Daily Media Links 2/15: Center report prompts request for FEC hearing on super PACs, Obama Group Runs Afoul of IRS Rules, Its Own Promise, and more…

February 15, 2013   •  By Joe Trotter   •  
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In the News
Wall Street Journal: A Supreme Opportunity to Build on Citizens United 
By Bradley A. Smith
With these rulings, despite alarmist warnings about their consequences, voter turnout has increased, more races have been competitive, presidential nominating contests have not ended with the New Hampshire primary, and the electorate has had one of the most sustained debates about the role of government that it has had in years.  
How aggressively the Supreme Court will continue to protect free speech rests on three cases currently before the court, at least two of which—Danielczyk v. United States and McCutcheon v. FEC—are scheduled for conference on Friday, when the justices will decide whether to put them on the calendar for full argument. The third case, James v. Federal Election Commission, has been briefed by the parties but not yet scheduled for conference.  
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Book Review: Brad Smith on “Curbing Campaign Cash” 
By Sarah Lee
CCP Founder and Former Chair of the Federal Election Commission Bradley Smith has penned a fascinating review of Ohio State University Associate Professor Paula Baker’s book, “Curbing Campaign Cash” for the Library of Law & Liberty. Entitled The Campaign Finance Merry-Go-Round, Smith’s piece deconstructs the focus of Baker’s book, namely the race between Henry Ford and Truman Newberry for Senate in 1918, and the repercussions the race has had on the current campaign finance debate.  
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Plan for State to Police Speech Could be Costly, Unconstitutional 
By Sarah Lee
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Matt Nese, CCP’s Director of External Relations, in comments to Montana’s Senate Judiciary Committee on H.B. 129, warned that the proposal “would set a dangerous precedent allowing the government itself to define the truth or falsity of campaign speech.” The legislation seeks to amend the state’s law that regulates the truth of campaign speech after it was found unconstitutionally vague in a 2012 court case.  
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CCP Submits Comments on FEC Rulemaking on Limited Liability Partnerships 
By Sarah Lee
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – CCP Legal Director Allen Dickerson submitted comments today on the Federal Election Commission’s (FEC) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 12-80: Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs).   Currently, if an LLP makes a contribution, that contribution counts against the individual limits of the LLP’s partners. The FEC’s proposed rule would treat LLPs as corporations for purposes of campaign finance law if the LLP elects corporate tax treatment.  In short, the proposed rule would completely prohibit all LLP contributions, simply based on which box an LLP checks on its tax form.  
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Independent Groups
Weekly Standard: Obama Group Runs Afoul of IRS Rules, Its Own Promise 
The latest problem involves a local event (actually a series of events) posted on the site as a “Day of Action” to collect signatures for Democrat Terry McAuliffe to get the former chairman of the DNC on the ballot for governor of Virginia:  
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NY Times: New Rove Group Could Backfire on G.O.P. 
The strategist Karl Rove and his allies last week announced the formation of Conservative Victory Project, a new “super PAC” designed to lend support to what they see as more electable candidates in Republican Senate primaries.  
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Politico: Bloomberg PAC spends $1M vs. Debbie Halvorson 
By Maggie Haberman
A Mike Bloomberg-funded super PAC is about to surpass $1 million in ads in a House special primary election in Illinois, lambasting former Democratic Rep. Debbie Halvorson over her high marks from the National Rifle Association.   
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Roll Call: Menendez’s Ties to Donors Under Further Scrutiny  
By Amanda Becker 
Sen. Robert Menendez continues to be hammered in media reports this week, with scrutiny expanding beyond alleged rendezvous with prostitutes and his cozy relationship with longtime doctor-donor friend Salomon Melgen. 

Candidates, Politicians and Parties

Huffington Post: Obama’s State Of The Union Address Lacks Call For Campaign Finance Reform, Irking Reformers 
By Paul Blumenthal
WASHINGTON — Campaign finance reformers and government watchdogs were disappointed Tuesday night when President Barack Obama failed to include any messages around money in politics in his 2013 State of the Union address. Advocates were hoping to hear about a range of issues, from money in politics to transparency to lobbying.  
NPR: Obama’s Record On Political Money One Of Ambivalence 
By Peter Overby
FRED WERTHEIMER: Nixon did an awful lot of stuff. But as far as I know, President Nixon never did something like this nor did anyone else.  
Bloomberg: Obama’s Parting Gift to Hillary Clinton 
By Joshua Green
The team found them by assigning an intern to comb through the records at OpenSecrets.org and see who still had room to give. In the end, it took the checkbooks of about 120 people and several months to retire the debt—I’m told the last check arrived in early July.
Washington Post: Feud over sign could force Fairfax’s Olde Belhaven to sell square 
By Justin Jouvenal
The feud that consumed Fairfax County’s Olde Belhaven would span four years and cost the community as much as $400,000, and it was ignited by one of the smallest of sparks: an Obama for President sign.  

Lobbying and Ethics

NBC: Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. admits to campaign finance violations 
By Andrew Rafferty
In the papers, signed within the past several days, Jackson admits converting campaign contributions for personal use. Some of the violations include using campaign funds for a $40,000 Rolex watch, travel expenses for a friend and furniture purchased for his Washington, D.C., home. Under the terms of the deal, Jackson’s sentence would be decided by a federal judge and could range from probation to prison time. 
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Politico: Iraq to hire D.C. lobbyist 
By Byron Tau and Anna Palmer
The government of Iraq is in the final stages of inking a contract with the Podesta Group as its first Washington lobbying firm, POLITICO has learned.   
Sunshine State News: Five Ways a Lobbyist Can Help Your Small Business Thrive 
“Managing multimillion-dollar sales strategies and coaching marketing teams was easy compared to navigating the industry’s changing regulatory landscape,” said Cikacz. “Dealing with government officials and regulators in multiple states who with the stroke of a pen could drastically alter the playing field and strip our company of potential revenue was daunting. It kept me up at night.”    


CPI: Center report prompts request for FEC hearing on super PACs 
By Dave Levinthal
Harvard University law professor Lawrence Lessig* and his campaign finance reform organization, Rootstrikers, are today calling on Federal Election Commission Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub to conduct a public hearing on super PAC regulation.  

Joe Trotter

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