the Portland Mercury: "Based on a system New York City has used for decades, the policy would force interested participants to show they’re viable by collecting at least $2,500 total from 250 people for city commissioner races, or $5,000 from 500 people for mayoral races.
"If they can meet that threshold, candidates would get a 6-to-1 match for contributions up to $50. In other words, each $50 donation would generate an additional $300 from the city’s general fund (but multiple $50 donations from the same person wouldn’t count). Fritz’s office has proposed earmarking 0.2 percent of the city’s general fund budget for the program, which would translate to a little more than $1.2 million of this year’s $602 million fund."
"Meanwhile, it’s looking doubtful the proposal will even get passed this year. [Commissioner and sponsor Amanda]Fritz and a host of advocacy and labor groups are stressing that city council should pass the proposal outright, without voters’ direct approval. They argue such a vote would be tantamount to trying to reform the big money system via the big money system."
"The fact that voters narrowly scrapped public campaign financing once before will definitely enter into their thinking."
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "Citing leaked documents gathered during a now-shuttered investigation into the governor's campaign, the Guardian U.S., an arm of the British newspaper, reported that Harold Simmons, owner of NL Industries, a producer of the lead formerly used in paint, made three donations totaling $750,000 to the Wisconsin Club for Growth between April 2011 and January 2012.
"Simmons' donations were made before and after Republicans approved two laws helpful to the industry — one in January 2011 and the other in June 2013. The 2013 measure was inserted in a budget bill in the middle of the night despite warnings about its constitutionality."
"Simmons' contributions mirror a $700,000 donation from mining firm Gogebic Taconite to Wisconsin Club for Growth around the same time, a donation that was earlier disclosed in court records. After that contribution, the GOP-controlled Legislature and Walker approved legislation aimed at streamlining regulations for an iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin."
In the, how is this still a thing category?
Watertown Public Opinion: "South Dakota doesn’t prohibit candidates for state elected offices from spending campaign money for personal purposes and they can keep the money remaining after they leave office.
"Secretary of State Shantel Krebs wants a campaign-finance review panel to consider changing state laws so those practices would become banned."
"The past two governors kept their campaign accounts active for many years after they left state office.
"The current governor, Dennis Daugaard, continues to keep his campaign account running, too."
Miami New Times: "Miami is in the midst of the most spirited campaign-finance debate it's had in years. Barring the results of legal appeals and a counter-suit filed this week, a group of activists has forced Miami-Dade County to let its citizens vote on a measure that would cut political donations to just $250 per person. If the bill passes, it will likely lessen the stranglehold the wealthy have over Miami's political climate."
According to the study: "'The donor pool for Miami-Dade’s upcoming election is whiter than the population of Miami-Dade, particularly at the highest levels. While 59 percent of Miami-Dade’s adult population and 83 percent of donors giving less than $100 to mayoral candidates are Latino, only 42 percent of those giving more than $1,000 are. The result is that while whites make up 42 percent of all donors to both mayoral and county commissioner races, they make up 52 percent of the money contributed. In total, 47 percent of county commissioner donors were white, more than double the white share of the adult population."
"The study adds that, while only 20 percent of Miami-Dade residents make more than $100,000 per year, more than half of mayoral donors make more than that amount. It also says that 71 percent of county commission donations came from men."
From The Guardian, a master's class in understanding the web of groups politicians use to raise money to support their campaigns and campaigns of their allies - and how this money can turn into access and rewards for their donors. The article covers an investigation into the fundraising practices of WI Governor Scott Walker, which was stopped by Supreme Court justices this fundraising helped keep in office. Leaked documents from the prosecution, that the same court ordered destroyed and sealed, allow us for the first time to see the donors involved, how Walker helped raise the money and how spending that money was coordinated by consultants with connections to Walker. Read the whole thing!
"It was known as a John Doe investigation because, much like a grand jury, its subjects were kept anonymous while officials weighed whether or not to press charges. In this case, prosecutors alleged that there was evidence to indicate that Walker and his team of advisers and associates had set up a coordinated effort with lobbyists and major donors to swing elections by secretly pouring huge amounts of corporate cash into the races.
"The money was channeled through a third-party group, the DAs alleged, in order to circumvent state and federal rules that set limits on political contributions and require them to be publicly revealed."
"The email trail shows a pattern of behavior developing: Walker meets up with big corporate donors and encourages them to contribute unlimited sums of money through WCfG in secret, then shortly after the checks start to flow. In June 2011, the emails show, the governor had dinner with the CEO of the largest privately owned trucking company in the US, Schneider National, in the hope of getting him and his peers to donate $250,000."
