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Kanye: 'I Am Taking the Red Hat Off'

But potential candidate tells 'Forbes' Trump is 'special,' Biden isn't

(Newser) - Kanye West still has some work to do if he's serious about making a 2020 run for the White House, but he managed to carve out "four rambling hours" to talk to Forbes on Tuesday on his run under the "Birthday Party" banner—"because when we... More »

Schumer Concedes Cheesecake Spending

Senator confirms $8,600 tab for gifts, wagers

(Newser) - Faced with a report of major spending at a Brooklyn business, Sen. Chuck Schumer didn't blink. The New Yorker admitted guilt, with an explanation. "I love Junior's Cheesecake so much," he told reporters Sunday. Then he passed mini-cheesecakes around the gathering, the Washington Post reports. Filings... More »

They Helped Giuliani in Ukraine. Now They're in Handcuffs

Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman arrested on campaign finance violations

(Newser) - Two Florida businessmen tied to President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani have been arrested on campaign finance violations resulting from a $325,000 donation to a political action committee supporting Trump's reelection. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman—both involved in the push to get Ukraine to investigate Joe... More »

Sanders Signs DNC Pledge, but Another Filing Raises Eyebrows

Bernie vows to be a Democrat for 2020, but for 2024 Senate reelection it's back to independent

(Newser) - Anyone miffed that a longtime independent senator is hoping to gain the Democratic Party's nomination for president can take comfort that he's vowing to stick by the party—for now, at any rate. Per NBC News , Vermont's Bernie Sanders has inked a "loyalty pledge" with the... More »

'Dysfunctional' FEC Missing a Head Lawyer for 2 Years

Agency is heading right into Election 2016 with no chief counsel

(Newser) - When your chairwoman goes on the record as saying your agency is "worse than dysfunctional," chances are you may have a hard time attracting talent. That's the issue now faced by the Federal Election Commission in terms of its legal counsel: Next month will hit the two-year... More »

Clean Election '16? FEC Chair Throws Up Her Hands

'People think the FEC is dysfunctional. It’s worse than dysfunctional'

(Newser) - Sure, people moan about political kingmaking , the soaring cost of campaigns , and the money bombs both sides are dropping , but when the person doing the moaning is the chairwoman of the federal body set up to regulate money in politics, one tends to take notice. "The likelihood of the... More »

In Hillary's Corner: 2 Super PACs

George Washington University prof leads new group

(Newser) - Sure, she may not even run, but Hillary Clinton has already got a 2016 support network in place: Two super PACs are poised to fund a potential presidential run. The group "Ready for Hillary" filed with the Federal Election Commission on Friday, Politico reports, not long after "HillaryClintonSuperPAC"... More »

States Skip FEC, Demand IDs of Nonprofit Donors

FEC gridlock prompts action

(Newser) - The Federal Election Commission is stuck in partisan gridlock—so states are taking nonprofit donor disclosure into their own hands. California this month called on an Arizona group to uncover the source of $11 million used for ballot measure fights; recent court cases in Idaho and Minnesota have forced political... More »

John Edwards Repays $2.1M to Taxpayers

He had received the public matching funds after dropping out of race

(Newser) - John Edwards' campaign has repaid more than $2.1 million in public matching funds it received after the Democrat ended his bid for the 2008 Democratic nomination. An FEC rep confirmed yesterday that the agency had received the money. The bipartisan election commission ruled unanimously last year that Edwards was... More »

FEC Approves Colbert's PAC

In a move that actually scares some activists

(Newser) - The FEC today approved Stephen Colbert’s request to form a Super PAC that can accept and spend unlimited quantities of money on the 2012 elections. The hearing, alas, was “devoid of anything beyond a gentle chuckle,” with Colbert attorney Trevor Potter doing all the talking, according to... More »

Obama Looks to Crack Down on Secret Donations

Administration actions would replace law Congress fails to pass

(Newser) - The Obama administration has drafted an executive order that would force all companies seeking government contracts to disclose their donations to groups airing political ads, as part of a multi-pronged attack on the kind of anonymous campaign spending Republicans walloped Democrats with last year. The FEC is also moving to... More »

Steele Hid $7M in Debt From FEC: RNC Treasurer

RNC accused of fudging its numbers

(Newser) - The Republican National Committee’s treasurer has found $7 million in debts the committee didn’t report to the FEC, and has accused Michael Steele of intentionally hiding them. The finding, reported to the FEC yesterday, is likely to bring a big fine down on the committee, which now looks... More »

Court Rescinds Cap on Political Spending by Nonprofits

Emily's List wins ruling on 'soft money'

(Newser) - A federal appeals court today rescinded FEC limits on “soft money,” the Washington Post reports. The federal regulations had required that funds used by a nonprofit to influence a federal election be drawn from “hard money” accounts—individual contributions of “hard money” are capped at $5,... More »

Spreadsheets Can't Handle Democrats' Haul

FEC, watchdogs, Excel struggle to keep up with bulging bank accounts

(Newser) - The Democratic presidential candidates have raised so much money that the FEC can’t handle the data, Politico reports. Barack Obama’s January report was so big that industry standard spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel 2003 couldn’t handle it. By March, Hillary Clinton had also broken the Excel barrier—... More »

How the Left Wing Brought Me Down

Ex-election watchdog nominee details 'poisonous tactics'

(Newser) - Controversial civil-rights lawyer Hans von Spakovsky, who last week withdrew from consideration for appointment to the Federal Election Commission, pens a post-mortem of his own candidacy in the Wall Street Journal. Asserting that “character assassination … has become the norm” for conservatives in confirmation battles, von Spakovsky says calling... More »

Election Watchdog Pick Absurdly Partisan

Already-crippled FEC can't afford to see dismissed chief replaced by Bush crony: Times

(Newser) - President Bush’s latest maneuvering with the Federal Election Commission does nothing to fix the standoff over unacceptable nominees, New York Times editors argue. Instead, the White House has made it worse, moving to can the chairman who questioned John McCain’s “funding machinations”—and sub in a... More »

Hillary Camp in the Red Last Month

Campaign raked in dollars but spent big and owes millions

(Newser) - Hillary Clinton’s campaign is in debt despite a massive influx of donations last month, according to FEC filings. She raised $35 million in February, spent $31 million and ended up with $33 million—but most of it is reserved for the general election and the rest is owed. However,... More »

Obama Pulled In $32M in January

Meanwhile, McCain makes headway after beginning '08 in debt

(Newser) - Barack Obama has raised $32 million this month, the Washington Post reports—a massive number in such a short span. The Democrat's campaign manager reported 170,000 new donors in January, raising the total number of contributors to 650,000. The best fundraising day was immediately following Hillary Clinton’s... More »

Deadlock Shuts Down Election Commission

Spat over nominees means no campaign funds after Jan 1

(Newser) - A standoff in Congress will force the agency that doles out federal campaign dollars and polices political spending to go dark on New Year's Eve—just in time for the start of the primaries, the Washington Post reports. The Federal Election Commission needs four votes from its six members to... More »

Edwards Could Lose Millions in Matching Funds

$4.3M in ActBlue web donations may violate election law

(Newser) - A tricky online fundraising format could dent John Edwards’ clean donations reputation—and cost him millions in federal funds. Edwards is the only top-tier Democrat accepting public financing, which matches individual donations up to $250. The system's exclusion of  funds “drawn on the account of a committee” may imperil... More »

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