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Sen. Warren raised $5.2M in the first quarter, and more news for 4/13/17

April 13, 2017 | Adam Smith

Sen. Elizabeth Warren raised $5.2 million in the first quarter of 2017, bringing her cash on hand to $9.2 million, the AP reported yesterday. “The spike in donations represents about a five-fold increase from the last quarter of last year, when she pulled in about $1 million.” The Globe notes that, “Checks for $50 or less made up more than 92 percent of the individual contributions; checks for $25 or less comprised more than 76 percent of the contributions.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch raised $1.3M as he considers whether to step aside for Mitt Romney, Sen. Luther Strange–who you may remember is a Senator–raised under $700k, a group backing Josh Mandel in Ohio raised lots of secret money, and possible Sen. McCaskill opponent Rep. Ann Wagner had “her largest fundraising quarter in history.”

With FEC reports due on Saturday, it’s time for your regular reminder: for no good reason, Senate campaigns continue to file their fundraising reports on paper, which means they are mailed to Washington to be scanned and uploaded as PDFs to the FEC’s website. There’s simple, bipartisan legislation to bring these folks into the 21st century if a certain Senate leader would just schedule a vote.

There was a bipartisan victory for campaign reform this week, as Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed legislation banning lawmakers from using campaign funds for personal use, with the governor praising the media for its reporting on the issue: This is an example of where the media can move forward good legislation by educating even members of the Legislature and even the governor of what a good law can do. We signed it into law today. We’re proud of it.”

Campaign Finance/Election Law

American Prospect: The March Toward a Constitutional Convention Slows to a Crawl
Miles Rapoport with important news: “But if this year’s likely legislative outcomes hold, and are a predictor of the future, the advocates for a constitutional convention of any kind and for any reason may have to wait an even longer time for those endgames to begin.”

Center for Public Integrity: Top federal election official: voting fraud ‘not an epidemic’
“Masterson — the newly minted, Republican-nominated chairman of the bipartisan U.S. Election Assistance Commission — ranks Election 2016 among the most trouble-free elections ever.”

Great letter to the editor in Montana praising Sen. Tester: “Special interests are responsible for the increasing polarization of politics in our country and state. Judge Gorsuch will open the floodgates for even more corporate money to influence our elections and legislative process. Tester continues to represent Montanans. I won’t forget his courageous decision when I cast my vote for him in 2018.”

In Alaska, one voter takes Sens. Murkowski and Sullivan to task for their vote on Gorsuch: “That is not governing, that is doing the bidding of your overlords. You know, the ones with money.”

Congress/Administration

Bloomberg: Senior White House Adviser Departs for Business Lobby Group
After two aides left without signing the pledge, the White House is now granting waivers to people who did: “Peacock will recuse himself from lobbying OMB for six months, the roundtable said. When he joined the Trump administration, Peacock signed an ethics pledge required by the president that would’ve banned him from lobbying his former office for five years. The White House granted him a waiver from that commitment, the roundtable said.”

CNN: At raucous town hall, GOP congressman confronts anger about Trump
To note at Mike Coffman’s town hall: “But as the town hall approached the two-hour mark, the criticisms — and in particular, the repeated suggestion that he wasn’t holding Trump accountable on everything from his tax returns to potential business conflicts — clearly exasperated the congressman.”

Washington Post: Inside Bannon’s struggle: From ‘shadow president’ to Trump’s marked man
Two things stick out in here: major donor Rebekah Mercer’s concern that losing Bannon would lead to a loss of influence in the White House AND the Trump family’s prioritization of what really matters in a poorly run White House: their profits. “The Trump heirs are interested in any changes that might help resuscitate the presidency and preserve the family’s name at a time when they are trying to expand the Trump Organization’s portfolio of hotels.”

New York Times: Trump Undercuts Bannon, Whose Job May Be in Danger
Mercer shows up in this Bannon piece too: On Friday, his main political patron, Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of Robert Mercer, a major Trump donor, holed up in her office at Cambridge Analytica in New York, discussing possibilities for Mr. Bannon should he leave, according to two people briefed on the meeting.”

Politico: CEOs gaining power in Trump’s White House
That would be billionaire GOP donor Stephen Schwarzman: “Wall Street titan Stephen Schwarzman has recently taken on a new, informal job: counselor to the president.”

MapLight: Watchdog: ‘Reason To Believe’ Trump And Super PAC Violated Election Law
“A campaign finance watchdog said Wednesday that chief White House strategist Steve Bannon may have illegally benefited from spending by a pro-Trump super PAC while he led Trump’s presidential campaign.” Campaign Legal Center’s complaint.

Washington Post: After record quarter of fundraising, Paul Ryan dips a toe into Georgia House race
“According to a House political aide with knowledge of the plans, Ryan taped a get-out-the-vote robo-call set to reach Republican voters in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, where the GOP is hoping to hold on to the seat vacated by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.”

Washington Post: Latino political group turning attention from Washington to state capitals
“An organization that helped elect seven Latinos to Congress last year is now looking to make similar gains in several state capitals. The Latino Victory Project, a group that has raised millions of dollars to train and recruit Latino candidates, on Thursday is formally launching its first state-based PAC in Georgia.”

BNA: Deputy Energy Secretary Pick Has Lobbying, Capitol Hill Ties
And a donor to Energy Secretary Rick Perry: “The pick for the No. 2 position at the Energy Department is a Washington insider who previously worked both inside the agency and outside lobbying it on energy issues while at Ford Motor Co. and Washington lobbying firms.”

A cartoon: Citizens United airlines.

Huffington Post: Trump’s Former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort To Register As Foreign Agent: Reports
“President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort will register with the Department of Justice as a foreign agent, according to reports by The Associated Press and NBC News,” which means “Manafort will be the second top Trump aide to retroactively register as a foreign agent.”

New York Times: After Campaign Exit, Manafort Borrowed From Businesses With Trump Ties
Oh, and on the day he stepped down from the campaign: “Papers were recorded that same day creating a shell company controlled by Mr. Manafort that soon received $13 million in loans from two businesses with ties to Mr. Trump, including one that partners with a Ukrainian-born billionaire and another led by a Trump economic adviser. They were among $20 million in loans secured by properties belonging to Mr. Manafort and his wife.

Trump heads to Palm Beach today for his seventh visit to Mar-a-Lago since inauguration, a place with undercooled meat and dangerous fish.

States/Other

Tennessean: Lawmaker backing bigger donations exceeded campaign limits
LOL: “A Republican senator pushing a last-minute change to double how much campaign money senators may receive had to refund $60,000 in donations in 2016 that exceeded legal limits.”

Texas Tribune: Study: Texas Voter Education Campaign Failed To Prevent ID Confusion
“Texas’ court-ordered $2.5 million voter education campaign failed to prevent widespread confusion about the state’s identification rules ahead of the 2016 general election, according to a study released Monday.”

Adam Smith

Adam Smith is Every Voice's communications director.