“When the Electoral Map Governs Presidential Campaign Strategy”

…tate-to-state variations assume an outsize role. If Mr. Trump draws within 1.5 percentage points of Mrs. Clinton in the popular vote, according to calculations by Harry Enten at FiveThirtyEight, he would win 266 electoral votes under current patterns of support for the candidates. By tilting any of three additional battlegrounds — Colorado, New Hampshire or Pennsylvania — he would win the presidency….

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“Billboard magnate pours fortune into unusual single-handed effort for Trump”

…ing states. It is an unusual purchase and a throwback to a previous era when the wealthy had close to unfettered control over how their dollars were spent. Adams disclosed the spending this week in independent expenditure reports almost always filed by political action committees or nonprofits, rather than individuals: $150,000 in North Carolina, $200,000 in Pennsylvania and $300,000 in Michigan.  …

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“Outside groups spent nearly $100 million to sway Senate races”

…ured roughly $95.5 million through Aug. 30 into five Senate races aimed at the general election, proving that donors are deeply invested in the fight over which party controls Congress in 2017. The groups are spending big in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin. All of the races except Nevada are places where where Republican incumbents are battling well-known, popular Democrats in states that have historically tipped blue in…

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“Sixth Circuit Upholds Kentucky’s Failure to Have a Procedure for an Unqualified Party to Become a Qualified Party in Advance of Any Particular Election”

…en states that lacks any such procedure. Instead, Kentucky, and the other ten states, only have candidate petitions. A group can’t become a qualified party in Kentucky until after it puts a candidate for President on the ballot who then gets at least 2% of the vote. The other states that lack such a procedure for a group to become qualified in advance of an election are Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania,…

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“Donald Trump, a ‘Rigged’ Election and the Politics of Race”

…must-read from Maggie Haberman and Matt Flegenheimer in the NYT: Darrell L. Clarke, Philadelphia’s City Council president, said the racial overtones of Mr. Trump’s remarks were clear. “When you talk about ‘certain areas’ in Pennsylvania, we all know what that means,” he said. “He’s talking about Philadelphia and some of the urban areas.” The Trump campaign recently started a website urging people to sign up as election watchers. All campaigns…

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“Candidates, super-PACs pushing the boundaries?”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: As Senate candidate Katie McGinty pulled ahead of Pennsylvania Republican incumbent Pat Toomey in several recent polls, a right-leaning watchdog group filed a complaint alleging she broke federal election law by using her campaign website to cue super-PACs on what political messages to send. McGinty aides shot back that Mr. Toomey’s campaign — which they claim is behind the allegation — does the same thing. The…

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Donald Trump May Be Violating RNC Consent Decree Aimed at Voter Intimidation

With Trump’s dangerous and irresponsible hyperventilating about voter fraud and cheating in Pennsylvania potentially costing him the election, it is probably no surprise, as reported by the Weekly Standard, that Trump is seeking “election observers” to stop “Crooked Hillary” from “rigging this election.” However, there’s a longstanding consent decree that bars the RNC afrom engaging in such…

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Trump Encourages His Supporters to Patrol Polling Places, Says He Will Lose Pa. Only If There is Cheating

…rm right?” Of course every state has some form of voter identification—the question is whether to limit it to a strict set of identifications many people (especially poor and minority people) don’t have. On Pennsylvania: “The only way we can lose, in my opinion, I really mean this, Pennsylvania, is if cheating goes on. I really believe it,” he said Friday during a rally in Altoona, Pa. Trump said law enforcement and…

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“The Election Won’t Be Rigged. But It Could Be Hacked.”

…even indicating that the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, may have an edge. If the race is close, and the outcome questioned, voters in Georgia will have no means to audit the results. Other potential swing states, like Pennsylvania and North Carolina, also use electronic machines with no paper trail, at least in some counties. Across the country, according to the non-profit Verified Voting, people in at least a dozen states could encounter…

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“Koch network seeks to defuse donor frustration over Trump rebuff”

…deteriorate,” drawing scattered applause from the audience. On Sunday, Koch laid out the immediate political priorities: electing like-minded candidates to Congress and cultivating conservative leaders at the state level. So far, the network is active in six competitive Senate races, on its way to spend $42 million on paid ads in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.  …

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Penn Law Review Special Issue on Campaign Finance

Introduction: On the forty-year anniversary of Buckley v. Valeo, and in the midst of a presidential election campaign, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review Online is pleased to present this Special Issue on Campaign Finance, in collaboration with Demos. ESSAYS IN THIS EDITION Introduction: Problems in the Existing Jurisprudence DEBORAH HELLMAN & DAVID SCHULTZ   First Amendment Freeze Play: Bennett’s Strategy for Entrenching…

