1/ So! 657 days and 50,000 followers into the effort, it's time to close up shop at @alt_fec. The midterms are done and it looks like the Republic just might survive this crisis. We have been called to #resist in other ways.
Two parting thoughts as we ride off into the sunset:
2/ • Our #campaignfinance laws have been fundamentally broken by #SCOTUS. It's not a matter of flipping #CitizensUnited – you have to reach back to Buckley v. Valeo (1976), the case that established that the government has no interest in a level playing field…
3/ and that preventing corruption is the only allowable reason to regulate #campaignfinance. This was a bad idea from the start, and has led to rotten results. Since #SCOTUS is unlikely to help out anytime soon, and amending the Constitution is unlikely to work, …
THREAD: In Kavanaugh's wake, we've seen a lot of gnashing of teeth about the structural flaw in the Constitution that gives rural red states disproportionate influence in the Electoral College & U.S. Senate. Here's a fairly radical but possible idea for fixing the Senate. 1/9
I'll note at the outset that I'm just throwing this idea out; no details have been thought through other than what you're seeing here. It's also not a new idea.
Just wanted to illustrate that there *are* ways to address the seemingly intractable problem of the Senate. 2/9
The disproportionality problem in a nutshell: California had 39.5 million people in 2017, more than six times the national average, and 68 times Wyoming's population of 579k. Yet both states have equal influence in the U.S. Senate. 3/9
“They weren't, frankly, treating our companies fairly. Those days are over. Right now, we have companies pouring back into our country. We have fair deals. We have really fair deals, and we have many deals in the works.”
Many people have asked me, why do I meet with foreign leaders? Why do I even waste my time? The fact is, it's very important. I've said for a long time, if you're President, you should meet with foreign leaders.
You have nothing to lose & you have a lot to gain. You look at what happened in Singapore, you look at what happened with Chairman Kim, & all that's taken place, we have the remains back of our great heroes that were lost so many years ago.
But you had others that say, 'Oh, the market will collapse; lots of bad things will happen.' And take a look at what's happened. We have the greatest, longest bull market in the history of our country.
The Democratic Party is considering de-emphasizing or eliminating #superdelegates, which are heavily criticized for being small-d undemocratic, which they absolutely are. But please consider this defense of this essential protection against populist demagogues. /1
Lots of things have changed since the Founders founded, but their deep-seated fear of the damage a populist demagogue could do to a democracy remains absolutely valid. Hamilton's Federalist Papers are riddled with warnings from top to bottom. /2
Federalist Paper 1 featured this warning: "[O]f those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people; commencing demagogues, and ending tyrants." /3
Now is perhaps as good a moment as any to brush up on the concept of “in-kind contributions.” Under federal law, these are amounts paid to influence an election that don’t go through campaign's bank account. The key word here is "contributions." That's what they are. /1
Let's take a keg of beer at a campaign event. If the campaign paid for it, it has to be reported as an expense. /2
But if someone who's not the candidate brought it, that’s an in-kind contribution. It doesn’t matter that the campaign never saw the cash. The beer purchase has to be reported by the campaign as a contribution, and then as an expense. /3
1/ Ignore the salacious details for just a moment. An agent of a federal candidate is reported to have transferred $130k three weeks before an election to kill a story that would hurt the candidate. This gets @alt_fec's attention. wsj.com/articles/trump…
2/ Here's 52 USC §30101(8)(A): "The term 'contribution' includes— (i) any gift, subscription, loan, advance, or deposit of money or anything of value made by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office..."
3/ And on the flip side: 52 USC §30101(9)(A): "The term 'expenditure' includes— (i) any purchase, payment, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money or anything of value, made by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office..."