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.