RNC Scandal: Pay For Play

Ken AshfordCampaign Finance Reform, Political Scandals, Republicans, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

CBS News: A CBS News investigation has uncovered a possible pay-for-play scheme involving the Republican National Committee and President Donald Trump’s nominee for ambassador to the Bahamas. Emails obtained by CBS News show the nominee, San Diego billionaire Doug Manchester, was asked by the RNC to donate half a million dollars as his confirmation in the Senate hung in the … Read More

The Case Against Rudy And How Citizens United Got Us Here

Ken AshfordCampaign Finance Reform, L'Affaire Ukraine, Supreme Court, Trump & Administration, Trump ImpeachmentLeave a Comment

Since the NYT revealed that SDNY is investigating Rudy Giuliani for what they call “lobbying” laws, Mr. Lutsenko initially asked Mr. Giuliani to represent him, according to the former mayor, who said he declined because it would have posed a conflict with his work for the president. Instead, Mr. Giuliani said, he interviewed Mr. Lutsenko for hours, then had one of his … Read More

Polarization Isn’t The Problem; It’s Conservatism, Stupid

Ken AshfordCampaign Finance Reform, Election 2018Leave a Comment

Food for thought, from Eric Levitz at NY Magazine: While Democratic and Republican voters earnestly (and vehemently) disagree on plenty of issues, surveys suggest these disputes are hardly more numerous or severe than they were three decades ago (when bipartisan comity was still alive and well on Capitol Hill). When asked to opine on discrete questions of public policy, the … Read More

In Other News, The OTHER Trump-Russia Connection

Ken AshfordBreaking News, Campaign Finance Reform, Gun Control, L'Affaire Russe, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

This is getting almost no coverage (update: okay NOW it is), but there is breaking news on another front. The DOJ just announced the arrest of an unregistered Russian agent, Maria Butina. Right now, the only charge is that Ms. Butina was an unregistered foreign agent, but the FBI was investigating her on the belief that she worked at the … Read More

Russia And The NRA

Ken AshfordCampaign Finance Reform, Crime, Gun Control, L'Affaire Russe, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

McClatchy: Several prominent Russians, some in President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle or high in the Russian Orthodox Church, now have been identified as having contact with National Rifle Association officials during the 2016 U.S. election campaign, according to photographs and an NRA source. The contacts have emerged amid a deepening Justice Department investigation into whether Russian banker and lifetime NRA member … Read More

Trump Pardons Dinesh D’Souza

Ken AshfordCampaign Finance Reform, Crime, General corruption, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Dinesh D’Souza is a conservative “scholar” and terrible filmmaker who has said of Obama “you can take the boy out of the ghetto” ridiculed Michelle Obama as “affirmative action” Princeton student said slavery wasn’t racist, slaves were treated “pretty well” mocked Rosa Parks suggested the Charlottesville rally was staged shared a meme calling Obama a “gay Muslim” suggested Michelle Obama … Read More

Trump Campaign Trying To Break Every Campaign Finance Law Ever Written

Ken AshfordCampaign Finance Reform, Crime, L'Affaire Russe, Stormy Daniels & Karen McDougal Affairs, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Or so it seems. ABC News reports: The Trump campaign has spent nearly $228,000 to cover some of the legal expenses for President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen, sources familiar with the payments tell ABC News, raising questions about whether the Trump campaign may have violated campaign finance laws. Federal Election Commission records show three payments made from the Trump … Read More

WSJ Reporting Indicates Trump Campaign Violation

Ken AshfordCampaign Finance Reform, Election 2018, Stormy Daniels & Karen McDougal Affairs, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

Remember how Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid $130,000 of his own money to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in the final weeks of the campaign so her past affair with Trump wouldn’t come out? And how there was question about exactly how often Cohen had paid people off for Trump using his own money, whether this was a campaign contribution, and … Read More

Tough Days For Trump Continue

Ken AshfordCampaign Finance Reform, Election 2016, PollsLeave a Comment

I pointed out here that Trump’s campaign is sending solicitation emails to members of Parliament. But it is worse than that: Members of parliament in Australia, Iceland, Denmark, and Finland have all received the emails, according to news reports and tweets from the politicians. For example… The Trump campaign has also asked members of parliament in Iceland for campaign contributions, … Read More

Trump Forgives Loans To His Campaign

Ken AshfordCampaign Finance Reform, Election 2016Leave a Comment

Reuters reports: Donald Trump has forgiven $50 million in loans he made to his campaign, a top staffer said on Thursday, signaling to donors that future contributions will be used to fight Democrat Hillary Clinton and not to repay himself. The announcement that Trump will not seek reimbursement, made by his campaign finance chief in a CNBC interview, came amid … Read More

Welcome To The Post-Citizens United World

Ken AshfordCampaign Finance ReformLeave a Comment

Ready for this? In the early presidential fundraising returns, half the $388 million contributed so far came from fewer than 400 families, with 62 donors giving at least $1 million. As the Huffington Post’s Paul Blumenthal put it, “For the first time in more than a century, the majority of funding for a presidential election is coming in six-figure or larger … Read More

Breaking: SCOTUS Makes The Money-In-Politics Problem Worse

Ken AshfordCampaign Finance Reform, Constitution, Supreme CourtLeave a Comment

Further loosening the reins on the role of money in politics, the U.S. Supreme Court today struck down restrictions on the grand total that any person can contribute to all federal candidates for office. Today's decision left intact the cap of $2,600 per election that a contributor to give to any single candidate for federal office, but it invalidated the … Read More

Bachmann’s Ethic Troubles Get Worse

Ken AshfordCampaign Finance Reform, Congress, Tea PartyLeave a Comment

Last week, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) participated in a press conference about Medicaid reimbursement, but reporters had some questions about the right-wing congresswoman's ethics troubles. Instead of responding, Bachmann literally ran away, while some aides "physically blocked reporters" to keep them at bay, and other aides were seen "pushing reporters out of the way as Bachmann left the room." It … Read More

Three Ways That Wall Street Occupies Washington, DC

Ken AshfordCampaign Finance Reform, Class Warfare, Corporate GreedLeave a Comment

From Think Progress: 1. Wall Street Occupies Washington With Massive Campaign Contributions: On Nov. 12, 1999 President Bill Clinton signed into law the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, a Depression-era law that created a firewall between commercial and investment banking. Repealing this law was one of the top legislative goals of the financial industry. In the 1998 election cycle, commercial banks spent … Read More