campaign finance

McConnell Counts Down Days Until Obama Leaves
Ex-Lawmakers Push for Campaign Finance Overhaul

Daschle, shown here in his Daschle Group office, is one of several senators on the group. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new caucus of former elected officials — now freed of chasing money to keep their seats — is pushing for a comprehensive campaign finance overhaul.  

During an election cycle with an estimated multibillion-dollar price tag, the new “ReFormers Caucus,” launched by campaign finance nonprofit organization Issue One, includes more than 100 ex-lawmakers and other elected officials who are no longer running for office.  

Leftovers: What Happens to Members' Campaign War Chests

Sen Campaign Fundraising

And although there was chatter earlier this year that Shelby might face a primary challenge, the deadline to file in Alabama's Republican primary is just more than a week away.  

Schumer and Shelby both hold influential roles in the Senate, and at the end of the third quarter, they had accumulated the two biggest campaign war chests.  

Campaign Finance Reform PAC Wants to Be a Player in 2016

Bennet is one of two Senate race endorsements End Citizens United PAC has made so far this cycle. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A new campaign finance reform political action committee expects to be among the top five outside groups to assist campaigns this cycle.  End Citizens United PAC has raised more than $2 million from its online supporters since it formed in March and says it's on track to raise $25 to $30 million to funnel through a yet-to-be-created independent expenditure arm.  

The group is hoping to grow its ranks when it begins renting Ready for Hillary's email list this week. That "partnership," Communications Director Richard Carbo told CQ Roll Call on Tuesday, "highlights our legitimacy."  

Tossup New York House Race Starting to Take Shape

Gibson's retirement sets off a competitive open-seat race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The heart of summer may have passed, but the temperature in New York's 19th District is only starting to warm up.  

Democrats see it as a top-tier pickup opportunity, a rare open-seat House race in a tossup district that President Barack Obama won twice. The GOP is gearing up to defend it in a presidential election year that could include former Empire State Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton at the top of the ticket. For now, most of the action is taking place behind the scenes.  

GOP Tries to Portray Feingold as a Hypocrite Over PAC Spending

Feingold is running a comeback bid in Wisconsin. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans are eager to use former Sen. Russ Feingold's signature issue against him in 2016, as the Democrat wages a comeback bid in a Senate contest key to his party's quest for the majority.  

After losing re-election to a fourth term in 2010, Feingold, who had championed limits on spending in federal elections, launched the Progressives United PAC, which the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported spent a large percentage of the $7.1 million it raised on overhead and staff salaries. Republicans are already attempting to use that news to paint Feingold as a hypocrite.  

Operative Gets 2 Years in First Campaign-Super PAC Coordination Case (Updated)

Harber worked for a candidate trying to oust Connolly, above, from his Virginia House seat. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 5:35 p.m. |  Tyler Harber, a former Republican political operative, was sentenced to two years in prison for his involvement in illegal coordination between a campaign and a super PAC, according to The Washington Post , in the first case of its kind.  

Harber — who pleaded guilty to the charges in February — is the first political operative to go down for an illegal coordination violation, according to federal prosecutors. Those prosecutors lobbied for a harsh punishment to try to deter others from engaging in similar activities.  

Elizabeth Warren Blasts SEC's Mary Jo White (Updated)

Warren sent the letter to White House on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 11:47 a.m. | In the aftermath of a meeting last month between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary Jo White, the Massachusetts Democrat is detailing her disappointment with the top securities regulator, including about campaign finance.  

"I am disappointed by the significant gap between the promises you made during and shortly after your confirmation and your performance as SEC Chair. We have continued to talk, and you and I met personally on Wednesday, May 21, 2015, to discuss these issues," Warren wrote in a Tuesday missive to White. "At that meeting, however, you said little that indicated you would be changing your practices at the SEC."  

McConnell Hints at Prolonged Campaign Finance Debate

(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Democrats are facing the prospect of Republicans voting to prolong debate on a campaign finance constitutional amendment, a move that could interfere with Democrats' plans for a barrage of pre-election votes on issues from student loans to the minimum wage to equal pay for women.  

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has already scheduled a Monday evening vote to cut off debate on taking up a proposal sponsored by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M. to amend the constitution to effectively overturn the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, which threw out many limits on campaign spending on First Amendment grounds. Republicans vehemently oppose the amendment and it seemed, at least at the outset, that Democrats were planning for a quick defeat.  

New Bill Relative To Lobbyists and Candidates

Affordable Care Act

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.