The Federal Election Commission (FEC) approved text message campaign contributions today. According to Roll Call, "The FEC unanimously cleared the way for donations via text message in an advisory opinion late Monday. The plan has been under consideration for several months, but the FEC has been hashing out technical details to ensure that the leap into mobile technology does not open the way for abuses, such as donations in excess of contribution limits. ...Both President Barack Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney had asked the FEC to approve the plan, as had several Democrats on Capitol Hill. Proponents of donations via text message have argued that it presents an antidote to unrestricted super PACs by encouraging small donors. The plan takes effect immediately."
The ruling will open up entire new ways for campaigns to target donors. Expect to hear Obama and Romney telling crowds to text a certain number to donate $3 during rallies this summer.
Yesterday, top Obama advisor David Axelrod was in New York to do two things: meet with potential super PAC donors for the pro-Obama Priorities USA Action and to talk to John Heilemann at the 92nd Street Y where he stated his disgust with super PACs and declared that President Obama would work to overturn the Citizens United decision in a potential second term.
A mystery 501(c)(4) nonprofit group is running issue ads supporting the Republican Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel. HuffPost's Matt Sledge reports, "A mysterious non-profit has spent $238,000 on television ads promoting Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel in his race against Sen. Sherrod Brown -- and its lawyer told HuffPost it may never reveal its donors. ...The pro-Mandel advertisements started running on May 14 and only stopped several days ago, according to the Brown campaign. The group behind them, the Government Integrity Fund, is a 501(c)4 non-profit that was created in Ohio in May 2011. The only name connected with its incorporation papers there, or with an affiliated super PAC in Federal Election Commission reports, is that of William Todd, a Columbus-area lawyer who served as the lead litigation counsel for the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio in 2004 and the Ohio chair of Lawyers for McCain in 2008."
Former Sen. Larry Craig has been sued by the FEC for improperly using campaign funds to cover his legal fees after being arrested in a Minnesota airport men's bathroom for soliciting sex from an undercover police officer. Craig declared that he would not seek reelection to the Senate after the arrest and publicly clarified, "I am not gay. I have never been gay."
Super PACs spent $8 million on digital ads in the presidential race, reports ClickZ.
Broadcasters are still trying to kill a proposal that will slowly provide online transparency for political ad buy data.
The New York City 24-hour local news channel, NY1, is denying an independent candidate for Congress the ability to join in a televised debate because he hasn't raised enough money. That candidate was inspired by Occupy Wall Street and is trying to run a campaign without big donations.
Rick Hasen writes about a 4th Circuit Court ruling today that upheld disclosure rules, "Among other things, the Court upheld the FEC’s case-by-case approach to determine which political groups need to register as political action committees (and as a consequence must reveal all of their donors). The FEC uses a fact-intensive multi-part inquiry to determine whether a particular group has as its “major purpose” the nomination or election of federal candidates for office. Karl Rove’s American Crossroads is a (super) PAC registered with the FEC which reveals all of its donors. Its sibling organization, Crossroads GPS (a 501c4), claims it is not a political committee and need not register with the FEC. With this 4th Circuit opinion, I now expect campaign reform groups and/or Democrats to file complaints against Crossroads GPS, claiming its major purpose is to elect Republican candidates to federal office and that it is violating the law by not registering as a political committee. The fact that groups like GPS will now need to make independent expenditures to avoid disclosing its contributors to fund “electioneering communications” under the new van Hollen case will make it more likely the FEC will treat GPS as a political committee subject to disclosure requirements. Of course, given how the FEC is divided on partisan lines today, it could well be that the FEC will divide on whether a group like GPS has electioneering as its major purpose, and the issue could end up in the courts."
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Committee: Barack Obama for President
Candidate Opposed: Mitt Romney
Spot: "Number One"
Committee: Orrin Hatch for Senate
Spot: "The Nielson's Story"
Committee: Orrin Hatch for Senate
Spot: "How He Helped Us"
Committee: Ben Quayle for Congress
Market: Arizona's 6th District.
TRACKING INDEPENDENT SPENDING:
These numbers represent spending by independent groups, like super PACs and non-profits, to support or oppose a particular candidate 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.
Mitt Romney (R), $7,327,516 to support, $15,613,791 to oppose. (Oppose: +$44,191)
Barack Obama (D), $509,622 to support, $1,628,047 to oppose. (Oppose: +$43,180)
Most Outside Spending for Congressional Candidates:
TX-Senate: Ted Cruz (R), $838,270 to support, $2,301,676 to oppose.
TX-Senate: David Dewhurst (R), $501,126 to support, $2,481,715 to oppose.
IN-Senate: Richard Mourdock (R), $1,442,961 to support, $634,899 to oppose.
IN-Senate: Dick Lugar (R), $208,628 to support, $1,671,841 to oppose.
AZ-08: Jesse Kelly (R), $249,401 to support, $1,152,390 to oppose.
RECENT INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES
American Academy of Ophthalmology Inc PAC, $39,000 to support John Sullivan for Congress in Oklahoma's 1st District.
Priorities USA Action, $44,191 to oppose Mitt Romney for President.
Humane Society Legislative Fund, $1,620 to support James Moran for Congress in Virginia's 8th District.
National Rifle Association of America Political Victory Fund, $2,180 to oppose Barack Obama for President.
Restore America's Voice, $41,000 to oppose Barack Obama for President.
RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS
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