Proposed IRS Nonprofit Rules Violate Paperwork Reduction Act
Alexandria, Va. – Proposed IRS rules on social welfare groups violate the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) because the estimated record keeping burden “is excessively low and wildly off the mark,” according to comments filed by the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and IRS.
The comments warn that “The IRS may not proceed to a final rule-making under the PRA without addressing this fatal flaw in the [proposed rule’s] gross understatement of the record keeping burden.”
“The absurd time estimates contained in the proposed rules provide more evidence that the rules are fatally flawed,” said CCP President David Keating.
Roll Call: Schumer: Administration, IRS Must ‘Redouble Efforts’ on Campaign Finance Enforcement
By Meredith Shiner
Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said Thursday that Democrats, the administration and the IRS must immediately “redouble” efforts to close loopholes created by a recent Supreme Court ruling that opened the floodgates for money into politics.
“One of the great advantages the tea party has is the huge holes in our campaign finance laws created this ill-advised decision,” said Schumer, referring to Citizens United, in an afternoon speech at the Center for American Progress. “Obviously, the tea party elites gained extraordinary influence by being able to funnel millions of dollars into campaigns with ads that distort the truth and attack government.”
Most of Schumer’s remarks focused on his ideal Democratic political playbook against conservatives. He argued that Democrats could combat the tea party by more openly discussing the benefits of government involvement in everyday Americans’ lives.
Wall Street Journal: Conservative Commentator D’Souza Pleads Not Guilty to Election-Law Charges
By Christopher Matthews
Conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza doesn’t seem to dispute that he funneled $20,000 in campaign contributions to a U.S. Senate candidate.
Whether he broke federal election law is another question.
Mr. D’Souza’s lawyer said Friday there is “not much dispute about what happened,” but there was disagreement with prosecutors about whether or not it violated federal law.
NY Times: The Koch Party
Democrats intend to counter this campaign with the facts, but few of the candidates have the money to do so now. As a result, the campaign is taking a serious political toll, increasing the chances that Republicans who support a repeal of the law will win back the Senate majority this fall.
Naturally, Democrats are using the campaign to increase their own fund-raising, begging donors to give unlimited amounts to left-leaning super PACs and advocacy groups. But it is unlikely that they will be able to match the resources or the cunning of the Kochs, who are using vast pools of money earned through corporate revenues to build a network unrivaled in complexity and secrecy. This weekend, they are bringing together some of the biggest Republican bank accounts at a resort in Palm Springs, Calif., to collect money and plan this year’s strategy.
Politico: Koch World 2014
By Kenneth P. Vogel
If the Koch brothers’ political operation seemed ambitious in 2010 or 2012, wait for what’s in store for 2014 and beyond.
The billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch are convening some of the country’s richest Republican donors on Sunday at a resort near Palm Springs, Calif., to raise millions of dollars for efforts to shape the political landscape for years to come.
Lobbying and Ethics
NBC: Exclusive: Federal Probe Into New Jersey Sen. Menendez Is Widening
By Jonathan Dienst
The federal criminal investigation into New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez is broader than previously known, NBC 4 New York has learned.
The Department of Justice is investigating Menendez’s efforts on behalf of two fugitive bankers from Ecuador, multiple current and former U.S. officials tell NBC 4 New York. The probe into the Democrat’s dealing with the bankers comes as federal authorities are also investigating his relationship to a big campaign donor from Florida.
The criminal investigation is focusing in part on the senator’s ties to William and Roberto Isaias, and whether the senator crossed a line in trying to help the two brothers stay in the United States.
State and Local
New York –– Wall Street Journal: Cuomo Finds Solid Support Out of State: Nearly a Fifth of Governor’s Re-Election Campaign Cash Comes From Outside New York
By Erica Orden
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has rarely left his home state during his first term, but he has raised nearly a fifth of his re-election campaign cash from out-of-state donors, according to analysis of state Board of Elections data.
Mr. Cuomo has raised $6.3 million of his $34.5 million in donations from outside of New York, according to an analysis by the New York Public Interest Research Group, a nonprofit government transparency advocate, based on his campaign’s filings through mid-January.
Political observers said the total is significant for a governor who has kept a low national profile, ostensibly to avoid fueling speculation that he plans to run for president. (He has no plans to do so, he has said.)
Virginia –– Washington Post: McDonnell rejected plea offer to face one felony, spare wife any charges, avoid trial
By Rosalind S. Helderman and Carol D. Leonnig,
Maureen McDonnell relayed to federal prosecutors last summer that she felt responsible for the relationship with a wealthy businessman who had drawn legal scrutiny to Virginia’s first family, and her attorney asked whether the case could be resolved without charges for her husband.
But prosecutors showed no interest, according to people familiar with the conversation. Instead, months later, authorities proposed that then-Gov. Robert F. McDonnell plead guilty to one felony fraud charge that had nothing to do with corruption in office and his wife would avoid charges altogether. The governor rejected the offer, the people with knowledge of the conversations said.
Washington –– AP: Senators propose better access to lobbyist reports
A group of lawmakers led by Republican Sen. Joe Fain proposed a bill Thursday that would require lobbyists to pay a $200 annual fee to fund the development of electronic reporting system. Detailed lobbyist reports are currently filed on paper, making it difficult to track details such as which lawmakers they are taking out to restaurants.