Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 24, 2014

July 16, 2014

Big Checks Strengthen Super PACs

Super PACs collect contributions in unlimited amounts for making independent expenditures, and new disclosure reports show some donors are willing to write a check for a quarter of a million dollars, or more.

American Bridge 21st Century, a Democratic-oriented super PAC reported the following major donors: Mark Heising, investor, Medley Partners Management CA), $500,000; Ann Earhart, investor (CA) $400,000; Susie Buell, retired (CA) $250,000; Amy Fowler, author (NY) $250,000; and Phillip Ragon, founder, InterSystems (MA) $250,000.

Friends of Democracy, a Democratic-oriented super PAC reported receiving $500,000 from Jonathan Soros, CEO, JS Capital Management LLC (NY).

Americans for Common Sense, a Republican-oriented super PAC, reported receiving $500,000 from Angelo Tsakopoulos, chairman, AKT Development (CA).

Character Counts PAC, a Republican-oriented super PAC, reported receiving $322,000 from Gary Davis, president, AAT Carriers(TN).

Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC, a super PAC formed by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., reported receiving $250,000 from Kelly Dale, homemaker (CA). They also received $100,000 from Louis Bacon, CEO of Moore Capital Management (NY).

West Main Street Values PAC, a Republican-oriented super PAC, reported receiving $250,000 from Michael Bloomberg, president of Bloomberg Inc. (NY).

Full story

July 15, 2014

Republican Governors Association Raises $24 Million

The Republican Governors Association, a Section 527 political organization,  reported it raised $24.1 million and spent $15.6 million during the second quarter of 2014.

Major donors included David Koch, executive VP, Koch Industries (NY) $2.5 million; Sheldon Adelson, CEO, Las Vegas Sands Corp. (NV) $2.5 million; and Ken Griffin, CEO, Citadel Group (IL) $1.5 million.

Other top donors were Paul Singer, founder, Elliott Management (NY) $750,000; Exxon Mobil Corporation (TX) $500,000; John Paulson, president, Paulson & Co. (NY) $500,000; Marcus Hiles, CEO, WRPS Homes (TX) $500,000; Devon Energy Production Company (OK) $500,000; AstraZeneca (DE) $350,000; Jack Taylor, founder, Enterprise Holdings (MO) $300,000;  Duke Energy (NC) $275,000; Rex Sinquefield, retired (MO) $250,000; Leslie and Richard Gillam, Cumberland Development Co. (VA) $250,000; Comcast Corp. (PA) $250,000; Full story

Democratic Governors Association Raises $13.8 Million

The Democratic Governors Association, a Section 527 political organization, reported raising $13.8 million and spending $12.1 million, during the second quarter of 2014.

Major donors included $1,360,000 from the NEA Advocacy Fund (DC) $900,000 from the American Federation of Teachers AFT (DC); $750,000 from AFSCME (DC);  $450,000 from the United Food Commercial Workers Intl. Union; $300,000 from SEIU IPEA (DC); $325,000 AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals (AZ); $250,000 from Pfizer Inc. (OH); $250,000  from United Healthcare Services Inc.; $250,000 from SEIU Michigan State Council (MI); $150,000 from PhRMA (DC); and $150,000 from the International Union of Painters Allied Trades (DC).

The following donors gave $100,000 each: Full story

Ernst & Young Agrees To Pay $4 Million Over Lobbying Violations

A national accounting firm has agreed to pay $4 million to settle charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission that the firm violated rules relating to lobbying activities while claiming to be an independent auditor.

In the settlementWashington Council EY, a unit of Ernst & Young, agreed to pay $4,071,925.98 including disgorgement, interest, and civil penalty. The settlement details the House and Senate lobbying activities of the firm, including letters, meetings, and draft legislation.

The summary of the settlement stated,

“These proceedings arise out of certain legislative advisory services provided by Washington Council EY (“WCEY”), which has been part of EY since 2000.