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“Koch network reserves $30 million in Senate ad buys”

…twork official tells POLITICO. The television and digital ad buys, from Freedom Partners Action Fund and other groups, are expected to target Democratic Senate candidates or boost Republican ones in Florida, Nevada, Ohio and Pennsylvania, the official said. The ad reservations come on the same day that National Review reported that the brothers’ network, which had intended to spend $889 million in the run-up to the 2016 elections, was scaling…

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“The Distillery: Resurrecting Political Equality”

Johanna Kalb at the Brennan Center: In May, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review Online will publish a series of essays examining the role that political equality could play in the Supreme Court’s campaign finance jurisprudence.  The authors in this collection are helping to relaunch a conversation that has been stagnant for forty years. Today’s constitutional framework for money in politics dates back to the Supreme Court’s decision in…

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“The Loophole That Could Cost Donald Trump the Nomination”

…omever they please at the convention. That’s because it conducts its loophole primary in two parts. First is the “beauty contest,” which is a presidential primary preference vote. The winner of the beauty contest gets all of Pennsylvania’s 17 at-large and bonus delegates. But the remaining 54 — the three delegates awarded to each congressional district — are unbound and elected in the delegate selection primary. In this part, voters directly…

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“Sanders, Not Trump, Scaring Democratic Convention Donors”

…business, calling for the breakup of big banks and a tax on Wall Street to fund tuition-free colleges and universities and also wants the wealthiest Americans to pay their “fair share” of taxes. Rendell, who was a Democratic Pennsylvania governor and worked with previous DNC host committees, said “there are always a few people that have some excuse for not giving money,” but that it also has been harder to raise funds this year because some…

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“Americans for Prosperity launches $1 million campaign touting U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson”

…Democratic candidate and former governor Ted Strickland for tax increases during his administration. Another allied group, Concerned Veterans for America, has taken the lead in running ads praising Sen. Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania and Rep. Joseph J. Heck, a Republican seeking to replace Sen. Harry M. Reid, the chamber’s Democratic leader, in Nevada. But the activities of the Koch-backed groups could also provide fodder for Democrats, who…

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“Ralph Nader: Why Bernie Sanders was right to run as a Democrat”

…Bush as he did to defeat Gore, there would have been no Citizens United, no war in Iraq, and no massive tax cuts for the richest. Unfortunately, Nader was primarily interested in defeating Gore by campaigning in Florida and Pennsylvania in the final days of the campaign – rather than securing the most votes for the Green Party in Texas, or California or New York. Nader certainly will go down in history as one of the most destructive…

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“The GOP — and its big funders — scramble to insulate Congress from Trump”

…in the increasingly toxic race for the GOP presidential nomination. The efforts are being driven by major players such as the Koch brothers’ political network, which has already begun laying groundwork in Colorado, Ohio and Pennsylvania, along with the Crossroads organizations and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.  The behemoth Koch operation — which aims to spend almost $900 million before the November elections — is now considering abandoning…

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Drip, Drip, Drip Dept

Philly.com: In a shift, Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey said Wednesday he will meet with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, but still insisted that the high court vacancy should not be filled until after November’s election. “President Obama’s team has asked if I would meet with Judge Merrick Garland, and I have agreed to do so out of courtesy and respect for both the president and the judge,” Toomey, a Republican, said in a statement…

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“Supreme Court Nomination Drives Groups From Left and Right to Fight”

NYT: More than 100 protest rallies are being scheduled in key electoral states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Iowa. Television advertisements are being scripted. Twitter and Facebook campaigns are rolling out, and email blasts are filling up inboxes. With the nomination of Merrick B. Garland on Wednesday by President Obama to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia,…

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“Challenge to John Kasich on Pennsylvania ballot dropped”

CNN: The ballot challenge in Pennsylvania that threatened to derail John Kasich’s rising presidential campaign has been dropped. Nathaniel Rome, the chairman of Pennsylvania Students for Rubio and a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania, has decided to drop the challenge to Kasich’s standing on the ballot, according to Chris Bravacos, Marco Rubio’s Pennsylvania state chairman and the brother of the lawyer representing…

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“The 13 minutes that could make — or break — Kasich’s campaign”

CNN: Thirteen minutes. That amount of time may be the saving grace for John Kasich‘s presidential campaign strategy, one that relies heavily on the state of Pennsylvania — a state where Kasich’s lawyers are battling to keep him on the ballot. Central to that battle is a missed deadline by a Marco Rubio supporter in the state who objected to hundreds of signatures filed by Kasich’s campaign to get onto the state’s…

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“Pennsylvania Judge Rules That Ted Cruz is Eligible to Run for President”

WSJ: A Pennsylvania judge has rejected an effort to kick Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz off the state primary ballot, ruling that the Texas senator’s birth outside of the United States doesn’t disqualify him from the ballot under the U.S. Constitution. The ruling is the latest legal victory for Mr. Cruz on the eligibility question. So-called “birther” suits have been filed in other states, including New York and Illinois. The cases…

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“For John Kasich, a battle over signatures to appear on Pa. primary ballot”

…Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s own lawyer agrees the presidential campaign submitted fewer valid signatures than are required for the candidate to appear on Pennsylvania’s primary ballot. But he argued in court Wednesday that it doesn’t matter because an objection to Mr. Kasich’s nominating petitions was filed 13 minutes too late….

