Daily Media Links 11/20: How to Waste a Billion Dollars, Goodbye, Speech Police, and more…

November 20, 2015   •  By Brian Walsh   •  
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Campaign Spending Effectiveness

Politico: How to Waste a Billion Dollars

Michael Beckel

Case in point: Jeb Bush. After he appeared to be the anointed choice of the GOP establishment, Bush helped amass a war chest of more than $100 million for his supportive super PAC, called Right to Rise USA, which unlike an official campaign committee, can collect checks of unlimited size from individuals as well as corporations. For its part, Bush’s campaign has raised about $25 million.

Little has gone right for him since…

But Bush’s standing in the polls hasn’t budged. If anything, it has slightly dropped in both Iowa and New Hampshire, the states holding the first two presidential nomination contests in February.

“The thing with Bush is the product itself isn’t selling, and it’s been hard for his forces to turn that around,” said Kyle Kondik, managing editor at Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a nonpartisan project of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

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ABC News: Why 2016 Candidates Better Off Spending on the Homeless Than TV Ads

Matthew Dowd

Earned media (parlance for getting free media on news platforms) is the most powerful mode of communicating with voters. And to that end the four debates thus far have had more impact on this race than the millions spent on advertising. These debates caused Walker, Perry, and Jindal to drop out. They have caused Carly Fiorina to rise and fall. They have caused Bush to drift down from the upper teens to single digits of support. They have helped coalesce Trump’s support at about a quarter of voters. And they have helped Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz rise.

Candidates would be better off spending less time on raising money and more time on preparing a vision and a compelling message to deliver to the public. They would be much better positioned if they spent time and resources on preparing for debates and not on fundraisers.

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NPR: Jeb Bush Proves Money Isn’t Everything In Politics

Peter Overby

Two months later, the media-buying firm SMG Delta says Right To Rise has spent $19.5 million in those three states, and the Jeb 2016 campaign has spent another $438,500. The analysis was reported by NBC News. SMG Delta said it was more than double the spending of any other presidential campaign or superPAC.

But Bush didn’t get the intended result. On Labor Day, the Real Clear Politics average of national polls had him running third, at 9.3 percent. The latest RCP poll average has him at 5.3 percent this month. That’s fifth place, behind Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, and Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

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Wisconsin ‘John Doe’

Wall Street Journal: Goodbye, Speech Police

Editorial Board

Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board presided over one of the most extensive assaults on free speech in the state’s history, and soon it will be gone. That’s the good news in the Badger State, where lawmakers voted Monday to dismantle the agency that promoted an illegal investigation of conservative nonprofits.

The GAB regulates elections, and during the John Doe investigation that blanketed the state’s conservatives with subpoenas in October 2013 it teamed up with Milwaukee Democratic prosecutors to push a bogus theory of campaign-finance coordination. The Wisconsin Supreme Court shut the probe down this summer.

Two new reform bills rewrite the state’s campaign-finance laws and replace the GAB with an Elections Commission to administer elections and an Ethics Commission to oversee ethics, campaign finance and lobbying. Governor Scott Walker is expected to sign the bills.

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Independent Groups

Los Angeles Times: California vintner John Jordan wants to shape politics — on his terms

Seema Mehta

Earlier this month, Jordan made his first independent move in the 2016 presidential election, airing 60-second ads during the fourth Republican debate touting Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida as the GOP’s best bet to take on Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

The television and online ads cost more than $100,000 and were funded by a super PAC that Jordan created called Baby Got PAC. The name is a homage to a 1990s hip-hop song celebrating the size of women’s derrieres.

For Jordan, the wordplay reflects his singular approach to politics and life — fun-loving, scornful of political correctness and disdainful of doing the same thing, or following the same strategy, because that’s how it has always been done.

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New York Times: 2 Election Lawyers to Study Impact of ‘Super PACs’ on ’16 Race

Maggie Haberman

Two leading election lawyers – Bob Bauer, a Democrat, and Ben Ginsberg, a Republican – will lead a research project with major universities and veterans of presidential politics to answer that question, along with others about campaign finance, one of the premier issues of the 2016 presidential race.

Their report, to be issued in 2017, will draw on deep analysis of spending data, including looking at how campaign financing affected the nominating contests in both parties. The idea is not to be prescriptive but instead diagnostic about the way the huge changes in the campaign finance system since 2010 have altered presidential politics.

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NPR: SuperPAC Or Not, This Group Has Money To Bern For Sanders

Peter Overby

But is National Nurses United for Patient Protection a superPAC? The question leads down the rabbit hole of campaign finance law.

