Daily Media Links 6/26: New Research from CCP Academic Advisor Casts Doubt on Campaign Finance “Reform” Measures, IRS Offers New Streamlined Option to Certain 501(c)(4) Groups Caught in Application Backlog, and more…

CCP
 
New Research from CCP Academic Advisor Casts Doubt on Campaign Finance “Reform” Measures 
By Luke Wachob
Ultimately, Cordis and Milyo find no evidence linking any campaign finance regulations with lower corruption rates. Whether a state attempts to limit campaign contributions to candidates, provide taxpayer-funding assistance to candidate campaigns, or both, there appears to be no reduction effect on corruption. The only significant relationship the authors found was that public funding for gubernatorial candidates was actually positively correlated with corruption. This may mean that giving tax dollars to political candidates actually makes a state more corrupt, and it certainly doesn’t jive with “reformers’” claims that replacing private funds with tax dollars will make government less corrupt.  
 
Independent Groups
 
IRS: IRS Offers New Streamlined Option to Certain 501(c)(4) Groups Caught in Application Backlog 
This “safe-harbor” option will provide certain groups an approved determination letter granting them 501(c)(4) status within two weeks if they certify they devote 60 percent or more of both their spending and time on activities that promote social welfare as defined by Section 501(c)(4). At the same time, they must certify that political campaign intervention involves 40 percent or less of both their spending and time. These thresholds apply for past, current and future years of operation.  Solely for the purpose of determining eligibility for the expedited procedure, an organization must count, among other things, any public communication identifying a candidate that occurred within 60 days prior to a general election or 30 days prior to a primary as political campaign intervention. 
 
Wall Street Journal: In IRS Scandal, Spat Over Level of Scrutiny 
By John D. McKinnon
Democrats say the documents show the IRS screening program wasn’t aimed at harassing conservatives. Republicans disagree, saying Democrats haven’t yet shown that liberal groups were subjected to the degree of scrutiny that conservative groups received.  
“It is one thing to flag a group, it is quite another to repeatedly target and abuse” them, said Sarah Swinehart, a spokeswoman for House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R., Mich.).  
 
Reason: IRS Apparently Singled Out Groups Not Represented by Attorneys
Of the nine groups from Ohio and Kentucky screened by the IRS Cincinnati office at the center of the ongoing controversy surrounding the agency, only two of those organizations applied for nonprofit status on their own. And both were subject to subsequent inappropriate questions and attention, while the other seven did not appear to suffer that fate.  
 
The Hill: House panel to vote on whether IRS official waived her rights  
By Bernie Becker
The House Oversight Committee will vote Friday on whether an Internal Revenue Service official central to the agency’s targeting of conservative groups waived her Fifth Amendment rights before the committee last month.  
 

Disclosure

 
CPI: Obama includes Dem donors at CEO gathering 
By Adam Wollner
Sunil Puri, the founder of the Illinois-based real estate company First Rockford Group, bundled between $50,000 and $100,000 for Obama’s re-election campaign, according to federal data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Puri also contributed $32,500 to a number of Democratic candidates and political action committees last election cycle — all hailing from Illinois.
She additionally gave $20,000 to the Democratic National Committee and more than $32,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
 
State and Local
 
District of Columbia –– AP: Philadelphia official pleads guilty in DC campaign finance probe 
By Ben Nuckols
PHILADELPHIA – June 24, 2013 (WPVI) — A Philadelphia businessman admitted Monday that he was reimbursed for at least $132,600 in political contributions, the most recent plea to result from a widening campaign finance scandal involving a Washington accounting firm.  
Stanley Straughter pleaded guilty in federal court in Washington to a misdemeanor campaign finance violation. Straughter, 71, has done consulting work for businessman Jeffrey Thompson, and he was part of a large network of donors associated with Thompson who contributed to candidates for federal, state and local offices, often giving the maximum amount on the same day.