Launch day, Trump and the 2012 money chase, new GAO report and more political law links today

DEBATES, LIST EXCHANGES, AND FUNDRAISING. Politico reports:  “The Republican National Committee is proposing to sponsor a series of monthly presidential primary debates beginning in August and running through February in which the RNC would determine the format and require each participating candidate to raise money for the party at the event, according to an email obtained by POLITICO.”

TRUMP AND… PUBLIC FINANCING? From Roger Stone.  “Bypassing public finance, Trump can leverage his wealth to outspend his opponents in the early states, gaining a significant strategic advantage. Sadly, Trump advisor Michael Cohen, a vice president of the Trump organization, doesn’t seem to understand this.”

BACHMANN $ > ROMNEY $. Q1 numbers drip inThe Post: “The more a candidate raises early on, the more of a winner he or she looks like.”

2012 MONEY RACE. “Obama frequently points with pride to the role that smaller donors played in his 2008 election, when his campaign also openly discouraged spending by outside organizations. But now Obama finds himself seeking out the kind of big-money donations he has often criticized while encouraging independent groups to raise and spend unlimited money on his behalf.”  The Post.

O-12. “North of $750 million.”  Chicago Sun-Times.

LAUNCH DAY. Story here.  The announcement video is on YouTube.  Some jumpy lawyer or political mastermind probably made the video editor obscure part of the Obama campaign sign at 1m34s for some reason.  

GOT OPPO? Politico.

REVOLVING DOOR AND ETHICS. The Times notes former lobbyists becoming congressional staffers in this editorial.After collecting millions from industries or unions or others, lobbyists should not be allowed to turn around and write laws that favor these special interests.”

FINE FOR FREE TICKETS. A report from California.  “Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has agreed to pay $40,000 in fines for failing to report free tickets he got to events ranging from Los Angeles Lakers games to a Spice Girls concert and the 2009 ‘American Idol’ finale.”

GAO REPORT ON LOBBYING. Roll Call’s story on this report is here.  News on LDA enforcement?  “Officials from the [U.S. Attorney’s] Office stated that they have sufficient civil and criminal statutory authorities to enforce LDA. The Office has increased the number of staff assigned to assist with lobbying compliance issues from 6 to 17. All of the staff continue to work on lobbying disclosure enforcement part-time and primarily in an administrative capacity. Some of their administrative activities include researching the Senate and House databases to determine if referrals have been resolved, or mailing noncompliance letters. In addition to those 17 part-time staff members, one contractor was hired in September 2010 to work on lobbying compliance issues on a full-time basis” (footnote omitted).

SLIPPERY SLOPES AND TARGETING AARP. Roll Call. “The Republican attack on AARP could trigger a more widespread examination of the tax-exempt status of nonprofit groups, including those who have backed conservatives, Democrats warned Friday.”

TOTAL RECALL IN WI. The Recall Elections Blog notes developments in Wisconsin here.  Democrats had a few more weeks to collect signatures but it looks like they already claim they have a sufficient number to take the next steps.  Story here.

DEFINING CORRUPTLY. In Alabama.  “The bills, House Bill 253 and Senate Bill 222, both introduced on March 22, are the second bills introduced by the legislators to amend the new law. The first bills added the word ‘corruptly’ three times to the bill to describe the intent of the gift-giver trying to influence official action.”


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