The Supreme Court today denied to hear a case -- American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock -- that represented a challenge to the two year old Citizens United ruling. HuffPost reports, "By summarily reversing the case, American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock, the justices refused to reconcile their sweeping statement of free speech principles in Citizens United with the real-world facts -- from Montana's history to today's super PACs -- put forward by Montana and its supporters to demonstrate that independent expenditures do, indeed, corrupt or create the appearance of corruption. Instead, the 5-4 majority, in an unsigned opinion, wrote that '[t]here can be no serious doubt' that Citizens United applies to Montana's law. 'Montana's arguments in support of the judgment below either were already rejected in Citizens United, or fail to meaningfully distinguish that case,' the majority wrote. Justice Stephen Breyer, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, wrote to dissent from the summary reversal. 'Montana's experience, like considerable experience elsewhere since the Court's decision in Citizens United, casts grave doubt on the Court's supposition that independent expenditures do not corrupt or appear to do so,' Breyer wrote. 'Were the matter up to me, I would vote to grant the petition for certiorari in order to reconsider Citizens United or, at least, its application in this case.'"
Campaign reformers and Montana politicians panned the decision, "Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) took to YouTube to issue a statement. "'The United States Supreme Court has just told the American people that the facts don't matter when it comes to protecting Montana and the country from the corruption of corporate money in our democracy. Here in Montana we have a proud 100-year history of keeping corporate money out of our elections. Corporations aren't people, and they should not control our government,' Schweitzer said. Campaign finance reformers who helped to organize support in Montana's defense issued similar statements. 'The Supreme Court today has left standing the disastrous Citizens United decision and the enormous damage it is doing to our democracy and political system,' longtime campaign finance reformer Fred Wertheimer said in a statement. 'Nevertheless, the battle in Congress, the states and the courts for effective campaign finance laws to prevent the corruption of our officeholders and government decisions will go forward full speed ahead.'"
The White House denounced the decision as well, "We are disappointed that the Supreme Court did not take the opportunity presented by the Montana case to revisit its decision in Citizens United. In the aftermath of the Citizens United decision, we have seen unprecedented amounts of campaign spending, often by groups that won't disclose their donors. Citizens United was wrong when it was decided and as two Supreme Court Justices have observed since, independent expenditures by corporations are threatening the health of our democracy. Citizens United mistakenly overruled long standing cases that protected the fairness and integrity of elections. Unfortunately, the Court today missed an opportunity to correct that mistake."
The decision will impact 24 states that have similar laws as the one just invalidated in Montana, "The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision to allow unlimited corporate and union spending in federal elections, upheld Monday, also effectively wiped out similar prohibitions in 24 states. Most states bowed to the original high court ruling, but Montana’s Supreme Court backed its own century-old law banning such expenditures in a 5-2 vote in December, thumbing its nose at the U.S. Supreme Court."
Over the weekend, Mitt Romney hosted a massive donor retreat for his top donors and strategists and political figures in the Republican Party. The New York Times reports, "The Romney campaign, whose fund-raising prowess has defied assumptions about President Obama’s financial advantages, offered wealthy donors and bundlers an extraordinary level of access to the candidate, his staff members, advisers and family this weekend at a three-day retreat that even seasoned political contributors said dwarfed previous presidential powwows. Mr. Romney’s political operation seemed to all but shut down and relocate to the mountains of Utah. At least 15 senior campaign figures flew in for what blue-blazered guests from Texas, North Carolina and New York dubbed Republicanpalooza, delivering briefings on the effectiveness of Mr. Romney’s and Mr. Obama’s commercials and spinning them through the latest polling data, which they said showed the race as a dead heat. 'Everybody was completely accessible,' said Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier and Romney fund-raiser who said the candidate took the time to warmly greet and thank him by his nickname, Mooch, at a dinner on the first night of the retreat."
Buzzfeed covers a Tweeted photograph that allegedly showed potential coordination between officials of the pro-Romney super PAC and Romney campaign operatives.
