Daily Media Links 2/25: Campaign Finance Lawsuit Unites Conservatives And Liberals — Up To A Point, Hillary’s State Department OK’d Bill’s big-money speeches, and more…

CCP

Constitutional and Practical Issues with Arkansas House Bill 1425 
By Matt Nese
If House Bill 1425 becomes law as written, there is a high likelihood that the law will be found unconstitutional if challenged in court. Any potential legal action will cost the state a great deal of money defending the case, and will distract the Attorney General’s office from meritorious legal work. Additionally, it is probable that the state will be forced by the courts to award legal fees to successful plaintiffs. Legal fee awards are often expensive, and can cost governments hundreds of thousands of dollars.
House Bill 1425 proposes to regulate speech and creates massive new government reporting requirements for speakers. Many provisions in the bill are unconstitutionally vague while others are far too broad in their impact on speech. There is no question the measure would greatly harm First Amendment free speech rights.
 
Independent Groups
 
Washington Post: Dan Quayle set to co-host super PAC fundraiser for Jeb Bush  
By Matea Gold
Former vice president Dan Quayle is set to co-host a fundraiser in Arizona next week for a super PAC backing Jeb Bush, one of a series of high-dollar events that the former Florida governor is headlining as he mulls a possible presidential bid.
The March 3 reception for the Right to Rise super PAC will be held at the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort, just outside Scottsdale, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by The Washington Post. Bush is billed as the event’s “special guest.” There is no specific cost to attend, but the invitation stresses “contributions encouraged.”
 
Wall Street Journal: Carly Fiorina Allies Form Super PAC to Back Possible White House Run 
By Rebecca Ballhaus
Allies of Carly Fiorina on Tuesday evening launched a super PAC to back a possible presidential run by the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive.
The launch of the group, Carly for America, follows a spate of recent trips by Ms. Fiorina to the early-nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire. This week, she will address conservatives at the Conservative Political Action Conference near Washington, D.C.
 
SCOTUS/Judiciary

Associated Press: Conservative think tank files suit over campaign finance law
BOSTON — A conservative think tank is suing Massachusetts over a rule that allows certain groups, including unions, to make campaign donations of up to $15,000 while barring businesses from making any direct political donations to candidates.
The Arizona-based Goldwater Institute said the suit filed Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court targets a rule that it says violates the constitutionally-protected rights of equal protection and free speech.
 
WGBH News: Campaign Finance Lawsuit Unites Conservatives And Liberals — Up To A Point  
By Sarah BirnbaumIRNBAUM
A new lawsuit against Massachusetts is bringing together opposite sides of the political spectrum — sort of.
The Goldwater Institute, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based conservative think tank, is suing Massachusetts over a rule that bans businesses from making any direct political donations but allows unions to contribute up to $15,000 to candidates.
“We’re asking the court to strike down the discrimination in Massachusetts law against businesses and in favor of labor unions,” said Goldwater Institute attorney Jim Manley.
 
Candidates, Politicians, Campaigns, and Parties

Wall Street Journal: Jeb Bush to Invite Top Donors to Meet Likely Campaign Team 
By Patrick O’Connor
Jeb Bush is giving his biggest donors a peek under the hood of a likely presidential campaign.
The former Florida governor, still in the preliminary phase of an expected White House bid, plans to reward his biggest early financial backers with a mid-April meeting in Miami with his likely campaign team.
The confab is being organized for so-called bundlers who have “met or exceeded” their fundraising targets, according to an email circulated by Mr. Bush’s finance team. Heather Larrison, who runs his fundraising effort, told a group in Washington last week that the event would take place on April 13, a person present said.
 
Politico: Hillary’s State Department OK’d Bill’s big-money speeches 
By Josh Gerstein
The records also highlight a blind spot in the ethics deal the Clintons and the Obama transition team hammered out in 2008 with the involvement of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: While the pact subjected Bill Clinton’s moneymaking activities to official review, it imposed no vetting on donations to the Clinton Foundation by individuals or private companies in the U.S. or abroad.
Concerns about individuals seeking influence by dropping money in both buckets arose soon after the first few Bill Clinton speech proposals landed at Foggy Bottom. In a 2009 memo greenlighting those talks, a State Department ethics official specifically asked about possible links between President Clinton’s speaking engagements and donations to the Clinton Foundation. However, the released documents show no evidence that the question was addressed.
“In future requests, I would suggest including a statement listing whether or not any of the proposed sponsors of a speaking event have made a donation to the Clinton Foundation and, if so, the amount and date,” wrote Jim Thessin, then the State Department’s top ethics approver and No. 2 lawyer.
 
