MSNBC: Obama campaign reverses stance, urging donations to super PAC

-By Michael O'Brien

February 6, 2012- President Obama's re-election campaign made an about-face late Monday in its opposition to super PACs, encouraging donors to send their unlimited contributions to one such group founded by a former administration spokesman.

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina emailed supporters to formally endorse contributions to Priorities USA, the Democratic super PAC founded by Bill Burton, a former White House deputy press secretary.

"With so much at stake, we can't allow for two sets of rules in this election whereby the Republican nominee is the beneficiary of unlimited spending and Democrats unilaterally disarm," Messina wrote on the campaign's blog. "Therefore, the campaign has decided to do what we can, consistent with the law, to support Priorities USA in its effort to counter the weight of the GOP Super PAC."

The decision represents a stark reversal for Obama, who has been among the most vocal critics of these outside political spending groups since the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling that paved the way for the rise of super PACs.

CNN: Forgetting a key lesson from Watergate?

-By John Blake

February 4, 2012- A bungled break-in, Deep Throat, a defiant President Richard Nixon declaring, "I am not a crook."

These are what often come to mind when people hear the word Watergate. But another legacy of the infamous scandal has re-emerged in this year's presidential race.

Many Americans may not remember, but public outrage over Watergate led to the enactment of a series of campaign finance reforms designed to restore the country's faith in government.

While the nation marks the 40th anniversary of the Watergate break-in later this year, some observers say our political leaders have already forgotten a key lesson of Watergate: that anonymous money corrupts political campaigns.

"Watergate was basically a campaign finance scandal," says Chris Dolan, a political science professor at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania.

Dolan and others say this historical amnesia can be seen in the U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision, which allows corporations and unions to give unlimited campaign donations to so-called super PACs as long as those political action committees are not coordinated with a candidate's campaign.

Mother Jones: Newt Gingrich's Gifts to Newt Gingrich—and Other Charities

A philanthropic breakdown of Gingrich's giving: education, the arts, disease research, and…his truly.

-By Josh Harkinson

February 3, 2012- When it comes to manipulating charitable giving for personal and political ends, Newt Gingrich wrote the book. In 1997, his charity work won him the dubious distinction of being the first House speaker ever disciplined by his peers for ethical wrongdoing. Congress fined Gingrich $300,000 in connection with claiming tax-exempt status for "Renewing American Civilization," a college course he'd taught for political purposes.

CNN: Senate Democrats to hold Super PAC hearings

By Ted Barrett

February 1, 2012- Washington (CNN) - Senate Democrats announced Tuesday they will hold hearings beginning later this month examining what they see as the negative impact of super PACs on the election process.

They also will work to develop legislation to require the disclosure of all donors to the increasingly powerful political organizations.

At the hearings, Democrats will ask organizers and possibly donors to testify.

"The more the public learn about this, the more reviled they will be about what's happening," said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York. "That involves having hearings and asking people why they gave and what motivated them. Showing people the affects."

Democrats wouldn't say who they would ask to testify, but at a news conference they repeatedly complained about two organizations run by Republican Karl Rove that raised $51 million last year - $33 million of which came from undisclosed donors.

Super PACs are flooding the airwaves with advertising during the Republican presidential primaries and caucuses.

Money Trends Research: Virginia Officials Confirm Criminal Election Fraud Investigation Of Gingrich Campaign

-by Gekko

February 1, 2012- Had the same thing been carried out by a worker for the now-defunct ACORN, Republicans — and even Newt Gingrich — would have called it massive “voter fraud.” But the 1,500 acts of fraud, by Gingrich’s own admission, were carried out by a worker hired by his campaign, so it seems the media have barely noticed it.

Nonetheless, The BRAD BLOG has received confirmation from two different state agencies that the 1,500 alleged cases of ballot petition fraud said to have been carried out on behalf of the Gingrich campaign, in their unsuccessful attempt to qualify for the Republican primary ballot in Virginia, are now being carried out by the state Attorney General’s office.

In late December, after Gingrich had failed to turn in enough valid signatures to qualify for the Virginia primary ballot, he was caught on video tape telling a supporter in Iowa that the reason for the failure was due to a campaign worker who created 1,500 fraudulent signatures.

Huffington Post: John McCain Blasts Citizens United Ruling

January 12, 2012- WASHINGTON -- Sen. John McCain says the Supreme Court ruling that led to formation of super PACs was "one of the worst decisions I have ever seen."

McCain, whose name has been synonymous with the push for campaign finance reform, also says, quoting, "I predict to you that there will be huge scandals associated with this huge flood of money."

McCain was referring to Citizens United, the court's 2010 ruling against limits on spending by independent organizations. The justices based their decision on freedom of speech principles.

A super PAC supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney ran negative ads against former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in Iowa. Gingrich says the spots substantially harmed his campaign. And Gingrich now is benefiting from similar spending by a group running anti-Romney ads in South Carolina.

VIEW IN ORIGINAL CONTEXT:

The Brad Blog: Newt Gingrich Committed Massive Voter Fraud! (According to GOP/Fox 'News' ACORN Standards)

-By Brad Friedman

December 28, 2011- If the same standards are applied to Newt Gingrich as have, for years, been applied to the now-defunct ACORN organization by both Republicans and their media arm, Fox "News", then it seems Newt Gingrich's campaign has committed thousands of acts of voter fraud.

As CNN and TPM are reporting right now:

Newt Gingrich, who failed to make it onto the ballot in Virginia, is alleging that fraud on the part of one of the signature collectors is to blame, reports CNN: “We hired somebody who turned in false signatures. We turned in 11,100 — we needed 10,000 — 1,500 of them were by one guy who frankly committed fraud,“ Gingrich said to a woman in Algona, Iowa.

Of course, there is no evidence that any vote has ever been fraudulently cast in any election in any state at any time via an improper registration by an ACORN worker. Moreover, virtually every fraudulent registration that came in via an ACORN worker was discovered and reported by ACORN themselves to authorities, since the group had imposed stringent practices to keep workers from defrauding them, which was the case in the few instances where it happened.

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