Facebook plans, pols getting social, super PAC reporting, and more political law links

HAPPY NEW YEAR. Good morning and happy New Year!  For 2012 I’ll be continuing the daily morning political law links format. That means one email a day, Monday through Friday, minus some holidays, delivered about 9 a.m. Google’s Feedburner handles all of the details automatically.  Sign up for the email using the link in the sidebar or just stop by the site at your convenience, as usual. Thanks again for reading and please don’t hesitate to contact me with any links or news you’d like to share.

WHAT TO EXPECT ON K ST.  The Hill. “Congress will not move fully into campaign mode until the summer, lobbyists say, leaving more time for legislation to pass — and for businesses to hire advocates on K Street.”

HUNTSMAN MATCH. A Huntsman campaign email indicates that the candidate and his wife will match contributions: “I am so humbled at the tremendous response we’ve received that today I am adding a special wrinkle: from now until midnight Wednesday, Mary Kaye and I will personally match – dollar for dollar – every new donation our campaign receives.”  Ms. Huntsman is subject to a contribution limit, of course.  Politico reports on the email here.

NEW YEAR, NEW SUPER PAC. Politico. “President Barack Obama has a new, moneyed supporter in this new year — a super PAC dedicated to mobilizing black voters in key swing states.”

SUPER PAC POWER. Story here. “Super PACs are now outspending the GOP presidential candidates on ads in what could be a $6- or 7-billion election year for federal races, rendering obsolete the old system under which donations were strictly limited to candidates and party committees.”

CREW CASE.  The opinion in a CREW lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission related to its FOIA request is online here. The FEC’s motion for summary judgment was granted.

ALIBABA TO LOBBY. The Times. “The Duberstein Group, led by Kenneth M. Duberstein, who was President Reagan‘s White House chief of staff, began representing Alibaba on Dec. 1, according to a Congressional filing made last week.”

PROGRAM AND ADS FEATURING GINGRICH IN THE NEWS. The Times. “His cash-short campaign unable to buy much advertising of its own, Newt Gingrich’s well-financed allies are coming to his rescue in Iowa, securing large chunks of airtime across the state.”

NEW CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAW FIRM. Adam Bonin launched a new firm and it’s site is here: “The Law Office of Adam C. Bonin specializes in political law compliance for candidates, businesses, and other entities, focusing on the areas of campaign finance and election law, lobbying disclosure, and pay-to-play and other ethics laws.”

MORE ON LIBERTY UNIV. ADS. The Times. “Can they do that? That was the reaction from some quarters when the news broke that two groups with ties to Newt Gingrich — the conservative Web site Newsmax and Liberty University, the religious-oriented college founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell — would broadcast television spots in Iowa that appeared intended to help the former House speaker win the caucuses here.”

SUPER PAC REPORTING. Politico. “Super PACs spending millions of dollars on the brutal ads shaping the GOP presidential primary have taken advantage in the past few weeks of a pair of loopholes that will let them keep their donors secret until after votes are cast in the first four big contests.”

R CAMPAIGNS GETTING SOCIAL. The Times. “Republicans are looking to duplicate what President Obama managed to do four years ago, galvanizing supporters online to raise hundreds of millions of dollars and integrate his digital efforts into the field operation to mobilize voters.”

LOBBYIST CHARGE AND GINGRICH. Story here. “Newt Gingrich is getting asked more and more frequently on the campaign trail whether he lobbied Congress to support a Medicare prescription drug plan in 2003 — and his campaign team smells a rat.”

FACEBOOK PAC PLANS. AllFacebook.com. “The filing of updated paperwork with the Federal Election Commission revealed some interesting details into how Facebook plans to wield its influence in Washington, D.C., specifically regarding the company’s plans to run its political action committee.”

MT LAW UPHELD. Story here. “The Montana Supreme Court restored the state’s century-old ban on direct spending by corporations on political candidates or committees in a ruling Friday that interest groups say bucks a high-profile U.S. Supreme Court decision granting political speech rights to corporations.” Here’s the opinion. Brad Smith analyzes the opinion here: “There is so much wrong with this opinion one hardly knows where to begin.”

CASE ON WASHINGTON STATE CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAW. News here. “The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Washington’s campaign donation limit of $5,000 to political committees during the final 21 days of a campaign. But its ruling today also upheld Washington’s 39-year-old campaign law requiring disclosure of the addresses of donors giving as little as $25.”

LIU’S DEBT. News here. “Since taking office almost two years ago, Liu has raised more than $250,000 to pay off debt from his run for comptroller.”

LIU LIFTS SELF-IMPOSED LIMIT. The Times. “The chilling effect of a federal investigation on his ability to raise money became clear with a decision that his campaign disclosed on Friday. It is lifting the $800 cap to raise larger amounts of money, even if the number of donors is smaller.”

DOUBLE DIPPING ALLEGATIONS IN TX. Story here. “Take Representative Mike Hamilton, Republican of Mauriceville. Over the last three sessions, legislative travel vouchers show he charged the state more than $16,000 for mileage — the equivalent of 60 trips between Austin and his East Texas district — and he also used his campaign credit card to buy $5,400 in fuel on trips between those two cities. At least once, he billed both his campaign and the Legislature for the same conference registration.”

IA RIGHT TO LIFE.  Just in time for the caucuses, here‘s Iowa Right to Life.  “Accordingly, we agree with the Board that a corporation making independent expenditures aggregating over seven hundred fifty dollars in a calendar year becomes an ‘independent expenditure committee’ within the meaning of section 68A.404 but not a ‘political committee’ within the meaning of section 68A.102(18) or a “permanent organization” within the meaning of section 68A.402(9).”

HOW’S CU PLAYING IN DULUTH? Story here. “Duluth made history last week when it became the first city in the state to pass a resolution in support of a constitutional amendment that would essentially overturn a U.S. Supreme Court decision, namely Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission.”

INAUGURATION BUZZKILL. Story here. “It’s a new concept in Philadelphia, but after City Council amended campaign-finance laws last year, fund-raising for inaugurations became subject to contribution limits, a potential buzzkill for the lavish receptions once funded free of troublesome rules.”

VA BALLOT SUIT. Story here. “On Wednesday, two former state party chairmen – a Republican and a Democrat – held a press conference in Richmond to call for emergency legislation that would establish a new standard for participation in a presidential primary.” Meanwhile, I got a blast email from Ken Cuccinelli last night saying he won’t support a change to the law for this cycle: “My primary responsibility is to the people of Virginia, and how best to fulfill that responsibility in these particular circumstances has been a very difficult question for me. I believe consistency on the part of public officials is an important attribute. And I believe that Virginians are best served by an attorney general who consistently supports the rule of law. That leads to my conclusion that while I will vigorously support efforts to reduce the hurdles to ballot access in Virginia for all candidates, I will not support efforts to apply such changes to the 2012 Presidential election.”  UPDATE:  Here’s the latest from The Post.


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