“Stress the donations to WiCFG are not disclosed and can accept Corporate donations without limits,” Walker's talking points said."
"The John Doe files reveal that the billionaire owner of NL Industries, one of America's leading producers of lead used in paint until the ban, secretly donated $750,000 to Wisconsin Club for Growth at a time when Walker and his fellow Republican senators were fighting their recall elections. Also in the same time-frame, the Republican-controlled senate passed, and Walker signed into law, legal changes that attempted to grant effective immunity to lead manufacturers from any compensation claims for lead paint poisoning."
NPR: "The U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene in a voting rights case from Ohio on Tuesday, leaving intact a reduction of early voting days that was enacted by the state's Republican-controlled Legislature.
"The cutback still allows for 23 days in which voters can cast in-person ballots prior to Election Day, but it eliminates the so-called Golden Week in which voters can both register and cast ballots."
Associated Press: "The three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati rejected all but one element of a lower court's decision that found the laws violate the Voting Rights Act and place an undue burden on voters. U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley had said the laws could harm black voters in particular. Judge Damon Keith dissented in part.
"The ruling affirmed Marbley's rejection of absentee-ballot requirements for birthdate and address entries as presenting an undue burden on voters, saying Ohio could provide no justification for its precise standard. At the same time, the court reversed Marbley on other changes, saying they were not burdensome and didn't disparately affect minorities.
"At issue in the case were several changes on absentee and provisional ballot requirements Ohio's Republican-led legislature passed in 2014.
"The panel's ruling blocks Ohio from requiring the full and accurate completion of absentee-ballot forms before otherwise qualified voters' ballots can be counted. It lets stand provisions that reduced the time voters could cure errors and prohibited poll worker assistance."
Boston Globe: "Most of the $11.5 million raised this year for the referendum — which would, if it passes in November, allow up to 12 new charter schools or expansions a year — came from out-of-state sources. But a number of prominent local leaders played a big role, according to newly released records from the state Office of Campaign & Political Finance."
"Executives were essentially absent from the list of big donors to Save Our Public Schools, the anti-charter school group. But the unions, led by the Massachusetts Teachers Association, filled much of the void, ensuring the group raised nearly $7 million this year.
"Spokesman Steve Crawford pointed out that the donations to the pro-charter cause from local business leaders can’t compare to the $1.8 million that siblings Jim and Alice Walton gave. The scions of the family behind Wal-Mart Stores are well-known charter school supporters.
"Crawford also pointed to the roughly $6 million that an affiliate of Families for Excellent Schools gave this year. The New York nonprofit established itself in Massachusetts in 2014."
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Opponents say the campaign limits initiative financed by Clayton businessman Fred Sauer unfairly limits some classes of businesses and associations from giving money to campaigns.
"In particular, Hatfield said some classifications of banks and member-owned organizations such as the Association of Missouri Electrical Cooperatives would be barred from contributing to their own political action committee."
"The initiative will ask voters in November whether they want to limit contributions to individual candidates to $2,600 and limit contributions to a political party to $25,000."
"The referendum attempts to ban the current practice of funneling money through different committees to hide the source of the contributions. It prohibits contributions by foreign interests and companies not legally authorized to conduct business in Missouri.
"Sauer, a Republican, ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2012. This is his third attempt to put the referendum before voters. It comes in an election season in which mega donors like retired St. Louis financier Rex Sinquefield and Joplin building materials magnate David Humphreys donated millions of dollars to candidates."
The Australian: "In an exclusive interview, the departing US ambassador to Australia, John Berry, said foreign donations were illegal in America, and the US had been 'surprised' by Chinese money power in this country and wanted Australia to resolve the issue.
"'It is an entirely different matter when the government of China is able to directly funnel funds to political candidates to advance their national interests in your national campaign,' Mr Berry told The Australian.
"'That, to us, is of concern. We cannot conceive of a case where a foreign donation from any government, friend or foe, would be considered legitimate in terms of that democracy.'
Mr. Berry neglects to note that U.S. Elections are already under increasing influence from foreign companies and, theoretically, can be directly influenced by foreign governments channeling money through US companies or subsidiaries of which they own part or all, such as Saudia Arabia's investment in Uber. See our discussion of this issue.
The Center for Public Integrity: "The current controversy is over a bill pushed by Cally Houck, mother of Raechel and Jacqueline Houck, 24 and 20 years old, who were killed in 2004 when the Chrysler PT Cruiser they rented from Enterprise Rent-A-Car crashed into an oncoming semi-tractor trailer in central California. The car had been under a safety recall for a fire hazard that caused a loss of steering.
