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Russia's $100K Facebook Ads, Mnuchin's Travels, the Midterms, More Controversy from the Voter Commission, SCOTUS Gerrymandering, & More
Wertheimer's Political Money Report
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SEPTEMBER 14, 2017
A NOTE FROM FRED
 

The window opened last week on a very dangerous development in American politics when it was reported that Facebook had told congressional investigators it had discovered it sold $100,000 in ads to a “Russian troll farm” during the 2016 presidential campaign. Facebook has refused to provide the public with any more information on the ads, but it is not going to be able to maintain this position for long.

Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, has indicated he expects the Committee to call Facebook to testify in a public hearing. Warner said he believes the $100,000 in ads was only “the tip of the iceberg.”

The great danger here is that this kind of secret, manipulative activity by a foreign interest to influence our elections is going to explode in future elections.

Experience with campaign finance laws tells us that once a loophole is discovered, operatives rush in to drive a truck through it. The implications for damaging our elections and disrupting our democracy are profound. The Russian activities are part of the new cyber-warfare and the Russians appear to be way ahead of everyone else in conducting these activities.

The immediate challenge facing us is figuring out how to expose in a timely manner efforts by Russia, or any other foreign interest, to manipulate our elections.

The Executive Branch, Congress, and others, including Democracy 21, will be working to seek solutions to this problem.

A very difficult, important, and urgent challenge lies ahead.


MUST READS

THIS WEEK IN TRUMP

Trump’s Closed-Door Rants On Comey & Mueller, via Axios here and more via The Washington Post here.

Trump Treasury Sec’y Mnuchin’s Request For Government Jet For European Honeymoon Raised “Red Flags,”, via ABC News Read more

Trump Promised His Family Business Would Not Work With Foreign Entities. His Company Just Did.
The company, owned by the Chinese government, entered into a $32M deal with Trump’s golf holdings in Dubai. The Chinese company “has a history of corruption allegations, and the World Bank in 2009 banned it for years from taking any contracts financed by the bank,” McClatchy reports. Read more

From Trump Hotel To White House, Malaysian PM Gets VIP Treatment
The visit is “likely to escalate debate over whether the president is benefiting from a luxury property that has become Washington’s new power center — and, its critics say, a staging area for those seeking White House access,” The Washington Post reports. Read more
 
RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA

“Mueller Is Right To Follow The Money,” writes former US Attorney John McKay in The Chicago Tribune. Read more

The Expanding Investigation Into Michael Flynn
Trump’s former national security adviser worked on, but allegedly failed to disclose, a plan to work with Russia to build nuclear reactors in the Middle East. via The Atlantic. Read more

Lobbying Activities Of Michael Flynn’s Son Being Examined By Special Counsel, via The Washington Post Read more

Mueller Probe Has “Red-Hot” Focus On Social Media Manipulation By Russia, via Bloomberg News Read more

DOJ Gives Clearest Sign Yet That Mueller Is Homing In On Comey Firing, via Business Insider Read more
 
FACT OF THE DAY

Facebook reports that $100K in political ads were placed by Russian “troll farms” – fake accounts controlled by Russians – during the 2016 presidential election.
 
Those ads, The Daily Beast reports, “were likely seen by a minimum of 23 million people and might have reached as many as 70 million.”
417 Days Until The 2018 Midterms

Bannon Plotting Primaries Against GOP Incumbents
President Trump’s closest allies are planning a slate of primary challenges against GOP Senators that could undermine Republican prospects and “threatens to drain millions from party coffers,” Politico reports. Read more

House Challengers Find Fundraising Success Outside Their Districts
11 Dem challengers have raised more than 90 percent of their campaign money from outside their districts, Roll Call reports. Read more

Dems Are Tapping Into The “Bernie Network”, via Campaigns & Elections Read more

2018 Could Be The Year Of The Angry White College Graduate, via FiveThirtyEight Read more
 
DISHONESTY & CONTROVERSY DOG TRUMP VOTER COMMISSION


Lawsuits, Falsehoods, And A Lot Of White Men: Trump’s Election Commission Meets Amid Growing Controversy, via Mother Jones Read more

Kris Kobach And His 5,313 Fraudulent Voters
Commission Vice Chair Kobach “and his band of vote suppressors belittle themselves, and threaten voting rights nationwide, with their dishonesty,” according to an editorial in The New York Times. Read more

AG Sessions Was Lobbied To Exclude Dems From Voter Commission, via Gizmodo   Read more
 
SCOTUS: WISCONSIN PARTISAN GERRYMANDERING

The Supreme Court Should Strike Down Wisconsin’s Gerrymandering, editorial via The Washington Post Read more

Wisconsin Voter And A Plaintiff in Gill v. Whitford Hopes Supreme Court Will Revolutionize Map Drawing, via CNN Read more
 
DARK MONEY ISN’T JUST A NATIONAL THING

Denver City Council Unanimously Approves Rules Requiring Reporting Of Dark-Money Election Spending, via The Denver Post. Read more

New Campaign Spending Disclosure Rules Enacted In New Mexico, via Albuquerque Journal Read more

Dark Money Group Pays $425K Fine For Failing To Disclose Donors In Massachusetts Ballot Fight, via Mass Live Read more

 
By: Fred Wertheimer (@FredWertheimer), Jackie Howell, and Diane Alexander. Follow The Political Money Report on Twitter (@Political_Money).
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