by Fredreka Schouten and Martha T. Moore
“If the U.S. Chamber of Commerce runs an ad, we know what the chamber is up to,” says Bradley Smith, chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics. “We don’t need to exactly who funds them.”“We need to stop the perpetual outrage,” he said. “It’s not a world I want to live in — that whenever someone states a political view you don’t like — you try to harm them economically.”
by Mark SchmittConservatives have responded with harrumphing about “the liberal boycott machine.” Brad Smith, a former member of the Federal Election Commission and opponent of nearly all regulation of campaign money, wrote on the blog of the libertarian Center for Competitive Politics that calls to boycott ALEC supporters constituted “intimidation” to suppress political speech and were a good reason to oppose even campaign contribution disclosure requirements, because they would enable “harassing, bullying and boycotting” of companies. “Society is going to have to ask itself whether it wants the meanness of its current trajectory,” Smith wrote, in an unsually civic-minded tone. But what’s actually been remarkable about the corporate reaction is how little meanness and acrimony there has been. And therein lies an important lesson about corporate money in politics.
by Michael Beckel“I don’t know how far he’ll be able to get,” said David Keating, the president of the Center for Competitive Politics, which advocates for First Amendment political rights. “But it’s good that he’s able to try.”
Bill BuzenbergMessrs. Sherman and Primo argue that some of our state scores don’t appear in sync with other assessments of “governance” in the 50 states. That is apples and oranges. Nowhere do we claim that better anticorruption mechanisms lead directly to improved policy-making or economic growth.
Super PAC’s have spent over $88 million on the presidential race this year. But many of the candidates have dropped out, – So what happens to the cash? Richard Lui breaks it down and Robert Traynham and Jen Psaki discuss.
by Robin BravenderBig labor is off to a slow start stockpiling cash.
by Trevor PotterThe Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United allowed them. Political candidates rely on them. And Stephen Colbert parodies them. But as a former chair of the Federal Election Commission and the lawyer behind Colbert’s super PAC — Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow — I find that most people don’t understand the role that these largely unaccountable organizations play in American politics. As the GOP primary race draws to a close, let’s take a look at some common misconceptions about groups powerful enough to evade traditional limits with a single bound.
by T.W. FarnamAn anonymous donor gave $10 million late last year to run ads attacking President Obama and Democratic policies, escalating the money race that is defining the 2012 presidential campaign. And in the new, free-wheeling environment of independent political giving, the identity of this donor, like many others, is likely to remain a permanent mystery.
Candidates and parties
by Chris Mooney“Follow the money.” As a young journalist on the political left, I often heeded this well-worn advice. If conservatives were denying the science of global warming, I figured, big fossil-fuel companies must be behind it. After all, that was the story with the tobacco industry and the dangers of smoking. Why not here?
by Molly K. HooperHouse Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) this week may face tough questions from disgruntled rank-and-file GOP lawmakers upset with his $25,000 donation to a group dedicated to ousting incumbents in Congress.
by Kenneth P. Vogel and Ginger GibsonScrambling to dig himself out of a $4.5 million hole, the former House speaker has resorted to renting his presidential campaign’s most valuable asset – its donor list – for as much as $26,000-a-pop.
Lobbying and ethics
by Mike McIntire and Michael LuoLast May, as a battle was heating up between Internet companies and Hollywood over how to stop online piracy, a top entertainment industry lobbyist landed a meeting at the White House with one of President Obama’s technology advisers.
by Ernest LuningA pair of liberal watchdog groups sued Secretary of State Scott Gessler last week claiming that an extensive overhaul of state campaign finance rules wasn’t authorized by statute or the Colorado constitution.
by John FritzeThree Maryland lawmakers are leading vastly different approaches in Congress to address the growing influence of so-called super PACs and other political nonprofits that have poured money into campaigns, raising concerns about the outsized influence of special interests.
EditorialNo state capital cries out for a campaign finance crackdown more desperately than New York’s.