Friday was an FEC reporting day and here's what we learned:
Big picture: "Hillary Clinton's skill and experience in raising money have provided her with a dominant financial lead over her Democratic and Republican rivals." Presidential candidates and their supportive outside groups added another $150 million to this cycle's spending last month. Cash on hand, in one tweet.
- Huffington Post: "The Sanders presidential campaign began May with just $5.8 million cash on hand, according to reports filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission. That was significantly less than the $30 million available to Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton." AP. Katy Perry cost $20k.
- Trump has now given his campaign $43 million, but he has lot of catch up to do: "Through the end of last month, the period covered by the most recent FEC filings, Trump’s campaign spending was less than a third of Clinton’s ($57 million to $182 million) and Trump had assembled a staff about one-tenth the size of hers (70 employees to 732), and spent less on offices (Trump last month paid $101,000 in rent vs. $328,000 for Clinton), the analysis found." He also donated $500 to a soccer program in New York.
- The Clinton super PAC "raised $8.6 million in April" and "has also collected another $45 million in commitments, or pledges to donate at a future date, a spokesman said." On the group's spending.
- It looks like we now know why one of the Trump super PACs released a list of supporters last week: because nobody really gave last month. Look for the May filing in June.
- Ted Cruz still had $9M in the bank at the end of April and John Kasich had $1.4M left.
And Republicans still don't know how to solve a problem like Donald Trump: But, as one GOP lobbyist told the Wall Street Journal, "You’re better off riding the beast than trying to ignore it." Sort of like this.
The New York Times talked to several big donors who say they won't give him any money and at least one who may even support Clinton instead. And, "Many more donors declined to reveal their intentions or did not respond to requests for comment, a remarkable silence about the de facto nominee of their party."
You'll need that aspirin you've been holding between your knees to make sense of Foster Friess' endorsement. Lindsey Graham--who just a few weeks ago called Trump "unhinged"--reportedly told donors to start backing him.
Trump says he doesn't care about these guys and he might just sell a building: "These are people that won't have access to the White House, and they want that. They can't tell me what to do like they do every other candidats. They endorse people like Jeb Bush. They would have had total control over Jeb."
But it's not like others won't have access, the Guardian reports: "Conservative and big-money allies of Donald Trump are laying the groundwork for him to visit Israel this summer, an idea backed by Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson..."
ThinkProgress: The NRA Wants Ex-Felons To Have Guns But Not Voting Rights
"The National Rifle Association wants convicted felons to be able to purchase firearms, yet its leaders are lambasting efforts to restore voting rights to the same people."
Someone at The Federalist wrote a garbage op-ed for the Washington Post about how we need to "improve the quality of the voting public."
ELB: FEC Deadlocks on Murray Energy Coercion Case
Natch: "The Federal Election Commission deadlocked on whether to investigate charges that coal company owner Robert Murray violated campaign finance laws by coercing employees to make campaign contributions, according to documents released May 20."
Big news: last week, the Montgomery County, Md., council approved a budget to fully fund the new small-donor public financing program for county elections.
National Review: Trump Has Given Conservatives Little Comfort on SCOTUS Vacancy
On Trump's SCOTUS suggestions: "If nothing else, they could rest easy knowing that the Second Amendment wouldn’t be effectively nullified or curtailed, that Citizens United would remain the law of the land, that voter-ID laws would be upheld, and that pro-lifers could continue to make progress in the courts."
Union-Leader: FEC emails: Guinta's legal team asked to slow probe of finances
"U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta's lawyer urged the federal agency investigating his campaign finance violations to put the case on hold until after his re-election bid in 2012, according to newly released documents."
Wall Street Journal: Lobbyists Regain Their Influence on the Campaign Trail
"Even as many of this year’s presidential candidates emphasized their independence from what they call special interests, Washington lobbyists are finding their way back inside the campaigns after being shut out by President Barack Obama."
Washington Post: Sanders endorses DNC Chairwoman Wasserman Schultz’s primary opponent
And sent a fundraising email on his behalf: "Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders on Saturday announced his support for Tim Canova, the former Capitol Hill staffer challenging Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.)..."
LA Times: Want to have dinner with Donald Trump? It'll cost $25,000 (or more)
"Donald Trump will raise money Wednesday evening in Los Angeles, marking his first foray into official GOP fundraisers with an event where tickets start at $25,000."
Huffington Post: Hedge Funds Launch New Lobbying Effort To Protect Their Power
"Billionaire activist investors are joining forces to raid Congress for more power."
What's next for Sanders? Nobody knows, but: "Echoing the senator’s fiery tone, Democrats from his wing of the party are regularly railing against billionaires, lamenting the disappearing middle class and demanding reforms to campaign finance laws."
NBC: Trump's Message on Super PACS Takes General Election Turn
"As more super PACs continue to emerge in support of his general election bid, both campaign and candidate have offered conflicting viewpoints. The candidate won't definitively rule out super PAC funding, instead suggesting that he doesn't want it for himself, but for the Republican Party." Reminder: Trump is the only one in the race who has yet to offer any plan to address the system he criticizes.
Gary Johnson, on the rumor that the Kochs would support him: "You know, if the Kochs do come in [and financially support my campaign], it will probably be as a super PAC, and there's just no transparency in super PACs. That's one of the issues that I have with campaign finance. To me, all of this should be transparent, but currently it's not."
OpenSecrets: Scam PACs drawing FEC attention
"The Federal Election Commission is raising questions about reports filed by the biggest super PAC associated with Scott B. Mackenzie, who’s listed as the treasurer of more than two dozen PACs."
Dallas Morning News: T. Boone Pickens postponing major fundraising event for Donald Trump, cites scheduling issues
He wasn't sure the super PAC was the correct super PAC: "Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens is postponing a fundraiser for Donald Trump that had been scheduled to take place at Pickens’ ranch next month."
Clinton on Trump: "Unlike Donald Trump, I will not pander to the gun lobby, and we will not be silenced and we will not be intimidated."
Roll Call: Lobbyist Donations Surge, Despite Anti-Establishment Rhetoric
"An election year filled with anti-K Street rhetoric hasn't stopped candidates up and down the ballot from pressuring prominent Washington lobbyists to pony up record sums of political cash."
NJ.com: Republican committees help Christie whittle down campaign debt
"Gov. Chris Christie's presidential campaign committee, trying to pay off its debt, earned $27,000 last month by renting out its fundraising list to two Republican committees."
NPR: Corporate Funds Pledged For Republican Convention Under Fire
"Trump wants a flashier GOP convention. But the event already has its own controversy, because of the nominee himself. It's about money."
AP: Obama to visit Seattle next month for Inslee fundraiser
"State Democratic Party officials say that President Barack Obama will be in Seattle next month for a private fundraiser for Gov. Jay Inslee."
Do read this Times article on the controversies at the Las Vegas Review-Journal after Adelson purchased it: For one columnist, "After the casino magnate bought the paper, Mr. Smith was told by upper management that he was barred from writing about Mr. Adelson and another casino owner, Steve Wynn."
Journal Sentinel: Testimony: Minorities bear brunt of voter ID law
So it's working as intended? "Minority voters represent a big share of those seeking free photo IDs under the state's new voter ID law and may also make up the great majority of those who experience the most problems getting one, under figures that emerged in a federal trial this week."