In another super PAC coordination issue, the new Obama campaign spokesperson's strategy and polling firm is on the payroll of the pro-Obama super PAC.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is working with Chris Hughes, the publisher of The New Republic and a founding member of Facebook, on a strategy involving outside group pressure to pass a public financing bill.
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett was fined $5,000 by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for repeatedly filing incomplete and inaccurate campaign finance reports.
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Committee: Barack Obama for President
Candidate Opposed: Mitt Romney
Spot: "Response to 'Doing Fine' Ads"
Committee: Priorities USA Action
Candidate Opposed: Mitt Romney
Committee: Crossroads Generation
Candidate Opposed: Barack Obama
Committee: Americans for Prosperity
Candidate Opposed: Shelley Berkley
Spot: "Nevada Needs Jobs"
Committee: Americans for Prosperity
Candidate Opposed: Claire McCaskill
Spot: "Stop Irresponsible Spending"
Committee: Orrin Hatch for Senate
Spot: "It's Utah's Time To Lead"
Committee: John Brunner for Senate
Candidate Opposed: Sarah Steelman
Spot: "Trial Lawyers Bankroll Sarah Steelman's War Chest"
Committee: Tarryl Clark for Congress
Spot: "Iron Range"
Market: Minnesota's 8th 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, $16,948,984 to oppose. (Oppose: +$335,100)
Barack Obama (D), $730,045 to support, $9,172,635 to oppose. (Oppose: +$11,381)
Most Outside Spending for Congressional Candidates:
TX-Senate: Ted Cruz (R), $863,794 to support, $2,325,821 to oppose.
TX-Senate: David Dewhurst (R), $536,126 to support, $2,481,715 to oppose.
IN-Senate: Richard Mourdock (R), $1,442,961 to support, $1,280,052 to oppose.
OH-SEN: Josh Mandel (R), $157,924 to support, $1,739,326 to oppose.
IN-Senate: Dick Lugar (R), $208,628 to support, $1,671,841 to oppose.
RECENT INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES
Working Families for Liz Crowley, $15,000 to support Elizabeth Crowley for Congress in New York's 6th District.
Priorities USA Action, $299,903 to oppose Mitt Romney for President.
Campaign for Primary Accountability, $2,011 to oppose Charles Rangel for Congress in New York's 13th District.
League of Conservation Voters, $50 to oppose Denny Rehberg for Senate in Montana.
League of Conservation Voters, $10,392 to support Jon Tester for Senate in Montana.
MoveOn.org Political Fund, $35,197 to oppose Mitt Romney for President.
Campaign for Our Future, $18,335 to support Clyde Williams for Congress in New York's 15th District.
FreedomWorks for America, $14,480 to support Josh Mandel for Senate in Ohio.
FreedomWorks for America, $14,780 to oppose Orrin Hatch for Senate in Utah.
National Right to Life Victory Fund, $11,381 to oppose Barack Obama for President.
FreedomWorks for America, $1,268 to oppose Orrin Hatch for Senate in Utah.
Campaign for Our Future, $1,875 to support Clyde Williams for Congress in New York's 15th District.
O.C. Tanner Co., $5,788 to support Orrin Hatch for Senate in Utah.
American Dental Association Independent Expenditures Committee, $11,500 to support Scott Keadle for Congress in North Carolina's 8th District.
RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS
CNPAC, Washington, D.C., Treasurer: Jim Gray.
Armtech Crop Insurance PAC, Lubbock, Texas, Treasurer: Zane J. Vaughn.
Texans Restoring Ethical Governance PAC, Austin, Texas, Treasurer: Rebecca Frost. (Super PAC)
DEL PAC, Washington, D.C., Treasurer: Jennifer May. (Leadership PAC: John Carney)
Raising Awareness of Dihydrogen-Monoxide For A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Fayetteville, N.C., Treasurer: Drake Burns. (Super PAC)
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