Monthly Archives: May 2011

Politico: Kathy Hochul: From unknown to overnight star

-By Marin Cogan

May 25, 2011- Virtually overnight, Democrat Kathy Hochul went from little-known county clerk to a national standard-bearer and symbol of hope for her party in 2012.

But in her speech after pulling off an upset victory in a House special election, Hochul went out of her way to play down the partisan implications of her win.

She eschewed an introduction from a national Democrat and had her college-age daughter introduce her instead. And she sought to keep things humble, emphasizing her local connections in a traditionally Republican district.

“The last couple weeks hanging out with my mom, I’ve come to view her as a superhuman,” Katie Hochul, who was a senior at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia this year, said to more than 200 supporters at the victory party in Amherst, N.Y.

Think Progress: Democrat Kathy Hochul Beats Republican Jane Corwin in New York’s 26th District

-by Tanya Somanader

May 24, 2011- Tonight, Democrat Kathy Hochul defeated Republican state Assemblywoman Jane Corwin in New York’s special election to replace former Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY). Despite the $2.36 millionspent by groups like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to keep the district red and the $60 per voteCorwin spent herself, Hochul secured a clear victory in a traditionally Republican district:

Kathy Hochul has won the special election in the 26th Congressional race, holding a six percent lead with 87% of precincts reporting.

Republican Jane Corwin has conceded.

NYT: Op-Ed: Some Sunshine for the Campaign Jungle

April 30, 2011- When the Supreme Court legalized a new era of unrestrained corporate campaign spending, the court made a point of upholding disclosure of donors as an alternative safeguard for voters and the democratic process.

President Obama should take the court up on its transparency blessing forthwith and sign a proposed executive order that would require government contractors to disclose their donations to groups that support or oppose federal candidates. If they win, those would-be legislators or policy deciders will be able to reward these contractors with millions or even billions in government largess. The taxpayers have a right and need to know what favors are being curried.

The court’s Citizens United decision inspired a $138 million binge of hidden donors in last year’s midterm elections. It was a mere down payment by political machines that will flood the 2012 campaign with anonymous cash from corporations, unions and nonprofit groups.

Christian Science Monitor: What lessons will GOP take from losing New York-26 House seat?

Medicare is indeed a perilous issue for Republicans, Tuesday's House race in New York's 26th District showed. But so are third-party candidates and tepid campaigns.

-By Gail Russell Chaddock

May 25, 2011- A Democratic upset on GOP turf in upstate New York signals that Medicare reform is a perilous issue for Republicans – but so are tea party candidates in a three-way race, tepid campaigns, and a flood of outside money.

That’s the mixed message from Tuesday’s special election in New York’s 26th Congressional District, a special election that drew national attention and funding as a bellwether for the 2012 campaign cycle.

Democrat Kathy Hochul came from behind in the campaign's last weeks to defeat GOP nominee Jane Corwin, 48 percent to 42 percent. Tea party candidate Jack Davis took 8 percent of the vote.

Politico: Ryan blames NY-26 on Dem ‘scare tactics’

-By Jennifer Epstein

May 25, 2011- Tuesday’s special election win by Democrat Kathy Hochul was the result of Democratic scare tactics, and not actually a referendum on the reality of his Medicare plan, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said in his first comments after the polls closed in Western New York.

“I saw the ads,” Ryan said. “I saw burning people’s Medicare cards. If you can scare seniors into thinking that their current benefits are being affected, that’s going to have an effect. And that is exactly what took place here. So yes, yes, it’s demagoguery, it’s scaring seniors.”

Ryan also chalked up Hochul’s win to the candidacy of Jack Davis, a self-funded candidate who drew more votes than the margin of victory.

“When a Democrat runs as a third party, tea party candidate and spends a couple million dollars, it’s going to have an effect,” Ryan said Wednesday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Talking Points Memo: Democrat Kathy Hochul Wins Upset In NY-26, Medicare Vote Key To Victory

-By Benjy Sarlin

May 24, 2011- Republicans are going to have plenty of questions about their plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program tomorrow morning after Democrats romped to an improbable victory in a special election focused almost entirely on the issue.

