Daily Media Links 6/12: The Final Frontier, Campaigns can raise money via text message, and more…

June 12, 2012   •  By Joe Trotter   •  
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In the News

National Journal: The Final Frontier
By Alex Roarty
Right-leaning legal analysts argue that the campaign finance case is inherently different from other issues that typically elicit cries of states’ rights. Although conservatives contend that state autonomy should trump federal rule,  they also say that the rights of citizens should supersede both. “Could a state like Massachusetts have an individual [insurance] mandate? That’s a question not of rights under the Bill of Rights but rather of government powers, ” said Brad Smith,  chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics and a former FEC chairman. “That’s a fundamental difference.”

Politico: FEC: Campaigns can raise money via text message
By Dave Levinthal
“Nearly everyone agrees that allowing small contributions to be made by text poses little risk of corruption and will help average Americans,  especially younger voters,  get more involved in politics, ” said Allen Dickerson of the pro-campaign finance deregulation Center for Competitive Politics.

Independent groups

Wall Street Journal: Citizens United and the Wisconsin Vote
Labor unions poured money into the state to recall Mr. Walker. According to the Center for Public Integrity,  the NEA (National Education Association),  the nation’s largest teachers union,  spent at least $1 million. Its smaller union rival,  the AFT (American Federation of Teachers),  spent an additional $350, 000. Two other unions,  the SEIU (Service Employees International Union, which has more than one million government workers) and Afscme (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees),  spent another $2 million. Little or none of these independent expenditures endorsing a candidate would have been legal under federal law before Citizens United.

Bloomberg: Obama-Allied Super-Pac Joins Union In Spanish Romney Ads
By Margaret Talev
Organized labor and a super-PAC supporting President Barack Obama’s re-election have teamed up for a $4 million ad campaign that targets swing-state Hispanic voters and aims to portray Mitt Romney as callous toward the working class.

Washington Post: Friends and family plan: Super PACs often personal campaign fundraising affairs
By Dan Eggen
The phenomenon began in the Republican presidential primary,  when a handful of millionaires lined up to support their candidates through specially targeted super PACs,  including one funded by Jon Huntsman Jr.’s billionaire father.

NY Times: Buy a Candidate
With Citizens United,  the Supreme Court dismissed the idea that unlimited independent political expenditures from corporations or unions would lead “to corruption or the appearance of corruption” and held that “the appearance of influence or access will not cause the electorate to lose faith in this democracy.” This startlingly naïve decision,  as well as lower court rulings and F.E.C. policies that rely on it,  has given rise to a campaign system that’s best described as a Hobbesian state of nature.

Wall Street Journal: More Bain Bashing
Yesterday,  Priorities USA,  a super PAC backing the president,  released a new ad that faults Bain for how it handled the closure of a GST steel plant. “They promised us health-care packages, they promised to maintain our retirement program. And those were the first two things that disappeared,” says a former worker at the plant who is featured in the ad. “They don’t live in this neighborhood. They don’t live in this part of the world.”


NY Times: Mystery of Citizens United Sequel Is Format,  Not Ending
At their private conference,  the justices of the Supreme Court are scheduled to decide Thursday whether and how to take a second look at the Citizens United campaign finance decision.


Politico: Conservative bloggers targets of ‘SWAT-ing’
“The use of SWAT-ting as a harassment tool is apparently not new,  but its use as a tool for targeting political speech appears to be a more recent development, ” Chambliss writes. “The emerging pattern is both disturbing and dangerous.”

Washington Post: Mr. Romney’s secret bundlers
THE DIFFERENCE between President Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney when it comes to fundraising is not only that Mr. Romney managed to outraise the president last month. A more troubling difference is that Mr. Romney provided almost no information about the key “bundlers” who helped his campaign vacuum up such huge sums.

Huffington Post: Did Our Public Airwaves Win It for Walker?
By Sue Walker
And as owners of the air — our public airwaves,  to be precise — there is plenty we can do to combat the corrosive effect of big money on our elections,  by holding our partners in broadcasting,  local TV and radio stations,  accountable to the communities they serve.

Candidates and parties

Wall Street Journal: The Wisconsin Money Excuse
If only they had some evidence. As Michael McConnell points out nearby,  Citizens United eased the rules on political giving for both unions and corporations—which may have helped Mr. Barrett more than it did Mr. Walker. The Republican received most of his money from individuals,  who have been allowed to donate as much as they want for nearly four decades. Mr. Barrett relied much more on unions,  which thanks to Citizens United could and did help him as much as they were able.

Joe Trotter


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