"Houck successfully sued the company and embarked on a crusade to get a law passed that would prohibit rental car companies from offering vehicles that are subject to safety recalls."
"Rep. Williams offered an amendment on the floor of the House just before midnight on Nov. 4 that alleviated the dealers’ concerns. It would, as understood by Williams and NADA, carve out an exemption for auto dealers. It would, in effect, allow them to rent or loan out vehicles even if they were subject to safety recalls. Dealers often loan or rent cars to customers who are getting theirs serviced."
"According to the statement [from Williams], the top lobbyist for NADA, Michael Harrington, was concerned about the effect the rental car act would have on his dealer members. He emailed Sean Dillion, Rep. Williams’ legislative director on Oct. 29. Dillion in turn asked J. Spencer Freebairn, Williams’ deputy chief of staff, to contact Harrington to discuss “issues surrounding” the bill in question.
“Mr. Freebairn did so, and by that afternoon NADA had sent proposed language for Amendment 819 to him,” according to the statement, signed by Williams."
"The [auto dealer] industry, through contributions from individuals and political action committees, has given him a total of $667,950 over his relatively short career, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That ranks him fifth among active and former House members, which is a little misleading."
Coloradoan: "The measures would have allowed local governments to impose tighter regulations on the oil and gas industry and required new oil and gas developments to maintain a 2,500-foot setback from occupied buildings. Protecting Colorado's Environment, Economy, and Energy Independence was active early on in the campaign, launching a "decline to sign" campaign to deter people from adding their signatures to the petitions to get the two measures on the ballot."
"By the end of August, Protecting Colorado's Environment, Economy, and Energy Independence had raised more than $13 million and still had more than half of that on hand, according to campaign finance documents. When asked if the group would give that money back to contributors, Crummy said the organization was looking at multiple options for what to do with the contributions."
CO Tracer (Campaign Finance Disclosure Database): Protecting Colorado's Environment, Economy, and Energy Independence started 2016 with $746,000 on hand, raised $13.4 million and spent $7 million.
The Daily Beast: "In February of 2012, the federal government announced that Donald Trump’s organization had won a bid to turn the Old Post Office Pavilion, located on Pennsylvania Avenue just a few blocks from the White House, into a new luxury hotel, which had its soft opening this week. Ivanka Trump, the mogul’s daughter, was put in charge of the project.
"Months later, money began to pour in from the Trump family to two politicians with prominent roles in the hotel development project: Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton and Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser."
"The final lease agreement between the GSA and the Trump Organization was reached in June of 2013."
"Less than three weeks later, [Ivanka] Trump sent Norton $2,600, according to filings from the Federal Election Commission."
"The groundbreaking ceremony for the renovated complex took place on July 23, 2014 and the whole Trump family attended. Alongside them was Norton and Muriel Bowser, who was in the throes of a mayoral election campaign. Just over two weeks later, on August 6, Ivanka Trump gave Norton another $2,600."
"Just a few months prior to this groundbreaking ceremony, right after Bowser won the Democratic primary, Ivanka Trump made another D.C. contribution: the maximum of $2,000 to Bowser, according to financial filings.
"In October, just a month before her mayoral election, Eric Trump—another major shareholder in the hotel—maxed out with another $2,000 to her election committee. And finally, once Bowser won her election in November 2014, Donald Trump himself gave $5,000 (the maximum allowed) to the new mayor’s D.C. Proud Inaugural Committee. Ivanka Trump later met with Bowser in 2015 for lunch."
FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub: "In this tumultuous political year, foreign influence on American elections has emerged as an area of great concern to the American people. A startling story this week in The Washington Post provides the latest evidence why: 'U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are investigating what they see as a broad covert Russian operation in the United States to sow public distrust in the upcoming presidential election and in U.S. political institutions, intelligence and congressional officials said.'
"Already, we have seen reports of foreign interference with our political parties. We have seen reports of foreign hacks of state voter-registration data. And we may have spotted the tip of the iceberg in foreign political spending, the true size of which is obscured by a sea of dark money."
"Today, the FEC cannot provide assurances to the American people that foreign money is not being used to sway how American citizens vote. This is unacceptable. It is within the power of this Commission to provide these assurances. It is our duty to do so."
"Our courts have said that foreign money may be barred from our elections. Congress has said that foreign money must be barred from our elections. The American public has the right to expect the Federal Election Commission to ensure that foreign money is barred from our elections. To fail to do so is to threaten the integrity of America’s political institutions and thus the national security of America herself."