1. A brand new independent expenditure group working against 36th District Democratic state rep candidate Gael Tarleton has cued up a $60,000 cable TV and mailing campaign set to hit this week.
A secretive post-Citizens' United style group with a patriotic name like Americans for Freedom?
Nope: It's a lefty group called People for Progressive Leadership (they're supporting Tarleton's opponent, Progressive Majority leader Noel Frame, who's also going for the open seat.)
Voters won't get a straight answer. The money could be coming from yet another independent expenditure group with yet another generic name.
Yep: People for Progressive Leadership has yet to report who's donating the cash. The Public Disclosure Commission tells PubliCola that People for Progressive Leadership is required to report their funders this week. However, it could be that voters won't get a straight answer. The money could be coming from yet another independent expenditure group with yet another generic name, and, with some Three-Card-Monte-style accounting, that's all that would show up on PFP's campaign finance reports.
A good bet would be that the cash is coming from the longstanding political committee, Progressive Leadership. They recently received $14,000, $10,000, and $8,000 contributions respectively from the Teamsters, the state employees' union, and Fuse—three groups that support Frame and oppose Tarleton.
Perhaps the generic cash will trace back to those contributors.
2. Speaking of hiding the money: in case you missed it, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) debated longshot Republican U.S. Senate candidate Michael Baumgartner on KCTS on Friday afternoon.
Both candidates were asked specifically to address Citizens United and what they thought about the influence of unlimited and undisclosed contributions—and whether they would support legislation calling for full disclosure.
Cantwell voted for the DISCLOSE Act in 2010, which required full disclosure, and said she was for full transparancy.
Baumgartner also said he supported transparency and full disclosure. However, after the debate, we asked him if he supported the DISCLOSE Act (which was sponsored by Cantwell's Democratic colleague, U.S. Sen. Patty Murray). He said he wasn't familiar with the legislation.
The Republicans blocked it in September 2010.
3. More from the U. S. Senate debate: Baumgartner came on like Michael Moore (or Jane Fonda circa 1970) bashing Cantwell for voting for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; Republican Baumgartner is running as an anti-war candidate, criticizing the wars as debt-burdened blunders. He referred to them as "Senator Cantwell's wars" that "were put on a credit card."
After the debate, Fizz asked Cantwell to respond to the charge (she voted for both.)
She said the unfunded wars were "Bush policy." And, saying Baumgartner "hadn't done his homework," she pointed out that she voted for several measures to withdraw from Afghanistan (true), including a vote in 2010 in President Obama's face (with just 17 other dissident senators) to set a timetable for getting out.
Additionally, Cantwell repeatedly voted for legislation that would have required President Bush to include war spending in the budget rather than putting it on the supplemental budget credit card.
Cantwell also responded to Baumgartner's unrelenting anti-war pitch during the debate itself. In response to Baumgartner's charge that "the country has not gone to war" (implying, a la Ozzy Osbourne's "War Pigs," that it's the politicians' fault) Cantwell responded:
I'd like to go back to something, [state] senator Baumgarnter is wrong. All of America did go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan. We support our troops. We support those brave men and women who have served our country. And we thank them.
4. Speaking of Cantwell and Baumgartner—ballots are going out to voters in the mail this week. Watch for PubliCola's Picks.
We'll begin rolling out our endorsements this afternoon.