Going after Karl Rove?

New York's AG wants records from Crossroads GPS; Newt University opens at GOP convention; other Thursday stories

Topics: 2012 Elections, Campaign Finance, Eric Schneiderman, Mitt Romney, Karl Rove,

Going after Karl Rove?

Into the light: New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is stepping in where the FEC has largely sat out, ramping up an inquiry into dark money in campaign finance. The New York Times reports that in recent weeks he has requested the tax returns and other financial documents from dozens of nonprofit “social welfare” groups that are among the biggest spenders in this year’s election. He’s requested records from groups aligned with both parties, including Karl Rove’s massive Crossroads GPS and the Obama-backing Priorities USA. The FEC has so far declined or had trouble imposing transparency on these 501(c)4 groups. But “under New York law, tax-exempt groups — including foundations, trade associations and social welfare organizations — that do business or raise substantial amounts of money in New York must file auditors’ reports and their federal tax returns with the attorney general’s office. With New York both the center of the country’s financial industry and home to many of its leading conservative and liberal donors, that jurisdiction could give Mr. Schneiderman oversight power over many of the biggest-spending groups.”

“I happen to have Mr. McLuhan right here”: The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein decided to dig into the citations of a recent Romney campaign white paper on the economy and found that the experts it cites think the paper may misrepresent their work. The paper was authored by four economists advising the campaign, Glenn Hubbard, Greg Mankiw, John Taylor and Kevin Hassett, but three outside economists mentioned in the appendix all disagreed with how the Romney campaign presented their work. For instance, in one place, the Romney campaign says research has shown that President Obama’s economic stimulus package had a negative effect on the economy (most research has found a positive one). The paper cites one study by a Romney adviser and another about the Cash for Clunkers program, but not the stimulus. In another place the Romney paper claims economic research has shown that Obama’s policies made the recession worse, but that’s not what the paper they cite actually says. A third citation is meant to support Romney’s tax plan, but the paper in question is about a hypothetical scenario in which the income tax is replaced by a consumption tax, something Romney has not proposed. As Klein notes, “In every case, they responded with a polite version of Marshall McLuhan’s famous riposte” from Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall.”

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The invitation must have been lost in the mail: Newt Gingrich, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Texas Gov. Rick Perry all got passed over for speaking slots at the Republican National Convention. Gingrich will instead host a Romney campaign-blessed workshop series at the convention dubbed Newt University. Meanwhile, Bachmann and Cain will hold a “unity rally” in a megachurch about 20 minutes from the convention center. Donald Trump and Sarah Palin have not been given slots yet either, though convention organizers are reportedly still considering adding them.

Komen shakeup: The AP reports that “the president of Susan G. Komen for the Cure is resigning and founder Nancy Brinker is moving away from its day-to-day management.” The move comes as the organization continues to struggle with fallout from its quickly reversed decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood. At least five other high-ranking officials have left the organization over the controversy and fundraising was reportedly down in the months since the January decision.

No global warming here: July was the hottest month on record in U.S. history, or at least since the government began keeping data in 1895, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The previous 12 months were also the hottest on record. “The fact that we are breaking records by so much and sustained for so long indicates that global warming is playing a role,” said Kevin Trenberth, of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado.

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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