Daily Media Links 11/19: How the FEC can stop the tidal wave of secret political cash, Beware the Smart Campaign, and more…

November 19, 2012   •  By Joe Trotter   •  
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In the News

PBS: Need to Know, November 16, 2012 
Panelists include Monica Youn, David Keating, Richard Brookhiser and Scott Murphy.  
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Independent groups

Washington Post: Awash in cash (cont’d) 
THE 2012 ELECTION featured, as always, a record amount of spending. It featured, as always but in a far bigger increment than the usual increase, a record amount of spending by outside groups. With new avenues for unlimited contributions unleashed by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, outside groups spent more than $1 billion in the 2012 campaign, compared with less than $300 million four years ago, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.  
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Politico: Merriam-Webster adding ‘Super PAC’ to dictionary 
By Dave Levinthal
The venerable dictionary hasn’t officially announced a date on which super PAC will join recent contemporary entries such as “earworm,” “f-bomb” and “cloud computing.” A formal definition also is forthcoming.   
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Wall Street Journal: Big Labor’s Big Victories in State Elections 
Kicking off his recent campaign to raise taxes via Proposition 30, California Gov. Jerry Brown cited the New Testament warning that of those to “whom much is given, much will be asked.” He meant that the rich should pay more taxes, but his statement proved true in a different way: In successfully pushing for the governor’s initiative, California’s rich and powerful government unions spent tens of millions of dollars on advertising and getting out the vote.
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Politico: 5 money takeaways from 2012 
When it comes to how money influenced the outcome of the 2012 elections, there’s been one consistent refrain: Republican-supporting billionaires spent hundreds of millions of dollars with little to show for it.   
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NY Times: Montanans Take a Stand 
Montanans overwhelmingly approved Initiative 166 on Election Day. The measure requires the state’s congressional delegation to propose an amendment to the United States Constitution that would prohibit corporate contributions and expenditures in Montana elections. Even in Montana, it is unlikely that voters believe this will happen anytime soon. But the law is an expression of outrage about harmful intervention in the state’s campaign system. 
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Washington Post: New super PAC hopes to give cover to pro-immigration Republicans 
By Peter Wallsten
Prominent Republicans are launching a new super PAC they hope will help begin repairing the political damage left by years of anti-illegal-immigrant rhetoric that has dominated GOP primaries and alienated crucial Hispanic voters.  
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Associated Press: Justice Alito defends high court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United case  
Alito told roughly 1,500 people at a Federalist Society dinner this week that the First Amendment protects political speech, whether from an individual or a corporation. His comments to the overwhelmingly conservative and Republican crowd were part of his broader analysis of arguments put forth by the Obama administration in recent years that Alito said would curtail individual freedoms in favor of stronger federal power.   

Candidates and parties

Politico: Brad Sherman-Howard Berman fallout continues in Calif. delegation
Sherman denounced the super PAC mailer as soon as it became public and pointed out that he had no control over Californians for Integrity in Government’s activities. 
But that doesn’t matter to other California Democrats.   

NY Times: Beware the Smart Campaign 
By Zeynep Tufekci
“I AM not a number. I am a free man!” was the famous cry of prisoner Number Six, who could never escape his Kafkaesque village on the 1960s television show “The Prisoner.” This is a prescient cry for an era when numbers follow us everywhere. Jim Messina, the victorious Obama campaign manager, probably agrees that you are not a number. That’s because you are four numbers. 


Washington Post: How the FEC can stop the tidal wave of secret political cash 
By Trevor Potter
It is the FEC and the permissive regulations it has created over the past decade that have allowed close connections between candidates, parties and political action committees. And it is the agency’s dysfunctional state — engineered by a Republican congressional leadership adamantly opposed to campaign finance reform — that has turned the Supreme Court’s promise of transparency into a joke.  

Joe Trotter

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