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Beltway Insiders Archive

'Grass-Roots' OFA Snags First Million-Dollar Donor

White House officials like to trumpet Organizing for Action as a “grass-roots-funded organization,” but the six-figure donors to President Barack Obama’s tax-exempt advocacy group keep adding up, and it just snagged its first million-dollar contributor.

Alignment Government Strategies, New Lobby Boutique, Comes Into Alignment | Downtown Moves

Five lobbyists at Williams & Jensen are leaving to set up their own bipartisan shop, Alignment Government Strategies.

Robert Zirkelbach Leaving AHIP for PhRMA | Downtown Moves

It’s as a colleague said, the end of an era. Robert Zirkelbach, the long-time chief flack at America’s Health Insurance Plans, is heading to another titan of the industry, the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of America.

Abbott Ups Haas to Top Lobbyist | Downtown Moves

Abbott Laboratories has a new chief federal lobbyist.

Do Campaign Finance Violations Warrant Jail Time? | A Question of Ethics

Q. I was amazed to see last month that longtime Fiesta Bowl official John Junker was sentenced to time in federal prison. He’s been a respected member of the community for decades, and I have a hard time fathoming that he would do anything that warrants time in prison. He does not seem like a criminal to me, and from what I’m told, he was accused of breaking rules about how to raise money for political campaigns. Can you really go to jail for that?

SCOTUS Spawns Search for Son of 'Super PAC'

The chattering classes (no insult intended) are scrambling to come up with a snappy moniker for the joint fundraising committees that may emerge as political power centers in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission ruling.

Mark Baker Joins Mercury to Expand Rocky Mountain Presence | Downtown Moves

In a series of new hires to broaden its influence, Mercury Public Affairs announced Thursday that attorney and Republican political adviser Mark Baker is joining its team.

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.

Discharge Petitions Are Useful Minority Tools | Procedural Politics

Perhaps only Congress can invent a tool that it fully expects will rarely perform its intended function. It’s called the discharge petition, a device designed to dislodge bills stuck in committee. This year, House Democrats have filed three such petitions on issues they hope will propel them back to majority status in the midterm elections — a minimum wage increase, an immigration overhaul and unemployment compensation.

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.

Steeped in Overhead: A Look at the Expenses of Tea Party Groups

Updated, 5:20 p.m. | Republican leaders are stepping up their campaign to discredit tea party activists who are challenging them on Capitol Hill and on the campaign trail, accusing conservatives of lining their own pockets at the expense of the GOP.

Is Negotiating Political Agreement a Lost Art? | Procedural Politics

Voters often complain that members of Congress “can’t seem to agree on anything.” You know people are on to something when their own representatives in Washington echo the same complaint — one of the few bipartisan sounds emanating from the capital, if not in perfect harmony.

Erica Elliott, Passionate About Derivatives and Kazimir Malevich | Downtown Moves

It’s rare to find someone who is equally passionate about derivatives and modern art in the public policy world. Erica Elliott, formerly communications director for House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and most recently policy adviser at Crowell & Moring’s public policy group, is that rare person.

Groups Try to Mute the Comcast Lobby | K Street Files

Just what will a “Comcastic” lobbying budget buy you? A growing coalition of consumer groups hopes “not a new merger” is the answer.

Why Did Petri Ask to Be Investigated? | A Question of Ethics

Q. I read that Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., has requested the House Ethics Committee to investigate himself. I know that members call for ethics investigations from time to time, but, I don’t recall if I’ve ever heard of a member asking for an investigation of himself. As I understand it, responding to an ethics investigation can be time-consuming and costly. Why would any member wish this upon himself?

The Perfect Thing to Do on Your Snow Day

Getting bored on your snow day? Check out the top photos from last week, Feb. 24-28.

Levick Becomes Purple Nation People Eaters | Downtown Moves

Well, bless my soul, rock and roll, looks like the good folks at Levick have acquired Purple Nation Solutions, the keystone communications firm founded by crisis manager maven Lanny Davis and former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. Levick decided to become Purple Nation people eaters because “their approach perfectly embodies Levick’s view of how to build consensus and communicate trust,” Levick President Mark Irion said in a statement announcing the acquisition.

Facing 140,000 Comments, Treasury Braces for IRS Hearing, Legal Fight

As Treasury officials wade through more than 140,000 public comments on draft IRS rules to redefine permissible political activity by tax-exempt groups, they must now brace for at least one public hearing and a possible legal challenge.

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