Daily Media Links 7/25: ‘Avengers’ of campaign finance, Center for Economic Development Touts Junk Survey of “Executives”, and more…

In the News
 
Daily Caller: ‘Avengers’ of campaign finance
By Zac Morgan and Joe Trotter
If campaign finance laws exist in the movies, Iron Man can contribute to whatever candidate or party he wants, but the Incredible Hulk cannot. In fact, if the Hulk makes a contribution, he could face a prison sentence of up to five years — not that any prison could hold him.
Consider the strange case of Dr. Bruce Banner, the Hulk’s alter ego. In the film “The Incredible Hulk,” Dr. Banner is a researcher at the fictional Culver University working with the military on radiological experiments. Presumably, Banner was paid for this work by the federal government through a Pentagon contract. In doing so, Dr. Banner’s right to contribute was, well, smashed.
Things are different for Iron Man, AKA Tony Stark, the CEO of Stark Industries. The fictional Stark Industries has boatloads of government contracts. In the first Iron Man movie, Tony Stark is captured in Afghanistan by terrorists shortly after demonstrating the effectiveness of a new type of missile—“the weapon you only have to fire once”—to the U.S. military. Earlier in the film, Tony boasts to a reporter for Vanity Fair about technological breakthroughs in medicine and “intelli-crops” funded by his company’s military contracts. But because Iron Man is not a sole proprietor, his constitutional rights are shielded.
 
CCP
 
Center for Economic Development Touts Junk Survey of “Executives” 
The CED has kindly issued a PowerPoint summarizing their findings of this poll. No word on whom the survey was sent to, and no word what the response rate was, of course. Yet, it is claimed, the self-selected respondents speak for all “American business executives.”
But worry not: CED is glad to assure us that “[w]hile online surveys are not sampled surveys, a comparable sampled survey of this size would have a statistical margin of sampling error of +/- 5.64 percentage points.” Which is the same as saying that while this 1987 El Camino is not a 2014 Porsche 911 Turbo, if it were, it could go 198 miles per hour.
Given the junk methodology that went into this poll, we are hardly surprised that many of its findings indicate that respondents do not like the campaign finance system. The people likely to respond to a survey inquiring if they think campaign finance is bad are probably people predisposed to that belief. This is one reason why real data is derived from sampled surveys.
 
Independent Groups
 
Washington Post: Can Organizing for Action persuade wavering lawmakers? Maybe. 
By Matea Gold and Ruth Tam
The group’s leaders insist that its backers are already shaping the legislative debate. At a day-long summit meeting Monday of top volunteers and staff in Washington, national organizing director Sara El-Amine proclaimed: “The transition of your smart, battle-tested tactics to members of Congress has worked.”
El-Amine  pointed to Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois as an example of OFA’s powers of persuasion. She said Kirk dropped his opposition to a comprehensive immigration reform measure last month after OFA volunteers in his state handed out bilingual fliers and held 12 public events highlighting his stance.
 
SCOTUS/Judiciary
 
USA Today: Justices to tackle campaign finance, affirmative action 
The court announced its first two weeks of oral arguments for the 2013 term Tuesday, and it includes two familiar topics that divide both Washington and the nation: campaign finance and affirmative action.
The term begins Oct. 7, and the very next day justices will hear a challenge to the two-year limit on contributions from individual donors in federal elections. It will be the court’s first consideration of the election financing system since it lifted limits on independent spending by corporations and unions in 2010’s Citizens United case.
 

Candidates, Politicians, Campaigns, and Parties

 
Roll Call: Hill Staffers Switch to Campaigning for Public Office 
By Rebecca Gale
“As a staffer, particularly in a caucus room full of members, you try to keep a low profile when in a room full of elected officials. As a candidate, you’ve got to work every room you’re in like there’s no tomorrow,” said Andrew Platt, a former staffer for Rep. John B. Larson, D-Conn., who is running for the Maryland House of Delegates in District 17, which includes Rockville and Gaithersburg. 
 

FEC

 
Huffington Post: Two FEC Nominees Receive Senate Hearing With Little Partisan Rancor 
By Paul Blumenthal
WASHINGTON — Two nominees to the Federal Election Commission testified before the Senate Rules and Administration Committee on Wednesday in a short hearing that featured legalistic euphemisms and the invocation of “balls and strikes,” but little partisan rancor.  
 
State and Local
 
New Jersey –– CPI: Super PACs swarming New Jersey special election 
By Adam Wollner
With the primary just weeks away, new super PACs are popping up to boost — or bash — Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s candidacy in New Jersey’s crowded U.S. Senate special election.
A recently formed super PAC called the Mobilization Project made its foray into the race with a canvassing operation costing nearly $74,000 in support of Booker’s bid, Federal Election Commission filings today show.
 
New York –– WSJ: Donations to Quinn Are Questioned 
By MICHAEL HOWARD SAUL
Two board members who sit on the nonpartisan New York City Campaign Finance Board have personally donated to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s mayoral campaign—with one bundling more than $20,000 in contributions for her, according to public documents.
 
Virginia –– Washington Post: McDonnell apologizes, repays loans 
By Laura Vozzella and Rosalind S. Helderman
RICHMOND — Gov. Robert F. McDonnell announced Tuesday that he repaid more than $120,000 in loans to a businessman whose nutritional supplement he and his wife promoted, and he apologized for the first time for a gifts scandal that has consumed his final year in office.