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Tokaji: Is Ted Cruz Eligible to Be President? Let’s Find Out

…s before the primary – that is, early January. ORC 3513.05. It’s therefore too late to sue in Ohio. Fortunately for skeptics of Senator Cruz’s eligibility, there’s at least one state where a challenge could still be brought. Pennsylvania will hold its primary on April 26. The last day for candidates to file nominating petitions was yesterday, February 16. See here and here. Under Pennsylvania law, a candidate’s nominating petition must include…

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Plutocrats United Book Tour to Philly and Boston (Cambridge) This Week

This week on the Plutocrats United tour: February 18, Philadelphia, PA, National Constitution Center (with Ned Foley and Judge Jeremy Fogel) (12 pm event) (details and rsvp) February 18, Philadelphia PA, University of Pennsylvania Law School (4:30 pm event) (details) February 19, Boston/Cambridge, Harvard Law School (lunchtime event) (details) February 19, Cambridge, Scholars Strategy Network (details; “Seats limited. RSVP…

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“Texas consultant to Rand Paul loses Pa. election law challenge”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: A federal judge has denied a temporary restraining order to a Texas man challenging Pennsylvania election law and seeking to circulate petitions for Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul. Texas resident Trent Pool, and his firm Benezet Consulting, LLC, allege that their First Amendment right to circulate nominating petitions for the April primary election ballot is unconstitutionally limited by three provisions in…

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“Wholly Foreign to the First Amendment”?: Political Inequality Forty Years After Buckley v. Valeo

Looking forward to this Plutocrats United-related event: February 18, 4:30-5:30 PM, University of Pennsylvania Law School 3501 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19104 Silverman Hall 240A   Featuring: Rick Hasen, Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science, University of California, Irvine Tabatha Abu El-Haj, Associate Professor, Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University Jesus Gonzalez, Churches United for Fair Housing Adam…

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Plutocrats United: The Book Tour and Talks (UPDATED)

…(with Steve Simpson) (lunchtime event) (details) February 18, Philadelphia, PA, National Constitution Center (with Ned Foley and Michael Gerhardt) (12 pm event) (details and rsvp) February 18, Philadelphia PA, University of Pennsylvania Law School (4:30 pm event) (details) February 19, Boston/Cambridge, Harvard Law School (lunchtime event) (details) February 19, Cambridge, Scholars Strategy Network (details; “Seats limited. RSVP to…

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“Roundtable – Preparing for Election 2016 in Battleground Jurisdictions”

…rks (2:30 pm) Merle King, Roundtable Moderator; Executive Director, Georgia’s Center for Election Systems, Kennesaw State University Brian Corley, MPA, Supervisor of Elections, Pasco County Florida Honorable Pedro A. Cortés, Pennsylvania Secretary of State Luanne Cutler, Registrar of Voters, Washoe County, Nevada Matt Damschroder, Assistant Secretary of State, Ohio Robert Dezmelyk, Moderator, Town of Newton, New Hampshire Sandra Juno, Clerk,…

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Ned Foley: Ballot Battles in the Nineteenth Century Were Beset by Violence and Civil Strife; Not So in the Twentieth, and This Progress is Reason to Hope for Even More

…r of this current century. Simply put, the nineteenth century suffered much more violence, and threats of civil unrest, as a result of ballot-counting battles than the twentieth century.  From Pennnsylvania’s Buckshot War in Pennsylvania 1838 to Arkansas’s Brooks-Baxter War in 1872 to Kansas’s Legislative War of 1893, military confrontation over counting ballots in close elections was not uncommon.  The lowest moment came at the end of the…

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“Bush v. Gore Fifteen Years Later: The Supreme Court and American Democracy”

…ing forward to this event on December 15:   Bush v. Gore Fifteen Years Later: The Supreme Court and American Democracy Tuesday, December 15, 2015 12:00 PM – 02:00 PM   Event Location: Open Society Foundations 1730 Pennsylvania Ave NW 7th Floor Washington, DC 20006 Details:  On December 15, ACS will host a panel discussion reflecting on the 2000 presidential election, the unprecedented court battle that ensued, and the Supreme Court…

