100 Candidates Finish Campaigns with $700,000 in Bank

Sunlight Foundation: “The 100 candidates above each finished the election cycle with more than $700,000 in their campaign accounts. The majority of whom kept their war chests intact by coasting to re-election in a safe district. The top five on our leaderboard — all incumbents — each won re-election by margins of 20 points or more. A safe seat and a perch on one of the House’s top committees, or among party leadership, seems to be the recipe for big campaign cash surpluses.

“Republican congressman Darrell Issa, whose campaign had $3.7 million on hand at the latest tally, is the outgoing chair of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Paul Ryan, a prominent national figure, cruised to re-election. The surfeit of campaign dough will soon come in handy, as he will soon replace outgoing congressman Dave Camp as Chair of the House’s top tax committee.”

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WI Senator Announces He Won’t Self-Finance Re-Election Campaign

Greenbay Press Gazette: “When Sen. Ron Johnson seeks re-election in 2016, don’t look for the Wisconsin Republican to open his own checkbook this time around.

“Johnson contributed $8.8 million of his own money in 2010, according to campaign-finance data kept by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. There is currently about $670,000 in his campaign account.

“To put Johnson’s wealth in perspective, he is ranked 30th on CQ Roll Call’s list of wealthiest members of Congress and has a net worth estimated at $13.52 million.”

How American Crossroads Seemingly Violates Nonprofit Political Rules with Impunity

OpenSecrets: “In 2012, the year that Crossroads provided the lion’s share of its funding, ATR told the Federal Election Commission it spent nearly $15.8 million on “independent expenditures” — that is, direct advocacy for and against specific candidates. As OpenSecrets Blog first reported, that amounted to more than half of the total $31 million that ATR told the IRS it spent that year.

“Moreover, since the grant from Crossroads GPS made up 86 percent of ATR’s revenues that year, most of the money spent by ATR on political activity had to have been Crossroads’ money. Crossroads had already come close to spending about half of its own resources on politics, intending for its grants to other groups to fulfill its “social welfare” mandate. But by underwriting almost all of ATR’s budget, Crossroads, in effect, amplified and expanded its own political spending. And that’s to say nothing of Crossroads other grants to politically active groups.

“All this happened despite the fact that in 2012, Crossroads GPS claimed to have instituted more stringent requirements for how it selects grantees and how those grantees can use the funds.”

Democracy Alliance Meets in DC to Coordinate Liberal Millionaire Spending

Free Beacon: “The Democracy Alliance held its biannual donor conference at the ritzy Mandarin Oriental hotel in Washington, D.C., last week. The secretive meeting of liberal donors garnered some press attention, but a number of misconceptions about the organization remain.

“The Alliance coordinates the activities of high-dollar liberal and Democratic donors and leading left-wing activist groups, political action committees, and nonprofits. It does not accept donations; instead, it strategically vets and recommends groups for support by its donors, which include some of the wealthiest people in the world.”

Article claims to debunk three myths about the group, with a conservative viewpoint

Myth: Only 21 groups get Democracy Alliance support

Myth: DA-supported groups are minimally involved in electoral politics

Myth: DA fights political corruption and opacity

The Difficulty of Running a Populist Campaign in the Modern, Expensive Environment

The Salt Lank Tribune: “Yet there’s a limit to how far Warren, and the Democrats, can go with their little-guy theme, for one simple reason: They can’t afford it.

“More than ever in America, elections are purchased, not won. And that money comes from corporate and wealthy interests. Run against corporations and you lose that money — and the election.

“The Center for Responsive Politics estimates that $3.73 billion was spent in the 2014 midterms. The vast majority of that money comes from a small group; only 0.28 percent of the population contributed more than $200. Donations from business-related interests account for about 70 percent of the total — and Democrats are nearly as dependent on that cash, taking in 41?percent to the Republicans’ 58 percent.”

Nonprofit Leader Notes the Rising Danger of Campaign Spending in Elections

Bert Brandenburg from Justice at Stake in the Charlotte Observer: “The past decade and a half has seen a growing effort to buy state benches around the country. Spending on state supreme court campaigns has smashed records in more than two dozen states. Judges have responded by becoming professional fundraisers, courting attorneys and parties who appear before them.

“This year brought $14.4 million in judicial campaign TV advertising. The GOP also sought to bring its wave to the courts, as the Republican State Leadership Committee invested $3.4 million into a batch of state supreme court races nationwide.”

Breitbert Notes Contributions to Key Republican Congressman from Contractor Who May Benefit from President’s Immigration Plans

Breitbart: “The contractor, General Dynamics, is on the list of “interested vendors” for a draft solicitation that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), sent out to vendors in October. If the president goes through with an executive amnesty for millions of illegal aliens and General Dynamics gets the contract, a top official with the firm told Breitbart News that he expects the printing of the documents — including ID cards, work permits and Social Security cards for illegal aliens — would occur at a facility inside Chairman Rogers’ congressional district in Kentucky.”

“According to the Center for Responsive Politics, just this past election cycle, Rogers received $10,000 in donations from General Dynamics. In the 2010 cycle, Rogers received $8,500 from the company.”

“These revelations could explain Rogers’ hard push for funding the federal government in an omnibus bill that would fund everything—including the president’s planned executive amnesty—through next September, when the 2015 fiscal year ends.”

“When asked last week, Hing wouldn’t guarantee to Breitbart News that Rogers would uphold Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus’s promise to voters to block funding for Obama’s executive amnesty if voters delivered the U.S. Senate majority to Republicans, as they did.”