Editorials: After Citizens United, a Vicious Cycle of Corruption | Thomas B. Edsall/The New York Times

In the eight years since it was decided, Citizens United has unleashed a wave of campaign spending that by any reasonable standard is extraordinarily corrupt. To see how this operates in practice, let’s take a look at how Paul Ryan, the outgoing speaker of the House, negotiated a path — narrowly constructed to stay on the right side of the law — during a recent fund-raising trip to Las Vegas, as recounted in detail by Politico. In early May, Ryan flew to Nevada to solicit money from Sheldon Adelson — the casino magnate who was by far the largest Republican contributor of 2018 — for the Congressional Leadership Fund, an independent expenditure super PAC. Ryan was accompanied by Norm Coleman, a former Republican Senator from Minnesota. The Leadership Fund, according to its website, is “a super PAC exclusively dedicated to protecting and strengthening the Republican Majority in the House of Representatives.” It “operates independently of any federal candidate or officeholder.”

Alaska: Group picks Alaska to challenge unlimited campaign donations | Associated Press

A national group is focusing on Alaska in a bid to get the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit a 2010 decision that upended how campaigns are run in this country. The court decision paved the way for corporations and unions to make unlimited independent expenditures, and in Alaska, was viewed by state officials as likely rendering several provisions of law prohibiting or limiting certain contributions unconstitutional. Washington, D.C.-based Equal Citizens wants to put that interpretation to the test but it could face an uphill battle. Equal Citizens is supporting complaints that have been filed with the Alaska Public Offices Commission over contributions made in the 2016 election to independent groups that backed candidates to the Alaska Legislature. One group supported a Republican and the other leaned toward Democrats during the general election.

Editorials: Scott Walker Is Proof That Campaign Finance Law Is Broken | Dan I. Weiner and Brent Ferguson/US News

On Wednesday, the Guardian broke an explosive story about how Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker sidestepped campaign finance laws to raise huge donations from corporations and wealthy individuals for his 2012 recall election. Of course, it’s not at all surprising to see a politician go after big money contributors. The way he did so, however, undermines key assumptions in the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous Citizens United case, and is certainly the single strongest piece of evidence yet that the logic of that ruling is unsustainable and will have to be revisited by the court. The documents published by the Guardian indicate that Walker’s campaign committee worked closely with a group called Wisconsin Club for Growth, which was operated by one of his campaign consultants. Walker apparently held a series of meetings with wealthy businessmen just before his recall election, and emails show his fundraising team instructing him to ask for money – not for his campaign, but for the group. In March 2012, for example, Walker’s finance director sent him an email to prepare him for a meeting with the business mogul Carl Icahn, and noted that “[t]his meeting is for [Wisconsin Club for Growth] Funds.” And after a 2011 meeting with the owner of a home improvement chain, Walker emailed his campaign team to tell them “I got $1 [million] from John Menard today.” Menard’s corporation later sent a million dollar check to the Wisconsin Club for Growth.

National: Clinton pledges constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United ruling | Politico

Hillary Clinton committed Saturday to introducing a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision within her first 30 days in office, if she’s elected president. The announcement will come in a video during the closing keynote of the progressive Netroots Nation conference this afternoon, and it’s yet another attempt to adopt the positions of her vanquished primary rival Sen. Bernie Sanders. “The amendment would allow Americans to establish common sense rules to protect against the undue influence of billionaires and special interests and to restore the role of average voters in elections,” a Clinton spokesman said in statement. Last fall as the primary season ramped up and Sanders gained momentum, Clinton called for the 2010 Citizens United v FEC decision, which spawned the creation of super PACS, to be overturned. She also said she wanted more stringent political spending disclosure rules, and a new public matching regime so that presidential and congressional campaigns could more easily solicit small donations.

Voting Blogs: Citizens United and the “Impossible Dream” | More Soft Money Hard Law

Justice Ginsburg’s recent press comments have been noted mostly for her openly expressed disdain for the Trump candidacy. Less surprising in the remarks was the Justice’s “impossible dream” that Citizens United be overturned. She has said this before, and since she dissented in that case, there is not much news here, unless anyone still had doubts that for this Justice, the killing off of that decision is a priority. The comment was reported at the same time as the Complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission by Representative Ted Lieu and others who intend to set into motion the reconsideration the Justice is hoping for. And so it invites an appraisal of its prospects for accomplishing the Justice Ginsburg’s “impossible dream.” As my colleague Marc Elias has pointed out, the FEC cannot succeed; this is a lost cause. When the Complaint fails, it may do little more than unnecessarily promote the belief that CU is here to stay. It is not clear why this is the best legal maneuver, or the most effective exercise in public communications, in the attack on Speechnow and Citizens United.

