Huffington Post: Koch Brothers, Chamber of Commerce Face Possible Campaign Donation Disclosure After Ruling

-By Paul Blumenthal

March 30, 2012- WASHINGTON — On Friday evening, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling that could begin the process of revealing the identities of secret donors to groups connected to Karl Rove and the Koch brothers.

The court ruled in Van Hollen v. Federal Election Commission that the FEC rules that restricted campaign donor disclosure are not valid and must be changed to provide for disclosure.

"We are very happy to see the judge got it right," says Paul Ryan, a lawyer for the Campaign Legal Center, a campaign finance watchdog that was a part of the team challenging the FEC rules.

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Bloomberg: Campaign Donor Advertising Rule Invalidated by U.S. Judge

-By Tom Schoenberg and Jonathan D. Salant

March 31, 2012- The U.S. Federal Election Commission overstepped its authority by allowing groups that give money for election advertising to withhold the names of their donors from the public, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jacksonin Washington yesterday threw out FEC regulations adopted in 2007 that let organizations and nonprofit groups keep secret the names of donors who pay for pre-election ads. She said the regulations clashed with requirements of the 2002 campaign finance law known as McCain-Feingold that groups report their ad spending to the commission.

“When the agency determined in this instance that the statute should be revised in light of legal developments, it undertook a legislative, policy making function that was beyond the scope of its authority,” Jackson said in her 31-page ruling.

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Talking Points Memo: WI GOP To Run Placeholder Dem Candidates In All Recalls

March 30, 2012- The Republican party of Wisconsin will now run placeholder Democratic candidates in all scheduled recall elections, reports Wispolitics.com:

Republicans will run “protest” or “fake” Dems in all six upcoming recall elections, including guv and lt. guv.

Insiders have expected Republicans to run candidates in the Dem primaries for four Senate seats to ensure their candidates are on the same general election ballot as Gov. Scott Walker to help with turnout.

VIEW IN ORIGINAL CONTEXT:

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Chron.Com: Judge rules tea party group a PAC, not a nonprofit

-By Joe Holley

March 28, 2012- A Travis County district court judge ruled this week that a Houston-based tea party group is not a nonprofit corporation as it claims, but an unregistered political action committee that illegally aided the Republican Party through its poll-watching efforts during the 2010 elections.

The summary judgment by Judge John Dietz upheld several Texas campaign finance laws that had been challenged on constitutional grounds by King Street Patriots, a tea party organization known for its "True the Vote" effort to uncover voter fraud.

The ruling grew out of a 2010 lawsuit filed by the Texas Democratic Party against the King Street Patriots. The Democrats charged that the organization made unlawful political contributions to the Texas Republican Party and various Republican candidates by training poll watchers in cooperation with the party and its candidates and by holding candidate forums only for GOP candidates.

FULL STORY HERE:

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RAW Story: New York Assembly’s election panel approves bill to condemn Citizens United ruling

-By Eric W. Dolan

March 27, 2012- The New York Assembly’s Election Law Committee on Tuesday approved a resolution to call upon the United States Congress send to the states for ratification a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

The resolution was introduced by Assemblyman James Brennan (D). It mirrors a similar resolution passed by the New York City, Albany, Danby and Ithaca.

“More and more Americans are becoming alarmed by the threat to our democracy as super PACs swamp our upcoming national elections,” Brennan said. “Overturning Citizens United must become a national movement.”

The controversial Citizens United ruling struck down key provisions of the federal McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law and gave rise to super PACS, officially known as independent-expenditure only committees.

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Huffington Post:

-By Dan Froomkin

March 24, 2012- WASHINGTON — The two most controversial campaign financing practices of the post-Citizens United era aren’t actually the Supreme Court’s fault.

The court's conservative majority most certainly expected that its 2010 ruling, which granted First Amendment rights to corporations and equated money to speech, would unleash unprecedented amounts of political spending.

But when people rail against Citizens United these days, they’re often complaining about two things in particular: the candidate-specific super PACs that implausibly claim to be independent of the candidates they’re backing, and the political slush funds that can accept unlimited secret donations by claiming to be issue-oriented nonprofits.

Neither were inevitable byproducts of Citizens United — or a subsequent lower court ruling.

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