Where are Dems’ Adelsons?

Liberal billionaires AWOL; Romney hiding even more than we thought; Syria in chaos; and other top Thursday stories

Topics: Campaign Finance, Mitt Romney, 2012 Elections, Syria,

Dem donors hide checkbook: While Republicans have been enjoying eight- and possibly even nine-figure contributions from conservative billionaires to outside groups, Democratic billionaires have been largely AWOL. Politico identified seven pro-Obama families and individuals who could today write multimillion-dollar checks to Priorities USA, the main super PAC backing Obama, but have not so far. They include George Soros, Warren Buffett, and Penny Pritzker, the heiress who is involved with the campaign. All have different reasons for not giving, though they’re all uneasy about cutting big checks given their opposition to Citizens United.

Romney’s got 99 problems and several involve his tax returns: We already know that Mitt Romney is refusing to release more than two years’ worth of tax returns, but the Huffington Post notes that even the returns that Romney has released are not complete: “People who own foreign bank accounts are required to file a separate document with the IRS that provides additional details on such overseas bank holdings, and Romney has not released that form to the public. The Romney campaign did not respond to HuffPost’s request to view the document.”

Calls are mounting from all corners of the political world for Romney to release more returns, but Ann Romney told “Good Morning America” today, “We’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and how we live our life.”

Syria near a tipping point: After rebel attacks in the capital yesterday killed three top aides to President Bashar al-Assad, the leader has reportedly fled Damascus. The momentum may be shifting to the rebels. International actors are concerned chaos and civil war will reign as the government collapses and are calling on the U.N. to develop a plan for a transition government. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that Syria “is rapidly spinning out of control.”

Super PAC to the rescue: American Crossroads, the super PAC connected to Karl Rove, is breaking new post-Citizens United ground by dropping $8.8 million on new ads defending Mitt Romney, instead of attacking President Obama. The new round of ads, which will be the first to refer to Romney directly, will defend his record at Bain Capital against scrutiny from liberals and the press. Because of a quirk in campaign finance law, much of Romney’s money can’t be used until after he officially becomes the nominee at the convention, so Crossroads is stepping in. The ads will call attacks on Bain “misleading, unfair and untrue.”

Arpaio goes to court: Birther Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will have his day in court today over racial profiling charges. For years, he’s been facing a lawsuit over his harsh anti-immigration crackdowns, and the Arizona lawman will finally have to explain himself. Arpaio has refused to cooperate with a Department of Justice investigation into his department over allegations of racial profiling and the mishandling of sex-abuse cases, so now Arpaio will now have to answer to U.S. District Judge Murray Snow.

“This week’s trial will not only test Arpaio’s claims that he’s not breaking any laws. It will help determine just how far local law enforcement agencies may go in their efforts to enforce federal immigration law,” the Los Angeles Times editorialized.

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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