Alex Knott

Campaigns Make Cash Off Donor Contact Information

Political campaigns have figured out what direct marketers have long known: There's good money in your email address and contact information.

During the past four years, more than 90 campaigns, parties and political action committees have sold their donors' personal contact information to outside groups as a way to raise millions of dollars, according to a Roll Call study.

FEC Relaxes Donation Rules for Hybrid PACs

The Federal Election Commission said today that it is changing its rules for a new type of political action committee that is a hybrid of a super PAC and a traditional hard money committee.

The agency released a legal guidance saying that it would no longer enforce previous prohibitions on how much corporations and labor unions may give to hybrid PACs as long as funds given to the super PAC component are kept in a separate bank account than the funds for the traditionally regulated PAC.

New Members Rush to Start Their Own PACs

More than 25 percent of House Members serving their first full term in Congress have already set up their own political action committees, making the term "leadership PAC" a bit of a misnomer.

New Senators are also jumping into the fray. For instance, freshman Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) opened Lead Encourage Elect PAC in mid-March and then opened another leadership PAC, the Constitutional Conservatives Fund, in early June.

FEC Audit Finds Durkee Understated Committee’s Funds

A Federal Election Commission audit released today found several reporting irregularities with one of the many committees managed by the recently indicted Kinde Durkee. The agency’s audit is expected to be the first of many such investigations into committees controlled by the prominent Democratic campaign treasurer.

Durkee was arrested earlier this month on the suspicion that she used her role at Durkee & Associates to siphon about $677,000 from one of the about 400 client accounts that she maintained. She allegedly used this money to pay for an array of personal expenses that included clothing, cosmetics, her cable bill and an assisted-living facility for her mother.

Obama’s Campaign Spending Places Third Behind $72 Billion Candidate

Updated: 8:51 a.m.

Several political pundits predict that President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign could report spending $1 billion by Election Day. If he does, it will only be a small fraction of the amount an off-beat White House hopeful named Lee Mercer claims to have spent on his own campaign so far.

Lobbying by Foreign Countries Decreases

Foreign countries are spending less to lobby America’s federal government, according to a new report released by the Department of Justice.

The latest figures show governmental organizations from more than 130 countries spent less than $460 million in 2010 lobbying Congress and the executive branch as well as promoting their interests though public relations campaigns. This marks a decrease of almost 6 percent compared with 2009, when these lobbying expenditures totaled $486.9 million, according to the DOJ report.

California Embezzlement Case Might Touch Many Campaigns

Updated: 10:31 p.m.

A campaign treasurer who has handled the finances of top California Democrats will remain in custody until she next appears in a federal courtroom on Friday, following an initial brief appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jay C. Gandhi late Tuesday.

FEC Allows Presidential Campaign for Foreign-Born Man

The Federal Election Commission ruled Friday that a Guyana-born American citizen could file papers and raise money to run for president of the United States. But the agency also told the prospective candidate, Abdul Hassan, that his campaign may not receive federal matching funds because he was not born in America.

The FEC’s unanimous vote allows Hassan — who born in the South American country in 1974 — to be a candidate, solicit funds and requires him to file disclosure reports for a presidential bid. However, the agency’s decision stopped short of addressing the constitutional issue of whether someone born outside the United States can be president.

FEC OKs Giffords’ Campaign Funds for Home Security

The Federal Election Commission told Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) Thursday that she can use campaign funds to pay for better security at her family home following January’s assassination attempt.

Two weeks ago, the Giffords campaign asked the agency whether it could spend $2,200 in campaign funds to upgrade exterior lighting and locks and install a duress alarm button at her home. The request followed Giffords’ wounding in a shooting spree earlier this year that left six people dead and 13 others injured in a grocery store parking lot in Tucson.

FEC Drafts Opinions for Guyana-Born Man About Presidential Run

The Federal Election Commission is showing signs that it might allow a Guyana-born American citizen to file papers and raise money to run for president of the United States.

