Post-campaign super PAC cash still flowing to consultants
More than five months after Newt Gingrich dropped out of the Republican presidential primary, the founder of the super-political action committee backing him was still drawing a check.
In fact, almost half of the $480,000 Rebecca Burkett paid herself as founder of Winning Our Future came after the former House speaker quit the race…
While the 2012 election is over, the financial windfall for political consultants and fundraisers spawned by the millions of dollars donated to super-PACs continues -- and often with little oversight. READ MORE
Super PACs become lobbying force
The National Association of Realtors has spent more than $65 million to lobby Congress and federal agencies on a wide array of issues in the past three years – from preserving mortgage-interest deductions on vacation homes to opposing efforts to increase the down payments required for home loans.
It recently added a weapon to its arsenal, a super PAC that spent more than $3 million this year to help more than a dozen Republican and Democratic candidates in tough congressional races who have sided with Realtors on key issues.
"You've got to elect folks who agree with you, so you have a voice at the table," said Scott Reiter, the Realtors' political director. The super PAC "is another tool for us," he said. READ MORE
Boehner, House GOP leaders offer 'fiscal cliff' counterproposal
House GOP leaders endorsed a debt-reduction plan Monday that would raise tax collections by $800 billion over the next decade, but they refused to budge on higher tax rates for the wealthy, the central issue dividing Republicans and Democrats…
That framework aims to raise new revenue through an overhaul of the tax code. It also calls for slicing $600 billion from federal health programs, in part by increasing the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, and saving $200 billion by applying a less generous measure of inflation to all federal programs, including Social Security benefits, according to GOP aides. READ MORE
Fiscal cliff plan: Center for American Progress offers deficit plan, pushes Obama on taxes
A think tank with ties to the Obama administration laid out a deficit-reduction proposal on Tuesday, urging the president to go bold and seek more concessions from Republicans on tax hikes.
The plan emerges as the White House and Republicans remain at loggerheads over averting some $600 billion in tax hikes and federal s p ending cuts set to start taking effect early in 2013 known as the "fiscal cliff."
The $4.1 trillion deficit-cutting plan from the Center for American Progress seeks $1.8 trillion in new revenue, compared with Obama's call to raise $1.6 trillion. READ MORE
Elizabeth Warren wins Senate Banking Committee seat: Sources
Nearly two years after Wall Street waged a successful campaign to keep consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren from running the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the incoming senator will be tapped to serve on the Banking Committee, according to four sources familiar with the situation. It's a victory for progressives who battled to win her a seat on the panel that oversees the implementation of Dodd-Frank and other banking regulations…
Warren's ascension to the panel gives her influence over regulators and the industry that non-panel members don't enjoy. READ MORE
The dark money forerunner of secret California millions
Talking Points Memo
In late October and early November, a dramatic legal battle played out in California between the state’s campaign finance watchdog and a little-known Arizona non-profit named Americans for Responsible Leadership.
It began on Oct. 15, when Americans for Responsible Leadership gave a whopping $11 million to a California group involved in the fights over a pair of Golden State ballot initiatives. The stakes were high — one proposition was Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax-hike initiative, the other would have prohibited labor unions’ from raising political money from payroll deductions. California Democrats and progressives were incensed that the millions of dollars coming from another state had been given anonymously. As a 501(c)4, or so-called “social welfare” group, Americans for Responsible Leadership could and did keep its donors secret under federal law.
“Eleven million dollars doesn’t just drop out of the sky,” Derek Cressman, vice president for state operations of the advocacy group Common Cause, told a California news outlet in October. READ MORE