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Rules of the Game Archive

Fresh Round of Controversies for IRS

The IRS faces growing pressure from critics on both sides of the aisle to come to grips with the role that tax-exempt “dark money” groups play in elections.

Money Dominates Committee and Leadership Races | Rules of the Game

As House members finalize their senior leadership and committee posts, money is playing a decisive role in who occupies — and retains — the chamber’s seats of power.

Republicans Join Attacks on Big Money | Rules of the Game

The Senate candidate warned that voters’ voices are being “drowned out” by “third-party special interest groups with unlimited spending capability,” and called on his opponent to help him bar big outside spenders from the race.

FEC Rulemakings Roil Agency, Critics | Rules of the Game

Is the Federal Election Commission a dysfunctional agency deaf to voters fed up with loophole-riddled campaign finance rules? Or is it a newly revived organization making unprecedented moves to invite a wide-ranging public debate over its regulations?

Who Really Speaks for Veterans? | Rules of the Game

Veterans organizations with overtly partisan messages and agendas have spent millions promoting candidates in tight Senate races in this election cycle, prompting criticism from veterans and established vet groups on both sides of the aisle.

McDonnell Appeal Begs Question: What Is Corruption?

As Bob McDonnell’s lawyers gear up to appeal the former Virginia Governor’s conviction on 11 counts of bribery, conspiracy and extortion, federal prosecutors, legal experts and elected officials around the country are all watching closely.

Constitutional Amendment Debate Roils ACLU | Rules of the Game

The emotional debate over free speech versus free political spending, which erupted onto the Senate floor this week, exposes a deep rift on Capitol Hill and at the nation’s leading civil rights group, the American Civil Liberties Union.

GOP Struggles With Fundraising for Women's Initiatives | Rules of the Game

It’s been a promising year for Republican women who have set out to fix their party’s “woman problem,” but not good enough for their bank accounts.

Reforms May Fade, but Voter Anger Won't | Rules of the Game

Opponents of big money in politics celebrated some small victories lately: A constitutional amendment to curb campaign spending cleared a key Senate committee and was introduced in the House. And a new “super PAC to end all super PACs” raised $5 million in a matter of weeks.

New FCC Disclosures Reveal Underground Election | Rules of the Game

A trove of new public records recently opened up by the Federal Communications Commission sheds light on the ways undisclosed political ads are creating an underground midterm election that’s increasingly hidden from view.

Mississippi Runoff Takes Financial Toll on GOP (Video)

Mississippi’s bruising GOP Senate primary, which voters will decide Tuesday in a runoff (get live results here!), has come at great cost — more than $17 million — to Republicans.

Campaign Finance Hearings Showcase Extremes | Rules of the Game

As Senate Democrats gear up for their third in a series of public hearings on the state of campaign finance, Capitol Hill can expect another made-for-TV performance that’s long on political theatrics and short on policy.

Did Soft Money Ban Kill Political Parties? | Rules of the Game

The Supreme Court’s recent ruling to overturn limits on aggregate campaign contributions has revived a long-running debate over the demise of the nation’s political parties, and what could bring them back to life.

Will McCutcheon Ruling Boost Political Parties?

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus could hardly contain his glee during a conference call with reporters shortly after the Supreme Court ruled to strike the aggregate limit on campaign contributions.

Supreme Court Rejects Aggregate Contribution Limits

Updated, 11:45 a.m. | In a long-awaited ruling in the case known as McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court today struck the aggregate limit on campaign contributions as an unconstitutional infringement on free speech.

Christie's Contractors: Backers Barred From Donating Found Loophole

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may manage to put the George Washington Bridge scandal behind him, but even if he does, his ethics troubles won’t be over.

Democrats' Anti-Koch Attacks Have a Familiar Ring

There is an oddly familiar ring to Democrats’ escalating attacks on the conservative billionaire Koch brothers.

Firewall Between Candidates and Super PACs Breaking Down | Rules of the Game

When the Supreme Court deregulated independent political spending four years ago, the court reasoned that unrestricted money posed no corruption risk because a firewall separates candidates from their outside benefactors.

Will McCutcheon Replay Citizens United? | Rules of the Game

Four years after the Supreme Court deregulated independent campaign spending in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the high court is poised to yet again turn American elections upside down.

The Year in Political Money: Less Transparency, More Deregulation | Rules of the Game

Campaign spending trends were not as sensational this year as in 2012, when super PACs and other outside groups pumped more than $1 billion into politics, three times what they spent in the previous presidential election cycle.

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