The Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation was among the organizations breached by suspected Russian hackers in a dragnet of the U.S. political apparatus ahead of the November election, according to three people familiar with the matter. The attacks on the foundation’s network, as well as those of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, compound concerns about her digital security even as the FBI continues to investigate her use of a personal e-mail server while she was secretary of state. Clinton Foundation officials said the organization hadn’t been notified of the breach and declined to comment further. The compromise of the foundation’s computers was first identified by government investigators as recently as last week, the people familiar with the matter said. Agents monitor servers used by hackers to communicate with their targets, giving them a back channel view of attacks, often even before the victims detect them.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said he would not seek a recount of the results in Missouri’s Democratic presidential primary, conceding defeat to Hillary Clinton. Mr. Sanders said that it was unlikely the results of any recount would affect the awarding of delegates in the state and that he would “prefer to save the taxpayers of Missouri some money.” Mrs. Clinton has a narrow lead of 1,531 votes. Under state law Sanders could have sought a recount because the margin was less than one-half of 1 percent. Mrs. Clinton will get an extra two delegates from Missouri for winning the statewide vote. She won all five of Tuesday’s primary contests, including Florida, Ohio, Illinois and North Carolina.
In Alabama, without an ID, you can’t vote. Yet Governor Bentley’s administration announced plans this month to close 31 driver’s license offices across the state, including in every single county where African Americans make up more than 75 percent of registered voters. The closings would make getting driver’s licenses and personal identification cards much harder for many African Americans. That would make voting much harder, too. As many Alabamians have said in recent days, that’s just dead wrong. Governor Bentley is insisting that the closings had nothing to do with race, but the facts tell a different story. Fifty years after Rosa Parks sat, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. marched, and John Lewis bled, it’s hard to believe Americans are still forced to fight for their right to vote—especially in places where the civil rights movement fought so hard all those years ago. The parallels are inescapable: Alabama is living through a blast from the Jim Crow past.
National: Hillary Clinton proposes campaign finance overhaul to limit influence of big donors | The Guardian
Hillary Clinton is proposing a slate of campaign finance reform measures aimed at limiting political donations by corporations and large donors while increasing transparency in election spending. Clinton, who is seeking the nomination to be the Democratic candidate in the November 2016 presidential election, identified measures she would pursue if she became president. Among them are rules requiring greater disclosure of political spending, including by publicly traded companies and US government contractors, and a program that would provide matching funds for small donations to presidential and congressional candidates. “We have to end the flood of secret, unaccountable money that is distorting our elections, corrupting our political system and drowning out the voices of too many everyday Americans,” Clinton said. “Our democracy should be about expanding the franchise, not charging an entrance fee.”
The New York Times recently reported on comments by Hillary Clinton in Puerto Rico about the territory’s status in presidential elections:
But she also has an eye on the general election. Puerto Ricans are increasingly moving to Central Florida, where they are a key voting bloc in the swing state. In the past two elections, they have turned out in large numbers, helping hand President Obama his two victories in Florida. And she hinted at as much as she closed her remarks in Puerto Rico. “It always struck me as so indefensible that you can’t vote for president if you live here,” she said with a slight smile. “But if you move to Florida — which, of course, I’m just naming a state — you can vote for president.”
Even a presidential candidate’s most devoted supporters could be forgiven for trying to tune out the torrent of campaign emails, Twitter messages, Facebook posts, Instagrams and Snapchats that steadily flood voters’ inboxes and social-media feeds in this digitized, pixelated, endlessly streaming election cycle. But a text message is different. A text message — despite its no-frills, retro essence — is something personal. Something invasive. Something almost guaranteed to be read. So last month, when Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont staged what his aides called the most important night of his three-month-old campaign for the Democratic nomination — cramming 100,000 of his followers into house parties from coast to coast, to whip them into foot soldiers — he did not solicit email addresses or corral the attendees into a special Facebook group. Instead, his digital organizing director, Claire Sandberg, asked each participant to send a quick text establishing contact with the campaign.
