Tues. top political law links, 10/8/13

AN ELECTION WITHOUT THE FEC?  Roll Call:  “On Oct. 15, a handful of top Democratic candidates will run in the definitive special primary for the open 5th District.”  The FEC, of course, is mostly dark due to the government shutdown.  Dave Levinthal noted on Twitter that some of the website wasn’t working; the agency’s chair also used Twitter to ask filers to self-disclose.  In terms of the practical impact of the shutdown on the agency’s business, presumably the pending advisory opinion requests, including one involving Bitcoin, will not be considered until the shutdown ends.  The agency has a statutory deadline to consider these requests, though extensions are routinely sought and granted.  There’s no new news about previously-scheduled Commission meetings.  An FEC Regional Conference is scheduled for Oct. 23-24 in San Francisco.

RING CASE UPDATE.  Roll Call.  “The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to hear an appeal from an Abramoff-scandal lobbyist who had been convicted of providing free meals and event tickets to public officials.”  The order is here (see p. 15).

TOTENBERG ON MCCUTCHEON.  NPR.  “The U.S. Supreme Court returns to the campaign finance fray on Tuesday, hearing arguments in a case that could undercut most of the remaining rules that limit big money in politics.”

MCCUTCHEON AND SUPER PACS.  Roll Call.  “An Alabama businessman whose challenge to campaign contribution limits goes before the Supreme Court on Tuesday has already spent well beyond the current limit through an unrestricted super PAC, public records show.”

KC STAR VIEW ON MCCUTCHEON.  Here.  “The worry is that the Roberts court, which regrettably equates outlandish political spending with free speech in its rulings, will use the McCutcheon decision to again empower the wealthiest of donors.”

NEW CU?  CSM.  “At issue in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission (12-536) are aggregate contribution limits that restrict the total amount of money an individual can give a candidate and committees during a two-year election cycle.”

NEW CU?  NRO.  “These critics are right about one thing: McCutcheon is a big deal, and possibly a bigger deal than Citizens United. But that’s cause for celebration, not despair.”

REP. WAXMAN WRITES.  Variety.  “Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, fired off a letter to Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt on Friday over an email that one of the company’s lobbyists apparently sent to appeal to the anti-Obamacare instincts of Republican staff in the House and the Senate.”

AZ:  RULE CHANGES IMPACT.  Here.  “The new laws increase limits on contributions by individuals and political action committees, which could make private financing more attractive to candidates.”

CO:  GIFT BAN ALLEGATIONS.  Here.  “A Republican-aligned activist group has filed a complaint with the Colorado independent ethics commission alleging that Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper violated the state’s constitutional gift ban.”

NY:  ETHICS LAWS OUTDATED.  Here.  “Numerous government agencies across the Capital Region have not updated their ethics laws in decades and are relying on defunct oversight panels to monitor the conduct of local public officials.”

SARKOZY CLEARED.  Story here.  “Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy was cleared Monday of allegations that he illegally took donations from France’s richest woman on the way to his 2007 election victory, his lawyer and an official said.”


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