CPI: Mitt Romney, Rand Paul and a porno spoof 
By Dave Levinthal
“These attempts to regulate the Internet are a direct attack on the freedom of information and an innovative market,” Paul wrotein the email topped with a Protect Internet Freedom logo. “The government needs to stay out of the way … We have to stop this aggressive, invasive and harmful regulation and we need all the help we can get to do it.”
After Paul’s signature come the message’s disclaimers.
“This email was sent by: Romney for President Inc.,” it reads. “This message reflects the opinions and representations of the Protect Internet Freedom, and is not an endorsement by Mitt Romney. You are receiving this email because you signed up as a member of Mitt Romney’s online community.”
Lobbying

NY Times: As Republicans Concede, F.C.C. Is Expected to Enforce Net Neutrality 
By Jonathan Weisman
In the battle over so-called net neutrality, a swarm of small players, from Tumblr to Etsy, BoingBoing to Reddit, has overwhelmed the giants of the tech world, Comcast, Verizon and TimeWarner Cable, with a new brand of corporate activism — New World versus Old. The biggest players on the Internet, Amazon and Google, have stayed in the background, while smaller players — some household names like Twitter and Netflix, others far more obscure, like Chess.com and Urban Dictionary — have mobilized a grass-roots crusade.
“We don’t have an army of lobbyists to deploy. We don’t have financial resources to throw around,” said Liba Rubenstein, Tumblr’s director of social impact and public policy. “What we do have is access to an incredibly engaged, incredibly passionate user base, and we can give folks the tools to respond.”
In mid-October, the technology activist group Fight for the Future acquired the direct phone numbers of about 30 F.C.C. officials, circumventing the F.C.C.’s switchboard to send calls directly to policy makers at the agency. That set off a torrent of more than 55,000 phone calls until the group turned off the spigot Dec. 3.
 
Roll Call: K Street Donors Make Early White House Picks | K Street Files 
By Kate Ackley
Cash isn’t all they have to give. K Street denizens offer political expertise, grass-roots reach and policy credentials — skills in high demand for any emerging presidential effort. They also can help gin up support on Capitol Hill, in state and local governments and with outside organizations.
“The personal relationships that we have with members of Congress and state legislators can go a long way to helping a national candidate develop better ties,” said Republican Ari Storch, co-chairman of Artemis Strategies, who supports Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. “Lobbyists have a broad intellectual knowledge base on numerous issues and can be invaluable resources for campaigns.”
 
Ethics
 
Politico: Schock lawyers up 
By Anna Palmer, John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman   
Rep. Aaron Schock has hired two prominent Washington defense attorneys and a public relations firm to respond to the swirling controversy and a potential ethics probe over how he has financed his lavish lifestyle.
The move by the embattled Illinois Republican comes amid continuing questions about his use of campaign and office accounts to pay for pricey travel and accommodations. His office has refused to respond to specific questions from POLITICO, including issues raised over the past week about a trip he took to London nearly four years ago as part of an annual event featuring Prince Charles.
Schock has hired William McGinley and Don McGahn of the Washington law firm Jones Day to lead his legal team. Veteran GOP communications operatives Ron Bonjean and Brian Walsh are helping manage his response, according to sources close to the matter.
 
State and Local

New York –– Capital New York: Elections board says Cuomo-allied counsel slows enforcement
By Bill Mahoney
Most of the complaints about the enforcement counsel were over a delay in taking action against delinquent filers.
The position was created in 2014 and described by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office as one of the “major achievements” that justified the dismantling of the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption.
At the same meeting, the board announced that it will soon be raising campaign contribution limits, with candidates for statewide office allowed to receive up to $65,100 per donor in the 2016 election cycle, an increase from $60,800. The limits for party committees would increase from $102,300 to $109,000; for state senators, from $16,800 to $18,000; and for Assembly candidates, from $8,200 to $8,800. The board is legally obliged to adjust contribution limits for inflation every four years.
 
Delaware –– Delaware News Journal: Christine O’Donnell aide quits after lawsuit 
By Jonathan Starkey
The treasurer of Christine O’Donnell’s campaign committee resigned his post on January 31, after the Federal Election Commission filed a lawsuit claiming O’Donnell illegally used $20,000 in political contributions to pay personal rent and utility bills in 2010 and 2011.
Matthew Moran, the treasurer and a longtime aide to O’Donnell, is named in his official capacity as a defendant in the federal lawsuit, filed in Delaware district court. O’Donnell and her committee are also named defendants. O’Donnell, who says she did nothing wrong, has not filed a response to the lawsuit.
On Tuesday, she called Moran’s resignation “standard and a non-issue.”