Tuesday, July 22, 2014

House GOP plays catch-up to Democrats on tech tactics

Republicans repeatedly beaten down by the Democrats’ technological dominance have finally found a source of pride: an official House leadership operation that’s relentlessly digital. But that doesn’t mean the road to political parity on the Web is easy.

Source: House GOP plays catch-up to Democrats on tech tactics

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Breaking: U.S. Election Assistance Commission May Be Back with Commissioners Soon

President Obama just announced two nominations for the U.S. Assistance Commission. Matthew Masterson and Christy McCormick are Republican-chosen nominees to join the two nominees from the Democrats, Thomas Hicks and Myrna Perez. The EAC was created as part of the 2002 Help America Vote Act as a way of providing best practices and doling out voting machine money in the wake of the Florida 2000 debacle. The commission functions with two Democratic nominees and two Republican nominees.

Source: Breaking: U.S. Election Assistance Commission May Be Back with Commissioners Soon | Election Law Blog

Understanding and Misunderstanding the Political Parties—and the Question of Whether They Understand Themselves

It is  not difficult to imagine how Lyndon Johnson would have reacted to the constraints of operating within a “network,” sharing his power with independent entities under mystifying rules.  Pity the lawyer who would have been charged with informing him of these limits:
Sir: you can’t have that conversation, because you will have satisfied the content and conduct prongs of FEC rules and will be engaged in illegal coordination.
No, Sir: you cannot ask Jackson to give more to the Jones campaign, but Jackson can give to Citizens for Law and Complexity, and Citizens can run ads for Jones, and you could always attend one of their events as an honored guest or featured speaker, provided that you make it clear that you are not asking for money.
No, Sir, you cannot ask Jackson to give money to Citizens.  No, not even if you put it that way: remember that a solicitation can be implied as well as expressed, indirect as well as direct, and it is still an illegal solicitation of soft money.
No, Sir, you cannot tell Citizens afterwards how much to spend for Jones or how: it is an independent expenditure, and as an “agent”  for Jones, you are prohibited from directing or advising on  their expenditure.
I know, I know: I am sorry, Sir: but please let go of my [body part]. That really hurts.

Source: Understanding and Misunderstanding the Political Parties—and the Question of Whether They Understand Themselves -Bob Bauer

New Paper: Party Polarization and Campaign Finance

The Supreme Court’s recent McCutcheon decision has reinvigorated the discussion on how campaign finance affects American democracy. Seeking to dissect the complex relationship between political parties, partisan polarization, and campaign finance, Tom Mann and Anthony Corrado’s new paper on Party Polarization and Campaign Finance reviews the landscape of hard and soft money in federal elections and asks whether campaign finance reform can abate polarization and strengthen governing capacity in the United States. The paper tackles two popular contentions within the campaign finance debate: First, has campaign finance reform altered the role of political parties as election financiers and therefore undermined deal making and pragmatism? Second, would a change in the composition of small and large individual donors decrease polarization in the parties?

Source: New Paper: Party Polarization and Campaign Finance | Brookings Institution

California Primary Recount For Controller Prompts Electoral Reform Bill

The recount in California’s primary race for state Controller is prompting questions about the fairness and efficiency of the state’s recount procedures. A state lawmaker is beginning a legislative effort that would address the questions. Democratic Assemblyman Kevin Mullin is working on a bill that would eliminate the system in which third place finishers in tight races can pay for recounts in favorable districts. UC Irvine Law Professor Rick Hasen supports some of Mullin’s reform ideas. “When you have an election in which millions of ballots are cast and the difference between the candidates is within the hundreds of votes, I think we should have an automatic recount,” says Hasen. “It should be done statewide under uniform standards, and candidates should not have to pay for it.”

Source: California Primary Recount For Controller Prompts Electoral Reform Bill - capradio.org

Bitcoin Hires Lobbyists

BITCOIN’S PUBLIC PROFILE has grown significantly in the past year, and like any burgeoning cause or industry, it has lobbyists. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the Bitcoin Foundation, a nonprofit with the goal of standardizing, protecting, and promoting Bitcoin, has hired Thorsen French Advocacy to represent the Foundation on Capitol Hill. The Bitcoin Foundation is by no means the first group to lobby on issues related to the digital currency. The Hill notes that Falcon Global Capital, a Bitcoin investment group, hired lobbying firm Thompson Hine in May, and also registered an in-house lobbyist. MasterCard, meanwhile, has Peck Madigan Jones monitoring or working on Bitcoin issues.

Source: Bitcoin Hires Lobbyists « LobbyBlog.com

Rand Paul eyes tech-oriented donors, geeks in Bay Area

Rand Paul goes hunting in San Francisco starting Thursday for two things Democrats usually expect to have locked up in the Golden State: rich technology donors and computer geeks game to leave their jobs to work on a White House campaign. Focusing on a libertarian sliver of the Bay Area’s tech crowd, the Kentucky Republican hopes the three-day trip can tap into a powerful resource that could boost his fundraising skills, message delivery and voter turnout — potent technology tools that were a crucial component in President Barack Obama’s two general election victories.

Source: Rand Paul eyes tech-oriented donors, geeks in Bay Area - Darren Samuelsohn - POLITICO.com