Daily Media Links 12/18: Campaign contribution limits go up under plan OK’d by regulators, D.C. campaign finance misdeeds call for further inquiry, and more…

Independent Groups
 
Bloomberg: ALEC Thought of Non-Profit — Then Thought Not 
By JONATHAN SALANT  
The new non-profit, ALEC NOW, would be incorporated under Section 501c4 of the tax code, just like groups like Americans for Prosperity and Crossroads GPS that spent millions of dollars on the 2012 elections without disclosing their donors. The proposal for a new entity was revealed in a group of documents obtained by Bloomberg under the Freedom of Information Act. 
 

Corporate Disclosure 

 
Harvard Blog: Meaningful Corporate Political Disclosure
By Bruce Freed
In the aftermath of the most expensive election cycle in U.S. history, which included record amounts of “Dark Money,” the need for transparency in corporate political spending is even more urgent. Chevron made headlines in October when it gave $2.5 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, a super PAC led by Speaker John Boehner (R – Ohio). While contributions to super PACs are required to be reported to the Federal Election Commission, contributions to their companion organizations, the so-called “social welfare” groups organized under the 501(c)(4) section of the Internal Revenue Service, remain entirely hidden.  
 
NY Times: Voluntary Disclosure on Corporate Political Spending Is Not Enough 
By LUCIAN A. BEBCHUK AND ROBERT JACKSON JR.
One of the challenges that the Securities and Exchange Commission will face next year is how to address investor concerns about corporate political spending.  
 

Lobbying and Ethics

 
Politico: Aaron Schock, Bill Owens in ethics scrutiny 
By JOHN BRESNAHAN and JAKE SHERMAN
The House Ethics Committee is considering whether to launch a formal probe of GOP Rep. Aaron Schock’s solicitation of a $25,000 donation from Majority Leader Eric Cantor for use in a brutal Republican-on-Republican primary.   
 
Politico: New chairman Mike Conaway grabs gavel at Ethics Committee   
By JOHN BRESNAHAN
Texas Republican Mike Conaway will serve as the chairman of the House Ethics Committee in the next Congress, Speaker John Boehner has announced.   
 
State and Local
 
California –– LA Times: More valuable gifts, contributions allowed to politicians in 2013 
The state Fair Political Practices Commission on Thursday made adjustments to gift and contribution limits to keep up with inflation, using a formula in state law.  
 
District of Columbia –– Washington Post: D.C. campaign finance misdeeds call for further inquiry 
By Colbert I. King
As expected, Che Brown, the brother of former D.C. Council chairman and convicted felon Kwame Brown, pleaded guilty this week to a federal charge of bank fraud. Kwame Brown pleaded guilty to a similar charge in June and is serving a six-month sentence of home detention.  
 
District of Columbia –– Associated Press: D.C. ban on money order campaign contributions proposed by Cheh   
WASHINGTON (AP) – A D.C. councilmember is introducing emergency legislation to ban money-order campaign contributions greater than $25.   
 
Minnesota –– Associated Press: Campaign contribution limits go up under plan OK’d by regulators 
By Brian Bakst
Minnesota campaign regulators backed a plan Wednesday to let candidates accept more money from donors by raising limits in force since 1993.