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HUFFPOST FUNDRACE -- Court Rules For Disclosure

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A federal court ruled late Friday that a rule put in place by the Federal Election Commission that has essentially gutted a donor disclosure provision of the McCain-Feingold law was invalid and should be replaced with the original provision passed by Congress. This rule prevented the disclosure of the identities of donors to groups like Crossroads GPS, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Americans for Prosperity, which all run "electioneering communications." The McCain-Feingold rule stated that all persons contributing $10,000 in aggregate for an "electioneering communication" must file a disclosure report with the FEC. HuffPost reported, "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. ... Those rules state that donors to groups spending money on "electioneering communications," or advertisements that do not specifically call to elect or defeat a candidate, must only be disclosed if they specifically earmarked their donation to that particular expenditure. Since few, if any, donors to these groups ever earmark their donation for a specific election expense there was no disclosure. ... Friday's court ruling could reverse a trend started by the FEC rules, and aggravated by the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, that led to an explosion in undisclosed contributions to electoral efforts. The percentage of independent spending that went undisclosed jumped from 1 percent in 2006 to 43.8 percent in 2010, according to the Center for Responsive Politics."

It is still unclear what will happen next. The FEC requires a majority vote to appeal the ruling and to adopt new rules, but it is evenly divided along partisan lines with the Republican bloc solidly opposed to any new disclosure requirements.

An interesting side-note to the ruling is that the judge found that Congress clearly intended for the word "person" in the McCain-Feingold provision under discussion to apply to corporations, unions, and actual human beings. In this case, the understanding of corporate personhood was applied to expand disclosure requirements for corporations.

Meanwhile, Karl Rove says that these billionaires and corporations who want to make giant, secret contributions to politicized non-profits running electoral advertisements in contested states and districts are just like African-Americans living in the 1950s Jim Crow South who gave money to the NAACP.

This American Life ran an extensive look inside the world of campaign finance. Listen to the show here. Here's the Planet Money segment discussed in the show in a condensed form. And here's some of the data provided by the Sunlight Foundation on how each congressional committee fares in helping members of Congress raise money. If you're into campaign finance I suggest listening to and reading all of these things.

The Brennan Center for Justice says that campaign finance reform has suffered from an "Angry Birds"-style attack from shots fired at the underlying base of the law.

A bundler for President Barack Obama's reelection campaign is coming under increased scrutiny after a Washington Post investigation found that she has a series of questionable past dealings and is currently facing a lawsuit accusing her of fraud.

Super PAC donors are almost universally men. A Houston Chronicle article finds that only 14 percent of super PAC donations come from women.

The Campaign for Primary Accountability, a super PAC run by conservative deficit-hawks that is backing primary opponents of long-time congressmen, is looking at running ads in three New York primary races.

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: Priorities USA Action
Candidate Opposed: Mitt Romney
Spot: "Mitt Romney's Big Oil Trail"
Market: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Rick Santorum for President
Candidate Opposed: Mitt Romney
Spot: "This Man"
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Americans United/AFSCME
Candidate Opposed: Paul Ryan
Spot: "Does Paul Ryan Think We Were Born Yesterday? Hands Off Our Medicare!"
Market: WI-01.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Americans United/AFSCME
Candidate Opposed: Chip Cravaack
Spot: "Does Chip Cravaack Think We Were Born Yesterday? Hands Off Our Medicare!"
Market: MN-08.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Americans United/AFSCME
Candidate Opposed: Dan Benishek
Spot: "Does Dan Benishek Think We Were Born Yesterday? Hands Off Our Medicare!"
Market: MI-01.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Americans United/AFSCME
Candidate Opposed: Sean Duffy
Spot: "Does Sean Duffy Think We Were Born Yesterday? Hands Off Our Medicare!"
Market: WI-07.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Republican National Committee
Candidate Opposed: Barack Obama
Spot: "Misplaced Trust"
Market: Unknown.
Buy: Undisclosed.

Committee: Campaign for Primary Accountability
Candidate Opposed: Tim Murphy
Spot: "Tim Murphy - Rock The Boat"
Market: PA-18.
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), $13,014,518 to support, $18,881,563 to oppose. (+$17,051)
Rick Santorum (R), $7,519,648 to support, $20,662,185 to oppose. (Support: +$73,401, Oppose: +$10,427)
Mitt Romney (R), $3,018,895 to support, $6,652,163 to oppose.
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

Foster Friess, $24,039 to support Rick Santorum for President in Wisconsin.
Foster Friess, $38,899 to support Rick Santorum for President in Wisconsin.
Red White And Blue Fund, $10,466 to support Rick Santorum for President in Wisconsin.
Hoosier for Economic Growth & Jobs, $103,545 to oppose Richard Mourdock for Senate in Indiana.
FreedomWorks for America, $24,061 to oppose Richard Lugar for Senate in Indiana.
FreedomWorks for America, $13,532 to oppose Orrin Hatch for Senate in Utah.
Winning Freedom, $17,051 to support Newt Gingrich for President in Maryland.
Restore Our Future, $10,427 to oppose Rick Santorum for President in Wisconsin.

RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS

Friends of Traditional Banking, Salt Lake City, Utah, Treasurer: Howard M. Heardlee. (Super PAC)

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

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