Yesterday, the Maine People’s Alliance called on Sen. Susan Collins to return thousands of dollars she received from Robert Mercer, the billionaire backer of Breitbart, the racist, misogynist and bigoted website proud to position itself as the “platform of the alt-right.” Mainers for Accountable Leadership has launched a petition demanding the same.
Six hours after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced that it was blacklisting firms that work with primary challengers, I met with a potential client who was considering a Democratic primary. The client told me that two consultants dropped out that morning — and now the candidate may not run at all.*
Two guests of Cindy Yang didn’t pay for their own photos, priced at $50,000 each, with President Trump at a December 2017 RNC event. Selling tickets to campaign fundraisers without disclosing the buyer to the Federal Election Commission is illegal.
Pro-Israel lobbyists and donors spent more than $22m on lobbying and campaign contributions during the 2018 election cycle. The same or similar Israel-aligned groups and donors have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in recent decades, and that money poured into American politics through a variety of channels, according to the non-profit, non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. The CRP uses federal election records to track campaign finance spending and makes its data available on the Open Secrets site.
The National Rifle Association spent $30 million to help elect Donald Trump—more than any other independent conservative group. Most of that sum went toward television advertising, but a political message loses its power if it fails to reach the right audience at the right time. For the complex and consequential task of placing ads in key markets across the nation in 2016, the NRA turned to a media strategy firm called Red Eagle Media.
A just-released Midterm Elections Scoreboard shows that Israel partisans have dominated Congress over the past 10 years, despite the preference of American voters, who consistently wish evenhanded policies and feel the U.S. gives Israel too much money. The detailed scoreboard on candidates for the Senate and House of Representatives* shows that 28 pro-Israel PACs and numerous pro-Israel individuals have given candidates millions of dollars in campaign contributions. There are currently no pro-Palestine PACs (although one of the pro-Israel PACs supports some Palestinian positions).
President Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty Tuesday in a Manhattan courthouse to eight violations of banking, tax and campaign finance laws in a federal investigation that scrutinized his business dealings and efforts to silence women with negative stories about Trump.
The U.S. Treasury said on Monday that it will no longer require certain tax-exempt organizations including politically active nonprofit groups, such as the National Rifle Association and Planned Parenthood, to identify their financial donors to U.S. tax authorities. But the move frees labor unions, issue advocacy organizations, veterans groups and other nonprofits that do not receive tax-exempt money from meeting confidential disclosure requirements set in place decades ago.
Buried in the campaign finance reports available to the public are some troubling connections between a group of wealthy donors with ties to Russia and their political contributions to President Donald Trump and a number of top Republican leaders. And thanks to changes in campaign finance laws, the political contributions are legal. We have allowed our campaign finance laws to become a strategic threat to our country.
The Senate on Wednesday passed the biggest loosening of financial regulations since the economic crisis a decade ago, delivering wide bipartisan support for weakening banking rules despite bitter divisions among Democrats.
Just days after the House passed its version of the federal tax law slashing corporate tax rates, House Speaker Paul Ryan collected nearly $500,000 in campaign contributions from billionaire energy mogul Charles Koch and his wife, according to a recent campaign donor report.
Even though Lindsey Graham wasn’t running for anything in 2016 either, he took $800,000 from this same Kremlin oligarch. Again, the donation was legal. And realistically speaking, it’s incredibly difficult to believe that someone like Graham could be coaxed into throwing away his legacy and going on a crime spree to protect Donald Trump, simply because someone handed him eight hundred grand. So what’s really going on here?
Seven Republican super-donors helped bankroll the conservative push for power in the 2016 election cycle, between them pumping more than $350m (£264m) into federal and state races. The seven have their divisions, especially over Donald Trump. Warren Stephens was a major backer of the Stop Trump movement last year, while Geoff Palmer was among the then Republican nominee’s biggest financial backers.
Party loyalty is often cited as the reason that GOP leaders have not been more outspoken in their criticism of President Donald Trump and his refusal to condemn Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election. Yet there may be another reason that top Republicans have not been more vocal in their condemnation. Perhaps it's because they have their own links to the Russian oligarchy that they would prefer go unnoticed.
The House’s appropriations bill, includes riders that would further pare back campaign finance rules that have already been decimated over the last decade, in large part through Supreme Court decisions such as Citizens United and McCutcheon v. FEC. These rulings and a Congress hell-bent on deregulating the campaign finance system has lead to increasingly expensive elections, with the money that helps candidates win often pouring in from anonymous interests. Watchdog groups and journalists call these billions from shadowy sources “dark money.”
Ahead of a potential 2020 presidential bid, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has generated headlines for his public criticism of President Donald Trump. However, Cuomo recently appointed one of the president’s infrastructures advisers after that Trump confidante gave the Democrat's election campaigns $345,000 worth of campaign cash.
New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker — a potential 2020 White House contender and recipient of major campaign contributions from Jared Kushner and others in the Kushner family — declined to endorse his party's call for the White House to revoke the security clearance of the president's son-in-law.
Billionaire donors could get lots of shiny new tools for controlling the American political system. There is really not all that much left to prevent big money from influencing American politics. Donors can already spend as much as they want on “independent” Super PACs that take out millions in political advertisements. Corporations can give as much as they want to these Super PACs, and they’re finding ways to do so entirely in secret.