Daily Media Links 2/27: Montana House backs increasing contributions to political candidates, State spends $34,000 so far defending Gessler in ethics probe, and more…

CCP
 
Who’s the reformer here? 
By Sarah Lee
Looks like Montana is following a Federal Lead in taking another look at contribution limits. On Monday, the House approved a bill to increase contributions to candidates.  
 
Independent Groups
 
Wall Street Journal: Was Anti-Hagel Ad Spending Worth It? 
By Sara Murray
The battle over Mr. Hagel marked a new front for outside spending groups, including Americans for a Strong Defense and the American Future Fund, which took the unprecedented step of running television ads against a cabinet nominee.  
 
NY Times: A Conservative Provocateur, Using a Blowtorch as His Pen 
By JIM RUTENBERG
At 11:42 a.m. on Feb. 14, a conservative online magazine called The Washington Free Beacon posted a dispatch about a speech Chuck Hagel gave in 2007 in which it said he called the State Department “an adjunct to the Israeli foreign minister’s office.” 
 
SCOTUS/Judiciary
 
Political Law Briefing: McCutcheon and State Contribution Limits: Collateral Targets 
States face similar fallout if the Supreme Court invalidates the two-year federal limit on aggregate contributions by individuals—a case we have written about here. At least 12 states impose aggregate (though often much lower) contribution limits on political contributions:  
 
Washington Post: Supreme Court lets ban stand on direct corporate campaign donations 
By Robert Barnes
The Supreme Court on Monday decided against reviewing the century-old ban on corporations making direct contributions to federal candidates.  
 

Candidates, Politicians and Parties

 
GOP: WH Spends Over 4 Minutes Straining To Say New OFA Is Somehow “Independent” Organization
Jay Carney struggles to explain how OFA is some how an independent organization that can offer access to the President (February 25, 2013). 
 

Lobbying and Ethics

 
The Hill: Lobbyists fear shakedown if Supreme Court lifts campaign contributions cap 
By Kevin Bogardus   
Lobbyists who are active on Washington’s fundraising circuit fear a shakedown is coming if the Supreme Court lifts the cap on contributions to lawmakers and party committees.
 
State and Local
 
Colorado –– Coloradoan: State spends $34,000 so far defending Gessler in ethics probe 
By Patrick Malone
The state of Colorado has paid more than $34,000 to private law firms hired to defend Secretary of State Scott Gessler against an ethics complaint that he misused public funds.  
 
Montana –– Missoulian: Montana House backs increasing contributions to political candidates 
By Charles S. Johnson
HELENA – The House, on a mostly party-line vote Monday, approved a major Republican bill to overhaul Montana campaign finance laws by increasing the amount of allowable contributions made directly to candidates.