Brad SmithIn early 2008, a group called Citizens United sought to air commercials for their documentary that was highly critical of then-Senator Hillary Clinton. This appeared to violate federal election rules that prohibited corporations and unions from broadcasting “electioneering communications” within 60 days of an election. Citizens United sued the Federal Election Commission and ultimately won a landmark Supreme Court case that expanded corporations’ right to political speech.
By Ken VogelLiberals, in fact, blazed the path for paid independent canvassing, with unions and environmental groups routinely compensating door-knockers — to say nothing of the 2004 effort by America Coming Together, which used a good portion of the $137 million it raised from rich liberals like George Soros to pay activists to go door-to-door.
EditorialWHEN IT COMES to the corrosive influence of money in politics, the 2012 campaign has presented a trifecta of troubling developments. They are, in ascending order of worry: the complete collapse of the presidential public financing system set up in the wake of Watergate; the explosion of the super PAC political committees, which are allowed to take unlimited checks to finance independent expenditures for or against particular candidates; and the proliferation of “dark money,” or spending by nonprofit organizations and trade groups that, unlike super PACs, are excused from having to reveal their donors. The end result is a system awash in cash and dangerously ripe for corruption.
By GLENN THRUSH and JONATHAN MARTINChicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been calling labor unions over the past week and making a forceful case that they contribute six-figures and up to President Barack Obama’s super PAC, multiple sources tell POLITICO.
By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and JO CRAVEN McGINTYFor one tiny sliver of swing voters, it is not enough to be wrestling with whether to vote for President Obama or Mitt Romney at a moment when nearly everyone else has long since decided. Their checkbooks, too, are wavering between the two candidates.
“Just like for some voters it is important to know whether somebody is a Republican or a Democrat, it’s important for voters to know who is behind measures or opposing them,” Ravel said. “The money paid and spent is an important cue to the voters on how to make decisions.” A Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday that FPPC has the right to audit ARL and obtain the information requested. But the nonprofit group appealed Thursday and does not have to provide documents while the case faces review unless otherwise ordered by the court to do so.
By Chris MegerianIn a stunning reversal, an obscure Arizona nonprofit at the center of a legal battle over secret political contributions released on Monday morning the identity of its contributors, which it had been fighting tooth and nail to keep secret.
Candidates and parties
By DAVID FEITH“Is a ‘Citizens United’ Democracy a Democracy at All?” asked Katrina vanden Heuvel of the Nation recently. Team Obama already has suggested that the election was being bought. “You’ve got a few very wealthy people lining up trying to purchase the White House for Mr. Romney,” said senior White House adviser David Plouffe in October. Added campaign strategist David Axelrod: “They are trying to buy this election.”
By Jonathan StrongFor two years, Democratic leaders have focused on winning the 25 seats necessary for their party to take back the House. But with analysts predicting disappointing results for the number of seats they will pick up in Tuesday’s elections, aides and party operatives are privately lowering expectations about the net gain.
By JONATHAN WEISMAN and DEREK WILLISPAINESVILLE, Ohio — A torrent of outside money has dropped into this state in the closing days of the campaign to try to unseat Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, part of a late onslaught across the country that Republicans hope will salvage a respectable showing in Senate races they once had high hopes for.
By Shira ToeplitzPresident Barack Obama and Mitt Romney made their closing pitches to swelled crowds of swing state supporters in the final weekend before voters deliver their verdict, while top surrogates hit the Sunday show circuit to spin their map to victory on Tuesday.
By D. Mark RenaudLost in the noise over SuperPACs, the government has ordered a group of Americans off the playing field in this year’s elections. While few will shed tears over the prospect of thousands of business professionals losing their political voice, everyone should worry that future rules could take away their rights too.