Yesterday, Donald Trump accused Hillary Clinton of "pay for play" following new emails released as a result of a lawsuit showing then-Secretary of State Clinton's staff interacting with a billionaire businessman and major donor to the Clinton Foundation, Gilbert Chagoury, who wished to set up a meeting with the State Department’s top official on Lebanon.
Clinton spokesperson Josh Schwerin: “The right-wing organization behind this lawsuit has been attacking the Clintons since the 1990s, and no matter how this group tries to mischaracterize these documents, the fact remains that Hillary Clinton never took action as secretary of state because of donations to the Clinton Foundation”
During the speech, Trump held up a graphic to highlight how much money both candidates had received from hedge funds. (Again, Open Secrets has a fact check on his numbers.)
Hillary Clinton's best defense against these attacks would be to tell voters more about her democracy reform plan.
Housekeeping note: I'll be taking care of this email through August 19th while Adam is on vacation next week, so keep on sending tips to firstname.lastname@example.org!
The Campaign Legal Center: Chinese Money Flowing Into U.S. Elections Highlights Importance of Disclosure and FEC Enforcement
"Following reports that Chinese citizens helped pump $1.3 million into the super PAC supporting former presidential candidate Jeb Bush, the Campaign Legal Center today filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, calling for a full investigation and enforcement of the law that bans foreign nationals from spending on U.S. elections."
Washington Post: Facebook may soon have more power over elections than the FEC. Are we ready?
"And herein lie both dangers and opportunities. The dangers arise from the potential for the platforms to use their power to discriminate against certain ideas, groups or candidates... At the same time, they have an opportunity to adopt rules, especially regarding disclosure, that go beyond what the government now requires."
PolitickerNJ: Supreme Court Makeup Could Have Big Impact on Campaign Finance Law
Jeff Brindle, ED of the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission: "With a 4-4 divide on the Court in terms of campaign finance law, the replacement for the late Justice Scalia will either pivot the court toward tightening restrictions on campaign financing or continue the trend toward a further loosening."
WI State Rep. Chris Taylor wrote about her experience with ALEC and their "War on Clean Government": "In the name of free speech, ALEC and Wisconsin are leading national efforts to shut down free speech for most people by making it harder to hear through the tidal wave of dark money and corporate cash."
Huffington Post: Democrats Won’t Have To Worry About Money When It Comes To Winning Back Congress
"According to a pair of analyses of campaign finance data through June 30 by the Campaign Finance Institute, Democratic challengers are in one of the strongest fundraising positions of the past decade for either party at this point in an election." USA Today: "The average Democratic senator raised more than $8 million, compared to slightly less than $6 million for the average GOP senator."
New York Times: Hillary Clinton Hopes to Capitalize on Republican Defectors
"Hillary Clinton's campaign would like to turn the drip-drip-drip of Republican defectors abandoning Donald J. Trump into a deluge." As Clinton announces more GOP mega-donor backers, it's all the more important that she talk about her plan to reduce the power of big donors. Otherwise, she runs the risk of looking like she's making her campaign safe for billionaires rather than keeping a commitment to reform.
Washington Post created some visuals to show where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's money came from geographically in June.
ABC News: How Hillary Clinton Has Spent $82 Million More on Television Ads Than Donald Trump
"The Democratic nominee and her main Super PAC have spent almost $93 million on television advertising during the general election compared to only $11 million from a hodgepodge of outside groups backing the Republican nominee."
Can't catch a break from fundraising: President Obama will attend a fundraiser for the DNC while on vacation in Martha's Vineyard.
The News Tribune: Ventrella promises full-fledged campaign after surprise primary win
Love this story: Tony Ventrella, who began his congressional campaign "with a cry to reduce the influence of money in politics" was watching the movie Thirteen Days instead of the primary results when he won a surprise victory Tuesday. He wrote off his campaign when he couldn't raise the funds he needed through small donations after pledging not to take special interest or PAC money, but turns out his message on money in politics appealed to voters.
Syracuse.com: Democratic ads criticize Rep. John Katko over special-interest donors
DCCC must have polling showing voters care about The DCCC is paying for radio ads that draw attention to Congressman John Katko for taking special interest money. (Guess they have polling showing voters care about the issue!)
Gawker: The Astro-Turfing Democratic Strategist Who Launched Donald Trump's Presidential Campaign
Gawker confirms that lobbyist and Democratic strategist Bradley Gerstman's firm was paid $12,000 to help organize Trump's campaign launch--the same folks listed on a casting call offering to hire actors for $50 an hour "to wear t-shirts and carry signs and help cheer him in support of his announcement"
This letter to the editor in the Washington Post points to inconsistencies in arguments circulated by those that support the Citizens United ruling. But one common theme? "the corrupting power of money on the democratic process seems apparent in either case"
The Associated Press details where the presidential candidates stand on voting rights.
WAMU: Down-Ballot Dollars: $50,000 Reported In Super PAC Spending On Ward 8 Race
"Campaign finance experts have long warned that big spending by outside groups would one day expand from the national stage and start influencing local races where down-ballot spending can have an outsized influence. It looks like that day is finally here, judging by the latest D.C. campaign finance records."
Facing South: Companies opposing N.C. 'bathroom bill' funding pro-McCrory political group
As Republican Gov. Pat McCrory continues to defend HB2, companies that have come out against the law for discriminating against transgender people continue to fund the Governor's reelection campaign.
Los Angeles Times: The money is starting to roll in on California's 17 ballot propositions. A lot of it
"Political professionals who run California ballot measure campaigns always worry about how to get the attention of voters. And it all starts with a lot of money. Through early August, almost $200 million has been collected for campaigns to support or oppose proposition on the Nov. 8 statewide ballot."
East Bay Express: Big Soda Is Spending Big Money Against Oakland Sugary Beverage Tax Proposal
In an effort to convince Oakland voters to reject a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, The American Beverage Association has spend $747,267 while "Supporters of the Oakland tax measure, mostly dentists, doctors and public officials, have only spent $23,297 — a mere 3 percent of what "Big Soda" has put up."
Associated Press: Questions raised about New Mexico's campaign finance system
"Calls for improvements to New Mexico's electronic campaign finance reporting system are being reignited as more questions are raised about the accuracy and transparency of the data." NM Political Report.