Sunrise (5/12/11)

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FCC MEMBER JUMPS TO K STREET

The Hill: “Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker, a Republican, plans to leave the Federal Communications Commission to join the Washington office of Comcast/NBC Universal, according to people familiar with the move. … The development is the second high-profile snag for the company after it hired Kyle McSlarrow, the longtime cable industry lobbyist earlier this year. It’s unclear how Commission staffing will shake out, as it was widely anticipated that Baker would be renominated for her position.”

FOREIGNERS SUE TO MAKE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS

Politico: “Raising the specter of “foreign money” boosting your opponent’s campaign has become a bipartisan tactic in the past two election cycles. … In 2008, conservatives alleged that Barack Obama’s presidential campaign was fueled in part by illegal cash from Iran and other hostile lands. Two years later, Obama and his allies ominously suggested that secret streams of foreign cash – this time from corporations – were boosting Republicans. … Neither side was able to offer much compelling evidence to support their arguments, and both endured accusations of stoking jingoistic sentiment for partisan advantage. So now an unlikely team of foreigners with no apparent ties to Washington’s political class is trying to do the unthinkable – make foreign campaign contributions legal. … Their lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission, which seeks to overturn a long-standing ban on foreign nationals contributing to campaigns, airing ads and making other expenditures, will be heard Thursday by a special panel of federal district court judges created specifically to fast-track campaign finance challenges straight to the Supreme Court. Since election law experts believe such a case is ripe for a high court ruling, it could reignite another round of innuendos and accusations for the third consecutive election cycle.”

CITIZENS UNITED KILLED THE POLITICAL PARTY STAR

NJ: “After two years of almost nonstop bad electoral news, Democrats have a golden opportunity to pick up a Republican-held House seat in upstate New York. Republicans, meanwhile, face the unpleasant prospect of losing a district they’ve held for generations, something that would allow Democrats to claim political momentum sped by the unpopularity of the details of the House-passed fiscal 2012 budget spearheaded by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. … So why have both parties been so reluctant to invest in New York’s 26th District? … The flurry of independent expenditures this week, which eventually forced both sides into the race, began with American Crossroads, an independent organization that in 2010 spent more than $70 million on behalf of GOP candidates. And that tells us a ton about who really drives political decisions in Washington.”

WHERE ARE HALEY’S DONORS GOING TO GO?

Politico: “A slow-developing fundraising race in the GOP’s 2012 field got a shot of adrenaline in recent weeks when as much as $55 million in future contributions came up for grabs, thanks to Haley Barbour’s departure from the race. Mitt Romney, for one, wasted no time. … “Haley called me at 4 p.m. and Mitt called at 6:30 p.m. We’ll be hosting a fundraiser for him in June,” said Bobbie Kilberg, a Virginia political insider and one of dozens of Republican fundraisers suddenly back on the market after Barbour’s exit.”

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