The Conservative Playbook for Keeping ‘Dark Money’ Dark

first_imgBy Robert Faturechi, ProPublicaHow do you stop states and cities from forcing more disclosure of so-called dark money in politics? Get the debate to focus on an “average Joe,” not a wealthy person. Find examples of “inconsequential donation amounts.” Point out that naming donors would be a threat to “innocents,” including their children, families and co-workers.And never call it dark money. “Private giving” sounds better.These and other suggestions appear in internal documents from conservative groups that are coaching activists to fight state legislation that would impose more transparency on the secretive nonprofit groups reshaping U.S. campaign finance.The documents obtained by ProPublica were prepared by the State Policy Network, which helps conservative think tanks in 50 states supply legislators with research friendly to their causes, and the Conservative Action Project (CAP), a Washington policy group founded by Edwin Meese, a Reagan-era attorney general.Dark money is the term for funds that flow into politics from nonprofit groups, which can accept donations of any size but, unlike political action committees, are not required by federal law to reveal the identities of their donors. The anonymity has been upheld by courts that cite as precedent a 1958 Supreme Court ruling that the state of Alabama could not demand that the NAACP turn over a list of its members.Since 2008, dark money groups have spent more than $690 million in federal races, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. A single group aligned with Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio helped buoy his standing in Iowa before Monday’s caucuses with $1.3 million in ads.The same story is playing out on the state level. During the 2014 election cycle, 40 nonprofits spent $25 million on TV ads about state races, according to an analysis by the Center for Public Integrity. That represented 3 percent of total ad buys, almost double the proportion that dark money paid for in 2010.This year, 38 states are considering bills relating to disclosure, according to a database compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Some have already adopted rules. In 2014, California began requiring nonprofits that engage in campaign activity to live by many of the same disclosure regulations as traditional political committees. Montana decided last year that politically active nonprofits would have to disclose donors, and report any electioneering communications within 60 days of votes being cast.A memo distributed by CAP in January to conservative activists highlighted new disclosure rules being considered in Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington, as well as ethics bills in South Carolina and Texas that contain disclosure provisions.Groups that are throwing their resources behind stricter campaign finance regulation include Common Cause, which has offices in 36 states, and the Democracy Alliance, an invitation-only organization composed of wealthy liberal donors. According to CAP, though, the initiatives to require disclosure not only pose a threat to free speech but also to the very existence of the nonprofits.“This well-coordinated, well-funded effort to require conservative nonprofits like yours to divulge the names and addresses of your donors is all part of a plan to choke off our air supply of funding,” the group said in the memo.The memo was signed by many leading voices on the political right, including anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist; top officials at Americans for Prosperity, an advocacy group backed by the Koch brothers political network; the Family Research Council; the Council for National Policy; and Heritage Action for America. It describes conservatives as “a persecuted class” and compares labeling private donations “dark money” to calling private ballots “dark voting.”The State Policy Network, which on its website calls pro-regulation activists “enemies of debate,” distributed its documents at a conference held last fall in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The material includes a map of cities and states considering measures to “force disclosure of charitable giving” and a set of “questions that help people see the consequences of public disclosure.” Among them: “Do you think the government should be able to take down names and addresses of Americans and who they donate to? Do you think people should be targeted for expressing their opinions?”The organization also urges its supporters to choose the right phrases to color the debate, shunning terms such as “activist,” “anonymous” or “dark money” in favor of “private giving,” “censor” and “silencing dissent.” Under the header “Framing the Issue,” a man is pictured with tape over his mouth.Other documents give conservative activists tips on where to look for “efforts to stifle free speech,” for example in bills that deal with corruption or ethics, or that define electoral activity. “More than a dozen states have considered or passed legislation that changes the definition of electioneering communications to include the everyday activity of non-profit groups, like issuing a non-partisan voter guide,” one briefing says.Meredith Turney, a spokeswoman for the State Policy Network, said in an interview that along with the materials provided to members, the organization is alerting nonprofits regardless of political orientation that the proposals would interfere with privacy and free speech.“These laws will impact groups from Planned Parenthood to The Heritage Foundation and start-up movements like Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter,” Turney said.Arizona Democratic state senator Martin Quezada, who has been pushing dark money disclosure legislation since last year, said his goal is to let voters know which special interests might have influence over a candidate.“My bill in no way limits anyone’s free speech. It doesn’t say they can’t spend that money. They’re free to spend that money all they want. It only requires that if you’re going to spend that money, you have to tell us who you are,” Quezada said.The CAP memo also warns activists to snuff out a burgeoning alliance in some states between liberal groups seeking more disclosure and Tea Party-like conservatives who often oppose the Republican establishment. “The Left has turned the transparency concept on its head to dupe conservative legislators and well-meaning Tea Party groups to help advance their initiatives,” the memo said, citing a 2014 Tallahassee voter campaign finance initiative that capped contributions in city races at $250 and established an ethics office.“Transparency is for government,” the group reminded conservative activists. “Privacy is for people.”Dan Backer, a lawyer who signed the CAP memo, said the group’s organizing should be a warning to advocates of stricter campaign finance rules that his side will use “a variety of means” including litigation to preserve the privacy of donors. Backer helped bring the 2014 McCutcheon case in which the U.S. Supreme Court removed aggregate limits on direct contributions, which along with the 2010 Citizens United decision set the stage for a new flood of money into politics. ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter. Related stories: For more of ProPublica’s coverage of politics and lobbying, check out our ongoing series, The Breakdown.center_img Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York last_img read more

