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HUFFPOST FUNDRACE -- McCain-Feingold Part II?

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Campaign finance reform has made a return in the wake of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision (and subsequent court rulings), which brought the subsequent explosion of undisclosed money and the destabilizing effect of unlimited super PACs into presidential and congressional races. Sen. John McCain and former Sen. Russ Feingold, the authors of the nation's last campaign finance reform law, are delivering "a strikingly unified message" a decade after the McCain-Feingold bill was enacted, according to Eliza Newlin Carney. That message is, "campaign finance rules are in tatters, scandals will follow, and voters will once again demand reform."

The New York Times, however, wonders what happened to all of the good government Republicans. Specifically, they ask about Sen. McCain, "Mr. McCain has no corrective, and the rest of the Republican Party seems determined to block any reform."

That position was evident in today's Senate Rules & Administration Committee hearing on the DISCLOSE Act, a bill that would require disclosure of some of the now undisclosed forms of campaign spending. Democrats, who support the bill, were met by Republicans, led by Sen. Lamar Alexander, calling for the repeal of campaign contributions limits to candidates. Alexander claimed that the bill was an effort by Democrats to game the system for their political advantage in an election year. He also tipped his hat that the Republicans might be willing to accept increased disclosure in exchange for the repeal of contribution limits to candidates.

Meanwhile, some of that undisclosed money is already at work as the American Energy Alliance is running $3.6 million in attack ads against President Barack Obama. According to Politico, the group is funded largely by the Koch brothers, but, due to its non-profit status, it is under no obligation to disclose its donors.

Bloomberg reveals some of the donors to secret money efforts in the 2010 election as companies like Merck and Chevron publicly disclose their political and trade group contributions on their company web sites and trade groups disclose their contributions on their publicly available 990 forms. Merck gave $7 million to the pharmaceutical industry trade group Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and PhRMA gave $4.5 million to the conservative non-profit American Action Network in 2010. PhRMA also gave $3.4 million to the Democratic-supporting group Citizens for Strength and Security.

Democratic state treasurers across the country are turning to a new tactic to oppose the Citizens United decision and reveal the secret money funding political non-profits. They are using their power over huge pension funds to pressure companies seeking their investments to disclose their political contributions or to adopt policies banning contributions directly from their corporate treasuries.

Mitt Romney's attack machine will soon turn to Obama. No surprise there.

Sheldon Adelson, super PAC don to Newt Gingrich, says that Gingrich is "at the end of his line." Adelson will no longer be funding Gingrich's super PAC. If the super PAC did not receive any more contributions in March, then it is nearly out of money. It has spent $16.45 million and raised $18.85 million.

Ann Romney is attending a fundraiser for her husband thrown by Melania Trump, the wife of The Donald. The event is being attended by a who's who of super rich New York/Palm Beach socialites. It's the one percent of the percent. The kind of women who buy $22 million apartments.

Democratic candidate for Congress Jose Hernandez shows how to respond to attacks. Hernandez, who refers to himself as an "astronaut/scientist/engineer" is the subject of an effort by a law firm to get a judge to forbid him from referring to himself as an astronaut. Hernandez, who used to work for NASA, put this video of himself flying the shuttle Discovery to the Mir Space Station on YouTube. It ends with a clip of Hernandez spinning in zero gravity as text on the screen says, "Jose Hernandez IS an astronaut."

AD WATCH

Help us populate our list of campaign videos. Send any notable TV, radio or web ads that you see to Fundrace. Send your submissions to paulblumenthal@huffingtonpost.com.

Committee: Democratic National Committee
Candidate Opposed: Mitt Romney
Spot: "Remember"
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Mitt Romney for President
Candidate Opposed: Barack Obama
Spot: "Better?"
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: VoteVets.org
Candidate Supported: Sen. Claire McCaskill
Spot: "Back"
Market: Missouri.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: League of Conservation Voters
Candidate Supported: Sen. Sherrod Brown
Spot: "Fighting to Bring Manufacturing Jobs Back to Ohio"
Market: Ohio.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Democratic National Committee
Candidate Opposed: Mitt Romney
Spot: "Mitt Romney: Wrong for Women, Wrong for Wisconsin"
Market: YouTube.
Buy: None. Just a web video.

Committee: National Republican Congressional Committee
Candidate Opposed: Colin Peterson
Spot: "What Happened to Colin Peterson? He's Changed"
Market: MN-07.
Buy: Undisclosed.

TRACKING INDEPENDENT SPENDING IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:

These numbers represent spending by independent groups, like super PACs and non-profits, to support or oppose a particular candidate for the presidency in 2012. Fundrace will update this spending daily to help show which candidates are gaining from the proliferation of independent groups in this coming election.

Newt Gingrich (R), $12,997,467 to support, $18,881,563 to oppose. (+$180,173)
Rick Santorum (R), $7,397,829 to support, $20,412,511 to oppose. (Support: +$1,176, Oppose: +$2,065,081)
Mitt Romney (R), $3,018,895 to support, $6,468,188 to oppose. (+$7,174)
Rick Perry (R), $4,167,697 to support, $1,404 to oppose.
Ron Paul (R), $3,748,218 to support, $214,158 to oppose.
Jon Huntsman (R), $2,453,204 to support, $0 to oppose.
Barack Obama (D), $282,298 to support, $979,322 to oppose.
Herman Cain (R), $501,717 to support, $954 to oppose.
Gary Johnson (R), $518 to support, $0 to oppose.

RECENT INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES

Winning Our Future, $180,173 to support Newt Gingrich for President in Wisonsin.
NARAL Pro-Choice America, $7,174 to oppose Mitt Romney for President.
NARAL Pro-Choice America, $95 to oppose Rick Santorum for President.
Foster Friess, $1,176 to support Rick Santorum for President in Wisconsin.
Restore Our Future, $1,186,982 to oppose Rick Santorum for President in Wisconsin.
Restore Our Future, $878,004 to oppose Rick Santorum for President in Maryland.
FreedomWorks for America, $34,179 to oppose Dick Lugar for Senate in Indiana.
FreedomWorks for America, $54,166 to support Richard Mourdock for Senate in Indiana.

RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS

Hilltop Brigade, Branford, Conn., Treasurer: Penelope I. Bellamy.
A Better Congress, Sacramento, Calif., Treasurer: Rita Copeland. (Super PAC)

Send tips, hints, submissions, rumors to HuffPost Fundrace at paulblumenthal@huffingtonpost.com.

 
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