“Prior to 2009, certain conduct related to WCEY’s provision of legislative advisory services violated the independence rules with respect to two of EY’s SEC-registrant audit clients. For example, WCEY sent letters urging passage of bills to congressional staff on behalf of one of its clients (hereinafter, “Client A”). These bills were important to Client A’s business interests. In another instance, WCEY asked congressional staff to insert into a bill a provision favorable to Client A. For another audit client (hereinafter, “Client B”), WCEY attempted to persuade congressional offices to withdraw their support for legislation detrimental to that client’s business interests. In addition, WCEY worked closely with congressional staff in drafting an alternative bill more favorable to Client B. WCEY also marked up a draft of the alternative bill, inserting specific language written by Client B, and sent the mark-up to congressional staff. Full story

Partisan Activities of Lerner Co-Worker at FEC

The blatant partisan activities of an employee of the Federal Election Commission have been detailed by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is seeking information relating to a former co-worker, Lois Lerner. The loss of emails has hampered discovery.

The committee released a letter from chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., to Lee Goodman, the chairman of the Federal Election Commission, asking for records and information about the activities of April Sands. The Inspector General of the Commission reported she could not obtain some of Sands’ emails, since the Commission had recycled her computer hard drive. As a result, there was no prosecution.

Full story

July 14, 2014

Small Donors, Retirees Still Fuel Palin

Former Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin is covering her ongoing political expenses with the help of retirees and others providing small donations to her PAC.

Sarah PAC, the political action committee of Sarah Palin, the former Republican nominee for Vice President in 2008, reported it had receipts of $460,648 and disbursements of $576,242 during the second quarter of 2014, leaving $970,939 cash on hand as of June 30th.

The PAC receipts included $335,408 from individuals contributing $200 or less. Of the $123,548 from 521 individuals giving more than $200, over 250 of them were listed as “retired.” Of the those itemized contributions, $27,426 came from California, and $15,261 came from Texas.

The PAC spent Full story

By Kent Cooper Posted at 3:14 p.m.
Donors, PACs

AFL-CIO Moves $3 Million to Super PAC

The AFL-CIO moved $3 million to a Super PAC for use during the 2014 elections, as well as for its Immigration Activism program.

A new quarterly report from Workers’ Voice, a Democratic-oriented super PAC, showed it received $3 million on April 7th from the AFL-CIO COPE Treasury account and $200,000 on June 30th from the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Pipe Fitting Industry. Full story

July 12, 2014

Dickstein Shapiro Losses $2 Million Lorillard Tobacco Account

A major Washington lobbying firm reported it is no longer lobbying for a top tobacco company, which usually paid the firm $2 million a year.

Dickstein Shapiro LLP, filed a termination report report on Friday indicating, as of July 11, it will no longer be lobbying for Lorillard Tobacco Company. The firm had earlier reported it had been paid $500,000 for lobbying during the second quarter of 2014.

During the last four quarters, Lorillard paid the firm $2,670,000. Since 1999, Lorillard has paid the firm $31.8 million for lobbying the federal government. View multi-year lobbying totals for Dickstein Shapiro’s Lorillard work.

Dickstein Shapiro lobbied for Lorillard on the issues of tobacco, taxes, health, and appropriations.

Dickstein Shapiro also filed terminations for over thirty other lobbying clients Full story

Super PAC Spends $1 Million Against Kingston

A Republican-oriented Super PAC has reported spending more than $1 million against Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., in his July 22nd Republican Party Senate primary run-off election.

CWA PAC, formerly known as Citizens for a Working America PAC and based in Beaufort, South Carolina, reported it spent $1,031,400 from May 1 through July 2nd, on independent expenditures opposing Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga.

CWA PAC reported Full story

July 10, 2014

Chamber of Commerce Spends $780K for Kingston

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported yesterday it spent $779,116 on July 8th for independent expenditures supporting Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga.,  in the July 22nd Republican party Senate primary runoff election.

The Chamber paid Revolution Agency of Alexandria, Virginia, $779,116 for TV and digital advertisement to run from July 8th through July 22nd.

This brings the Chamber’s independent expenditures supporting Rep. Kingston to $1,415,451 for calendar year 2014. View earlier posting on the Chamber’s May 28th spending.

Kingston is running against David Perdue, R-Ga., to become the Republican opponent of Michelle Nunn, D-Ga., in the November General Election.