Editorials: Get Ready: The Next ‘Citizens United’ Is Coming | Carrie Levine/ Politico

Most Americans last heard from conservative lawyer Jim Bopp six years ago when he crafted a case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, that won the Supreme Court’s favor and helped uncork a torrent of cash—some of it secret—that continues pouring into elections. But Bopp is back. The Terre Haute, Indiana-based attorney, who was literally laughed at by a judge when he made his first arguments in Citizens United, is now the lead lawyer in the most prominent of a series of lawsuits attempting to further destroy political contribution limits. The case, brought by the Republican Party of Louisiana, addresses restrictions on how state and local political parties use “soft money” contributions to influence federal elections. Bopp’s clients argue that if independent outside groups such as super PACs are permitted to raise and spend unlimited amounts of such money, there’s no reason why state political parties, acting independently of federal candidates, should be treated differently. Political parties are “disadvantaged” compared with super PACs, Bopp said in an interview with the Center for Public Integrity. “They want to compete, and they want to do this activity without the severe restrictions that they suffer under,” said Bopp.

California: Voters to have a say, sort of, over Citizens United | San Francisco Chronicle

Gov. Jerry Brown cleared the way Wednesday for Californians to vote in November on whether to urge their congressional representatives to approve a constitutional amendment repealing the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts on political campaigns. The state Supreme Court blocked a similar ballot measure in 2014, saying it wasn’t clear whether state law allowed advisory measures on the ballot, but ruled this January that voters could consider the proposal if the Legislature approved it again. Lawmakers, voting mostly along party lines, then passed SB254 by Sen. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, and Brown, who could have signed or vetoed the measure, said Wednesday he had allowed it to proceed toward the ballot without his signature. Opponents said the nonbinding measure was intended mainly to boost turnout among Democratic voters.

California: Gov. Brown to decide whether voters will sound off in November on money in politics | Los Angeles Times

Lawmakers gave final approval Friday to a November ballot measure asking voters about the growing role of undisclosed donors in political campaign. If Gov. Jerry Brown approves, the measure would ask voters on Nov. 8 whether California’s elected officials should work to overturn the controversial 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the controversial Citizens United case. “This is about trying to get the system under control,” said state Sen. Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), the author of the legislation. The Citizens United ruling in favor of a conservative nonprofit group opened the door to unlimited spending by corporations and unions in federal candidate campaigns. Much of that spending is done by nonprofit organizations that, under IRS rules, do not have to disclose their donors.

National: 1,240 arrested in past week as “Democracy Spring” movement against money in politics spreads throughout U.S. | Salon

It was one of the most massive acts of civil disobedience in recent U.S. history. Over the past week, well over 1,000 people were arrested in an enormous sit-in protest at the U.S. Capitol. The demonstration is part of a new movement that calls itself “Democracy Spring.” Activists are calling for ending the chokehold money has on U.S. politics, overturning Citizens United and restoring voting rights. On April 2, activists launched a colossal 10-day, 140-mile march from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. This was the preface to the mass arrests. At least 1,240 protesters were arrested in the week from Monday, April 11 to Monday, April 18, according to police, on charges of crowding, obstructing or incommoding. Some activists even tied themselves to scaffolding in the Capitol rotunda.

National: Why Thousands of Americans Are Lining Up to Get Arrested in D.C. | Rolling Stone

Chanting, “Money ain’t speech, corporations aren’t people!” and “We are the 99 percent!” around 425 protesters were arrested Monday in a mass sit-in on the steps of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., and more have returned to face arrest Tuesday. The demonstration, called Democracy Spring, is advocating a set of reforms the organizers have dubbed the “democracy movement,” demanding Congress amend campaign finance laws and restore the Voting Rights Act, among other actions. For about five hours under the windy shadow of the looming Rotunda, at least eight police buses roll across the sandstone Capitol plaza to haul away the last of the peaceful protesters, where participants — some costumed in green dollar-bill suits and Lady Liberty garb — have overwhelmed a Capitol Police processing center, sending protesters to a nearby overflow facility. Police records suggest Monday was the largest spate of mass arrests in at least a decade at the U.S. Capitol, and close observers of Washington activism say it may have been the largest since the Vietnam War.

