Daily Media Links 3/5

March 5, 2012   •  By Joe Trotter   •  
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In the News

Newsday: Wealthy LIers actively funding super PACs
But Allison Hayward of the Center for Competitive Politics, which backs the rulings, said: “It’s about free speech. The notion that something bad is happening in the body politic is way overblown.” 


Zac Morgan: Lessig’s Corruption Conundrum
Professor Lessig said the real problem with campaign finance was corruption. Not the corruption that could be punished under any existing statute, of course, but what he referred to as “legal corruption.” And what is “legal corruption” you might ask? Wealthy donors give most of the donations. Of course, the Supreme Court went out of their way to define corruption as being a quid pro quo, a direct exchange of money for a member of Congress’ vote. 

Independent groups

National Journal: Did the Conservative Supreme Court Douse Romney’s Hopes to be President? 
American politics is generous with ironies. But here’s one to savor. Our Wild West campaign finance system – deregulated by the conservative bloc on the U.S. Supreme Court and embraced by Republicans for both ideological and strategic reasons – may be dousing the party’s hopes to win the White House. 

LA Times: Secret donors to ‘C4s’ play behind-the-scenes politics  
There’s no mystery about why a business or industry group might be shy about how it spends money on election campaigns. Just ask department store chain Target.  

Washington Post: Super PACs Fuel a Race to the Bottom
The U.S. presidential contest is predominately about President Barack Obama’s stewardship of the economy and the political-cultural divide in the Republican Party. It is also about the huge sums of money sloshing around, after Justice Alito replaced Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court and provided the swing vote in the 2010 Citizens United case.  

NY Times: Top Obama Adviser to Appear at ‘Super PAC’ Meeting
David Plouffe,  a top political adviser to President Obama,  is scheduled to appear at a West Coast fund-raising meeting Friday for the “super PAC” backing President Obama’s re-election bid,  according to several people familiar with the event.

NY Times: ‘Super PACs,’ Not Campaigns, Do Bulk of Ad Spending
The crucial role the “super PAC” now plays in modern presidential politics has been on vivid display in the week before the Super Tuesday primaries,  as these outside groups have all outspent the campaigns and become their de facto advertising arms.

NY Times, DAVID BROOKS and GAIL COLLINS: Super Pac! Super Bad! 
Gail: One of the interesting things we’ve learned during this campaign is how many really loopy billionaires this country has. How could somebody who had enough judgment to make more than $20 billion come to feel that what this country really needs is President Newt Gingrich? 

The Hill: Unions spend in bid to damage Romney
Several unions that back President Obama’s reelection bid are spending big in an effort to damage Mitt Romney in key GOP primary states.

Corporate Governance 

Reuters: Breakingviews: Corporate political donors don’t need SEC policing
NEW YORK, March 2 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Corporate political donations don’t really need policing on behalf of shareholders. As election-season spending soars, campaign finance largess from companies large and small has become a hot-button issue in the United States. The Securities and Exchange Commission is under heavy pressure to make firms disclose their contributions. But many already are, thanks to investor vigilance. A blanket rule would be an unnecessary venture into politics for the regulator.  

Candidates and parties

Huffington Post, Rep. Ted Deutch: #SuperPACTuesday 
Our campaign finance system has long needed reform. But the rampant inequality in America recently highlighted by Occupy Wall Street, combined with the supersized voice of the wealthy and corporations made possible by Citizens United, has cast even more doubt on the integrity, and the meaning, of our elections. Did Mitt Romney edge Rick Santorum in Michigan this week because the voters truly embraced him, or because he and his Super PAC outspent the competition by over $2 million? Is any win truly impressive when it is determined not by the voices of the many but the dollars of the few?  


Politico: FEC’s bad rap getting worse
The rise of billionaire-driven super PACs that seem to take a loose view of the few rules they’re asked to follow has even late-night comics asking: Who’s in charge here?, 

Holtzman Vogel: FEC Republicans Issue Lengthy Statement of Reasons Explaining Their Views on Republication  
The FEC’s Republican Commissioners (Chair Hunter and Commissioners McGahn and Petersen) issued this Statement of Reasons in MUR 5879 (Harry Mitchell for Congress and DCCC), explaining their views on the proper application of the “republication of campaign materials” standard.

Maine –– WABI: New Campaign Finance Law Bill 
Further legislative votes are expected on a bill to strip so-called matching funds out of the Maine public campaign financing law.

New York –– Wall Street Journal: Liu Campaign Defends Donation Collector List 
New York City Comptroller John Liu’s campaign on Friday refuted allegations that it failed to disclose a complete list of intermediaries — people who collect donations on a candidate’s behalf – in a legally required report with the city’s Campaign Finance Board.  

Ohio –– Lancaster Eagle Gazette: Super PACs flood Ohio with cash, negative ads 
Rick Santorum, despite being outspent by chief rival Mitt Romney, has enjoyed a lead in the GOP presidential race in Ohio.  

Joe Trotter

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