Their ranks will be deep and diverse by Election Day. One Republican group, alone, is estimating it'll have roughly 1,000 lawyers trained by then. They will include the campaign lawyers and their hired outside legal counsel. The national party operations also have legal arms, as do each of the party's House and Senate campaign committees. Then there are the thousands of lawyers, from civil rights advocates to lobbyists, ready to come in on a volunteer basis should the need arise. "There's no perfect election, there just can't be. It's too big of a human system," says Edward B. Foley, the Director of Election Law at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law. "To the extent that anything gets a little messy, that's where the lawyers come in." Officials on both sides are wary of going into detail about what their election legal plans entail (can't give the other side any early intelligence, they say), but both national parties have had people on the ground in Georgia and Louisiana—the two states where runoffs look increasingly possible—for months preparing for the possibility.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
A super PAC is sometimes born out of a strong sense of mission – maybe its founder cares about gun control or education reform. But other times, says Stefan Passantino, a partner at McKenna Long & Aldridge, “part of that mission is to create a client for their own consulting firm.” Political consultants can create super PACs or political nonprofits to raise money, Passantino says, and then they can use that money to pay themselves. “Yeah, I would say it is the new growth industry,” says Trevor Potter, former chair of the Federal Election Commission and general counsel to John McCain’s two presidential campaigns. “If you are a consultant who is part of the control group that forms a super PAC or one of these nonprofits, then you get to figure out how you are going to compensate yourself, and it is not always a matter of public record.”
Former U.S. Treasury official Neel Kashkari is contributing another $1 million of his own money to his campaign for California governor. The Republican candidate reported the contribution late Friday, bringing his personal contributions to more than $3 million for the primary and general election. Kashkari reported that he had just $680,000 in the bank as of Sept. 30 and has since raised another $400,000. Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown has nearly $30 million in two campaign accounts he controls -- one for his gubernatorial campaign and one for two ballot initiatives he is promoting.
Even though this poll isn't predictive, it is telling. Two of the top three candidates -- Bush and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee -- are, at best, 50-50 shots at running. (Bush is entirely unreadable; Huckabee seems smart enough to understand that he had his presidential moment in 2008.) The only other person pulling double digits is Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a status due, at least in part, to voters' familiarity with his last name because of his father's two presidential bids in 2008 and 2012. The simple fact is that this is a historically wide-open Republican field. As Dan Balz noted over the weekend: "For the first time in a long time, there is neither an heir apparent (George H.W. Bush in 1988, Bob Dole in 1996, John McCain in 2008, Romney in 2012) nor a dominant first-time candidate (George W. Bush in 2000)."
Dozens of the Republican Party's biggest donors — including several hedge-fund billionaires — helped a super PAC associated with Republican strategist Karl Rove raise more than $11 million in September, new filings show. Elliott Management's CEO Paul Singer contributed $1.25 million to American Crossroads last month, according to the group's report with the Federal Election Commission. Other hedge funders writing big checks: Citadel Investment Group's Kenneth Griffin and Tiger Management's Julian Robertson, who contributed $700,000 and $500,000, respectively.
New fund-raising tallies filed by two leading “super PACs” show just how dependent each party’s Senate candidates have become not just on rich donors, but on an incredibly small number of incredibly rich donors. Take the Senate Majority PAC, the Democratic group founded by former aides of the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid. The PAC has led all outside groups on behalf of Senate Democrats in their battle to hold on to the Senate. Through the end of September, the group had raised about $47 million. About half of it, $23.1 million, came from just 16 people or corporate entities they control. About $11 million came from labor unions, whose contributions are drawn from members’ dues and contributions. Who are these big donors? The biggest is Tom Steyer, the retired hedge fund billionaire and climate change activist, who also runs his own super PAC. He has given about $5.5 million to the Senate Majority PAC.
The Democratic Party’s top super PAC disclosed more than $9.2 million in September contributions on Monday, listing a who’s who of wealthy liberal donors, many associated with the secretive Democracy Alliance donor network. New York City businessman Ian Cumming—who “was awarded the largest bonus for any CEO of a publicly traded company in New York” in 2012, according to Crain’s—and a company called HFNWA LLC donated $1 million each.
small band of ultra-wealthy hedge fund managers is pumping last-minute donations into newly organized super PACs to help tip the U.S. Senate to Republicans, new campaign filings show. Bob Mercer, co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies, donated $2.5 million to a new super PAC, Freedom Partners Action Fund, aligned with the conservative billionaires Charles Koch and David Koch. The group has spent $12.3 million in recent weeks to help Republicans in eight hotly contested Senate races. Mercer sent $500,000 late last month to another new PAC, dubbed B-PAC, aiding GOP Senate candidates in Iowa and Michigan.
Using newly released FEC data, Election Spending 2014: 9 Toss-Up Senate Races examines outside spending in 2014’s nine most competitive U.S. Senate races, the outcomes of which will likely determine which party controls the Senate for the next two years. The report found record highs in total outside spending, “dark money” spending by groups that conceal the identity of their donors, and spending by single-candidate groups. In fact, it is likely that eight of these nine races will match or exceed the previous record high for spending in a Senate race, while less than half the expenditures so far have come from the candidates themselves. In other words, outside money made possible by weak regulation and Supreme Court rulings like Citizens United is giving wealthy spenders more power than ever to buy influence over elections.
Hillary Clinton's friendly super-PAC is spending roughly $23,000 a day – nearly as much as it's bringing in – as it builds a database of supporters and donors for a possible 2016 Democratic presidential bid. Viewed another way: Getting Ready for Hillary costs her supporters about $2 million per quarter, covering expenses for everything from political consultants to voter databases to Des Moines hotel rooms, according to disclosure reports released October 15.