National: Democracy Spring Sit-In Protest Brings Hundreds To Capitol Steps | NPR

Police needed most of Monday afternoon to arrest all of the sit-down protesters outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington at a demonstration in favor of changing the rules on political money, voting rights and redistricting. More than 600 turned out for the protest, and more than 400 were arrested in the sit-in at the Capitol steps, U.S. Capitol Police reported. The nonviolent protest was led by Democracy Spring, a coalition of more than 100 progressive groups. The protest was cheery and peaceful. Police blockaded the marble staircase with a chain and a cordon of officers. Demonstrators sat in front of the chain and on the plaza, talking, chanting, singing and taking pictures as police led them away one by one. Police, badly underestimating the potential crowd, initially brought a single bus to Capitol Plaza to haul the protesters away.

Voting Blogs: One FEC Commissioner’s Answer to Citizens United | More Soft Money Hard Law

FEC Commissioner Weintraub believes that she has hit upon a regulatory maneuver to stop publicly traded corporations from making independent expenditures, or unlimited contributions to independent expenditure committees. At a time when newspaper editorialists carry on with attacks on the Commission as “worse than useless,” the Commissioner seems determined to prod the FEC to face the major “money in politics” issues of the day. This is her theory: foreign nationals cannot make contributions or independent expenditures, which means that the FEC could establish that no corporation with foreign nationals as shareholders could engage in this political spending. The rule would not bring about this result outright: it would require a corporation to “certify” that it was not making contributions or independent expenditures with these funds. As a practical matter, corporations with foreign national shareholders could not risk making the certification and would forgo this political spending. The Commissioner plans to direct lawyers to produce proposals that she and her colleagues can consider in a future rulemaking.

National: After Citizens United Got Halfway There, This Lawsuit Aims To Finish The Job | International Business Times

A case now working its way through federal court has the potential to fully dismantle the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law of 2002, finishing the job the Supreme Court started when its 2010 Citizens United decision loosed a tidal wave of outside money on the American electoral system. That case, Republican Party of Louisiana v. FEC, is currently before the District Court for the District of Columbia, but it could be on its way up to the Supreme Court. On Friday, three campaign reform groups filed a joint amicus brief warning of “extraordinarily far-reaching negative consequences” if the district court rules in favor of the plaintiffs. “The return to the era of soft money would be complete,” wrote attorneys representing the Campaign Legal Center, Democracy 21 and Public Citizen in the brief. “Soft money” is a colloquial term for the unregulated contributions that political parties could legally collect prior to the passage of the McCain-Feingold bill. Although there continue to be strict limits on how much individual donors can give to particular campaigns, before 2002 there was no cap on the amount that could be given to a party for general purposes. Parties would use their virtually unlimited soft money to produce “issue ads,” including attack ads, that were ostensibly not connected to particular campaigns.

National: How Citizens United Made It Easier For Bosses To Control Their Workers’ Votes | International Business Times

The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision is most famous for the torrent of outside ad spending it unleashed on the American election system. But the ruling did more than just lift caps on outside political expenditures; it also gave corporations more leverage over the political behavior of their employees. Citizens United eliminated restrictions on the ability of employers to lobby their workers in support of particular candidates and causes. Bosses can even make employees attend partisan political events during work hours. In addition to now being legal, those tactics are also effective, according to new research by Paul Secunda, a law professor at Marquette University, and Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, a doctoral candidate in government and social policy at Harvard. A survey they conducted for an upcoming UCLA Law Review paper found that workers are generally responsive to political pressure from their managers.

