MN Prof, Bush Advisor Joins Conservative Reform Group

Minnesota Post: “A University of Minnesota law professor and a political consultant who’s worked on five Republican presidential campaigns – both alumni of the George W. Bush administration – launched a campaign finance reform group Wednesday tilted toward the conservative point of view.

“Richard Painter and Mark McKinnon lead the board of Take Back Our Republic, a fledgling group that does not so much decry the evil of big money as the evil of foreign money in campaigns.”

“A crackdown on accepting foreign money is the stick in the equation, but Take Back also offers a carrot. To encourage small donors, it suggests making contributions to federal campaigns up to $500 exempt from disclosure. Currently, any contribution over $200 must be disclosed.

“The group also supports a tax credit for small political donors, giving contributors a credit for donations up to $200 and a deduction for donations up to $600. Minnesota allows a tax refund — up to $100 — for contributions to state campaigns.”

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NY Gov Pushing Legislative Ethics Reforms in Return for Raise

New York Times (12/8): “Among other things, the governor has told leaders of the State Senate and Assembly that he would like new restrictions on legislators’ personal use of their campaign funds and on the $172-per-day stipends they receive when they are in Albany. Mr. Cuomo is proposing that lawmakers be required to submit supporting documents for many expenses, particularly on days when the Legislature is not in session.

“The governor’s office has also proposed increasing the number of legislators who can be stripped of their pensions. An ethics bill passed in 2011 made the pensions of officials convicted of public corruption subject to forfeiture, but excluded lawmakers already in office. Mr. Cuomo would like to include them. This change would require a constitutional amendment, which must be approved by two successive Legislatures and then by referendum.

“Mr. Cuomo has even floated a proposal that would require the Legislature to subject itself to broader disclosure under the state’s Freedom of Information Law, much like what the law now requires of the executive branch.”