April 21, 2016

Rubio: Just kidding, I’m not actually running for president

By Jordan Libowitz

Last week, we wrote about how Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)—who is not running for president—responded to a letter from the FEC questioning his acceptance of excessive donations by transferring the money to his general election account.  This seemed a bit counterintuitive, since, again, Marco Rubio is not running for president.  Legally, he’s allowed to hold onto the money until he’s definitively not the nominee, as long as he keeps his campaign “suspended” and not closed, earning interest all the way.  Well, he must not have liked the attention, because in a filing dated yesterday, he let the FEC know that he would be returning the donations from his general election account.  Because he is not running for president.  Just as he wasn’t running for president last week.

Newly Disclosed Internal Documents Reveal Group’s Lies to IRS, FEC

When the Commission on Hope, Growth, and Opportunity (“CHGO”) formed in March 2010, it told the IRS that it was a “public welfare” organization focused on advocating for “sustained and expanding economic growth” that would not “spend any money attempting to influence” any “election.” When the FEC began looking into CHGO’s activities after the agency received complaints from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (“CREW”) and other groups about the ads CHGO ran in the 2010 election, CHGO’s counsel told the agency in June 2011 that the group was a “social welfare organization” that “conducts a public-outreach effort focused on macro-economic issues and functions as an economic ‘think tank.’” It even sent the FEC a copy of a “macro-economic analysis” that CHGO purportedly funded as an example of its academic bona fides. Read More ›

Marco Rubio isn’t running for president. Someone tell his campaign.

Marco Rubio is not running for president. There is no doubt about this fact; he made a big speech a month ago to make that clear. So when the FEC sent his campaign a letter about excessive donations they accepted during the primary, the campaign responded by returning those illegal donations, right? Not quite. Read More ›

Rep. Hunter’s Response to FEC Inquiry About Use of Campaign Funds Raises More Questions

Last week, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) sent Rep. Duncan D. Hunter’s (R-CA) campaign a letter requesting information about campaign expenditures that appeared to be for personal rather than political purposes. In particular, the FEC flagged payments in 2015 totaling $1,300 to a video game company and $1,650 to a private school called Christian Unified Schools that Rep. Hunter’s children attend. Read More ›

Drug Company Steps Up Contributions to Attorneys General Group Amid Legal Trouble

Mallinckrodt PLC, a St. Louis-based pharmaceutical manufacturer fending off investigations in several states, has increased its donations to groups representing the nation’s attorneys general, who are often responsible for state investigations, in recent years. In 2015, Mallinckrodt significantly increased its donations to Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA) after it revealed in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings that it was the subject of an investigation by several states for its drug pricing and reimbursement practices. Read More ›

Arizona Steps Into the Dark

Arizona should take heed: beware the ides of March. The same day ethics complaints were filed against four members of the Arizona House—March 15, known as the Ides of March for the first full moon of a new year and the famous line in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar—a House panel passed a bill that would open the floodgates for secret money in the state’s elections. After passing several different House panels, the bill passed the full House this past Monday. With a potential ethics investigation looming for state representatives—including the House Speaker—Arizona should be moving toward more transparency, not becoming “ground zero in [the] fight over secret political spending.” Read More ›

We’ve Got Some Questions for the Trump Foundation

In response to our complaint filed last week that the Trump Foundation appeared to have illegally given a contribution to a political group supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi at a time when her office was reportedly looking into claims against Trump University, the Trump campaign offered a winding explanation that asks more questions than it answers. Read More ›

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