Democrat Kathy Hochul lead 48-43 with over 83% of the votes counted and her victory looks to be a strong one — the Associated Press called the race within an hour of the polls closing. Corwin underperformed in key GOP counties while Hochul's margins in Democratic areas were in line with the party's high water mark in the district from 2006, a wave year that swept the Republicans out of the majority in the House and Senate. The district is normally a safe seat for Republicans and few considered it vulnerable when Rep. Chris Lee (R-NY) resigned over topless photos he posted in a Craigslist personal.

Huffington Post: IRS To Take On Karl Rove? Tax Laws Could Take A Bite Out Of Secret Political Spending

-By Dan Froomkin

May 25, 2011- Top Republican political strategist Karl Rove's method of secretly funneling unlimited contributions from big donors was so hugely successful in the 2010 campaign that Democrats are now trying to copy it. But his model may yet end up backfiring spectacularly.

In one scenario, groups like Rove's Crossroads Grassroots Political Strategies could find themselves subject to massive fines, ranging as high as 35 to 70 percent of the money they received in secret donations.

In another scenario, their deep-pocket donors could be hit by a 35 percent tax on their contributions.

Rove may well have found a way around the nation's federal election laws. But now the key question is whether the Internal Revenue Service is willing to be assertive. Because if it is, then just like with Al Capone, it could be the IRS that gets him.

Bloomberg: Secret Donors Multiply in U.S. Election Spending

-By J. Crewdson, A. Fitzgerald, J. Salant and C. Babcock

May 19, 2011- In the weeks before last November’s election, television viewers in South Carolina were treated to an animated caricature of Representative John Spratt high- kicking in a chorus line with President Barack Obama and then- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“It’s the worst economy in decades,” the ad intoned, “and the folks in Washington are living it up, spending our tax dollars like there’s no tomorrow.”

That ad and a second one mocking Spratt appeared at least 723 times between Sept. 25 and Election Day and were paid for by a group called the Commission on Hope, Growth and Opportunity, according to ad trackers at Campaign Media Analysis Group, a unit of WPP Plc. Spratt, a 14-term Democrat, saw a seven-point lead in an early poll vanish and lost the election.

Press Release: Advocacy Group Releases Hard-Hitting Video Calling on NY Congressional Candidate Jane Corwin to Reject Karl Rove’

IRS Investigates Rove's Donors

WASHINGTON, May 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — AmericanCrossroadsWatch.org, an advocacy group dedicated to exposing the campaign finance activities of Karl Rove's American Crossroads group, just released a hard-hitting video calling on Jane Corwin, who is running in the special election in NY-26, to reject the $650,000 that Rove's group is using to support her campaign. The video comes days after the IRS announced that it is targeting donors to 501c4 groups, such as Rove's Crossroads GPS, for failing to report donations and pay a 35% gift tax on such donations. This was reported last Thursday by the New York Times.

Business Insider: If The FEC Denies Stephen Colbert’s Super PAC Request Sarah Palin And Karl Rove Could Be In Trouble

May 17, 2011- If you are a Stephen Colbert fan you likely know that he is attempting to start the Colbert Super PAC in an effort to showcase the inanity of the FEC's campaign finance regulations.

Or in his words so that "the Colbert Nation could have a voice, in the form of my voice, shouted through a megaphone made of cash…the American dream. And that dream is simple. That anyone, no matter who they are, if they are determined, if they are willing to work hard enough, someday they could grow up to create a legal entity which could then receive unlimited corporate funds, which could be used to influence our elections."

A couple of explanatory notes first. Colbert wants a Super PAC because last year's new (and controversial) Supreme Court 'Citizens United' rules allow corporations (in Colbert's case that would be parent company Viacom) to donated unlimited amounts of cash to Super PACs…whereas under regular PAC rules they'd be forbidden to donate (airtime is considered a donation).

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