outside-groups

How GOP Outside Spending Turned a Loser Into a Winner in Montana
Congressional Leadership Fund spent $2.7 million to boost Greg Gianforte

Greg Gianforte won the special election for Montana’s at-large House seat Thursday despite attacking a reporter the night before. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Six months ago, Republican Greg Gianforte lost Montana’s gubernatorial election by nearly 4 points. Thursday night, he won statewide by about 6 points.

Congressional special elections are, well, special. The electorate is different, and so is the spending. Last fall, Gianforte was running against an incumbent.

Lawmakers Seek to Restore Internet Privacy After Repealing It
Move comes after waves of consumer concerns

Legislation by Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn would restore some of the internet regulations Republicans in Congress just repealed. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House and Senate lawmakers are hoping to push legislation to replace recently repealed Obama-era internet privacy regulations, a move by the Federal Communications Commission that has led to a tide of consumer complaints.

At least two Senate bills are being drafted to address the regulatory void and public outcry created last month when congressional Republicans repealed internet privacy rules issued by the FCC last year, using the Congressional Review Act. With the repeal, internet service providers such as Comcast and Verizon can use and sell their customers’ online internet activity for marketing purposes unless consumers specifically request to opt out.

Republican Gianforte Wins Montana Special Election
Greg Gianforte prevails despite misdemeanor assault citation on eve of election

Montana Republican Greg Gianforte is heading to Congress after winning a hard-fought special election on Thursday. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Updated 4:34 a.m. | Republican Greg Gianforte won the special election for Montana’s at-large House seat Thursday night.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, he led Democrat Rob Quist 50 percent to 44 percent, The Associated Press reported. Gianforte will fill the seat vacated by former GOP Rep. Ryan Zinke, who left to become Interior secretary.

Montana Candidate Gianforte Cited for Misdemeanor Assault
Witnesses say Republican body-slammed and punched journalist

Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters during a campaign meet and greet at Lions Park on May 23, 2017 in Great Falls, Montana. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Updated Thursday 1:08 a.m. | Greg Gianforte, the Republican nominee in Thursday’s special election in Montana, was cited for a misdemeanor assault Wednesday evening after allegedly assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs at a campaign event at Gianforte’s headquarters in Bozeman earlier that day.

On the eve of a special election in which many early votes have already been cast, it’s unclear what effect the incident could have on what has been expected to be a close race. Gianforte has been ahead by single digits in most public and private polling. But Montana’s largest newspapers pulled their endorsements of the two-time GOP candidate Wednesday night, and Democratic outside groups lost no time producing digital ads using Jacobs’ audio of the altercation. 

GOP Group Launches Health Care Ad Ahead of CBO Score
American Action Network spending additional $2 million to promote bill

California Rep. Jeff Denham is one of the 21 lawmakers whose districts are the targets of a new ad campaign by the American Action Network. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A conservative issue advocacy organization is spending an additional $2 million on a nationwide television ad campaign to promote the Republicans’ health care plan ahead of the release of the Congressional Budget Office score, which is expected Wednesday. 

The American Action Network, which has close ties to House GOP leadership, is debuting the campaign on Tuesday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” The ad will also air in 21 congressional districts.

GOP Super PAC Airs Closing Ad in Montana Special Election
Congressional Leadership Fund has invested $2.5 million in race

Democrat Rob Quist, right, is vying with Republican Greg Gianforte in the race for Montana’s at-large House seat. (Courtesy Greg for Montana, Rob Quist for Montana)

The biggest Republican outside spender in Montana’s upcoming special election is using its final television ad to underscore the narrative it has tried to paint of Democrat Rob Quist.

The TV spot, launching Friday, is part of the Congressional Leadership Fund’s $2.5 million investment in the May 25 special election for the at-large House seat, in which Quist faces Republican Greg Gianforte. The fund, backed by House GOP leadership, has released four other ads attacking the Democrat, most of which have gone after his personal financial troubles. 

FCC Eyes Repeal of Net Neutrality, Dividing Internet Industry
Proposed changes have drawn more than 1.6 million public comments

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai says net neutrality has adversely affected broadband investment after it took effect two years ago. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ahead of a Federal Communications Commission vote Thursday to begin the process of rolling back Obama-era net neutrality regulations that treat internet traffic equally, battle lines are being drawn between internet service providers and giants like Google and Amazon.

The agency is expected to also decide Thursday on returning online privacy oversight to the Federal Trade Commission, whose rules are less onerous than the FCC’s that require internet service providers to obtain permission in advance before selling customers’ personal data to advertisers.

South Carolina GOP Runoff Heading for Recount
Ralph Norman leads Tommy Pope by 200 votes

Ralph Norman leads Tommy Pope by 200 votes in the Republican primary runoff for South Carolina’s 5th District. (Courtesy Ralph Norman for Congress Facebook page)

Updated May 17, 12:56 p.m. | The Republican primary runoff for South Carolina’s open 5th District seat is heading toward a recount.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, former state Rep. Ralph Norman led state House Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope, 50.3 to 49.7 percent, The Associated Press reported. The margin of just 200 votes is narrow enough to trigger an automatic recount, under state law.

At Center for American Progress, a Tryout for 2020 Ideas
D.C. gathering alternates between liberal goals, Trump reaction

California Sen. Kamala Harris took aim at the administration’s approach to drug policy at Tuesday’s Center for American Progress gathering. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Potential Democratic presidential candidates took center stage Tuesday for what might prove to be the kickoff of the 2020 campaign, but the popular characterization of the progressive policy confab as a “CPAC for liberals” might have missed the mark.

The Center for American Progress’ 2017 Ideas Conference looked like the kind of muted 2020 cattle call one would expect from a gathering in the ballroom of the Georgetown Four Seasons in Washington. Missing were the raucous crowds that overtake the sprawling gathering at National Harbor for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

Republicans' Latest Health Care Challenge: Selling Their Bill
Only one major outside GOP group defending the plan on air

New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur says outside groups are “intentionally confusing people” about the GOP health care bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With the Republican health care plan continuing to earn negative headlines and unfavorable poll numbers, House GOP lawmakers returning to Washington this week have a public relations challenge of epic political proportions.

They succeeded — barely — at passing their health care bill. Now they need to sell it.