Daily Media Links 3/11: Excess of Democracy: The Irony of Ben and Jerry’s Opposition to Citizens United Should Not Go Unnoticed, Politico: Mark Begich targets Kochs in first TV ad, Time: Clinton Super PAC ‘Ready For Hillary’ Gets Readier, and more…

March 11, 2014   •  By Kelsey Drapkin   •  
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Independent Groups

Excess of Democracy: The Irony of Ben and Jerry’s Opposition to Citizens United Should Not Go Unnoticed

By Derek Muller
First, their movement is a corporate movement speaking out against other corporations speaking. “The Stamp Stampede” is a project of “Power People Initiatives,” a Vermont nonprofit corporation, funded by the “International Forum on Globalization,” a California nonprofit corporation. These corporations are speaking out in support of a political movement against corporations who want to speak out on politics.  

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Politico: Mark Begich targets Kochs in first TV ad

By Emily Schultheis

Alaska Sen. Mark Begich will release his first television ad Monday, an attack on the conservative Koch brothers’ group Americans for Prosperity for the ads it’s been running against Begich this year.  

“First it was a D.C. actress pretending to be an Alaskan,” says a narrator in the ad, which was shared early with POLITICO. “Now ads attacking Mark Begich on a carbon tax have been called false and not true.”

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Time: Clinton Super PAC ‘Ready For Hillary’ Gets Readier

By Mark Halperin

This weekend is a big one for the juggernaut Hillary Clinton for President shadow campaign. Ready for Hillary, the super PAC building her grassroots army-in-waiting, swarmed Iowa’s Democratic county conventions with 250 volunteers to sign up new supporters on Saturday, offering buttons and bumper stickers in return for valuable voter contact information.

The group’s website is getting a big makeover this weekend, complete with two elements that symbolize how the backers of Clinton ’16 are borrowing as much as they can from the triumphal Obama campaigns.

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SCOTUS/Judiciary

USA Today: Activist lawyer aims to drop campaign restrictions

By Fredreka Schouten

The activist lawyer wants the digital currency bitcoin accepted as campaign contributions. He wants donors to Tea Party-affiliated political action committees to remain anonymous. And he recently helped launch a non-profit group to make it easier for disenchanted donors to demand contribution refunds from politicians.

Many of his far-fetched proposals have been rejected by federal regulators. But the 36-year-old conservative Republican could be on the brink of making election history — and his reputation — with a case the Supreme Court’s justices are deliberating.

The case, McCutcheon v. the Federal Election Commission, seeks to eliminate the ceiling on what wealthy individuals can donate to federal candidates, parties and political action committees in a single, two-year election cycle.

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Candidates, Politicians, Campaigns, and Parties

 

NY Times: Leading Republicans Move to Stamp Out Challenges From Right

BY Carl Hulse

This election season, Republicans led by Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky are taking a much harder line as they sense the majority within reach. Top congressional Republicans and their allies are challenging the advocacy groups head on in an aggressive effort to undermine their credibility. The goal is to deny them any Senate primary victories, cut into their fund-raising and diminish them as a future force in Republican politics.

“I think we are going to crush them everywhere,” Mr. McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, said in an interview, referring to the network of activist organizations working against him and two Republican incumbents in Kansas and Mississippi while engaging in a handful of other contests. “I don’t think they are going to have a single nominee anywhere in the country.”

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Lobbying and Ethics

Roll Call: Illegal Campaign Contributions By Lawyer at Florida Law Firm

By Kent Cooper

Russell S. Adler, a shareholder in the former Fort Lauderdale law firm of Rothstein, Rosenfelt and Adler (RRA), has been charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the Federal Election Campaign Act and to defraud the United States. Adler, along with other attorneys, and some spouses, as well as administrative personnel at the firm were enlisted by Scott Rothstein to make contributions to federal campaigns and then unlawfully reimbursed by the firm.

Adler was allegedly reimbursed about $200,000 for campaign contributions to the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in 2008, and $5,000 to former Gov. Charlie Crist, R-Fla.

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State and Local

District of Columbia –– Wall Street Journal: Prosecutors: D.C. Mayor Knew of ‘Shadow Campaign’

By COLLEEN MCCAIN NELSON

WASHINGTON—Federal prosecutors on Monday linked District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray to an illegal “shadow campaign” that bolstered his 2010 bid for office, saying in court documents that the mayor personally sought off-the-books fundraising help from a local businessman.

The assertion comes weeks before Mr. Gray faces voters in an April 1 Democratic primary as he seeks a second term. It came as the businessman, Jeffrey Thompson, pleaded guilty in the U.S. district court for the District of Columbia to felony conspiracy charges that he and his companies had funneled more than $3.3 million in illegal contributions to at least 28 federal and local candidates, including Mr. Gray.

Mr. Thompson admitted he devised a scheme to disburse unreported contributions to pay for campaign services and materials. In a court document detailing the alleged shadow campaign, prosecutors said Mr. Gray met Mr. Thompson for dinner and laid out a one-page budget of $425,000 to pay for get-out-the-vote efforts.

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Louisiana –– The Times-Picayune: Campaign finance bills filed for legislative session that begins March 10: List

By Dan Swenson

HB 107 by Rep. Harold Ritchie: Would prohibit legislators from taking campaign contributions from people nominated for Tulane University scholarships that lawmakers award and from the nominees’ families.

HB 213 by Rep. Gregory Miller: Would require candidates to lists Web advertising and robocalls costs in election day reports. Candidates without election day expenses would no longer have to file those reports.

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Kelsey Drapkin