Civil rights activists, including Martin Luther King III, are amping up the pressure on President Obama and the 2016 White House contenders to tackle low voter turnout by overhauling the rules governing the nation’s elections. The advocates are marking Thursday’s 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) with a rally on the National Mall calling for new efforts to knock down what they consider to be barriers to the polls. The activists want lawmakers to consider online registration and an expansion of the voting window to include a weekend, which they argue would make it easier for people to cast their ballots. Behind King and Andrew Young, the former United Nations ambassador and civil rights activist who now heads the voting rights group Why Tuesday?, the activists have challenged each of the 2016 presidential candidates to outline their ideas for addressing the low voter turnout that’s plagued recent elections — a request that came with an unveiled threat to call out those who ignore the plea.
Not long ago I had separate chats with two political insiders who offered to fill me in on Jeb Bush’s strategy, if he prevails in the primaries, for winning the general election. In each instance I braced for a lengthy exegesis but got only one sentence: He picks John Kasich as his running mate. That was the playbook. It presumed that Bush would collect Florida’s electoral votes, having once governed the state. It presumed that Ohio could be delivered by Kasich, its current governor, who announced his own presidential bid on Tuesday. And it presumed that tandem victories in Florida and Ohio would seal the deal, because so much of the rest of America was dependably Republican — or Democratic. Just a handful of states decide the country’s fate. Shortly after my chats with those two insiders, a third described Hillary Clinton’s supposed plan for victory. “Cuyahoga County,” this operative said.
National: As Hillary Clinton Pitches Voting Rights On The Trail, Her Counsel Looks To Fight For Them In Court | Huffington Post
The general counsel for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign is heading up three high-profile lawsuits against Republican-backed voting restrictions in what is shaping up to be a perfect political and legal storm leading up to the 2016 election. The attorney, Marc Elias, is involved in lawsuits challenging measures passed in Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, arguing that laws cutting back early voting, restricting registration and requiring photo identification to vote, among other measures, disproportionately impact racial minorities.
Since America’s founding, the franchise has been dramatically expanded in waves: first, universal suffrage for all men (first, through the abolition of property ownership requirements for white men, then the 15th Amendment) then the expansion of suffrage to women and finally the Voting Rights Act, which abolished poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, the franchise is still under fire, from racially biased voter ID laws and felon disenfranchisement, as well as our complex registration system. Automatic voter registration and the abolition of voter ID laws could be part of the next wave of the slow march to true democracy. Recently, Hillary Clinton called out Republicans for their strategy of suppressing the vote and then called for automatic voting registration. While many pundits quickly chalked this up to an attempt to revive “the Obama coalition,” in fact, Clinton has been pushing for democracy reforms since before “the Obama coalition” existed. In 2005 she and Senator Barbara Boxer put forward the “Count Every Vote Act.” The law would have made same-day registration the law of the land, expanded early voting and made election day a holiday. In addition, Clinton has been fighting against felon disenfranchisement, though Rand Paul, who has a penchant for receiving praise for things he hasn’t done, has recently been garnering credit for his talk on the subject.
New Jersey: Democrats pushing major changes to voting laws, an issue riling Christie & Clinton | NJ.com
Democratic legislative leaders plan to introduce and fast-track legislation that would make sweeping changes to New Jersey voting laws in an attempt to bring more voters to the polls in a state where turnout and registration rates are in decline, NJ Advance Media has learned. The “Democracy Act” will include about a dozen measures to expand voter access, according to representatives of left-leaning groups that are backing the plan. It will be introduced just a month after Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton sharply criticized Republicans for attempting to squelch voter participation, prompting a sharp rebuke from Gov. Chris Christie, a likely GOP White House contender.
States from Rhode Island to Louisiana took steps this week toward making voting easier. In Washington, a new bill that would automatically register citizens to vote when they turn 18 is gaining traction among Democrats. And Ohio’s top voting official blocked a Democratic lawmaker on Twitter amid a spat over efforts to increase access to the ballot in the nation’s most pivotal swing state. It’s more evidence that Hillary Clinton’s major speech on voting last Thursday helped move along a conversation – already underway, to be sure – about how to to expand access to the ballot, especially by modernizing voter registration systems. It’s a conversation that threatens to put Republicans on the defensive after years of playing offense on the issue with a wave of restrictive voting laws.
