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  • Latest from the blog

    The Voice of the People

    A New Pro-Trump Super PAC Takes Aim at the Republican Establishment

    A group of pro-Trump media figures are launching a super PAC aimed at making an impact in the 2018 midterms.

    Jeff Giesea, Mike Cernovich, and Jack Posobiec, organizers of the “Deploraball” party to celebrate President Trump’s inauguration earlier this year, are behind the super PAC, which is being called #Rev18. All three are known quantities in the pro-Trump alternative media that emerged during the campaign and presidency, powered by Trump’s rise; they have since distanced itself from more extreme alt-right figures, often favoring the term “new right.” Cernovich has become known as an occasional breaker of news about the White House, while Posobiec rose to prominence after playing a key role in the #MacronLeaks story.

    The trio plans to back anti-establishment primary challengers in the midterms.

    “Our goal is to top-grade the GOP,” Giesea said in a press release the group will release on Monday. “This means defeating entrenched establishment politicians and replacing them with candidates who support American sovereignty and prosperity, and who put the American citizen first.” The group’s first endorsement is of Josh Mandel, the Senate candidate in Ohio, who is one of three Republican primary candidates there.

    The mission is of a piece with what other figures in the Trump base are trying to do this election cycle. Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist who has returned to the helm of Breitbart News, backed Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate primary; Moore’s victory, as well as the retirement of Breitbart target Senator Bob Corker, has emboldened Bannon in his plans to back other insurgent primary challengers against establishment candidates.

    Giesea filed the super PAC paperwork with the Federal Election Commission last month. “The board is me, Mike, and Jack for now,” Giesea said in an email. “We have an expanded board of advisors who are helping and which we’ll announce later.”

    Giesea, who at one point worked for Trump donor Peter Thiel at Thiel Capital Management, said the trio expects to attract big donors but has not done so yet.

    “I’m the first donor with a 50k personal investment,” he wrote. “We expect major donors come in soon but we want to prove the model and get the grassroots involved first. It’s safe to say we are broadly aligned with Team Bannon.”

    Asked whether someone like Thiel might get involved, Giesea said “Not naming names but certainly Thiel and Mercers would be fits. We’re hoping to broaden the base of contributors as well.”

    Bannon’s efforts have a powerful donor family backing them: the Mercers, his political patrons, who have invested in Breitbart and who are some of the most important donors in Trumpworld. The New York Times reported last week that Bannon has secured the Mercers’ backing for a “political coalition” similar to that of the Koch brothers, designed to support candidates running against the Republican establishment.

    Bannon is already tied to a pro-Trump super PAC that was involved in the Alabama race, Great America Alliance. His former political advisor in the White House is now a senior advisor with Great America.

    Giesea, Cernovich, and Posobiec’s effort is notable as one of the first forays of the mostly atomized, online pro-Trump movement into standard electoral politics. The three, particularly Cernovich and Posobiec, have mostly been viewed as consigned to the margins of the political sphere.

    It’s also a sign of the Trump movement’s growing independence from Trump himself. The Alabama result showed that Trumpism can survive and thrive even when Trump doesn’t; Giesea, in the group’s press release, emphasizes this, saying “#Rev18 is not a cult of personality. Our loyalty is to the America First agenda Trump ran on and the movement he galvanized more than to Trump himself.”

    Originally posted by The Atlantic on October 2, 2017.

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    Election law committee considers bills limiting foreign campaign spending

     

    BOSTON (WWLP) – Lawmakers are looking at public comments on 30 bills including proposals to update reporting requirements for candidates, enhance transparency in campaign finance, and limit campaign contributions.

    The state’s Joint Committee on Election Laws heard from the public on Wednesday regarding bills dealing with campaign finance. One bill would limit political spending by foreign-influenced corporations.

    Pam Wilmot of the watchdog organization Common Cause said this legislation is important to close loopholes for campaign contributions, amid concerns about allegations of Russian meddling in last November’s presidential election.

    “If they make a corporation, they can buy Facebook ads,” Wilmot explained. “They can buy TV ads. They can do all that stuff.”

    Facebook announced this month that it will provide congress with access to more than 3,000 Russia-linked ads.

    The bill still has a long way to go. The committee is currently reviewing public testimony on the bills before making recommendations.

    Originally posted by WWLP.com on September, 27 2018.

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    Editorial: Just keep that money rolling in

    EACourier.com

    The state House voted to keep dark money dark.

    Who would want to keep secret those who are trying to buy influence in elections? Apparently, all but one of the Republican members of the House, as the vote to send the bill to the Senate went along party lines.

    Dark money is the name given to campaign contributions that do not have to be disclosed. A contributor gives money to a nonprofit organization, and that nonprofit organization makes a contribution to a candidate, a political action committee, or for or against a ballot proposition.

    Nonprofit organizations are not required to disclose the names of contributors or the amounts contributed. And best of all for those seeking the ultimate in influence, there’s no limit on how much an individual, organization or corporation may contribute to the nonprofit organization.

    The public has no idea who is trying to buy influence, and that’s very scary no matter what side of the aisle you sit on.

    According to its sponsor, Vince Leach, R-Tucson, HB2153 is designed to prevent cities and towns from setting up rules requiring campaign contribution disclosure. If the state law is already in place, cities, towns and counties can’t enact any conflicting law.

    You read that right. Arizona, the state that routinely decries federal mandates and screams for local control at every opportunity has, once again, decided that the government closest and most impactful to the people should be handcuffed and all decisions made at 1700 W. Washington in Phoenix.

    This is no different than Bisbee’s plastic bag ban and the Legislature’s effort to strip Bisbee (and any other county, city or town) from moving forward with what its residents want.

    A look at Leach’s campaign finance filings (at www.SeeTheMoney.com), shows an overwhelming number of political action committees donating to his various campaigns over the years. And while PACs are required to disclose donors, the only notation required when a nonprofit has donated to the PAC is the nonprofit’s title — not who donated to the nonprofit.

    That’s convenient.

    We’re in a weird place in this country right now. Even if our president won’t acknowledge it, we know Russia is spreading disinformation with the purpose of destabilizing the Democratic process.

    Russia is blurring the distinction between fact and fiction, making us all question every bit of information we gather from our smartphones. Considering we can’t even trust our Facebook feeds, do we really want a situation where we don’t know who is trying to buy our politicians?Do we want politicians unwittingly taking money from enemies of this country? Worse still, do we want our politicians to willingly be compromised for the money it takes to continue being re-elected?

    Nothing good for the people occurs in the shadows; transparency is the hallmark of a democracy. This bill needs to be defeated in the Senate.

    Originally posted by the Eastern Arizona Courier on 02/23/2018.

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    Schneiderman's Regulation of Citizens United Donors Upheld by Second Circuit

    New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

    A challenge to the New York attorney general’s oversight of charitable organizations and their donors failed to convince the federal appellate court in Manhattan that First Amendment protections were being trod upon.

    Originally posted by the subscription-only www.law.com on February 15, 2018.

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