More McCutcheon plus today’s political law links

ANOTHER MCCONNELL WIN. National Review. “Since Alito and Roberts were added to the Court, McConnell has been involved in six attempts to dismantle campaign regulations. Six times he has prevailed.”

NAJVAR AND BACKER ON THE CASE. WT. “Shaun McCutcheon won because neither the Federal Election Commission nor the solicitor general could muster any coherent justification for limiting the aggregate political contributions of an American citizen. That is a result everyone in a free society should applaud.”

ALTHOUSE ON HASEN ON MCCUTCHEON.  Here.  “Roberts is taking the First Amendment seriously and stepping up to the classic judicial role of saying what it means and enforcing constitutional rights.”

THE FAILED HISTORY OF CFR. WP. “There has been a steady unraveling of campaign finance laws in the past decade. But, this is also nothing new.”

MCUTCHEON AND SUPER PACS.  Atlantic.  “So even as McCutcheon tips the playing field in favor of wealthy donors over ordinary citizens, it also in a perverse way levels the playing field for politicians, by allowing candidates and political parties to receive larger donations and thus giving them the chance to spend sums closer to what the super PACs do.”

TEACHERS’ UNIONS REACT.  Education Week.  “The teachers’ unions on Wednesday criticized the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down limits on aggregate campaign contributions to federal candidates, political parties, and political action committees.”

OH, DOMINOES.  NYT.  “The sweeping language and logic of Wednesday’s Supreme Court decision on campaign finance may imperil other legal restrictions on money in politics.”

“DARK MONEY” CLASH.  “The day after the Supreme Court threw aggregate contribution limits out of the window, commissioners from the nation’s campaign finance watchdog agency clashed over an enforcement matter from the 2010 elections.”

WHY HE FIGHTS.  Charles Koch.  “If more businesses (and elected officials) were to embrace a vision of creating real value for people in a principled way, our nation would be far better off—not just today, but for generations to come. I’m dedicated to fighting for that vision. I’m convinced most Americans believe it’s worth fighting for, too.”

THE TEXAS MODEL.  “The federal campaign finance system moved a step closer to the Texas model Wednesday as the U.S. Supreme Court struck down some limits on political donations to federal candidates.”

STATE LAWS NUKED. MJ. Click for their list of “the 11 states (plus DC) where aggregate limits are now likely gutted thanks to the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon decision.”

HYPOCRISY.  WP (Jennifer Rubin).  “They’ve got their billionaires; the conservatives have theirs. The only difference is liberals hypocritically attack the other guys’ billionaires as bringing about the end of democracy as we know it. The left is up to their armpits in third party money, union money, billionaire money and SuperPAC money. As a Capitol Hill Republican remarked, ‘They have become what they once decried.'”

WHAT THE COURT DID.  Venable.  “Finally, the parade of lawsuits seeking to dismantle federal campaign finance restrictions is likely to continue.”

LATE APRIL FOOLS? WP (Gerken, et al.). “Congress should require that any advertisement funded directly or indirectly by a group that does not disclose its donors acknowledge that fact. This “nondisclosure disclosure” would be simple and truthful: ‘This ad was paid for by “X,” which does not disclose the identity of its donors.’ That could help voters figure out how much trust to put in the ad.”

THE LAW OF EARMARKING.  Perkins Coie.  “[T]he fact remains that the Commission has declined to apply the sort of trip-wire approach to earmarking that Chief Justice Roberts described in his opinion.”

HOOSIERS.  Indy Star.  “No American who doesn’t happen to be a justice of the U.S. Supreme Court has done more to shape how elections are run and won in 2012 than Bopp.”

PROS WIN.  NPR.  “One thing seems certain: The decision, which overturned limits on the aggregate amounts individual donors can give to candidates and campaigns, will mean more money sloshing around political campaigns.”

Q AND A.  Heritage.  Hans von Spakovsky breaks down the decision.

NON-EVISCERATION.  Forbes (Paul Sherman).  “Here’s the truth about the Supreme Court’s ruling in McCutcheon:  It didn’t actually do all that much, and that’s the real problem.”


THE FLOOD (NOT A “NOAH” REVIEW).  Sacramento Bee.  “Prepare for the Flood of 2014. The U.S. Supreme Court’s latest ruling opens the way for yet more money to inundate political campaigns.”

CONVENTION PUBLIC FUNDING OVER. Dallas Morning News. “It’s official. President Obama signed a law this afternoon that ends public funding for the Democratic and Republican conventions.”

SUPER PAC NUNN ATTACK.  AJC.  “Expect to see quite a bit of the above for the next seven months: A Republican-allied Super PAC is airing television ads starting today attacking Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn over Obamacare.”

BAUER PROMOTES AND SUPPORTS STATEMENT ON PASO.  “On the more general question of PASO, it would be nice, of course, if Congress had defined the term, or if the Commission could arrive at some reasonably firm definition that everyone would agree is accessible to those of ‘ordinary intelligence.'”

POLITICAL LAW AND FINANCIAL SERVICES.  Steptoe (Jason Abel).  “Political law regimes can pose unique challenges for financial services firms. It is vital for firms’ compliance policies to address these issues and for those responsible for compliance to understand the various jurisdictions’ rules before interactions with government officials.”

CA:  MORE AUDITS ON THE WAY.  LAT.  “California’s ethics and tax agencies now have more power to conduct campaign finance investigations under a law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday.”

GA:  MORE ON DEAL.  AJC.  “The state ethics commission’s former attorney testified Thursday that she was told the agency’s prior leaders were fired for going ‘off the reservation’ in investigating Gov. Nathan Deal.”

ID:  WHAT MCCUTCHEON MEANS FOR IDAHO.  Idaho Statesman.  “Idaho’s limits on campaign contributions are unaffected by Wednesday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision lifting limits on wealthy donors to federal candidates and party committees.”

MT: MOTL ON MCCUTCHEON IN MONTANA. NPR. “[T]he state Commissioner of Political Practices says statewide elections will not be affected that much.”

NJ:  THE END TO PAY TO PLAY?  “The U.S. Supreme Court’s Wednesday decision striking down aggregate limits on donations to political parties and candidates casts doubt on the constitutionality of similar caps under local pay-to-play ordinances in New Jersey, and may provide ammunition for government contractors and others to challenge the laws, attorneys told Law360.”

NY:  CFR STALL.  “The push to enact campaign finance reform once again fell short this budget cycle, as leaders instead agreed to take up the issue later in the session and to launch a pilot program for the state comptroller’s race only, a compromise that was blasted by good government groups. NY1’s Bobby Cuza filed the following report.”

NY:  AG REACTS TO MCCUTCHEON.  “The majority decision ignores both the Court’s own precedent and common sense regarding the corrupting influence of unlimited contributions to parties or candidates if they are spread across different committees. Campaign finance laws protect the integrity and fairness of elections and help ensure that everyone—not just the wealthy or powerful corporations—are represented in our system of government.”

NY: LOBBYING NUMBERS IN. NYDN. “Special interests spent $210.5 million lobbying state and local governments in 2013, an increase of $5 million over 2012 and the third highest ever total in state history, the state ethics commission revealed in its annual report Thursday.”

VT:  CONTINGENCY IN PLAY.  “The Vermont Legislature approved new campaign finance rules this year as the McCutcheon case was under consideration. Lawmakers included an escape clause for a cap on aggregate limits in the law, pending the results of the case. Gov. Peter Shumlin signed the bill into law early this session.”

UK: CHARITIES DISLIKE LOBBYING ACT. Guardian. “The act has been dubbed the ‘gagging law’ by charities for restrictions it places on their ability to campaign in election periods.”


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