Activists March Across CA, CT for Change

Concord Monitor: “Kai Newkirk organized a 500-mile march across California to promote political equality regardless of wealth. In part, he learned how to coordinate that movement, an effort of the group 99 Rise that he said was a ‘huge logistical undertaking,’ from his experience last year with the N.H. Rebellion.”

“They arrived in the state capital after 37 days of walking. Newkirk said not every night of the trek was planned, but as they moved along and gained attention, they didn’t have any problems finding places to stay.”

The N.H. Rebellion, with its much shorter timespan and distance, follows a more strict plan as it makes its way from Dixville Notch to Concord – and as simultaneous walks begin out of Portsmouth, Nashua and Keene.

“N.H. Rebellion Director Jeff McLean said this year’s event is much more complicated than the previous one because of the additional routes. He said compared with last year, which had an abundance of organizers with clear roles, the team members have been stretched out.

Republican Pollster Calls for Party to Embrace Campaign Finance Reform

“”Poll after poll shows that the majority of voters of all political stripes are alarmed at the record amounts of money pouring into elections. Voters feel they are being drowned out.

“A bi-partisan poll conducted last year by my firm, Chesapeake Beach Consulting (Republican) and Lake Research Partners (Democratic), found that voters favor a constitutional amendment by a 61-28 percent margin. Presented with arguments for and against an amendment, Republicans strongly favor the amendment – by a 54-36 percent margin. Our poll also found that by a 6-1 margin, voters say that reducing the influence of money in politics is an important issue.

“Until recently, campaign finance reform has been part of the conservative agenda. Bipartisan reform efforts included the 1907 Tillman Act, which banned direct corporate contributions, the 1971 Federal Election Campaign Act and the strong amendments to that law that were passed after the Watergate scandal. Let’s not forget the McCain-Feingold Act, introduced by Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and signed into law in 2003 by Republican President George W. Bush.”

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.”

Conservative Activists form Campaign Finance Reform Group

Washington Post: “So [John] Pudner — who gained notice last year for helping tea-party-backed candidate Dave Brat unseat then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) — decided to make an unusual move. He signed on to run a new group, Take Back Our Republic, charged with the difficult task of building conservative support for reducing the influence of wealthy interests on politics.

“The nascent organization, which officially launches Wednesday, aims to alter the hostile posture of many Republicans toward new laws that would curb the reach of big-money donors.”

“Pudner said his group will offer policy prescriptions that differ from those of liberal organizations. One of the first ideas it will promote is a tax credit for small political donors, an idea taken up in a bill by Rep. Tom Petri (R-Wis.) that proposes giving contributors a credit for donations up to $200 and a deduction for donations up to $600.

“Take Back Our Republic also seeks to raise from $200 to $500 the amount people could give before their donation would be disclosed, an idea likely to generate some controversy among advocates for greater campaign finance transparency.”

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.”

Teachout & Lessig Do Joint Interviews, Podcast to Assess Election & Way Forward

Teachout & Lessig teamed up on Bill Moyers, twice, and Lessig dd an interview with an old friend on The Good Fight (follow the link for that one)

The Bare Knuckle Fight Against Money in Politics

How Public Power Can Defeat Plutocrats

Lessig: ‘When we look at the systematic way in which our representatives are responsive not to the people alone, but increasingly to the funders exclusively, then that is an obvious corruption… This is not a Democratic issue. This is not a Republican issue. This is an American issue.”

Teachout: “I think we should forget the perfect resume and instead engage people who come from all different backgrounds, including the arts, and get them to run for office. Because this is what the kids in Hong Kong are fighting for. And we have to take the opportunity we have before it totally shuts down.”

The Good Fight: “Mayday SuperPAC, Lawrence Lessig’s anti-corruption moonshot, lost nearly all of its races in the 2014 midterm election. Does that mean it failed? Did Politico’s screamer headline, “How to waste $10 million,” tell the whole story? Or does the shadow of money in politics extend beyond mere wins and losses? Professor Lessig and the Progressive Campaign Change Committee’s Adam Green take us behind the vote tally and into the heart of the campaign-finance darkness for part 3 of The Good Fight’s Mayday 2014 trilogy.”