Monthly Archives: March 2012

Huffington Post: Koch Brothers, Chamber of Commerce Face Possible Campaign Donation Disclosure After Ruling

-By Paul Blumenthal

March 30, 2012- WASHINGTON — On Friday evening, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling that could begin the process of revealing the identities of secret donors to groups connected to Karl Rove and the Koch brothers.

The court ruled in Van Hollen v. Federal Election Commission that the FEC rules that restricted campaign donor disclosure are not valid and must be changed to provide for disclosure.

"We are very happy to see the judge got it right," says Paul Ryan, a lawyer for the Campaign Legal Center, a campaign finance watchdog that was a part of the team challenging the FEC rules.

Bloomberg: Campaign Donor Advertising Rule Invalidated by U.S. Judge

-By Tom Schoenberg and Jonathan D. Salant

March 31, 2012- The U.S. Federal Election Commission overstepped its authority by allowing groups that give money for election advertising to withhold the names of their donors from the public, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jacksonin Washington yesterday threw out FEC regulations adopted in 2007 that let organizations and nonprofit groups keep secret the names of donors who pay for pre-election ads. She said the regulations clashed with requirements of the 2002 campaign finance law known as McCain-Feingold that groups report their ad spending to the commission.

“When the agency determined in this instance that the statute should be revised in light of legal developments, it undertook a legislative, policy making function that was beyond the scope of its authority,” Jackson said in her 31-page ruling.

Daily Kos: Karl Rove says killing of Osama bin Laden not a major ‘achievement’ for President Obama

-By Jed Lewison

March 22, 2012- From Karl Rove's latest Wall Street Journal op-ed:

As for the killing of Osama bin Laden, Mr. Obama did what virtually any commander in chief would have done in the same situation. Even President Bill Clinton says in the film “that’s the call I would have made.” For this to be portrayed as the epic achievement of the first term tells you how bare the White House cupboards are.

The film in question is the Obama campaign's 17-minute video on the accomplishments of his first three years in office. And if you believe Rove, the video itself dismisses the magnitude of the decision President Obama made.

NY Times: Hatch Weighs In on Tax Status of ‘Super PACs’

-By Jonathan Weisman

March 9, 2012- Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, joined the fight over the tax status of “Super PACS” on Friday, accusing Senate Democrats of a “politically motivated witch hunt” for their efforts to rein in tax-exempt political groups.

Mr. Hatch, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, was responding to a letter by seven Senate Democrats demanding that the Internal Revenue Service establish a clearer test limiting the politicking of 501(c)(4) groups like American Crossroads, a Republican group, and Priorities USA, a Democratic outfit. The letter, which still has not been sent, also requests stronger rules preventing corporate donors from deducting Super PAC contributions from their taxes, and it threatens legislative action if the I.R.S. fails to act.

Huffington Post: Super PAC Backlash: Washington Post/ABC News Poll Says 69% Of Voters Want Groups Outlawed

-By Benjamin Hart

March 13, 2012- A new Washington Post/ABC News poll found that super PACs, the political organizations that allow donors to contribute unlimited amounts of money in support of candidates, are extremely unpopular among American voters.

The poll, conducted among registered voters from March 7-10, found that 69 percent of voters want super PACs to be made illegal, while 25 percent want them to remain legal. Independent voters felt more strongly than Democrats or Republicans — 78 percent said they favored banning super PACs.

Super PACs have emerged as a crucial part of the 2012 campaign, the first presidential cycle for which they've been in existence. The groups have raised millions of dollars for all the major GOP primary candidates, with Mitt Romney's Restore Our Future PAC out front with $34 million spent.

NY Times: Scrutiny of Political Nonprofits Sets Off Claim of Harassment

-By Jonathan Weisman

March 6, 2012- WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service is caught in an election-year struggle between Democratic lawmakers pressing for a crackdown on nonprofit political groups and conservative organizations accusing the tax agency of conducting a politically charged witch hunt.

In recent weeks, the I.R.S. has sent dozens of detailed questionnaires to Tea Party organizations applying for nonprofit tax status, demanding to know their political leanings and activities. The agency plans this year to press existing nonprofits like American Crossroads, on the Republican side, and Priorities USA, on the Democratic side, to justify their tax-protected status as “social welfare” organizations, a status that many tax professionals believe is being badly abused.

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