The United States is notorious for having one of the lowest voter participation rates in the industrialized democratic world, and there is no shortage of proposals for increasing it. President Obama recently floated the idea of compulsory voting. Hillary Clinton, running to succeed him, has a plan for national automatic voter registration and expanded early voting. To the extent that Democrats are targeting actual discrimination against African Americans and other minorities, more power to them, and shame on those Republicans who would raise obstacles to turnout in a purported fight against phantom fraud. As for substantially increasing overall participation rates, however, there’s only so much that can be achieved through measures like those Obama and Clinton recommend. If we really wanted people to vote more, we would have to ask them to vote less. One of political science’s better-established findings is that “the frequency of elections has a strongly negative influence on turnout,” as Arend Lijphart of the University of California at San Diego put it in a 1997 article.
Editorials: Hillary Clinton is politicizing voting rights: The Democratic frontrunner is destroying the chance for election reform by blaming all Republicans. | Richard Hasen/Slate
Hillary Clinton spoke at Texas Southern University last week, where she put forward some good and provocative ideas for improving our elections. She wants Congress to fix the part of the Voting Rights Act that the Supreme Court gutted in 2013. She wants to expand early voting periods nationally to at least 20 days. And most provocatively, she advocates automatic universal voter registration across the country, including a program to automatically register high school students to vote before their 18th birthdays. But the partisan way she’s framed the issue—by blaming Republicans for all the voting problems—makes it less likely these changes will actually be implemented should she be elected president. Instead, she’s offering red meat to her supporters while alienating the allies she would need to get any reforms enacted.
Hillary Clinton’s call for universal automatic voter registration is a major positive development in the voting wars. She puts the national Democratic Party squarely behind Oregon’s recent innovative registration law. As Cass Sunstein says at View, Americans don’t need to register with the government to be entitled to other rights; voting shouldn’t be any different. It’s pretty simple: If we want everyone to participate, then voting should be easy. Voter registration in the U.S. is a real, and unnecessary, hurdle. That’s no coincidence: Registration was originally set up around the turn of the previous century in part by those concerned that the wrong kinds of people (mostly recent immigrants from southern and eastern Europe) would vote. There are plenty of ideas to make voting easier, but removing registration as a hurdle is the big one, on both a practical and theoretical level.
Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday accused Republicans including her potential rivals Jeb Bush, Scott Walker and Rick Perry of “deliberately trying to stop” young people and minorities — both vital Democratic constituencies — from exercising their right to vote, as she presented an ambitious agenda to make it easier for those groups and other Americans to participate in elections. Speaking at Texas Southern University here in front of her largest crowd yet as a candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, Mrs. Clinton accused Republicans generally of enacting state voting laws based on what she called “a phantom epidemic of election fraud” because they are “scared of letting citizens have their say.”
Hillary Clinton called Thursday for sweeping changes to elections and voting laws, arguing that measures including universal voter registration and national early voting are necessary to counteract a tide of laws aimed at making it more difficult for some people to vote. Speaking at Houston’s Texas State University, at a ceremony honoring the late civil rights leader and Democratic Representative Barbara Jordan, Clinton set her sights squarely on some of her potential Republican opponents, who she said are “systematically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting.” In one of her most powerful and passionate appearances of her campaign thus far, the former secretary of state singled out four current and former governors, whose actions “have undercut [the] fundamental American principle” of the right to vote in their “crusade against voting rights.” Instead of continuing along the same path, she said, “they should stop fear-mongering about a phantom epidemic of election fraud” and work to make it easier for Americans who want to vote to go to the polls.
A basic fact often gets lost in the propaganda that swirls around voting laws in this country: between one-quarter and one-third of all eligible voters — more than 50 million Americans — are not registered. That alarming statistic is the backdrop to efforts by Republicans in recent years to pass state laws that restrict ballot access, a recent Democratic campaign to push back against those laws, and a bold set of proposals that Hillary Rodham Clinton laid out Thursday afternoon in a speech at Texas Southern University, a historically black college in Houston. In addition to pushing needed and long-overdue reforms, the speech highlighted the yawning gulf on voting rights between Mrs. Clinton and the Republican candidates for the White House, many of whom have been cynically committed to making voting harder for the most vulnerable citizens. “What part of democracy are they afraid of?” Mrs. Clinton asked.
