This post was originally published at RepublicReport.com.
The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel either has no understanding of campaign finance, or is willfully misleading her readers. In either case, her column today about the Koch brothers’ political spending—which parrots a meme that has bounced around conservative blogs and websites like a bad chain e-mail—gets the facts about Koch spending versus union spending completely wrong.
In her column, “The Really Big Money? Not the Kochs,” Strassel cites a Center for Responsive Politics list to claim that unions “collectively spent $620,873,623 more than Koch Industries” on political races. Of course, if you actually visit this page on the CRP website, the list runs below a disclaimer noting that it does not include certain Super PAC spending or most undisclosed dark money spending, the preferred route for the Koch brothers for decades. In fact, the CRP site notes that union spending might appear inflated since unions’ traditional PAC spending is coupled with outside Super PAC spending. For the purposes of this chart, union spending is inflated compared to the giving of companies like Koch or Super PAC donors like Sheldon Adelson.
For the last election, Koch PACs spent $4.9 million in disclosed contributions (figures that appear on the chart referenced by Strassel). But they also spent over $407 million on undisclosed campaign entities, which does not show up in the CRP chart.
via The Koch Brothers Spent Twice as Much on the 2012 Election as the Top Ten Unions Combined | The Nation.
(NEWSER) – How do you make cutting funding to school lunches sound heartwarming? Paul Ryan seemed to pull off the feat yesterday in his CPAC speech, by telling the story he said Eloise Anderson—Scott Walker’s Secretary of Children and Families—had related to him, about a poor boy who received free lunch at school through a government program:
“He told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch, one in a brown-paper bag, like the other kids. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown paper bag had someone who cared for him. This is what the left does not understand.”
There was just one problem. A commenter on Talking Points Memo pointed out that the story appears to be lifted from a book called the Invisible Thread about a homeless child whose rich benefactors offer to buy him lunch:
“Miss Laura,” he said, “I don’t want your money. I want my lunch in a brown paper bag. … Because when I see kids come to school with their lunch in a paper bag, that means someone cares about them. Miss Laura, can I please have my lunch in a paper bag?”
Wonkette spotted the comment, and the story started to spread. Washington Post factchecker Glenn Kessler discovered that Anderson had indeed told the story to Ryan’s committee last July, during which she framed the story as “a little boy told me once…” Ryan was eventually forced to post a correction of sorts on Facebook. “I have just learned that Secretary Anderson misspoke and that the story she told was improperly sourced,” he said.
via Paul Ryan’s CPAC Speech Swiped Plot From Book – He says Wisconsin official ‘improperly sourced’ it.
Goodbye Steve Stockman
The Daily Beast says Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), likely to lose a GOP Senate primary in Texas, “practically bilked his donors by running the most unserious campaign in recent American history.”
“American politics has been rife with liars, crooks, and con artists ever since our country’s founding. But they invariably put in at least some effort to convince voters of their virtue and donors to cut a check. Stockman is different. He has failed to give Texans even the modicum of respect required to actively scam them. Stockman just may be the lamest, laziest grifter in the history of the United States and his departure from public life can only improve the political discourse in our country.”
via Goodbye Steve Stockman.
If Chris Christie, Scott Walker, John Kasich and perhaps Bobby Jindal—orthodox Republican-conservatives all—hope to run for president in 2016, they’ll may have to perform a tricky maneuver: winning the backing of the GOP’s mainstream, big-money donors, including the US Chamber of Commerce, while rallying the electoral support of ultraconservatives who support the floundering Tea Party movement. But it might turn out that the Tea Party isn’t so influential after all.
The Tea Party—the institutional Tea Party, not necessarily the bloc of the GOP electorate which identified with it—continues to have its difficulties, especially in the wake of the 2013 government shutdown. Yesterday, at a conference in Washington, DC, the Tea Party Patriots organization celebrated its fifth anniversary as a force in American politics, but it was decidedly a lackluster event, and even The Washington Times headlined that it is “struggling.”
via In the GOP’s Civil War, the Establishment Is Winning | The Nation.
