By Paul H. JosseySenators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), unhappy with recent increases in political spending, have proposed sweeping new regulations to the federal campaign-finance system. The duo casts its prescription as an altruistic elixir designed to spare Americans from the anguish of too much political speech.
By Rodney A. SmithThe real curse in American politics is the Supreme Court’s 1976Buckley v. Valeo decision, which severely restricts the amount of money a candidate can receive except from his or her own pockets. Unless candidates have deep pockets, they are like a starving army — vulnerable to defeat when attacked by forces with superior resources.
Candidates, Politicians and Parties
By Katy SteinmetzOne of the less scintillating milestones of the 2012 election was marked by the General Services Administration, when Mitt Romney became the first candidate to take advantage of the Presidential Transition Act of 2010. The Act, spearheaded by former Sen. Ted Kaufman, provides resources for major candidates to start planning for their presidency long before Election Day. Through a Freedom of Information Act request, TIME acquired documents from the GSA that show the scope–and cost–of this unprecedented government-assisted transition.
Lobbying and Ethics
By David S. Fallis and Dan KeatingThe Post analysis shows that the interests of lawmakers and their relatives have overlapped to varying degrees on bills before Congress. In the past six years, for example, 36 congressional relatives — including spouses, children, siblings, parents and in-laws — have been paid to influence 250 bills passing through their family members’ congressional committees or sponsored by the members.
By Scott Bronstein, Joe Johns, and Rahel Solomon,It is one of the most important watchdogs in Washington. That’s because the OCE is the only quasi-independent government body whose sole mandate is to formally investigate members of Congress.
Allegations surrounding mortgage loans to House members and staffers through Countrywide Chief Executive Officer Angelo Mozilo’s ‘‘Friends of Angelo’’ initiative or other so-called VIP programs are either too old or involve people no longer employed in the House, the Ethics Committee’s Republican chairman and ranking Democrat said in a statement Thursday.
IT IS HARD to identify a federal agency in Washington more dysfunctional than the Federal Election Commission. Terms have expired for five of the six commissioners, and by next spring, the entire commission will be a lame duck if nothing is done. The number of enforcement actions — at the core of the FEC’s mission — has fallen to an all-time low. Created in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, the commission now behaves as an immobilized observer while campaigns are swamped with a tidal wave of hidden cash.
By Catherine HoThe D.C. Board of Ethics and Government Accountability, the body created earlier this year as part of new ethics laws adopted in the wake of investigations of misconduct by city officials, has named Stacie Pittell to be its lead attorney.
The Commission to Study Campaign Finance Law says the state should close loopholes that have allowed donors to contribute large amounts of money to campaigns through multiple limited-liability corporations.