October 14th, 2010
01:47 PM ET
7 years ago

Shadow donor groups a bipartisan affair

Washington (CNN) - In rural southern Virginia, 14-term Democratic Congressman Rick Boucher says he's never had an election enemy quite like the ones he's facing this year.

Its not his opponent, but instead it's what he calls a "shadowy" group that is funding television ads against him.

Full story

Filed under: 2010 • Campaign finance
September 22nd, 2010
01:35 PM ET
7 years ago

Senate to vote again on controversial campaign ad spending


Washington (CNN) - The Senate will vote Thursday whether to take up a hot-button campaign finance reform bill. The measure is designed to bring more transparency to campaign ad spending by corporations, unions and other independent groups.

Republicans unanimously blocked a similar effort just over a month ago and a top Senate GOP leadership aide said Wednesday he doesn't expect any Republican defections this time.

Known as the DISCLOSE Act, the Democratic bill is a response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that lifted decades-old restrictions on corporate and union political ad spending. The bill requires entities that pay for political advertising to indentify themselves in the ads.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell accused Democrats of playing politics by scheduling the vote in the waning days of the Senate session and just weeks before the midterm elections.


Filed under: Campaign finance • Senate
September 20th, 2010
05:47 PM ET
7 years ago

O'Donnell campaign calls charges 'frivolous'

 Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell's campaign is calling a watchdog group's charge that the candidate used campaign funds for personal expenses 'frivolous.'

Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell's campaign is calling a watchdog group's charge that the candidate used campaign funds for personal expenses 'frivolous.'

(CNN) - Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell's campaign is calling "frivolous" a watchdog group's charge the candidate used campaign funds for personal expenses in a complaint filed with authorities Monday.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed complaints with the Delaware U.S. Attorney's Office and the Federal Election Commission against O'Donnell, charging that more than $20,000 of O'Donnell's spending in 2009 and 2010 was illegal because O'Donnell was no longer a candidate.

"By committing tax evasion, false statements, and basically embezzling her campaign funds, Ms. O'Donnell has basically broken criminal law, and must be held to account for that," CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan told CNN.


Filed under: 2010 • Campaign finance • Christine O'Donnell • CREW
July 27th, 2010
03:57 PM ET
7 years ago

Republicans block campaign finance disclosure bill

Washington (CNN) - Senate Republicans narrowly blocked Democratic campaign finance disclosure legislation in the Senate Tuesday after raising concerns the bill would curb freedom of speech and tilt campaign spending in favor of the Democrats.

A 57-41 vote fell short of the 60 votes needed for the Senate to cut off debate on the measure. Republicans unanimously opposed the measure while Democrats solidly backed it.

Democrats said the legislation - known as the DISCLOSE Act - would bring greater transparency to campaign contributions from corporations, labor unions, and other special interests, which were able to ramp up political spending in the wake of the Supreme Court's controversial ruling in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission earlier this year.

The bill would require organizations paying for political advertising to disclose the names of their top donors in the ads, similar to what now is required of political candidates for federal office.

Republicans accused Democrats of trying to preserve their majorities in the House and Senate by skewing the rules in the favor of labor unions, trial lawyers, and other Democratic-leaning groups. Democrats denied that was their motive, and made certain changes to the bill last week aimed at satisfying GOP critics.

The Republicans were not mollified.

Full story

Updated: 5:06 p.m.

Filed under: Campaign finance • Senate
July 27th, 2010
07:56 AM ET
6 years ago

Obama blasts GOP opposition to campaign finance bill

President Obama on Monday criticized Republican opposition to a Senate campaign financial reform bill.

President Obama on Monday criticized Republican opposition to a Senate campaign financial reform bill.

Washington (CNN) - The Senate is expected to hold a procedural vote Tuesday on whether to end debate on a campaign finance bill, and Democrats fear a unified Republican filibuster will prevent the measure from moving to a final vote.

A key Republican, moderate Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, opposes the bill because it puts less restrictions on labor unions - a key Democratic constituency - than on corporations and other large donors, an aide to Collins said Monday.

[cnn-photo url=" http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/11/07/c1main.murray.handcuffs.pool.jpg"]

"The bill would provide a clear and unfair advantage to unions, while either shutting other organizations out of the election process or subjecting them to onerous reporting requirements that would not apply to unions," said the Collins aide, Kevin Kelley.

Collins is one of the few Republican senators considered a possible vote in support of Democratic-backed proposals. With Republicans holding enough Senate seats to block legislation, the inability of Democrats to attract support from Collins shows the precarious status of the bill.

