- Oct 17, 2017
Trevor Potter, a Republican former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, called the Trump campaign's early fundraising "unprecedented" and raised questions about how upfront the campaign is being with its donors.
"We're in an unprecedented situation and it's all new territory. The key question here is what do donors know and what are their expectations?" Potter said.
The Eagle: To fund bid against Ted Cruz, former mayor puts up building as prize in "essay and rib contest"Oct 16, 2017
Brendan Fischer, director of federal and FEC reform at the Campaign Legal Center, said McQueen should be careful not to accept bids from foreign nationals or other parties barred from contributing to U.S. political campaigns.
“You can see how this creates a situation where you can run afoul of the law,” Fischer said. “A much better way of raising money for his campaign is to sell the property and just donate money to his campaign. It seems like it’s a much more tortured effort to create this sort of convoluted lottery.”
- Oct 16, 2017
Much of that money has gone to RAN’s executives, despite its lack of apparent political activity. And according to Brendan Fischer, the director of federal and FEC reform projects for the Campaign Legal Center, that could be contributing to its financial state of affairs.
“Perhaps the only check on a super PAC paying excessive compensation to its executives is that they’ll burn bridges with donors,” Fischer said in an email. “Presumably donors who write big checks to super PACs want their money spent electing candidates, not to go directly into the pocket of the super PAC’s staff.”
- Oct 16, 2017
Walter Shaub, who resigned as the director of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics in July 2017, said the rules governing a particular trust are key to understanding whether an official has to disclose the entire trust, or just the assets that produced income shortly before they were transferred out of the filer’s hands. “If someone were to divest an asset by giving it away, it’s important that that asset never wind up back in the donors’ hands again,” Shaub said. “If at some point in the future that person ends up with the asset again, it’s going to look like it was a sham divestiture.”
- Oct 13, 2017
One of them, the Campaign Legal Center, called the Trump administration’s plan to allow for-profit colleges to enrich officials who implement the GI Bill “contrary to law and arbitrary and capricious.”
“We couldn’t just rely on informal assurances offered to the media,” said Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, who resigned in protest in July.
Houston Chronicle: Congressman seeks probe of Facebook ‘embedding’ in San Antonio office of Trump campaignOct 12, 2017
The issue of companies placing workers in political campaigns is relatively new, like other matters related to social media influence that emerged in the 2016 elections, said Brendan Fischer, of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center in Washington.
“If Facebook’s practice is to embed a representative with any advertiser who spends over a certain amount of money, or with any advertiser that buys a particular package, it’s not obviously impermissible for Facebook to do the same with the Trump campaign,” Fischer said.
But Fischer, like other campaign finance experts, noted gaps in Federal Election Commission rules that make it impossible to know how campaigns spend advertising dollars.
He noted, for instance, that campaigns typically disclose lump-sum payments to contractors or subcontractors, which in turn spend money on advertising.
“I think there’s certainly a lot of room for requiring greater detail on how campaigns are spending money generally, and specifically spending money on digital ads,” he said.
- Oct 12, 2017
“That to me seems flat out illegal,” said Adav Noti, a former attorney with the Federal Election Commission, in reference to the Capitol Hill Club membership expense. “I’m racking my brain to think of a legal use here.”
In reviewing the committee's expenditures, Noti, who spent more than 10 years in the FEC's general counsels office, said Stearns' filings in general were unusual.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Noti, who is now the Campaign Legal Center’s director of trial litigation and strategy. The center is a Washington-based non-partisan organization.
- Oct 10, 2017
The Wisconsin Right to Life case is noteworthy not only for helping enable dark money spending but for demonstrating how much the composition of the Supreme Court matters, Brendan Fischer, an attorney with the Campaign Legal Center, said.
- Oct 10, 2017
"Both law and common sense tell us that taxpayer resources are supposed to be used when you're doing the taxpayers' business [but] are not supposed to be used to help candidates get elected," said Brendan Fischer of the nonprofit watchdog organization Campaign Legal Center.
- Oct 8, 2017
“When the FEC failed to take action [against Bush and other presidential candidates], it was inevitable the practice would spread to Senate and House races and the level of candidate involvement would increase to the point that these super PACs are seen as an extension of the campaigns,” said Campaign Legal Center senior director Lawrence Noble, a former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission.