb Bush Is Toast

Lawrence Brinton

Candidates whom big donors love but who do not excite the base can sometimes be lifted by the establishment to the nomination but have no hope in the general election. This why candidates such as Rudy Giuliani, despite his enormous major-donor fundraising totals, went absolutely nowhere in the GOP primaries. Ultimately, it is candidates who — e.g., Obama and George W. Bush — excite the grassroots and do well with major donors who win. Ultimately, it is candidates who excite the grassroots and do well with major donors who win.

This perspective is instructive when analyzing the candidates’ latest quarterly financial reports in the 2016 GOP presidential primary. I have compared the cumulative fundraising data from the election to date with the data through the same quarter of the 2012, 2008, 2004, and 2000 election cycles to see what we can learn about which candidates are likely to do well and which candidates are almost certain to fail. From examining the data, several striking patterns emerge, and if fundraising history is any guide to the present, all of the following assertions will prove true. Jeb Bush has almost no chance of being the GOP nominee, owing to a near-complete lack of support from the GOP’s rank-and-file donors.

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Huffington Post: Marco Rubio’s Interview With Fox News May Have Violated Ethics Rules

Michael McAuliff

Rubio gave an interview to Fox News’ Neil Cavuto on Tuesday, speaking from the Russell Senate Office Building. When asked about lagging behind some of his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination, the senator attempted to tout the strength of his fundraising.

In doing so, however, Rubio made a direct appeal for donations.

“I knew we wouldn’t be the leading fundraiser in this race, because we are not the top choice of the entrenched political establishment,” Rubio told Cavuto. “But I’m confident we have the resources and continue to build the resources to be able to communicate our message. And obviously if somebody watching this program wants to help us, they should go to marcorubio.com and chip in.”

According to Senate ethics rules, “Senate Members and staff may not receive or solicit campaign contributions in any federal building.”

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The States

Columbus Dispatch: ResponsibleOhio has spent $15.4 million on campaign to legalize pot

Alan Johnson

Powered by a small core of big-money investors, marijuana legalization advocates outraised opponents 16 to 1 in the last campaign-finance reports filed before Ohioans vote on Nov. 3.

ResponsibleOhio, the group backing State Issue 3, the marijuana legalization amendment, reported spending $15.4 million so far on the campaign, $12 million in the past three months. The group has been waging an all-out campaign dominated by 30-second television commercials and direct mail.

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