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March 8, 2024

Campaign Finance Roundup

Campaign Finance Roundup: March 8, 2024

March 8, 2024
Published By American Promise
Another installment in our series of stories about how our elections are being bought out from under us and all that matters is fundraising and the donor class.

Biden’s plan for Trump: Bury him with campaign cash

From POLITICO: 
What makes for a good political campaign? Sound policies? A likable candidate? Respectful debate? Nah, it’s all about throwing giant piles of money around. Now that Super Tuesday is over, the Biden campaign and its allies are preparing for “a war until November.” The presidential election is expected to see $2.7 billion (yes, with a B) in spending, and the Biden camp is planning on spending the majority of it. Groups supporting Biden have already committed to spending more than $700 million, and Biden and the DNC have a $41 million fundraising lead over Trump and the RNC. Get ready for 8 months of negative ads!

Oregon is on the verge of creating limits on campaign cash — without a ballot fight

From Oregon Public Broadcasting: 
A rare bit of good news! Oregon state lawmakers are close to passing the state’s first limits on campaign contributions, with support from members of both parties and good governance groups, who are hoping to avoid a costly and protracted ballot measure campaign in the fall. The bill passed unanimously out of the House Rules Committee, setting it up for potential passage. Unfortunately, there’s only so much Oregon can do to regulate its own elections. Under current Supreme Court doctrine, the state is not allowed to regulate how much “independent expenditure” groups, such as Super PACs, can spend in their elections: “Even with strict limits on what candidates can accept, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled nothing can stop interest groups from buying ads in support of candidates as long as they don’t coordinate with the candidate.” 

Super PAC backing Robert Kennedy Jr. campaign accused of campaign finance violations

From USA Today:
The DNC has filed a formal complaint against the American Values 2024 Super PAC, which is backing Robert Kennedy Jr.’s independent bid for president. The DNC alleges that the Super PAC didn’t properly disclose a $10 million dollar loan from private security executive Gavin de Becker, of which $9.65 million was repaid. The DNC claims that the loan may have led people to believe that the Super PAC had more money than it actually did. I don’t know, though. I mean, who among us hasn’t lent a friend a casual $10 million but needed to ask for most of it back right after? 

Virginia lawmakers again decline to put restrictions on personal use of campaign accounts

From The Associated Press:
Remember earlier this year, when we saw Virginia lawmakers potentially finally passing a bill that would block candidates from spending campaign funds on personal expenses? Yeah, never mind all that. They quietly killed both versions of the bill in the House of Delegates. Democratic Del. Luke Torian, chair of the Appropriations Committee, said that the measure would be “one of the priorities that will be before us during the 2025 session,” though he declined to explain why it wasn’t a priority before them in the 2024 session. Or any of the ones before that. 

‘Guardian Angel’ donations top $124 million in 2023

From OpenSecrets:
Today in “there really isn’t a better name for that?”: “Guardian Angel” donors — megadonors who account for more than 40% of a political group’s contributions — gave more than $124 million in 2023. These donors are very valuable to Super PACs and similar groups, because their support allows the groups to ignore silly things like “popular opinion” and “building consensus.” You know, stuff that has no place in a democracy. Instead, they only have to appeal to the tastes of their single big donor. There’s a word for “a small number of rich people who wield outsized political power,” and it’s not “guardian angel.” As explained in the article: “There’s been a sort of development towards larger and larger amounts from a smaller and smaller class of very big donors since Citizens United in 2010 . . . Essentially, that’s empowering those people in our politics over the millions and millions of voters who by majority rule are supposed to be controlling the outcome of elections.”

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