Tag Archives: campaign finance

Our lawless Tea-Publican legislature loses in court again

A Maricopa County Superior Court judge has blocked efforts by Gov. Doug Ducey and the Republican-controlled Legislature to create new exceptions to laws that require disclosure of campaign finance spending. Ruling restores expanded oversight by Clean Elections Commission over campaign finances:

In a ruling released Wednesday, Judge David Palmer said a 2017 measure unconstitutionally conflicts with a 1998 voter-approved law designed to reduce the influence of money on politics.

Wednesday’s decision most immediately limits the ability of political parties to spend unlimited dollars on behalf of their candidates without disclosing the expenditures. It also voids some exemptions that lawmakers created in campaign finance laws, like allowing people to pay the legal fees of candidates without it counting against the legal limit of how much financial help they can provide.

But attorney Jim Barton, who represented those challenging the 2017 law, said the most significant part of the ruling is it restores the right of the voter-created Citizens Clean Elections Commission to police and enforce campaign finance laws against all candidates and their donors, not just those who are running with public financing.

Continue reading

House Democrats have won an historic mandate

FiveThirtyEight now projects The Last Unresolved House Race Of 2018, the California 21st is likely to be the 40th Democratic pickup. Democrat TJ Cox will turn out Republican Rep. David Valadao.

NBC News reports, Democrats smash Watergate record for House popular vote in midterms:

Democrats won the House with the largest margin of victory in a midterms election for either party, according to NBC News election data.

While votes are still being tallied, Democratic House candidates currently hold an 8,805,130 vote lead over Republicans as of Monday morning. The Democrats’ national margin of victory in House contests smashes the previous midterms record of 8.7 million votes in 1974, won just months after President Richard Nixon resigned from office in disgrace amid the Watergate scandal.

Of the more than 111 million votes cast in House races nationwide, Democrats took 53.1 percent — retaking control of the House of Representatives by flipping nearly 40 seats — while Republicans received 45.2 percent of the vote.

Brent Budowsky writes at The Hill, House Dems won a historic mandate (excerpt):

In the most important midterm election in a century, after voter turnout of epic and historic proportions, House Democrats won a popular vote majority of more than 9 million votes. By contrast, Donald Trump lost the 2016 popular vote by some 3 million votes, and is now viewed as a great divider and dangerous pariah by peoples and leaders of democratic nations throughout the world.

Politics is about power. Effective January 2019, no bill will be enacted into law, and no dollar will be authorized or appropriated, without the support of the Democratic House. House Democrats have won a dramatic mandate to propose — and ultimately pass — legislation to lift the health, wages and lives of Americans, as well as to set the stage to elect the next Democratic president and Democratic Senate in 2020, when most senators running for reelection will be Republicans.

Continue reading

AZ GOP field organizers pull a classic Roger Stone, supposedly fired over it

Dangerous demagogue Donald Trump and his GOPropagandists at FAUX News aka Trump TV have decided that they need to rile up his Deplorable base before Election Day by scaring them.

Republicans are going back to the well of GOP campaigns of the past by fear mongering that Democrats are radical liberals /leftists / socialists / communists / Leninists / Maoists /fascists and even anti-fascists (Antifa).  Pick one. Republicans use these distinct terms interchangeably, unaware of and not in the least bit caring about the differences, because their only objective is to demonize their political opponent to gin up GOP tribalism.

It has been a regular Red Scare at Trump’s Nuremberg-style rallies and in the conservative media entertainment complex over the past week or so.

The inanity of this desperate measure apparently inspired two yahoos in the Arizona Republican Party to pull a classic Roger Stone GOP ratfucking operation on Democratic Congressman Tom O’Halleran.

It appears it did not go well for them.

The Guardian reports, Republican pair apparently pose as communists to make Democratic donation:

Two young Arizona Republicans tried to make a donation to a congressman while posing as members of a university communist party, in an apparent attempt to tie the Democrat to the far left.

On Friday afternoon in Flagstaff, two men who called themselves Jose Rosales and Ahmahd Sadia walked into the campaign office of first-term Democrat Tom O’Halleran, with $39.68 and an urgent desire for the “Northern Arizona University Communist party” to be given a receipt for the donation.

The pair walked in to sign up to volunteer but they brought along a jar full of money that they said they wished to donate. After being directed to a finance staffer, they were told to fill out paperwork. In doing so, they identified themselves as members of the Northern Arizona University Communist party. They made clear they were not an official group but were holding meetings. But they also insisted on a receipt.

When told they would only get an emailed receipt, Rosales scratched out one email address and wrote down another. The process raised eyebrows among O’Halleran’s staff.

Continue reading

‘Super Tuesday’ in the federal courts – Cohen pleads, Manafort found guilty (Updated)

Donald Trump’s consigliere (fixer) Michael Cohen once said he would “take a bullet for Donald Trump.”

But today Michael Cohen entered into a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and agreed to be a cooperating witness. Just call Mikey Flipper today.

The big news: in counts seven and eight to which Michael Cohen plead guilty, involving payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy playmate Karen McDougal, Donald Trump is effectively identified as an unindicted co-conspirator, for the first time since Richard Nixon.

Bloomberg News reports from the courthouse, Cohen Faces December Sentencing on U.S. Charges: Plea Update:

Cohen Acted for Candidate in Violating Campaign Law (4:43 p.m.)

In acknowledging the charges against him, Cohen said he was directed to violate campaign law at the direction of a candidate for federal office. At the same candidate’s direction, he said he paid $130,000 to somebody to keep them quiet, which was later repaid by the candidate. He didn’t identify the candidate or the person who was paid, but those facts match Cohen’s payment to Clifford [Stormy Daniels] and Trump’s repayment.

Cohen Payment Was to Hide Alleged Affairs: U.S. (4:47 p.m.)

The prosecutor told the judge the purpose of the payments was to ensure that the individuals did not disclose “alleged affairs with the candidate.” Besides the $130,000 payment, Cohen admitted to making an illegal contribution of $150,000, which was how much McDougal received from the National Enquirer’s publisher to quash her story.

Lawfare Blog has a copy of the Michael Cohen plea agreement. Michael Cohen Plea Agreement (Scribd).

Continue reading

Release the Kraken, er, Kochtopus!

But of course they did.

The Trump administration has ordered “Release the Kraken er, Kochtopus!” from IRS “dark money” campaign contribution reporting regulations.

Now corporations and wealthy plutocrats are free to operate entirely in the dark, even from the IRS. ‘Dark money’ groups don’t need to disclose donors to IRS, Treasury says:

Nonprofits that spend money to influence elections but are not required to disclose donors to the public — called “dark money” groups by critics — no longer need to share their donors’ names or addresses in their tax filings under a new Treasury rule announced Monday.

The decision was immediately heralded by free-speech corporatist advocates who have long sought to protect donors’ private information. But it was rebuked by those who want to reduce the role of money in politics, who claim it would make U.S. elections more susceptible to anonymous foreign donations.

How significant is the change? Here is what you need to know.

What is this new rule about?

Wealthy donors can give unlimited sums of money to politically active nonprofits registered under sections of the Internal Revenue Service code, without their names or addresses being revealed in the nonprofits’ public tax filings.

There has been a surge of political activity by such nonprofit groups since the 2010 landmark Supreme Court Citizens United decision that allowed corporations to spend unlimited sums on campaigns.

These donors’ names, addresses and donation amounts were previously reported to the IRS, but the IRS would redact the names and addresses for public release.

With this policy change, the organizations will still be required to retain the donor information, but no longer have to submit it to the IRS.

Continue reading