Editorials: How to Reverse Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission | The Atlantic

New supreme court opinions have been as controversial as Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the 2010 decision that struck down limits on corporations’ campaign expenditures, finding them to be an abridgment of free speech. Like most of the Court’s recent campaign-finance rulings, the case was decided 5–4, with Justice Antonin Scalia in the majority. Even before Scalia’s death, Citizens United featured significantly in the presidential primaries. Bernie Sanders had made its negation, through a constitutional amendment, a key goal of—and rationale for—his candidacy. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had condemned the existing campaign-finance system, and Clinton had vowed to appoint “Supreme Court justices who value the right to vote over the right of billionaires to buy elections.” Now, with a new justice in the offing, the prospect of reversing Citizens United, among other Roberts Court decisions, seems suddenly larger, more plausible: For campaign-finance-reform proponents, the brass ring seems within reach. But the matter is not so simple. Even if Scalia is replaced by a more liberal justice, the Court’s campaign-finance rules will not be easily reversed. The precedents extending First Amendment protection to campaign spending date back to 1976, long before Scalia became a judge. The Court generally follows precedent, and overrules past decisions only rarely, even as justices come and go. A new justice will not be sufficient.

Editorials: Money can’t buy Jeb Bush the White House, but it still skews politics | Rick Hasen/The Washington Post

It is easy to dismiss as overblown the concern about the outsize role of ultra-rich donors in the American political scene. Exhibit 1: Jeb Bush. Bush’s $100 million in super PAC fundraising was supposed to be part of a shock-and-awe campaign that would scare away competitors and give him a smooth path to the Republican presidential nomination. Well, it hasn’t worked out that way. Bush has been polling toward the bottom in the Republican race despite the war chest, and Donald Trump, who has spent little on his campaign despite his billionaire status, has been on top. “Hurrah for Citizens United ,” Politico’s Jack Shafer wrote in one representative piece. He asserted that worries about the 2010 Supreme Court ruling have been proved wrong. “Expectations that big money would float the best-financed candidate directly to the White House have yet to materialize this campaign season.” But this overly simplistic analysis misses the key role of money in contemporary American politics. In spite of the rhetoric of some campaign reformers, money doesn’t buy elections. Instead, it increases the odds of electoral victory and of getting one’s way on policies, tax breaks and government contracts. And the presidential race is the place we are least likely to see money’s effects. Looking to Congress and the states, though, we can see that the era of big money unleashed by the Supreme Court is hurtling us toward a plutocracy in which the people with the greatest economic power can wield great political power through campaign donations and lobbying.

Editorials: 6 Years of Citizens United | Zephyr Teachout/Huffington Post

Six years ago today, the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC. It is not a happy anniversary. I remember waiting for the ruling and opening it up on my computer: when I finally read it, I didn’t want to believe that the Court had gone as far as it had and been so careless with our democracy. Citizens United was bad history, bad logic, bad law. It was a major overreach on the part of the Court (the issue hadn’t even been raised initially). In his majority decision that day, Justice Kennedy allowed billionaires and big corporations to spend limitless amounts of money to influence politicians. His description of politics was pretty out of touch. Basically, the Court held that unless there is an explicit, open deal — “here’s $5 million for a vote against banking reform” — there’s no corruption. Nobody with any common sense thinks that huge corporate expenditures don’t corrupt politics, but the Court left common sense behind that day. One good thing came out of it: it has led to an extraordinary, community-by-community grassroots effort to reclaim our democracy.

Editorials: The Future of Campaign Finance Rests with the Next Supreme Court Appointments | Lawrence Norden/The Atlantic

For the last 10 years, the Supreme Court has engaged in a systematic effort to transform American democracy. Steered by Chief Justice John Roberts, the Court loosened restrictions on political advertising by corporations and unions, gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, upheld the rights of states to enact restrictive voting laws, and, in the words of Justice Stephen Breyer, “eviscerate[d] our Nation’s campaign-finance laws.” This year, the Court will decide a voting and redistricting case that could change the lines of virtually every state legislative district in the country. There is no area of the law the Roberts Court has more thoroughly transformed. Almost all of the Court’s major election cases were decided by a 5-4 vote. Of course, on the Court, the majority rules. But it would not take a constitutional amendment or a revolution in legal scholarship to bring this string of decisions to an end. It is extremely likely that the next president will have the opportunity to replace at least one (and very likely more than one) Supreme Court justice, as the previous five presidents have done. One new justice on the Court might be enough to push the law in the opposite direction.

