Dems take on dark money

Dems file complaint against Crossroads GPS; heat records broken; Romney rakes it in; and other top Tuesday stories

Topics: 2012 Elections, Campaign Finance, Mitt Romney,

Dems go to battle against dark money: The campaign arm of Senate Democrats filed a complaint against the Karl Rove-backed Crossroads GPS and two other conservative dark money “social welfare organizations,” alleging that they are violating their tax-free status by engaging in political activity. The New York Times reports, “The complaint by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee against Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, Americans for Prosperity and the 60 Plus Association begins a new phase in the Democrats’ struggle to keep pace with Republicans since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling.” It’s unlikely the FEC will take any action before the election, or even after.

The Obama campaign made a similar move last month. Independent watchdog groups have also complained about the slippery definition of these nonprofits.

Romney’s massive haul: “Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee easily outraised the formidable Obama money machine for the second month in a row,” beating him by a formidable $35 million. Romney brought in $106 million in June, compared to just $71 million for Obama and the Democratic National Committee. It gives Romney and his party four times the cash on hand that it had just three months ago. In a fundraising email Monday, a campaign official was blunt: “We could lose if this continues.”

Race pulls even: A new Washington Post/ABC News poll likely won’t raise spirits in Chicago, finding the race to be a dead heat. “Economic discontent and substantial dissatisfaction with Barack Obama’s performance in office are keeping Mitt Romney competitive in the presidential race – but not by enough of a margin to overcome Obama’s stronger personal profile. The result: a dead heat in voter preferences at the midsummer stage, with the prospect of an epic battle ahead.

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“While most Americans continue to disapprove of Obama’s handling of the economy, that’s not his only problem. More than half fault him on health care and immigration as well. Sixty-three percent say the country’s headed in the wrong direction, an unhelpful view for an incumbent. And among groups, he’s losing swing-voting independents by a record 14 percentage points,” ABC reports.

Hot enough for ya? The past year has been the warmest 12-month period on record (since recordkeeping began in 1985), according to a new report from NOAA. According to the government climate agency, every single state in the contiguous U.S. except for Washington saw above-average temperatures during the past 12 months, and the period from January to June of this year also has been the warmest first half of a year on record for the U.S. mainland. In June alone, 170 all-time heat records were broken, and 1.3 million acres burned in wildfires, the second most on record for the month.

Voter ID goes to court: Politico reports on a key legal battle over voter ID laws: “A panel of federal judges opened a trial in Washington, D.C., on Monday to decide whether Texas can carry out its year-old voter ID law, which the Justice Department contends will prevent Latino and African-American citizens from voting. The case, which could make its way to the Supreme Court, is the first major federal court showdown in this election cycle over a series of laws Republican-controlled state legislatures have approved that require voters to show photo identification at the polls.”

Alex Seitz-Wald
Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

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