NCUA offers info, assistance to CUs in path of Hurricane Florence

first_imgNCUA headquarters NCUA is closely monitoring Hurricane Florence, it said Wednesday, and has a hurricane information webpage with materials on preparedness and recovery for credit unions and members affected by the storm.The NCUA will be ready to assist credit unions with maintaining or restoring operations, if necessary. The NCUA’s Office of Credit Union Resources and Expansion can provide urgent needs grants up to $7,500 to low-income credit unions that experience sudden costs to restore operations interrupted by the storm.Credit union members are encouraged to check their credit unions’ websites and social media sites for real-time information updates, including operating hours.Members may also contact the NCUA’s Consumer Assistance Center at 800-755-1030 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern. continue reading »center_img 2SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img read more

CAF abandons Final 4 plans for CAF Champions League semis

first_imgThe Confederation of African Football (CAF) has released a new schedule for the Champions League semi-finals effectively abandoning its plans to stage a Final Four Competition.CAF’s original schedule had Zamalek facing Raja Casablanca, while Wydad Casablanca were to take on Al Ahly earlier in the year.However, following the COVID-19 pandemic, the body had to make adjustments to its schedule.CAF considered staging a mini final four competition but that idea appears to have been shelved after Cameroon, originally named as hosts, pulled out.“The semi-finals will be played at home and away. The first leg matches will be played on September 25 and 26, 2020 in Morocco, and the return matches on October 2 and 3 in Egypt,” CAF said in a statement.CAF added that in case the final ends up being between a Moroccan side and an Egyptian side, it will be played at a neutral venue.“However, if the two Egyptian or Moroccan clubs qualify for the final, the single match will be played either in Egypt or in Morocco on October 16 or 17, 2020. In this regard, the Member Associations concerned, namely the Egyptian Federation de Football and the Royal Moroccan Football Federation, must confirm their availability no later than August 15, 2020.CAF, however, retained the  Final 4 at the end of September in Morocco for the Confederations Cup.Confederations Cup Semis09/22/2020 – Pyramids (Egypt) vs. Horoya (Guinea) at Complexe Mohammed V, Casablanca09/22/2020 – RS Berkane (Morocco) vs. HUSA (Morocco) at Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium, RabatFinal09/27/2020 – Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium, RabatAll matches will be played behind closed doors.last_img read more

DONEGAL BUSINESS AWARDS NOW OPEN FOR ENTRY

first_imgDonegal’s Local Enterprise Office (LEO) is inviting businesses across the county to enter the Donegal Business Awards, 2016.Firmly established as one of Donegal’s most prestigious business accolades, the awards recognise and honour innovation and entrepreneurial flair within the county. The competition is open to every business, operating in any sector, which is based in Donegal and employs less than 50 full time staff.Application forms and competition guidelines can be downloaded at www.localenterprise.ie/Donegal and the closing date for entries is Wednesday 10th February 2016. The Donegal Business Awards are now open for entry. Pictured are one of last year’s finalists, Rick LeVert and Libby Carton of Kinnegar Brewing, who went on to represent Donegal at the 18th National Enterprise Awards. Application forms can be downloaded at www.localenterprise.ie/Donegal and the closing date for entries is Wednesday 10th February 2016.Now in their 20th year, the Donegal Business Awards celebrate Donegal’s best and brightest in business. The awards are presented in a number of categories, with the winner of overall ‘Donegal Business of the Year’ receiving a prize of €2,500.The winners of ‘Best Start-Up’ (18 months or less), ‘Best New Business Idea’ and ‘Best Established Business’ (over 18 months), will each receive a prize of €1,500. While on the day, one of the finalists will be named as the chosen business to represent Donegal at the National Enterprise Awards’ Final.Encouraging businesses to enter the awards, Michael Tunney, Head of Enterprise at the LEO, said: “This is the 20th year of the Donegal Business Awards and we’re delighted to have built such a strong platform to allow businesses in Donegal showcase the excellent work they are doing. These awards are about recognising the wealth of talent that exists in this county and, year-on-year our shortlisted finalists are evidence of the exemplary quality of entrepreneurship and hard work happening throughout Donegal. I’d like to wish all of the entrants the very best of luck and I look forward to the awards event in March”.The Donegal Business Awards are celebrating their 20th year in 2016. Pictured are last year’s winners, left to right, Gina Witherow, Donegal English Language School (winner of ‘Established Business of the Year’), Sean Coll and Helen Haworth, Portsalon Luxury Camping, (winners of ‘Best Start-Up’), Rick LeVert, Kinnegar Brewing (winner of ‘Best Design’) and Maria Sweeney, Safe Tech, (winner of ‘Overall Business of the Year 2015’).The winners of the Donegal Business Awards will be announced at a business lunch on Friday, 11th March, 2016 in The Villa Rose Hotel in Ballybofey. This event will mark the culmination of Donegal Business Week, which runs from Monday, 7th to Friday, 11th March, 2016. For more information on the LEO and the Donegal Business Awards, visit www.localenterprise.ie/Donegal or contact Ursula DonnellyDONEGAL BUSINESS AWARDS NOW OPEN FOR ENTRY was last modified: January 22nd, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalLEOLocal Enterprise Awardslast_img read more