Full story

Filed under: Campaign finance • President Obama • Senate
July 8th, 2010
10:25 AM ET
7 years ago

$15 mil. push for 'Fair Elections,' critics say bill would hand lawmakers political suicide

Washington (CNN) - Congressional lawmakers are staring at the chance, as some groups believe, to free themselves from the mad dash for campaign cash and to elevate the voices of everyday Americans over special interests. Yet others believe that a congressional bill involves something so despised by Americans that, if enacted, lawmakers would be committing an act of political suicide.

On Thursday, the Public Campaign and Common Cause, two non-profits focused on campaign finance reform, are leading the launch a $15 million campaign for passage of the Fair Elections Now Act. In March of last year, the legislation was introduced by the Senate's second most powerful Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, five-term Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson, the fourth ranking Democrat in that chamber.

Yet even with such high-power backing, the legislation has not advanced far in Congress. The Public Campaign's new $15 million push hopes to change that. It will feature a television ad released Thursday, that will run in key areas. The groups are also working with organizations in 24 states to pressure on key lawmakers. The goal: a successful vote in the next few weeks on the Fair Elections Now Act.

The legislation would allow qualified candidates for federal office to receive large sums of money in the form of grants and matching funds. Supporters argue it would allow candidates to be competitive in campaigns that have increasingly grown more expensive and caused candidates to spend countless hours going after campaign funds.


Filed under: Campaign finance • Congress • Elections
June 29th, 2010
02:47 PM ET
7 years ago

High court affirms ban on "soft money" campaign donations

Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court has affirmed a congressional ban on "soft money"– the unlimited contributions to political parties for so-called "party-building" activities.

The justices in a brief order rejected an appeal from the Republican Party, urging the court to quickly step in and decide whether the soft money ban was unconstitutional. This after the Supreme Court in January eased long-standing restrictions on "independent spending" by corporations and unions in political campaigns.

The conservative majority ruling gave big business, unions and non-profits more power to spend freely in federal elections, threatening a century of government efforts to regulate the power of corporations to bankroll American politics.


June 8th, 2010
12:17 PM ET
8 years ago

High court temporarily blocks Arizona election reform law

Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court has blocked for now a state election law that gives "matching funds" to help underfunded candidates in Arizona.

The justices, in a brief order Tuesday, temporarily told state officials not to distribute money under the Clean Elections law, which provides extra, taxpayer-funded support for office seekers who have been outspent by privately funded opponents or by independent political groups.

A federal appeals court in April approved parts of the sweeping campaign reform law. A group of mostly conservative groups –including several current and former Republican state legislators - filed the emergency appeal with the high court, saying their free speech rights were being hurt, and their private fundraising efforts would be stifled because of public election financing. They have succeeded in their efforts for now, while state campaigning is under way in an election year.

The Supreme Court's order allows a more thorough, detailed appeal to be filed in coming weeks by supporters of the law. There was no indication when the plaintiffs would seek to file such an petition.

The case is McComish v. Bennett (09A1163).

Filed under: Campaign finance • Supreme Court
May 1st, 2010
10:54 AM ET
8 years ago

Obama promotes proposed campaign finance law

Washington (CNN) - President Obama used his weekly internet and radio address to explain and promote a new campaign finance bill.

Related: Campaign finance proposal targets corporations

(Read Obama's full remarks after the jump)


Filed under: Campaign finance • President Obama
April 29th, 2010
02:49 PM ET
8 years ago

Democrats propose new campaign finance law

 Congressional Democrats unveiled legislation Thursday that is designed to mitigate the impact of a controversial Supreme Court campaign finance ruling from earlier this year.

Congressional Democrats unveiled legislation Thursday that is designed to mitigate the impact of a controversial Supreme Court campaign finance ruling from earlier this year.

Washington (CNN) - Congressional Democrats unveiled legislation Thursday that would ban foreign-controlled companies and most firms receiving either government contracts or federal bailout funds from spending money on U.S. elections.

The bill also would require the head of any corporation running a political ad to appear in the commercial to say that he or she "approves this message" - just as candidates themselves must do today.

The measure is designed to mitigate the impact of a controversial Supreme Court campaign finance ruling from earlier this year that overturned a long-standing ban on corporations and unions using their treasury funds to run presidential and congressional election ads.

The 5-4 decision - a victory for the high court's conservative majority - also rejected a prohibition on companies and unions running campaign ads 30 days before a primary election or 60 days prior to a general election.

Democrats have slammed the decision as a win for traditionally Republican-leaning corporate interests.


Filed under: Campaign finance • Supreme Court
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