campaign finance

What Exactly is "Lobbyist Money"

CQPolitics digs in to the campaign promises of John Edwards and Barack Obama to not accept direct contributions from federal lobbyists in their respective bids for the White House. Emily Cadei spoke with Public Campaign's Nick Nyhart for the article, and he talked about why this promise, though a good start, does not fully address the way lobbyist cash can influence elections.

Some excerpts from the piece:

 

Make It Happen

Cabell Brand is a Virginia businessman and a longtime anti-poverty activist and he's written a strong editorial in the Roanoke Times in support of full public financing of campaigns at the federal level as outlined in the Fair Elections Now Act. He argues that every issue we grapple with has a money in politics angle, and only when we address that angle can we make real policy change.

An Ask They Can't Refuse

The presidential race is crowded and money is tight so candidates are relying more and more on their stable of bundlers and those bundlers are relying more on more on "sure thing" donors, i.e. the people they know just can't say no. What's compelling people who've never given a dime to a candidate to fork over $2,300 asks the Washington Post? A sudden passion for politics, or soft-pedaled coercion?

New Transparency Tool

Arianna Huffington of The Huffington Post writes today about a new tool she's rolling out called FundRace which is aiming to promote campaign finance transparency by offering a user-friendly way to look at publicly available fundraising data by neighborhood.

The Lexus of Texas

We pay a lot of attention to how candidates bring money in for their campaign accounts -- but what about how it gets spent? The Houston Chronicle looks at the expenditures of Texas candidates after the election -- how they're using campaign cash to travel in style, eat like kings, and win brownie points via donations to local groups. Ah, campaign cash - the gift that keeps on giving.

Wake Up Call

This guy wasn't much into politics until he started to look into the corrosive influence of money on elections and government. Then he cashed in his savings and made a documentary, Mr. Schneider Goes to Washington, about the dirty underbelly of campaign finance. Check out the site for a preview of the film, background, and clips.

Running Out the Clock

Is the New York legislature dragging its feet on campaign finance reform as the legislative session draws to a close? Governor Spitzer and his Democratic allies have announced that reform is a priority, but Republican leaders don't feel the same way. Contentious debate between Republicans and Spitzer on capping campaign contributions and limiting the donation activities of limited liability corporations (LLCs) has both sides riled up -- compromise isn't likely.

Lobbying Disclosure Moves Forward

The House voted today to strengthen campaign finance disclosure requirements, passing controversial measures to require disclosure of lobbyist "bundler" donors to candidates and multi-candidate political action committees (PACs). Read more on the vote here.

Unwrap the Bundle

Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama (D-IL) pens this editorial for the Chicago Tribune urging the House to join with the Senate in requiring disclosure of bundlers -- those who corral large contributions on behalf of a particular candidate -- to promote transparency and ensure accountability.

Access Granted

The National Republican Congressional Committee is looking to raise big bucks at its annual President's Dinner, and the Washington Post has the scoop on what big donors get in exchange for giving big, and bringing their friends.