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“Rich Tradition of Minority Party Representation Continues in Pennsylvania and Connecticut”

…hods. Many of the jurisdictions we highlight that use these sorts of non-winner-take-all voting methods had those systems imposed upon them by judges in Voting Rights Act cases, but just as many – including all these uses in Pennsylvania and Connecticut – introduced these reforms through statute. Pennsylvania has used fair voting methods for over a century and Connecticut for more than half a century (since before the Voting Rights Act even…

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“2016’s ‘Missing Voters’ Can Be Found with Automatic Voter Registration”

…tion, 1.3 million votes decided the winner in the ten states with the closest margins of victory.  But nearly 20 million eligible citizens in those states—Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin—are missing from the voter rolls. Overall, these “missing voters” amount to half, and in some cases more than half, of the total votes cast for president in these states. This should…

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“Gyrocopter Pilot Douglas Hughes: ‘I’m Proud of What I Did’”

Roll Call: Douglas Hughes said Friday he plans to plead guilty to one felony charge related to his gyrocopter flight to the Capitol in April — but he is not ashamed. The Florida man flew from Pennsylvania to the Capitol on April 15, to deliver letters to Congress pushing for a campaign finance overhaul. He was immediately arrested for breaching restricted airspace and later indicted on two felony and four misdemeanor charges. After several…

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“Checks and Balance: Let the Sun Shine, Conservatives!”

…udential to JP Morgan Chase, Exelon and General Mills — are mainstream corporate leaders often allied with the GOP. But last month’s report, released in tandem with the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, drew instant fire from the Center for Competitive Politics, which promotes political deregulation. The CPA-Zicklin Index “is a deceptive tool used to sell more and more companies on the idea of…

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“Is There a Silver Lining to Citizens United?”

…focus on large, publicly funded incentives for the solicitation of small donors…. For reformers to have a chance requires post-2020 congressional redistricting with Democrats in control in such key states as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and North Carolina, allowing the party to take control of the House in 2022. The Roberts court has deregulated campaign finance on the premise that the only legitimate grounds for restricting money in…

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“2015 CPA-Zicklin Index Expands to Cover S&P 500; Shows Steady Growth in Publicly Held Companies Adopting Political Disclosure, Restricting Spending”

…restriction on their political spending; and almost nine out of 10 companies recognize the importance of adopting political spending policies. The Index was released today by the Center for Political Accountability in conjunction with the Carol and Lawrence Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania….

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“Could Donald Trump win the Republican presidential nomination?”

…sentation or winner take all.  The current calendar for the Republican primaries indicates that the following states will be holding their primaries after March 15:  Arizona, Utah, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Indiana, Nebraska, West Virginia, Oregon, California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota, and DC.  Apparently dates are not yet firmed up for New York, North Dakota, Utah, Colorado,…

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“Fattah Buttonholed Obama Directly, According to Indictment”

Roll Call: The Department of Justice’s indictment of Rep. Chaka Fattah alleges Fattah’s quid-pro-quo scheme included an in-person effort to get President Barack Obama to give a lobbyist an ambassadorship. Fattah, a powerful Pennsylvania Democrat, is a longtime ally of the president’s and a frequent visitor to the White House. But according to the indictment, Fattah abused his relationship with the president and his staff and tried to get the…

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” U.S. District Court Rules Pennsylvania System of Imposing Costs on Minor Party Petitions that Lack Sufficient Signatures is Unconstitutional”

BAN: On July 24, U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Stengel issued a 41-page opinion in Constitution Party of Pennsylvania v Cortes, e.d., 12-cv-2726. He determined that Pennsylvania’s system of charging huge court costs against petitioning candidates and groups violates the U.S. Constitution, as applied to the minor parties who filed the lawsuit. The three parties who filed the lawsuit are the Constitution, Green and Libertarian Parties….

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“Pilot Who Landed Gyrocopter at US Capitol Facing 6 Charges”

…AP: A Florida man who piloted a gyrocopter through miles of America’s most restricted airspace before landing at the U.S. Capitol is now facing charges that carry up to 9½ years in prison….Hughes, who took off from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was arrested April 15 after he landed on the Capitol’s West Lawn. Hughes has said his flight was intended to call attention to the influence of big money in politics….

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Brennan Center, Volokh File Brief in Employee Candidate Case

…st Amendment rights but also undermines everyone’s interest in fostering competition, opportunity, and participation in democratic elections. On March 16, 2015, the Brennan Center for Justice, along with Common Cause and the Pennsylvania Center for the First Amendment, filed an amicus brief authored by Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law, in Lawson v. Union County Clerk of Court. The brief supports Melanie…

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