July 9, 2014

Paul Ryan Collects Almost $7 Million (Corrected)

Romney Ryan 005 081112 445x297 Paul Ryan Collects Almost $7 Million (Corrected)

Corrected, 10:30 a.m. | 2012 vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul D. Ryan has had the time and opportunity to methodically meet and greet the top financial donors of the Republican Party around the country – and collect almost $7 million dollars in campaign contributions.

Ryan for Congress reported it had receipts of $1,611,280 during the second quarter of 2014. This brings the Wisconsin Republican’s election cycle total receipts to $6.95 million.

During the quarter, Ryan’s committee received over $1 million in direct contributions from individuals – with many from the financial services industry, $432,740 from PACs and other committees, and $156,596 from transfers in from joint fundraising efforts with this leadership PAC and his Ryan-NRCC Victory Committee. The committee spent $1,783,118 during the quarter, and has cash on hand of $3,835,558, and debts of $6,525, as of June 30th.

One June 16th, and prior to the close of books for the second quarter, the committee sent $1 million in excess funds to the National Republican Congressional Committee. It was also five days after Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., announced he would resign as House Majority Leader.

Donors included Full story

July 8, 2014

Bono’s One Action Ramps Up Lobbying

bono 08 062111 445x323 Bonos One Action Ramps Up Lobbying

The second 2014 quarterly disclosure report for Bono’s lobbying efforts has confirmed a major jump in direct advocacy efforts in 2014.

Bono co-founded One Action, a 501c4 non-profit organization that engages in grassroots and direct advocacy with policymakers and key influential persons around the world in support of smart and effective policies and programs, which are saving the lives of millions of people in the world’s poorest countries.

One Action reported it had spent $668,460 on lobbying the federal government in the second quarter of 2014. In the first quarter of 2014 it reported spending $694,623. These two 2014 quarters –  of spending more than $650,000 during each, are a substantial jump from the $425,000 to $500,000 spending per quarter in 2013. During the last twelve months, One Action has spent $2,255,801 on lobbying. View multi-year lobbying profile.

Full story

July 7, 2014

New Bill Relative To Lobbyists and Candidates

Speier2012 445x296 New Bill Relative To Lobbyists and Candidates

A bill recently introduced in Congress would require lobbyists to identify relatives who are senior government officials, and prohibit candidates and their committees from employing relatives.

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., recently introduced H.R. 5011, that seeks to curtail the benefits involved with candidates who hire relatives and lobbyists who have lobbying contacts with their relatives who are government officials.

Full story

FEC Provides Reminder and Resources for Upcoming Deadline

Federal candidates, PACS, and party committees have a major reporting deadline coming up that will provide the public with an update on the campaign financing of the 2014 elections. The Federal Election Commission has provided a reminder and resources to filers.

July Quarterly Filing Reminder. Quarterly filers have a report due on Tuesday, July 15 (covering activity through June 30). Quarterly reports sent by registered, certified or overnight mail must be postmarked no later than July 15, and paper filings sent by other means must be received by close of business on July 15. Electronic filers have until 11:59 p.m. (EDT) on the due date of the report to submit their reports on time. (Federal Election Commission staff in the Reports Analysis Division (RAD) will be available until 8:00 pm (EDT) on Tuesday, July 15, to answer questions regarding the content and filing of reports. To reach RAD, call 800-424-9530 (press 5) or 202-694-1130. For help with technical issues relating to electronic filing, dial the same toll-free number and press 4 or call 202-694-1307.) Active in a primary election? See the Compliance Map and click on your state for specific filing information pertinent to that primary. Full story

July 3, 2014

Court Rules Super PAC Not Quite Independent

A federal court has ruled that a super PAC making independent expenditures was not functionally distinct from its sister committee that was making contributions to candidates.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled yesterday in Vermont Right to Life v. Sorrel. Vermont Right to Life has two state accounts, one for a regular political committee that gives contributions, and one for a super PAC for making independent expenditures.

The Court found that the two committees were “enmeshed financially and organizationally.” The two entities had shared staff and often made joint expenditures. The Court found the two had not been acting independently and thus must share the state’s limitations on contributions to candidates.

At the federal level, hybrid Super PACs may Full story

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