Daily Media Links 12/4: Support growing to dump limits on Tennessee campaign contributions, Bills to target disclosure by nonprofits giving to CA campaigns, and more…

December 4, 2012   •  By Joe Trotter   •  
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Another Poor Idea for New York 
By Joe Trotter
With New York State in over three hundred BILLION dollars in debt, their candidates do not need another program that makes their politicians less accountable to their constituency.  And, if New York City’s foray into public financing is any indication, there will be significant costs associated with prosecuting the corruption that follows such a lucrative government handout.
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Independent groups

Mother Jones: The Mystery of the Pro-Obama Dark-Money Group 
By Andy Kroll
Founded by former Obama White House aides Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney, this shadowy outfit is known as Priorities USA. If the Priorities name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the sister group of the flagship pro-Obama super-PAC, Priorities USA Action. (Yes, the two names are confusing. From here on, any mention of Priorities refers to the dark-money nonprofit.) Organized under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code, like the Sierra Club and the National Rifle Association, Priorities USA can legally hide the identities of its donors, but it can’t spend the majority of its money on pure politics.  
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TPM Muckraker: The Dark Money Forerunner Of Secret California Millions 
By Eric Lach
In late October and early November, a dramatic legal battle played out in California between the state’s campaign finance watchdog and a little-known Arizona non-profit named Americans for Responsible Leadership.  
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Politico: For mega-donors, no profile beats low profile 
“I’m sure that they were very happy to see that they weren’t the ones in the newspapers and on TV,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “But it’s important to be aware of not just the people who get all the attention, but all the big donors, because a lot of them are trying to buy assistance.”   

Candidates, Politicians and Parties

Politico: 2016 contenders court mega-donors 
By Kenneth Vogel
A week after Election Day, three Republican governors mentioned as 2016 presidential candidates — Bobby Jindal, John Kasich and Bob McDonnell — each stopped by the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino to meet privately with its owner Sheldon Adelson, a man who could single-handedly underwrite their White House ambitions.   
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Texas Tribune: For Freshman Legislators, Washington Is No Texas 
Washington is a different culture, with firmly drawn partisan lines. One new lawmaker tells a story of getting in line for security passes this week and finding that photographs were being taken of Democrats in one line and Republicans in the other.  

State and Local

California –– Sacramento Bee: Bills to target disclosure by nonprofits giving to CA campaigns  
Senate Bills 2 and 3, by Sens. Ted Lieu and Leland Yee, are being crafted in response to an $11 million contribution an Arizona-based nonprofit made to influence two November ballot measure campaigns in the state. The Fair Political Practices Commission’s efforts to force the group to reveal the source of the funds, which were used to support Proposition 32 and oppose Proposition 30, led to transactions involving two additional nonprofits that do not have to disclose their donors. Current law requires disclosure only when the donation is given to the nonprofit for the purpose of becoming a campaign contribution.  “Laundering money through nonprofits in an attempt to avoid transparency is fundamentally undemocratic,” Yee said in a statement. “Our democracy should not be bought and sold in shady backroom deals.”  

Tennessee –– Knoxville News Sentinel: Support growing to dump limits on Tennessee campaign contributions 
By Tom Humphrey
NASHVILLE — Perhaps on a bipartisan basis, state legislators are moving toward repealing Tennessee’s limits on political campaign contributions while requiring more rapid and complete disclosure.  

Joe Trotter

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