Hillary Clinton wants to make Oregon the model for her proposal to expand access to the ballot box. On March 16, Oregon became the first state in the nation to make voter registration automatic. The legislation, known as the “Motor Voter” law, will use information collected at the state Department of Motor Vehicles data to automatically register eligible voters. Speaking in Houston Thursday, Clinton cited Oregon’s example and said automatic registration should go national. Signing her state’s registration law, Oregon Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat, said, “I challenge every other state in this nation to examine their policies and find ways to ensure that there are as few barriers as possible in the way of a citizen’s right to vote.” Brown introduced in the bill January while Oregon secretary of state, and became Oregon governor the following month.
Florida: Hillary Clinton wants to allow felons to vote. That could mean a lot in a state like Florida. | The Washington Post
While in Iowa on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton mentioned a policy reform that could affect the results of presidential races: Allowing ex-felons to vote. Clinton is not the first 2016 candidate to raise this issue, nor is it the first time that she’s done so. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has repeatedly advocated for restoring voting rights for felons convicted of certain crimes. At several points while she was in the Senate, including shortly after she announced her 2008 candidacy, Clinton introduced the Count Every Vote Act, which would have restored those rights to anyone not currently incarcerated or not on parole or probation for a felony. We’re still early in the 2016 campaign, so it’s hard to know if that’s still the boundary that Clinton sets. As it stands, people who are convicted of felonies but are on parole can or cannot vote depending on where they live, since rules on felon voting differ by state. The Sentencing Project has a handy primer on the differences. In 12 states, those convicted of a felony cannot vote even after having repaid their debt to society — sometimes for certain periods of time, sometimes only for certain felonies. (In two states, Maine and Vermont, there are no restrictions on the voting rights of felons, even if incarcerated.) In total, some 5.8 million people are barred from voting in the United States because of their criminal past, according to the Sentencing Project’s data.
Hillary Clinton told supporters on Thursday that if elected she will appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Citizens United, according to a Washington Post report. This is good news for our democracy—but the Court’s role in helping wealthy interests dominate politics goes far deeper than one bad case. In fact, justices appointed by the next president—whoever that is—should look to transform the Supreme Court’s entire approach to money in politics going back to cases starting in the 1970s, just as the Court has reversed course on New Deal economic protections, racial segregation, LGBT rights, and more.
National: How a super PAC plans to coordinate directly with Hillary Clinton’s campaign | The Washington Post
Hillary Clinton’s campaign plans to work in tight conjunction with an independent rapid-response group financed by unlimited donations, another novel form of political outsourcing that has emerged as a dominant practice in the 2016 presidential race. On Tuesday, Correct the Record, a pro-Clinton rapid-response operation, announced it was splitting off from its parent American Bridge and will work in coordination with the Clinton campaign as a stand-alone super PAC. The group’s move was first reported by the New York Times.
Democrats, including an attorney for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, sued in federal court on Friday to block laws and orders they claim are designed to throw roadblocks between the voting booth and traditional Democratic constituencies. Among the issues challenged is Ohio’s shortened early voting period, which has already been the subject of a recent settlement under a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, League of Women Voters of Ohio, and others that led to the reinstatement of some in-person early voting hours for future elections.
Candidate Hillary Clinton thinks there’s too much money in politics. But President Hillary Clinton — should she win — will find it very difficult to change that. Vowing to fix the country’s campaign finance system is a perennial campaign trail promise, especially for Democrats. But finding ways to reduce the amount of money in politics has bedeviled every presidential administration since Bill Clinton’s. Mr. Clinton promised campaign finance changes early in his first term. Barack Obama ran against big money in politics in 2008, even though he became the first candidate to refuse public financing in the general election since the system was introduced in the 1970s. Mrs. Clinton advocated expanding publicly-financed campaigns during her first run for office.
If Hillary Clinton is to succeed in her second quest for the presidency, she’ll need to at least come close to matching President Obama’s performance with the groups that made up his most enthusiastic base: minorities and young voters. So over the next year and a half, expect to see Clinton continue to denounce the wave of restrictive voting rules that has often targeted non-whites and students. Already, the former secretary of state—sometimes criticized by progressives as overly cautious—has been relatively outspoken on the subject of voting rights. In a forceful 2013 speech to the American Bar Association (ABA), Clinton slammed the Supreme Court’s Shelby County ruling that year weakening the Voting Rights Act (VRA), called on Congress to fix the landmark law and urged the Obama administration to step up enforcement of voting rights cases.