California: State court grants right of voters to weigh in on Citizens United | San Francisco Chronicle

The state Supreme Court cleared the way Monday for Californians to vote in November, if the Legislature approves, on whether to urge Congress to amend the U.S. Constitution and overturn the Citizens United ruling, which allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts on political campaigns. The state justices had blocked a vote on the same measure initiated by the Legislature in 2014, saying it was not clear that California lawmakers had the power to put an advisory measure on the ballot. But in a 6-1 ruling Monday, the court said the Legislature’s power to “investigate” issues includes asking the public for advice on whether to seek a nationwide constitutional amendment.

Michigan: “Citizens United” bill latest in long line of elections proposals riling Democrats | Michigan Radio

The Michigan Senate has approved campaign finance legislation that would write the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling into state law. The court ruled that the First Amendment allows unrestricted independent political spending by outside groups. Democrats say the bill not only codifies “Citizens United” – it expands it. “This bill firmly points Michigan in the wrong direction towards a future of dark money and convoluted electoral processes,” said state Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, in an uncharacteristically impassioned speech on the Senate floor.

Editorials: Next Chance To Gut Campaign Finance Law Heads For Supreme Court | Paul Blumenthal/Huffington Post

The next domino in the effort to erase campaign finance restrictions has just been pushed. A case attacking the McCain-Feingold reform law’s ban on unlimited contributions to political parties has been set on a path that almost certainly ends at the Supreme Court. With the help of Citizens United lawyer Jim Bopp, the Republican Party of Louisiana and the Jefferson Parish and Orleans Parish Republican Party sued to allow state and local parties to raise enormous sums under looser state laws and then spend them on federal elections. That practice is currently banned by restrictions on the use of “soft money” — unlimited contributions to political parties that pay for so-called party-building activities, as opposed to supporting specific candidates. The ban came after Senate investigations found that both parties had abused their soft money accounts to evade campaign contribution limits. Money meant for party-building activities was spent on ads promoting candidates. The Senate’s investigations also found that soft money donors were provided increased access and influence in policy making.

Alaska: Group files federal lawsuit challenging Alaska campaign contribution limits | KTUU

The constitutionality of limits on Alaska campaign contributions is challenged in a new federal lawsuit filed on Wednesday. Three individuals and the local chapter of the Alaska Republican Party filed the lawsuit against the executive director and board of the Alaska Public Offices Commission, which enforces state political financing laws. The suit alleges that four aspects of campaign laws violate the U.S Constitution: a $500 limit on individual contributions to a candidate, a $500 limit on individual contributions to a group, the $3,000 limit on out-of-state contributions, and limits on political party contributions.

National: The battle over campaign finance reform is changing. Here’s how. | The Washington Post

Flying under the radar in the red-blue drama of this week’s off-year elections were a series of election-reform laws that passed on both coasts — measures that campaign-finance reform advocates hail as turning points in their movement. In Maine, 55 percent of voters agreed to strengthen their two-decade-old Clean Elections Act by boosting public funding for campaigns and putting in place penalties for those who break campaign finance law. In Seattle, 60 percent of voters put in place a first-in-the-nation “democracy voucher” system. Starting in 2017, citizens will get four $25 vouchers they can hand out to the campaign or campaigns of their choice. (It was modeled off a successful 2014 Tallahassee initiative giving local campaign donors there a $25 tax credit rebate.) Both were framed by supporters as attempts to push back against a 2010 Supreme Court decision, known as Citizens United, and subsequent decisions that allow anyone or any corporation or union to spend as much as they want on elections.

National: Three Ballot Initiatives That Could Change How Americans Vote | BillMoyers.com

While everyone is paying attention to the 2016 primary battles unfolding in both parties, its easy to forget that we have another election coming up this Tuesday, Nov. 3. And while we won’t be choosing our next president, in three places — Maine, Seattle and Ohio — voters will be able to weigh in directly, through ballot initiatives, on how their future elections will work. Both Maine and Seattle’s ballot initiatives are aimed at limiting the power that special-interest donors wield in the political process. For over a decade, Maine has been cited as a prime example that publicly financing elections can work. The state’s Clean Elections Act offers public financing to any candidate who collects enough small donations to demonstrate widespread support, and who swears off large contributions. Passed in 1996 and implemented in 2000, the system worked, with the majority of Maine’s legislators opting in. But the system was undermined by two Supreme Court decisions — Citizens United and Arizona Free Enterprise v. Bennett, the latter of which went after public financing direct

