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Today's top new stories about money in politics and democracy.
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NEWS & ANALYSIS
Monday

March 23, 2020

Top Money in Politics News

As Campaigns Move Online, America’s Chief Watchdog Isn’t Following (POLITICO) “In a flash of virus anxiety and social distancing, American electioneering has moved almost entirely online: Voter townhalls are being replaced by digital meetups, campaign rallies are now streamed speeches and donor one-on-ones are moving to FaceTime.

In campaign advertising, that shift was long underway, with money moving from old-school broadcast and print ads to a flurry of custom messages on social media and search engines.

As this change has transformed politics over the past several years, and quickly accelerated in recent weeks, one national player has been noticeably silent: The United States Federal Election Commission.”

How a bill co-sponsored by Elizabeth Warren and signed by Trump could reshape the next presidential transition (Yahoo News) “In approximately 10 months, a new presidential administration will take shape. It could be a second term of the Trump administration, or an entirely new one led by Joe Biden. It may come as the coronavirus epidemic still rages or, more likely, in the epidemic’s fraught aftermath.

And just how that administration takes shape could have great consequences in the years to come. That’s why there’s reason to cheer a little-noticed bill that could ensure that the transition is conducted with the proper ethical strictures in place — the kinds of strictures that did not exist in 2016.

No, the transitions bill won’t cure the coronavirus, but advocates of the legislation say it’s an unlikely success story, particularly given who championed it.”

Joe Biden’s Primary Wins Show Limits of Campaign Cash (The Wall Street Journal) “Just a few weeks ago, Joe Biden was fresh off a primary win in South Carolina but had raised less than half as much campaign cash in February as the Democratic presidential front-runner at the time, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Big-money groups had sprung up in February to help two of Mr. Biden’s 2020 competitors, and another, Michael Bloomberg, gave his own campaign almost half a billion dollars during the month to gin up support for his long-shot bid.

Three days into March, none of that would matter. Mr. Biden followed up South Carolina with a winning spree, and almost all other Democratic presidential candidates quickly dropped out. The former vice president’s only remaining rival, Mr. Sanders, faces an unlikely path to the nomination.”

Also see: Bloomberg Decides Against Super PAC, Transfers $18 Million To Democratic Party (NPR) and 9 numbers to know from the newest 2020 campaign finance reports (Issue One) 

Lobbyists Pile On to Get Wins for Clients Into Coronavirus Stimulus Package (The Wall Street Journal) “From Boeing Co. to Verizon Communications, scores of U.S. companies and industries are furiously lobbying Congress to add measures to the Trump administration’s massive stimulus package to deal with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, some of which address issues that long predate the outbreak.

Lobbyists for restaurants are pressing Congress to include new caps on the transaction fees that stores must pay credit-card companies like Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. on consumer purchases.”

Sen. Burr asks Senate Ethics Committee for review of his stock sales amid uproar over possible influence of coronavirus briefings (The Washington Post) “Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) sought an ethics review Friday of his recent sale of more than $1.7 million in stocks as he and other lawmakers faced a bipartisan uproar over whether they had used information gleaned from private congressional briefings to guide transactions before the market plummeted because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, who had publicly expressed confidence in the country’s preparedness for the pandemic, sold a significant portion of his stocks last month, according to public disclosures. Burr said he relied solely on public news reports for the sales but asked the Senate Ethics Committee for a review.”

SOCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

ON FEC
We need the Honest Ads Act now. 
https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/03/23/campaigns-move-online-fec-watchdog-141887

ON ETHICS
Our elected leaders should serve the public’s interest not self-interest. https://news.yahoo.com/how-a-bill-cosponsored-by-elizabeth-warren-and-signed-by-trump-could-reshape-the-next-presidential-transition-090029518.html

ON 2020
The 2020 candidates say they want to fight for everyday Americans, not for corporations and special interests. So what are their plans to stem the flow of corporate money that #CitizensUnited unleashed into our elections? #DemDebate #AskAboutDemocracy

ON LOBBYING
Cashing in. https://www.wsj.com/articles/lobbyists-pile-on-to-get-wins-for-clients-into-coronavirus-stimulus-package-11584792000

ON BURR
Sen. Burr asks Senate Ethics Committee for review of his stock sales amid uproar over possible influence of coronavirus briefings 
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sen-richard-burr-r-nc-says-he-has-asked-senate-ethics-committee-for-review-of-his-stock-sales


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