Daily Media Links 12/10: More Headaches Ahead for Tax-Exempt Groups?, ALEC has tremendous influence in state legislatures. Here’s why., House Schedules Vote to Eliminate Taxpayer Financing of Presidential Campaigns, and more…

December 10, 2013   •  By Matthew McIntyre   •  
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In the News

Roll Call: More Headaches Ahead for Tax-Exempt Groups?

By Eliza Newlin Carney

But advocacy groups on the left and right object to provisions that would define election eve ads that identify a candidate, along with voter mobilization, as political activity. Public comments have already started coming in, including from the Center for Competitive Politics. The agency has struggled for decades to explain what social welfare groups may or may not do on the political front. Tax law says they should be “exclusively” for the public welfare, while IRS regulations say their “primary” focus should be the public good.  

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Independent Groups

Washington Post: ALEC has tremendous influence in state legislatures. Here’s why.


But ideology isn’t the whole story. Another major factor was the legislative resources available to lawmakers: states where legislators had smaller budgets, convened for shorter lengths of time, and spent less time crafting policy were all more likely to enact ALEC model bills (even after accounting for the ideological orientation of state governments). Lots of legislators fit this description: In 17 states, the average state legislator only spends the equivalent of half of a full-time job on legislative work, receives about $16,000 per year in compensation and is assisted by only one staffer. A similar finding emerges when you compare legislators, too: Less-experienced legislators were much more likely to rely on ALEC model bills compared to more experienced lawmakers. 

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Corporate Governance

Wall Street Journal: Proxy Advisers Don’t Help Shareholders


The Securities and Exchange Commission’s roundtable on proxy advisory firms last week was long overdue. In July 2010, the agency asked for public comment about these organizations in light of growing concerns that “proxy advisory firms may be subject to conflicts of interest or may fail to conduct adequate research and base recommendations on erroneous or incomplete facts.” Since then, silence.  

Meanwhile, legislation including “say on pay” has increased the power of proxy advisory firms, especially the two biggest, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis and Co. Like the bond rating agencies of the last decade, these firms have been granted significant influence by the SEC in the shaping of corporate governance policies for all U.S. public companies. There is evidence that such influence may not be for the better, as far as shareholder value is concerned.  

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AP: NY Senate GOP opposes public funds for campaigns

ALBANY, N.Y. — The bold recommendation of New York’s anti-corruption commission to use public money to fund political campaigns so far hasn’t improved the chances of getting the idea, prized by Democrats, through the Senate’s Republican conference.  

On Monday, good-government groups sought to push Gov. Andrew Cuomo to force an early start to the issue through his State of the State address Jan. 8, before the legislative session begins. The groups said public financing of campaigns is critical along with several other measures to reform “the scandalous way that business is in done in Albany.”  

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National Journal: Guess Who’s Funding the Republican Civil War

By Scott Bland

The Republican Main Street Partnership has emerged as an outspoken, deep-pocketed player in pro-business GOP plans to beat back tea-party challengers next year. But the group’s new super PAC has an unexpected source for its seed money: labor unions.  

The super PAC, called Defending Main Street, has not yet submitted a major donor disclosure to the Federal Election Commission. But documents filed by other groups show that two labor organizations, the International Union of Operating Engineers and the Laborers’ International Union of North America, directed a combined $400,000 to the Republican group in September and October.  

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CPI: Pro-lesbian super PAC founder and Obama bundler named to top arts post

By Michael Beckel

President Barack Obama has named Laura Ricketts, a major Democratic Party donor and one of the his top campaign fundraisers, to be a trustee of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., the White House announced Thursday.

Records released by the Obama campaign last year indicate that Ricketts, a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs baseball team, raised at least $500,000 for the president’s re-election efforts. Internal campaign documents published by the New York Times put that figure at more than $750,000.

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Tax Financing

Roll Call: House Schedules Vote to Eliminate Taxpayer Financing of Presidential Campaigns

By Kent Cooper

The House is scheduled to take up H.R. 2019 at noon on Tuesday, December 10th. The bill was introduced on May 16th by Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., and has more than 150 co-sponsors. The bill would terminate the $3 taxpayer designation for financing of presidential election campaigns; the presidential election campaign fund; and the presidential matching payment account.  

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Candidates, Politicians, Campaigns, and Parties

Politico: Bill Shuster challenger Art Halvorson irked by ‘tracker’

By Scott Wong

The tracker would only identify himself as “Travis” and said he is a private contractor who was hired for the day by “American Horizon.” But there were no campaign finance records for such a group on either the Federal Election Commission website or OpenSecrets.org.

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Matthew McIntyre


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