Morning round up


Former Sens. Warren Rudman and Bob Kerrey, in their capacity as co-chairs of Americans for Campaign Reform (tagline: Our future depends on it), have written to the Federal Election Commission to warn against allowing federal candidates to raise unlimited funds from any source for Super PACs. (See our reporting on the issue here, here, here and here). Rudman and Kerrey quote testimony given almost a decade ago in the case McConnell v. FEC, the first challenge to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, better known as McCain-Feingold. In that case, a slew of former lawmakers explained just how corrupting it was to raise soft money–big contributions to the political parties that could be made by individuals, corporations or labor unions. When we interviewed James Bopp Jr., whose Republican Super PAC‘s fundraising strategy is to rely on party officials and federal candidates to direct donors to it, he argued that money donated to Super PACs is hard money, not soft–and thus candidates can raise it. The Federal Election Commission has yet to rule on an advisory opinion request, to which the Kerrey-Rudman letter is a response, from attorneys for a pair of Democratic Super PACs.

The Washington Post reports that states have been slow to implement new rules required under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: “As many legislatures around the country have finished their work for the year, fewer than one-fourth of states have taken concrete steps to create health insurance marketplaces, a central feature of the federal law to overhaul the U.S. health-care system.” Sadly, there’s no national database of state lobbying expenditures–would be interesting to see how much insurers, physicians groups and others are spending to influence state lawmakers on the design of health care exchanges and state Medicaid programs.

Another day, another Super PAC, this time the America for the People PAC. The group has a Web site here; not clear what its political orientation is, though its treasurer, Sergey Kolmykov, uses libertarian muse Ayn Rand as his Facebook tag.

Rick Santorum, former senator from Pennsylvania who lost his seat to Democrat Bob Casey Jr. in 2006, has thrown his hat in the presidential ring. Santorum’s Influence Explorer profile is here.