WASHINGTON — Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) announced her decision to veto legislation on Wednesday that would have allowed businesses to legally refuse service to anyone on “religious freedom” grounds, effectively allowing them to discriminate against same-sex couples.
via Jan Brewer Announces Veto Of Arizona Anti-Gay Bill SB 1062.
When Jan Brewer is the most rational member of your state party, you have a real problem.
Texas U.S. Senate candidate Chris Mapp (R) told the Dallas Morning News that ranchers should be allowed to shoot on sight anyone illegally crossing the border on to their land and referred to such people as “wetbacks.”
Mapp later defended his remarks to the San Antonio Express-News saying that use of the racial slur is as “normal as breathing air in South Texas.”
He also called President Obama a “socialist son of a bitch.”
via Candidate Wants Right to Shoot 'Wetbacks'.
You stay klassy, GOP.
TUCSON, Ariz. — Say a gay couple in Phoenix walks into a bakery to order their wedding cake. The baker refuses to take their order because of his deeply held religious beliefs. Under a measure that passed the Arizona Legislature this week, the baker would have greater protection to invoke religion to shield himself from a discrimination lawsuit.
The bill, approved by the Republican-controlled Senate on Wednesday and the GOP-led House on Thursday, would bolster a business owner’s right to refuse service to gays and others if the owner believes doing so violates the practice and observance of his or her religion.
The state Senate passed it on a straight party-line vote, 17 to 13. The House followed suit, 33 to 27, with two Republicans joining all the Democrats in opposition.
GOP Governor Jan Brewer’s office said she would not take a position until she’d had a chance to review the measure.
via Gay Rights Activists In Uproar Over Arizona 'Religious Freedom' Bill | The National Memo.
What does she want to do with this clout? “My legislative priorities will definitively be the Constitution,” she says, somewhat confusingly. “That’s what I’ve been on Fox News for the last five years for, and I’ll fight for it every way I can.”
via The Tea Party is weak in Texas: Katrina Pierson is the best the grassroots conservatives can do..
Franton, Kansas – Proposed Jim Crow laws for gay people are already taking effect in Kansas. 38-year-old Johnny Quinns-Smith wanted to get an egg-salad sandwich for himself and his fiance, Erique Boltzman. He went to his local diner outside Franton, near Scranton, a place where he and Boltzman had occasionally ate over the past 6 years. In fact, it was at this diner that the two met during a lunch hour.
But today, Quinss-Smith encountered something he thought he would never see in his lifetime: a sign. A sign that said, “Service Refused To Gay Couples.”
“I was in absolute shock, I mean, I could not even fathom what was going on,” he said. When he went into the restaurant, all went silent. The locals looked at him, with several pointing and whispering. Wiping out a cup, a server behind the restaurant’s main ordering station stared at him and then looked over at one of the newest signs next to the cash register.
“I looked at where several people’s eyes were tracking. Then there it was, it was a sign that said ‘No Gay Eating Here’.”
via Kansas Restaurant Kicks Gay Man Out, Tells Him "No Gay Eating Here" – Topekas News.
PHOENIX — The Arizona Legislature passed a measure on Thursday that allows business owners asserting their religious beliefs to refuse service to gays and others, drawing backlash from Democrats who called the proposal “state-sanctioned discrimination” and an embarrassment.
The 33-to-27 vote by the House sent the legislation to Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican.
Governor Brewer does not comment on pending legislation, but she vetoed a similar measure last year. That action, however, came during an unrelated political standoff, and it was not clear whether she would support this plan.
Similar religious protection legislation has been introduced in Ohio, Kansas, Mississippi, Idaho, South Dakota, Tennessee and Oklahoma, but Arizona’s plan is the only one that has passed. The efforts are stalled in Idaho, Ohio and Kansas.
via Bill Viewed as Anti-Gay Is Passed in Arizona – NYTimes.com.