Sunrise (2/28/11)

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SOME LAWMAKERS RACK UP DOZENS OF CAMPAIGN FINANCE INQUIRIES

Roll Call: “The FEC routinely sends letters to campaigns asking them to explain records that appear to be incorrect; since 2003, the agency wrote more than 18,000 letters to 3,300 candidates, according to a Roll Call study of campaign finance records. … But several Members of Congress have received more than their share of queries. … No one has received more of these questions than Rep. Henry Cuellar. As the Texas Democrat raised and spent more than $5 million, he also racked up 63 notifications from the FEC since 2003 questioning his campaign finance reports. … These agency notifications often included strong language and warned the campaign that it could face “an audit or enforcement action” if it did not adequately answer the FEC’s concerns.”

BROKEN FEC MEANS MORE UNDISCLOSED MONEY

LAT: “If an impasse at the Federal Election Commission remains, corporations, unions and wealthy individuals will be able to fund hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign advertisements for next year’s presidential and congressional elections while keeping their names and roles secret. … The agency’s three Democratic commissioners want full disclosure — saying current law and the Supreme Court’s most recent decision on campaign spending require it. The three Republican commissioners challenge that interpretation and favor a largely hands-off approach. … The justices said they foresaw a new era of corporate-funded ads combined with “effective disclosure” so citizens and shareholders would know who was paying for the messages. “This transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said. … But many independent political groups, especially those dedicated to electing conservative candidates, have taken the position that the disclosure law does not apply to them because their donors are unaware of exactly how their money will be spent. Last year, outside groups that were separate from candidates and political parties spent $294 million on campaign ads, four times more than in 2006.”

TRENT LOTT LOBBIES, ADVISES SENATORS

Roll Call: “The Mississippi Republican, who spent 35 years in public office, has evolved from a master vote-counter into a power broker on K Street who still acts as an adviser to his former colleagues. … Before Lott departed the Senate in late 2007, the one-time Majority Leader was well-known for the easy way that he made personal connections with his colleagues. But his ability to maintain those connections after he left Congress has set him apart in a business where individual contacts are the keys to power.”

FUNDRAISING PARTIES TODAY

–Fundraisers for today are available here.

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