National: Your State And Local Elections Are Now A Super PAC Playground | Paul Blumenthal/Huffington Post

The influence of billionaires in the post-Citizens United era is in no way limited to the 2016 presidential and congressional elections. While the super-wealthy dominate those races, local and state elections in 2015 are also attracting big money from Forbes-listed billionaires and local wealthy interests that’s funneled through super PACs. Not all states, cities and…

Editorials: A New Low in Campaign Finance | Robert Maguire/The New York Times

One corner of the world of “dark money” just got a little brighter, and it doesn’t bode well for the 2016 election. A recent tax filing by Carolina Rising, a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization, shows that in 2014 the group spent $4.7 million on ads that had one thing in common: touting the legislative accomplishments of Thom Tillis, who was then North Carolina’s speaker of the House. That year, Mr. Tillis also happened to be trying to unseat Kay Hagan, the incumbent Democratic senator. Carolina Rising spent the money in a three-month blitz leading up to Election Day, but we may never learn where these millions came from. The partial disclosure required of 501(c)(4) outfits means that while we do know that 98.7 percent of the group’s revenue came from a single donor and that virtually every penny of it was used to further the cause of Mr. Tillis’s campaign, we don’t know who Carolina Rising’s secret benefactor was.

Editorials: ‘One person, one vote’ isn’t broken, and the Supreme Court shouldn’t fix it. | Nathaniel Persily/The Washington Post

Anyone who teaches or writes about election law has one Supreme Court court case that he or she finds outrageous. For some, it is Shelby County v. Holder, the decision striking down a core provision of the Voting Rights Act. For others, it is Citizens United v. FEC, which struck down regulations of election-related spending by corporations and unions. If the Supreme Court sides with the appellants who seek to redefine the “one person, one vote” rule so that districts may be drawn only around eligible voters, mine will be Evenwel v. Abbott. The case will not receive the attention of the other two, but it represents all that is wrong with constitutional litigation around election law — in particular, the effort to use the courts to achieve anti-minority outcomes that even the majoritarian political process would not tolerate.

Editorials: How to Finish What Stephen Colbert Started | Trevor Potter/Politico

“Colbert Super PAC” exposed the troubling realities of money in politics more effectively than any PSA. But the crippling flaws in our campaign finance system that it was created to highlight have not abated in the years since—in fact, they’ve worsened substantially. The massive $144 million that Democratic and Republican presidential hopefuls collectively raised in the third quarter of this year doesn’t include the untold millions funneled into their super PACs by deep-pocketed donors. When those numbers are disclosed in January, they will undoubtedly reveal that the money flowing to shifty outside groups is larger than ever. That is not even to count the funds being raised and spent in this election by candidate-allied nonprofit organizations, whose finances we will see, only in part, after the election is over. A little over a year after the Supreme Court’s infamous decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, I appeared on national television to walk Stephen Colbert through the legal intricacies of establishing his super PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, and his dark money 501(c)(4), Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Shhh. Though my appearances on his show were no more than a few minutes each, during our discussions Stephen demonstrated his uncanny ability to take a complex, nuanced problem and distill it down to the absurd facts at its core. For example, one particularly memorable exchange from my first appearance came after I reminded him of the applicable regulations if he chose to form a PAC.

California: State Considers Tough Campaign-Finance Rules | Wall Street Journal

California is considering some of the nation’s strictest campaign-finance rules, aimed at keeping candidates from coordinating with groups able to raise unlimited amounts of money on their behalf. The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission is scheduled to vote on the proposals Thursday. The rules would apply to statewide and local elections. The vote comes as outside groups are playing a central role in national campaigns since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010. That ruling led to the growth of super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts in support of candidates, or their opponents, but cannot legally coordinate with candidate campaigns.

National: Super PACs stretch the rules that prohibit coordination with presidential campaigns | Los Angeles Times

Long before Ben Carson jumped into the presidential race, some of his biggest fans were scouring the country for supporters. They set up a super PAC and began sending out brochures, eventually attracting thousands who signed up and gave money. When Carson actually got around to running, his campaign used those names to jump-start his early fundraising, according to John Philip Sousa IV, great-grandson of the composer and chairman of the 2016 Committee, a super PAC backing Carson. “It was that list that launched his campaign,” Sousa said, saying those names helped Carson build his $20 million in contributions.