The agency released two draft advisory opinions Friday that could permit New York lawyer Abdul Hassan to go through the initial steps to run for president. But the FEC’s pending decision won’t be the last word on the constitutional issue of whether someone born outside the United States can be president.

Election Fundraising Sets Records in First Half of 2011

Members and candidates vying for Congress in 2012 raised funds at a record-setting pace for a nonelection year, collecting more than $285 million during the first six months of 2011, according to a Federal Election Commission analysis released Wednesday.

The previous fundraising record for the first six months of a nonelection year was set in 2009. Campaigns for the House and Senate raised more than $254 million at the time, a difference of 12 percent.

Market Plunge Could Affect Campaigns

You don’t have to tell Sen. Joe Lieberman that Wall Street can be risky these days. The Connecticut Independent reported losing nearly $188,000 of campaign money in the stock market during the last two and a half years.

It is unknown how many campaigns are currently playing the stock market with their contributors’ money, though some 1,500 committees have cash on hand and there are no rules preventing them from investing it for profit.

Some Lobbyists Buck the Odds in 2011

Though revenue has dropped in federal lobbying during recent quarters, some firms have adapted to the market and are finding ways to significantly increase their take during K Street's downturn.

Among the groups outperforming the rest of the industry so far this year are some established firms showing significant gains, midsized shops that tripled their revenue and even some new organizations that first began lobbying during the past six months.

House Spouses Make Good Money From Campaigns

Several House lawmakers have made their spouses and other relatives the highest-paid workers on their campaigns over the past few years.

dauDuring the past four and a half years, these relatives have collectively received millions in salaries, fees and bonuses, according to a CQ MoneyLine study of campaign finance records.

FEC Orders Edwards to Pay Back $2.3 Million

The Federal Election Commission ruled that former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) will have to pay the government almost $2.3 million following an audit of his 2008 presidential bid.

The payments are mostly a result of Edwards’ acceptance of federal matching funds beyond the limits that he was entitled to and not connected to allegations that he used campaign funds to cover up an extramarital affair.

FEC May Bill John Edwards $2.3 Million

The campaign of former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards may have to pay almost $2.3 million in penalties and primary matching funds following an audit of his 2008 White House bid.

The Federal Election Commission released the audit ahead of its Thursday meeting, when agency leaders are slated to vote on what penalties the former North Carolina Senator will be expected to pay.

Guyana-Born Man Asks FEC If He Can Run for President

A Guyana-born American citizen with virtually no political background is asking the Federal Election Commission whether he can run for president of the United States.

New York lawyer Abdul Hassan was born in the northern South American country in 1974. Hassan, 37, wants to know whether he can start raising funds as a candidate for president. His advisory opinion request puts the FEC in the rare role of deciding a large constitutional issue that has only a few intersections with campaign finance law.

FEC Upholds Colbert PAC, but With Limits

Updated: 2:00 p.m.

The Federal Election Commission ruled Thursday that comedian Stephen Colbert's super political action committee may raise and spend unlimited funds while also receiving airtime from his network, Comedy Central, but it avoided a broader expansion of airtime donations.

FEC Steels Itself for Colbert

Stephen Colbert returns to Washington on Thursday to stir up trouble, this time at the Federal Election Commission.

The satirical pundit of Comedy Central’s “Colbert Report” is scheduled to appear at an open meeting of the FEC to answer questions about his super PAC, a tongue-in-cheek political action committee dedicated to himself.

Supreme Court Overturns Arizona Campaign Finance Law

In a closely watched ruling that could have implications for state and federal public financing systems, the Supreme Court on Monday struck down a portion of an Arizona law that had offered additional public funds to candidates running against well-funded opponents.

“Arizona’s matching funds scheme substantially burdens political speech and is not sufficiently justified by a compelling interest to survive First Amendment scrutiny,” the majority concluded in a 5-4 ruling in Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC v. Bennett. The provision violated the First Amendment, the high court found.