From Fox News:
The Sixteen Thirty Fund, the largest dark money network in the country, funneled almost $150 million to Democratic-aligned groups in 2022, including those working on voter engagement and environmental issues. Most of the donors to the Fund are anonymous, but one of its largest donors appears to be Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss. Foreign nationals are not permitted to make contributions that will be used to support or oppose candidates or parties, which may seem like it conflicts with the whole “donating millions of dollars that goes to groups that engage in electoral activity” thing. Luckily, a spokesperson for Wyss’s Berger Action fund stated that the group “follows all laws, regulations, and disclosure requirements.” So, problem solved! Never mind that the internal finances of many of these groups are private and we have no way to verify this claim; I’m sure it’s fine.
A new complaint from the watchdog group Campaign Legal Center claims that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign has illegally coordinated with the Super PAC Never Back Down, which is supporting his bid. Legally, campaigns and PACs are prohibited from coordinating their efforts – one of the few restrictions on what Super PACs can do. The new complaint from CLC alleges that the campaign and PAC are breaking even that rule. Notably, Never Back Down has paid for ground operations in Iowa, including hosting events with DeSantis.
Hosting an event featuring somebody you’re not coordinating with is an impressive feat. Did they set up a microphone and just hope DeSantis would show up and start giving a speech? Do Presidential candidates follow the rule of “if you build it, they will come?”
Good news, everyone! New Jersey’s new “Elections Transparency Act” has successfully… reduced transparency in NJ elections and led to an increase in spending and shady tactics.
In this case, it enabled organizations tied to NJ Democrats to engage in “political hijinks,” running ads to support conservative candidates who weren’t actually campaigning for office, in an attempt to split the Republican vote for the benefit of Democratic candidates. Because of the disclosure rules in the “Elections Transparency Act,” the groups involved didn’t have to reveal their donors until 3 weeks after the election, disguising their connection to Democrat PACs and officials. They should really consider renaming that law.
From The Arizona Capitol Times:
A bit of actual good news out of Arizona: a Superior Court Judge has rejected an attempt to block Proposition 211, overwhelmingly passed by AZ voters in 2022. The proposition created new disclosure requirements in the state, requiring organizations that spend over $50,000 on a statewide race to report the source of donations over $5,000, and to report the original source of the money, not just a shell corporation or nonprofit designed to conceal that source.
AZ state lawmakers filed suit to block Prop 211, attempting to argue that the proposition somehow harms their right as legislators to pass laws. I think that if the legislators really want to exercise their right to pass laws, they should stick it to the voters by passing an even more effective campaign finance law. That’ll really show ‘em!
From The New York Times:
Many of us were waiting on the conclusion of the writers’ and actors’ strikes to see our favorite movies and shows go back into production. But did any of us consider who was really hurt by these strikes? The wealthy LA donors who were deprived of constant personal attention by the President for months. Months! It’s a wonder they survived. Luckily, their long national nightmare is over, and President Biden is back on the Hollywood fundraising train, after staying away during the strikes. In December, the President attended multiple star-studded fundraisers, with tickets going for as much as half a million dollars. Glad to see everything is right with the world once again.
From The New York Times:
A new 156-page report produced by Democrats on the House Oversight Committee shows how foreign governments and entities they control paid at least $7.8 million to businesses owned by President Trump during his term. Largest among the governments paying Trump businesses was China, which spent $5.5 million on various Trump-owned properties.
I would imagine most people have forgotten about crypto, NFTs, and all that nonsense, after the industry’s rollercoaster 2022, going from Superbowl ads to $10 billion dollar fraud in less then a year. But it still exists, apparently, and somehow its proponents have enough money to spend millions on what really matters: Super PACs. Three allied crypto PACs are planning to spend at least $78 million on pro-crypto candidates running for office in 2024, in an attempt to create a more favorable political environment for crypto. The industry had a fairly quiet 2023, minus former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried being convicted on seven counts of fraud. So nowhere to go but up at this point, really.
A new report from one of the largest ad agencies in the world, GroupM, predicts that political ad revenue will reach $15.9 billion dollars in 2024. That represents a 31.2% increase over spending in 2020. If the trend continues, GroupM projects that spending will reach $20 billion by 2028. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t know if I can take $16 billion worth of advertisements, let alone $20+ billion. Eventually, I guess we’re just going to have to give up on seeing anything but political ads. No TV, only ads.
Or, we could do something about this never ending spending. Like, I don’t know, pass the For Our Freedom Amendment to finally enable reasonable campaign finance regulations.
Angry? Here’s what you can do:
Secure Candidate Pledges:
It’s easy to get angry at our elected officials for taking money from wealthy donors and ignoring the issues that matter most to us. And don’t get me wrong, a lot of the time they deserve it. But it’s important to remember that they work for us, and to give them a chance to prove that they’re committed to that ideal. Get your elected officials and candidates to sign the American Promise Candidate Pledge, affirming that they’ll use their office to advance the For Our Freedom Amendment and fight for We the People, not money.
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