Daily Media Links 7/13: Power of the Pocketbook: Women Gaining Influence As Campaign Donors, New PAC defends doctor embroiled in Medicare fraud lawsuit, and more…

July 13, 2015   •  By Brian Walsh   •  
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First Amendment

NPR: Power of the Pocketbook: Women Gaining Influence As Campaign Donors

Lauren Leatherby

This campaign cycle marks another milestone for women — for the first time, women are vying for the White House in each of the major parties’ primaries. Women’s voices are also becoming more prominent in campaign finance, particularly for Democrats. That’s something that will get new attention over the next several months and with the first campaign finance disclosures set to be released Wednesday.

The Washington Post reported last month that 60 percent of Hillary Clinton’s donors are women — a nearly 30 percent increase over Barack Obama’s 2012 record, when almost half of Obama’s individual donors were women, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics.

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IJ Review: Americans’ Support for First Amendment Weakens During Times Of National Crisis (Infographic)

Kelsey Rupp

According to the 2015 survey:

75 percent of Americans do not believe the First Amendment goes “too far,” up from only 57 percent in 2014;

19 percent of Americans believe the First Amendment does “go too far,” down from 38 percent in 2014.

At the time the 2014 survey was conducted, the public was debating the role of social media in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the media’s use of shocking images, according to the authors of the report.

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Independent Groups

Philadelphia Inquirer: Money talks in politics

Editorial Board

The Federal Election Commission is deadlocked along political lines on what to do about campaign donations from groups exploiting tax law by claiming they are charities, which are allowed to keep their donors secret.

This trickery allows corporations, wealthy individuals, and special interests to pour cash into shell organizations that pay for political attack ads without the risk of alienating the donors’ customers or stockholders. The secretive donors, however, do manage to let candidates know what they expect in return.

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Washington Post: The universe of 2016 fundraising

Philip Bump

Each campaign committee fundraising total and PAC/527/non-profit organization total that has been announced (as of Friday evening) appears below, to scale. The candidate’s face appears on the planet representing his or her campaign committee totals; orbiting/adjacent to that are the amounts raised by PACs, etc. (There’s a key at the top, if you’re worried about it.)

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USA Today: New PAC defends doctor embroiled in Medicare fraud lawsuit

Fredreka Schouten

The PAC, Patient’s Right to Excellent Medicine or PREM, ran a full-page ad Sunday in The Ocala Star-Banner denouncing the federal government and media’s treatment of Dr. Asad Qamar, the paper reported. On its website, the PAC describes itself as a coalition of patients “disgusted and distressed” by “inaccurate” portrayals of “this extraordinary physician.”

“We are going to exert pressure on Medicare,” said Beck, who said Qamar helped relieve the symptoms of his ALS, a fatal neurological disorder, by inserting stents to improve circulation in his legs. “Who are they to determine whether my doctor is doing unnecessary treatments on me? He went to Yale. Where did they go?”

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Hot Air: Lerner-John Doe link shows “common cause” for progressive squelching of speech

Ed Morrissey

The linking of the two scandals could not come at a worse time for the GAB. The Wisconsin Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on the John Doe case and potentially the entire structure used by the GAB for those investigations. Kennedy et al may find themselves out of work anyway, but now even a somewhat favorable ruling from the top state court may end up being moot. The coordination between two politicized agencies will give Republicans all the cover they need to strip the GAB of its authority to conduct secret probes and hushed-up raids, even if a court found them to be legal.

On the larger point from the WSJ, this joint effort does demonstrate the progressive Left’s animus toward First Amendment rights.

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Wisconsin Watchdog: GAB’s Kennedy had a friend in IRS’ Lois Lerner

M.D. Kittle

The good doctor Hunter S. Thompson once observed that “it never got weird enough” for him.

The late author of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and his own twisted existence may have changed his tune had he covered Wisconsin’s political John Doe investigation.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Kevin Kennedy, the director of Wisconsin’s speech regulator integrally tied to the probe into dozens of conservative organizations, is a longtime “professional friend” of former IRS tax-exempt director Lois Lerner.

On the larger point from the WSJ, this joint effort does demonstrate the progressive Left’s animus toward First Amendment rights.

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Campaign Finance

Daily Camera: Jared Polis: The zombies of our political system

Jared Polis

The Democracy for All Amendment is a proposed amendment to the Constitution that simply states that the government may distinguish between natural persons and corporations for the purposes of campaign finance laws, and that the government may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money in our election system.

If zombies were real, we wouldn’t exempt them from our laws and turn our political system over to them. The human flesh would soon run out, and it simply wouldn’t serve the common good. It’s time we stop giving myopic political zombies free rein over our election system and restore power to the human beings it was designed to serve as articulated in our Declaration of Independence: “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

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New Hampshire Public Radio: Campaign Finance Reformers Find Voice on 2016 Trail

Brian Wallstin

Weeks says the next step is to get candidates to start talking about how wealthy donors can have outsized influence on policy making. On the right, that might be the role lobbyists play in increasing government spending. On the left, it might be the insurance industry’s role in health care policy.

Rauh, who has been watching public opinion on the issue for more than 40 years, says that once candidates start drawing those conclusions, campaign-finance reform will rise as a topic of concern.

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Candidates and Campaigns

Roll Call: Group Files FEC Complaint Against Ron Johnson

Hannah Hess

The seven-page complaint states that Johnson loaned himself nearly $9 million in the months leading up to the election, then disclosed in May 2011 that he had received $10 million in compensation from his Oshkosh-based plastics company, PACUR, shortly before being sworn into the Senate. Signed by Brad Woodhouse, on behalf of the American Democracy Legal Fund, it was mailed to the FEC on Thursday.

When the payout first surfaced, Johnson told Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Daniel Bice that the deferred compensation package reflected an “agreed-upon amount.” He also emphasized that he had not taken a salary as CEO since he bought the company in 1997 — though he still had an income from capital gains, corporate earnings and real estate.

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Salon: If only Hillary could rope in Bernie Sanders: The primary nightmare she suddenly can’t avoid

H.A. Goodman

Although the Clinton campaign is expected to raise $2.5 billion, some things can’t be purchased with money. Enthusiasm is a precious form of currency in American politics, and Bernie Sanders is filling arenas with thousands of people. Vermont’s senator recently drew crowds of 10,000 in Wisconsin, 2,500 people in Iowa, a “packed to capacity” venue in New Hampshire, and a “huge crowd” of 7,500 in Maine. In contrast, Michael Calderone of the Huffington Post explained how the Clinton campaign is dealing with journalists in an article titled “Clinton Campaign Frustrates Journalists Yet Again By Roping Off Media at Parade.”

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Brian Walsh

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