Monthly Archives: November 2014

“With contribution limits off, Emanuel reels in more cash”

Chicago Tribune:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has received $400,000 in political donations that he was able to keep only because the state’s campaign contribution limits were eliminated through the actions of an obscure candidate who threatened to run, but didn’t.

The contribution limits were lifted for everyone in the Chicago mayoral race last month after frequent local candidate William J. Kelly filed paperwork in October showing he gave his own campaign $100,000. Under state law, once a candidate in a local race contributes $100,000 to his or her own campaign within one year of an election, the state contribution caps no longer apply.

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More from Judge Kopf

Here, upon learning he was picked for the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100:

That really, really pissed me off.

I have done everything I can to be excluded from such idiocy. I have insulted female trial lawyers because I am a dirty old man. I expressed my view that Congress should go to hell. I told the Supreme Court to STFU. I engaged in a myriad of snarky exchanges with oh-so-brilliant law professors. I expressed my virulent anti-Catholic bias. Of course, I’m clearly a racist too! (In fact, I am so tempted to scream “Burn this bitch down” that I can hardly stand it.)

What the hell more can I do to get thrown off this list of bull shit?


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“Ron Barber’s request to count 133 votes denied’


The 133 ballots at the heart of a federal lawsuit in southern Arizona over election results in the hotly contested 2nd Congressional District will not be counted after all.

U.S. District Judge Cindy Jorgenson denied a request Thursday by U.S. Rep. Ron Barber and three voters to halt the official election results certification until the ballots of 133 lawful voters are counted. The official statewide election canvass is scheduled for Monday morning.

You can read the trial court’s 15-page order denying a TRO here.

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“Groups funded by secret donors buffeted two dozen House races in 2014”

Matea Gold for WaPo:

The innocuous-sounding group was among a wave of organizations funded by secret donors that set a new high-water mark in the 2014 midterms, spending more than $170 million on congressional races, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

And as the Renfroe case suggests, it wasn’t just high-profile, expensive Senate contests: Secret-money groups had a major presence in more than two dozen lesser-known House races as well, according to a Washington Post analysis of campaign finance data compiled by CRP.

In 13 House races, non-disclosing groups spent at least $1 million on political ads and voter outreach. In another 17 House campaigns, they made up more than half of the spending by independent groups

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“DC Federal Judge Strikes a Blow Against Dark Money — But Will It Hold?”

Daniel Weiner:

Proponents of disclosure have every right to celebrate, but the future of this issue is far from clear. Judge Jackson’s order will almost certainly be appealed again to the D.C. Circuit, and from there could head to the Supreme Court. Sooner or later, the Court will have to confront the gap between the picture of full disclosure it has painted in its rhetoric and the dark money reality its decisions have actually fostered. Nobody, maybe not even the justices, knows what will happen then.

In the meantime, the practical impact of yesterday’s decision will be limited. Through a quirk in the law, ECs are now subject to more disclosure than communications containing an explicit call to vote for or against a candidate (which have their own loophole). Political spenders need only tweak the language of their ads to continue keeping their donors secret.  In fact, most have already done so.  The use of ECs declined precipitously following Judge Jackson’s 2012 ruling, and has never really rebounded. So little will change. Real, comprehensive reform will have to wait for another day.

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“Studies Back Up That Few Elections Are Swung by Voter ID Laws”

Nate Cohn for NYT’s The UpShot:

Last week, I wrote an article arguing that voter ID laws don’t swing many elections.

This week, the Brennan Center for Justice says I have it “wrong” on voter ID. Yet, oddly, it’s hard to find a place we disagree.


In my original article, I wrote a paragraph that read: “Take Texas, a state with a particularly onerous voter ID law. If I register to vote as ‘Nate’ but my ID says ‘Nathan,’ I might be counted among the hundreds of thousands of registered voters without a photo ID. But I’ll be fine at the polling station on Election Day with a name that’s ‘substantially similar’ to the one on file.” The Brennan Center interprets this paragraph to mean that I would not be counted in the Texas study as lacking ID.

This was unclear. My point in invoking Texas was not to discuss Mr. Ansolabehere’s matching procedures, but to note that even a state with a stringent ID law, like Texas, would accept a name that’s “substantially similar” to the one on file. I was not disputing that there are states using these matching procedures, just trying to show the potential complications involving people who could be counted as without photo identification but could nevertheless vote in a state with a particularly strong voter ID law.

This quibble aside, the Brennan article is consistent with my own about the small chances for swinging election outcomes. It considers the Texas study stands above its peers because of its rigorous and detailed matching procedures. But the Texas data is in line with my argument, and even if it weren’t, my broader argument would stand: Voter ID laws do not swing many elections, because people without identification do not represent a large share of registered voters; they are particularly unlikely to vote; and a share of them will vote Republican.


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