Here’s what sets it apart from the presidential superPACs.

First, its donor list. The other superPACs are financed largely by millionaires. As for the NNU committee, “It’s funded exclusively by our members,” said Michael Lighty, the union’s public policy director.

Technically, the PAC dates back to 2009, when independent expenditures were legal but the legal concept of superPACs did not yet exist. In the 2014 elections, Federal Election Commission records show, the nurses PAC spent $2.3 million, and was entirely funded by the union itself

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First Amendment

Pillar of Law Institute: Pillar of Law Challenges Illinois Cannabis Campaign Contribution Ban

Illinois law allows other corporations and labor organizations to contribute up to $10,800 to a candidate in each election. Medical marijuana companies and candidates who violate the contribution ban can be penalized with a fine of up to 150% of the value of an illegal contribution along with other penalties that can amount to thousands of dollars.

“A liquor company can donate up to $10,800 to a candidate, and so could a tobacco company. Only marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers are censored,” said Barr. “Whatever your position is on medical marijuana, the industry enjoys the same right to participate in politics as any other. The First Amendment never permits government to hobble certain speakers it disfavors.”

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Dangers of Disclosure

Michigan Capitol Confidential: Worker Bullied as UAW Publicizes His Opt-out

Matthew Dowd

Another Michigan union has used its newsletter to post the names of employees who have chosen to exercise their right to not have to financially support a union as a condition of employment. Workers say the union is bullying them and creating a hostile work environment.

This time, it’s UAW Local 600 that’s publishing the names of employees who chose to opt out of belonging and paying dues to the union…

“It is definitely union bullying,” Bowman said of Lemire’s situation. “It is to shame those that have pulled out of the union. But it causes a hostile environment and they hope that environment will stop anyone else from leaving the union. They want a hostile environment towards those people who exercise their additional rights, freedoms and protections that come from the state’s right-to-work law.”

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Candidates and Campaigns

National Review: Clinton Team Demands Names and Numbers of Comics Who Mocked Hillary

Stephen L. Miller

As reported by Judicial Watch, Hillary’s campaign is working to have a short video of her visit removed from the Laugh Factory’s website, featuring highlights of the comics that night and the pot shots they took at Hillary. Judicial Watch’s report is based on a statement by club founder Jamie Masada, who claims the campaign has threatened him legally if he doesn’t remove the clips from his website.

“They threatened me,” Masada said. “I have received complains before but never a call like this, threatening to put me out of business if I don’t cut the video.”

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Slate: Here Is How Your Hillary Smear Sausage Gets Made

Michelle Goldberg

How does Masada know that John was actually from the Clinton camp? He doesn’t. “I’m glad I’m not in politics or any of that stuff; you might know more than I do,” he says. “Maybe it was a prank, I have no idea. Was it real? Not real? I have no idea. He didn’t call back, that’s all I can say.” Nor is Masada sure how Judicial Watch even heard about the call. “The way I understand it, it’s because one of the [Laugh Factory] employees told a couple of people,” he says.

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Politico: Sanders drops line attacking super PACs from speech after super PAC backs him

Gabriel Debenedetti

“It is unacceptable that we have a corrupt campaign finance system which allows millionaires, billionaires and large corporations to contribute as much as they want to super PACs to elect candidates who will represent their special interests,” Sanders’ was expected to say during his address at Georgetown University. “We must overturn Citizens United and move to public funding of elections.”

The omission of that line went unnoticed by the 700-person audience, but it comes at a noteworthy time for Sanders: one day after the Sunlight Foundation noted that the National Nurses United union was using its affiliated super PAC to back Sanders with nearly $570,000.

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CNN: Trump launches Twitter tirade against Kasich after large super PAC ad buy

Theodore Schleifer

Donald Trump unleashed a barrage of negative tweets against John Kasich Thursday night after the super PAC supporting the Ohio governor announced it would levy $2.5 million in attack ads against the real estate mogul.

The super PAC supporting Kasich, New Day for America, will spend the millions against Trump in New Hampshire, a state where Trump holds a stubborn double-digit lead and where Kasich has focused his campaign. The salvo began earlier Thursday when the Kasich group began to air a spot portraying Trump as ill fit to be commander in chief…

“I want to do negative ads on John Kasich, but he is so irrelevant to the race that I don’t want to waste my money,” read one of Trump’s tweets.

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Brian Walsh

Brian is a Research Fellow at the Center for Competitive Politics.https://www.ifs.org/author/bwalsh/

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