Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

April 6, 2014

HOWEY: Bopp’s overhaul of U.S. election finance

As Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock kicked off his U.S. Senate campaign in February 2011 at the Artsgarden, the most conspicuous person in the wings was Terre Haute attorney Jim Bopp Jr.

There stood the man who has changed the federal election finance system with a series of U.S. Supreme and district court victories he framed and argued - Citizens United, SpeechNow - and on Wednesday of this past week, McCutcheon v. the Federal Election Commission. Mourdock’s Republican primary challenge to U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar, and later, his losing race against Democrat Joe Donnelly, would be the petri dish of how two of those decisions would impact American and Indiana politics.

That 2012 Indiana Senate race would see $51 million spent by Mourdock, Lugar and Donnelly, and on their behalf by corporations and Super PACs - the political action committees that bundled donations and spent them, in theory, independent of the candidates. To give you contrast, Hoosier voters had not seen a U.S. Senate race over the $10 million mark prior.

So here’s a primer. Citizens United was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010 that basically ruled that government has no right to regulate political speech, paving the way for corporate money to flood into political races. In March of 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a unanimous opinion in SpeechNow.org v. FEC, deciding that the FEC could not limit donations to independent political groups that will spend money to support or oppose candidates. This essentially created the Super PACs - affiliated with groups like the National Rifle Association, Club For Growth, Crossroads GPS, Freedomworks, ActRight, Americans For Prosperity - that pumped in millions of dollars on behalf of Mourdock’s candidacy in the homestretch of the campaign that fall.

In the final weeks of the Mourdock/Donnelly race, Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS spent around $3 million on behalf of Mourdock. The irony is that Hoosier TV and radio stations, newspapers, advertising agencies and campaign consulting groups saw little of this money. Most was spent on Fox News and to out-of-state direct mail houses. Donnelly received more than $5.5 million in a similar time frame from Democratic-affiliated advocacy groups.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • WOLFSIE: Giving a word of advice So, what’s the word? Really, what is the word? With over 250,000 words in the English language, you’d think there would be a word for just about everything. Not so. Therefore, I am on a crusade to find a term for some everyday occurrences for which t

    August 1, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Stop spinning wheels and fund highways It is important that Congress act quickly to maintain sufficient funding levels in the Highway Trust Fund to pay for necessary highway projects.Indiana receives more than 40 percent of its total state highway and transit funding from the federal gove

    August 1, 2014

  • PETERS: Have a cup of joe to help your eyes? My day starts with coffee. I’m too cheap to buy it by the cup from baristas, so I just brew my own Folgers by the pot. I have a cup or two as I settle into work each morning, and another cup – sometimes two – in the early afternoon. That may not be w

    August 1, 2014

  • WILLIAMS: America still the dream Is America really in as bad as shape like many people say it is? I’m 67 and when I look around, I don’t see it.Everything isn’t great but believe it or not, there has never been a time when everything was great, not even in those innocent Fifties we

    July 31, 2014

  • OUR VIEW: Every town that has any sort of waterway -- whether it be a river or a creek or just a stream -- knows it will be used as a trash can. And oftentimes, tires are a favorite trash to be tossed into the waterways. Many organizations and concerned citize

    July 31, 2014

  • WERNER: The mystery of the Indian grave at Dykeman Last summer I contacted Thelma Conrad, executive director of the Cass County Historical Society, to ask her if she had any information on the Indian grave at Dykeman Park. Thelma had heard of it but had never seen the small marker that tells of the I

    July 31, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Data confirms our obsession with sports Of the five highest paid employees of Indiana University, three are involved with athletics. That was the case in 2013 as well.In new evidence that spending on athletic department salaries is outpacing the rest of the university, if not the vast majo

    July 30, 2014

  • RAMPBELL: Keeping the sick at home Something strange happened here this week: Lots of workers who’ve never done so before got the right to call in sick. And that’s a good thing.The Big Apple, you see, is joining a handful of other trailblazing cities such as Washington, San Francisco

    July 30, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Patacsil was no ordinary Joe Somebody forgot to tell Joe Patacsil that if he wanted to wrestle at a Big Ten university with black and gold as its school colors ... well, most people who know anything about college wrestling today might have said he picked the wrong one -- Purdue

    July 30, 2014

  • MARCUS: The higher education funding mess Public higher education financing is unsustainable as currently configured. This conclusion was reached by two important groups over the past two years. The National Association of State Budget Officers and the State Higher Education Executive Office

    July 29, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should the U.S. impose a travel ban on three West African nations in response to a growing Ebola virus outbreak?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.