Hillary Clinton called for a constitutional amendment to address the influx of “unaccountable money” in politics during her first official day of campaigning in Iowa. “We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all, even if it takes a constitutional amendment,” she said during an event at Kirkwood Community College in Monticello. She added that campaign finance reform is one of the “four big fights” that her campaign is focused on. The others include building the “economy of tomorrow, not yesterday,” strengthening both families and communities, and protecting the country from current and future threats.
Coming soon to a battleground state near you: White House campaigns combining census reports with Instagram and Twitter posts to target teenagers who aren’t yet 18 but will be by Election Day 2016. It’s an aggressive strategy with an obvious reward. More than eight million people will become legal adults eligible to vote for the first time by the next general election. Campaigns are eager to find ways to get through to these 16- and 17-year-olds who are still minors and, in most cases, more likely to be concerned with making it to class on time than who should be elected president. “It’s got to be the right candidate with the right message to excite and motivate that age demographic, with so many distractions in their life, to register, and then turn out,” said Vincent Harris, digital director for Rand Paul’s political operation.
Iowa Democrats, eager for Hillary Clinton to compete in their state and thus maintain the credibility of their caucuses, unveiled five proposals Friday to increase turnout in 2016. But they did not go nearly as far as some thought they would. After her humiliating third place finish in Iowa in 2008, Clinton noted in her concession speech that “there were a lot of people who couldn’t caucus tonight.” She mentioned troops serving overseas, hospital workers, waitresses and cops on patrol. As she moves toward a likely 2016 presidential campaign, one of the biggest decisions that Clinton must make is how hard to compete in the caucuses that kick off the nominating process. They tend to draw a more ideological, motivated set of base voters. A higher turnout would favor the better-known, better-funded former secretary of State, senator and first lady.
An anti-Hillary Clinton group has filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against the former secretary of state and an independent group promoting her potential 2016 presidential bid. In what election law experts say is a long-shot argument, the hybrid PAC, titled the ‘Stop Hillary PAC,’ claims that Clinton and her political team have essentially authorized a campaign by renting her official resources to a super PAC. The Wednesday complaint singled out Clinton and the super PAC Ready for Hillary — a group that is urging Clinton to run for president but is forbidden by law from coordinating with Clinton or her staff. At issue, according to Stop Hillary lawyer Dan Backer, is whether Clinton is tacitly supporting a committee that’s aiming to “draft” her for president. “Ready for Hillary is in the business of trying to get Hillary Clinton to run for office — essentially to draft her for office. And that’s their right to do so, provided the object of their draft — Hillary — isn’t behind it or helping them, because then it stops being a draft committee and becomes an authorized campaign committee,” he said in a statement, going on to suggest that she and the committee are in violation of campaign finance law.
increasingly likely that Hillary Clinton will be taking another shot at the presidency in 2016. She hasn’t announced her candidacy yet and may not do so for at least two more years, but preparations appear to be underway – and pretty much everyone seems to be assuming that getting the Democratic nomination is a done deal for her. Which, of course, would mean that we might soon have our first woman president. Time will tell how this will all play out, but at least we can take comfort in the knowledge that if Mrs Clinton actually does become the 45th “POTUS”, it will not be because she or any other power players in the Democratic party spent years devising ingenious schemes to disenfranchise blocs of voters who tend to support the opposition. On Monday, in the first of a series of policy speeches, Hillary Clinton spoke about the worrying implications of the US supreme court’s recent decision to strike down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act (VRA). The provision required states with a history of discrimination to get pre-clearance from the Department of Justice (DOJ) before they passed any laws that changed voting procedures. Clinton pointed out that in the past 15 years, the VRA has been used to block nearly 90 attempts to pass discriminatory voting laws. Since the provision was struck down just over a month ago, Republican law makers in several states have wasted no time ramming through highly restrictive voting laws that will make it more difficult, if not impossible, for millions of Americans to exercise their right to vote.