Daily Media Links 6/30: Oberweis Continues Push for Special Investigation, “Risky Business? Political Spending, Shareholder Approval, and Stock Volatility”, and more…

In the News

WBGZ: Oberweis Continues Push for Special Investigation

By Dave Dahl

“There’s a respected free-speech organization called the Center for Competitive Politics which just this month filed a Senate ethics complaint against Durbin and eight other Democrat senators for politicizing the IRS,” continues Oberweis.  “Let’s not forget Dick Durbin’s central role in this scandal: he was one of the Democrat U. S. senators wanting the IRS to go after conservative organizations.”
The Center for Competitive Politics advocates for unregulated campaign contributions and expenditures.
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CCP

ICYMI: “Risky Business? Political Spending, Shareholder Approval, and Stock Volatility”

By Saumya Prabhat and CCP Academic Advisor David Primo

We utilize a quasi-natural experiment to examine whether disclosure and shareholder approval of political expenditures reduces shareholder risk. In particular, we examine the Neill Committee Report (NCR), which led to the passage of the United Kingdom’s Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) and strengthened disclosure of and required shareholder approval for campaign contributions. Using a differences-in-differences methodology, we find that politically active firms saw an increase in their stock’s volatility along with negative long-term abnormal stock returns upon the release of the NCR. These results present a challenge to arguments for greater shareholder oversight of corporate political activities.

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IRS

Wall Street Journal: House Republicans Seek Information on Missing IRS Emails

By John D. McKinnon

The requests from the House Ways and Means Committee seek details of how the technology failures occurred, as well as how administration officials learned of the data loss about two months before lawmakers found out.

GOP lawmakers are unhappy the IRS didn’t inform them until June 13 of the email loss, particularly since Treasury Department and White House officials were told in April. For months, lawmakers have been demanding all emails to and from Lois Lerner, a retired IRS official who has been a focus of congressional investigations of agency targeting of conservative tax-exempt groups for special scrutiny.

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Wall Street Journal: Lerner’s Attorney Denies Wrongdoing in IRS Scandal; Darrell Issa Has Doubts

By NICK TIMIRAOS

Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said on the CNN show that it was “hard to believe” that Ms. Lerner hadn’t printed out certain files in which a paper record was required by law.

Mr. Taylor said Mr. Issa was wrong. “She printed out some things, not others,” he said.

He also dismissed the investigation as political theater. “It’s convenient to have a demon that they can create and point to,” he said. “She’s a person who did everything that she thought was right, and now she’s being blamed for things which aren’t really even scandals.”

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NYT: Is The Times Ignoring a Scandal at the I.R.S.?

By Margaret Sullivan

Has The Times been interested enough in the politically charged events involving the Internal Revenue Service?

Many readers don’t think so. One, Harry Koenig of Monroe Township, New Jersey, wrote to me this week with strong words of criticism.

Noting that he had emailed earlier complaining about a lack of coverage of I.R.S. official Lois Lerner’s missing emails, a situation that has caused accusations of a Watergate-style political cover-up, he wrote again to complain that the coverage, once it began, was inadequate.

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Independent Groups

MSMHL: The Coordination of Issue Advocacy Part I: Coordination and the Press

By Bob Bauer

A sense is building in media quarters that the Wisconsin “issue advocacy” investigation, still in limbo in the courts, might be a pivotal moment in the campaign finance reform debate. It is a spicy story: a criminal investigation with allegations about conspiracies and mention of emails to Karl Rove. And it could turn out that state law was violated. At this point there is no way of knowing. Clearer is the central issue arising out of the case: whether the First Amendment protects “a candidate’s promotion and support of issues advanced by an issue advocacy group” where “the speech may benefit his or her campaign because the position taken on the issues coincides with his or her own.”  O’Keefe v. Schmitz, No. 14–C–139, 2014  WL 1795139 (E.D. Wis. 2014).

With this development, the campaign finance conflicts circle back to the point that they reached only a few years ago, prior to the enactment of McCain-Feingold. Issue advertising was then at the forefront of the arguments, and now again, as a result of the Wisconsin case.  Of what kind is this advertising? How is it different from campaign advertising? And how does these differences bear on the question of regulated “coordination” with candidates?

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Candidates, Politicians, Campaigns, and Parties

NY Times: Fund-Raising as a Barometer of a Statewide Campaign’s Success

By Ross Ramsey

It is somewhat crass to talk about money when you are supposed to be talking about good old American democracy, but the list of statewide campaigns that have succeeded without cash is short.

It costs money to introduce candidates to voters, explain their views and point out the personality and ideological flaws that opponents forgot to mention.

The end of June is a deadline for the political class — the midyear mark for fund-raising and the last time until October that the campaigns will have to tell the public what they have raised, spent and kept in the bank.

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Washington Post: The Manchurian candidate….of Oklahoma?

By JAIME FULLER

Murray is taking his loss, well, oddly. He’s contesting the election results on the grounds that Lucas is dead and has been replaced by a body double. Lucas, who has been in Congress for 20 years, told local news station KFOR that “It does come as kind of a shock to read that you’re not you.”  

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State and Local

Texas – The Moniter: Judge Mario Ramirez fined $2,500 for campaign finance law violations

By Ildefonso Ortiz

The Texas Ethics Commission fined 332nd state District Judge Mario Ramirez, saying he committed several campaign finance law violations from 2010 to 2012.

Ramirez has been ordered to pay a $2,500 fine for the violations on his campaign’s semiannual finance reports from July 2010 to January 2012, an administrative order from the Ethics Commission shows.

The action against Ramirez comes after two community activists from the Houston area filed a complaint with watchdog group Texas Ethics Advisory Board, which then helped report the complaint to the Texas Ethics Commission in March 2012.

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Connecticut – New Haven Register: Gubernatorial candidate Tom Foley must wait for public campaign finance decision

By Mary E. O’Leary

Tom Foley will have to wait at least another week to get his public campaign funds.

Last week, the SEEC found the Foley campaign had submitted $264,148 in contributions capped at $100 per individual, but only $220,977 were found to fit the definition of qualifying money.

Foley said they answered questions by Friday on the $30,023 that had been rejected at that point. This week the SEEC continued to have questions on some $3,700 in donations, which may have represented some old and new donations. Foley sent an email blast looking for more money last week, according to Hearst papers.

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Ohio – Akron Beacon Journal: Jury deliberations to begin in Ben Suarez campaign finance case

By Phil Trexler

Jurors were asked Thursday to not believe a key witness’s guilty plea and use that to find a North Canton businessman innocent of violating U.S. campaign finance laws.

The request was repeated throughout defense attorney Mark Schamel’s closing argument on behalf of Ben Suarez, the multi-millionaire facing more than a decade in prison if convicted of orchestrating the contributions.

Jurors will start to deliberate the eight counts against Suarez this morning in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.

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