Enterprise Stories

Talking Points Memo | Voter Purges Have Become the Right’s New Voter Suppression Tool of Choice

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Oct. 31, 2018

Houston photographer Lynn Lane has voted in every general election and primary over the last five years. He hasn’t changed his address, so he was stunned this year to receive an official letter warning him that he might soon be erased from the rolls.

Lane was one of 4,000 voters whose registrations were personally challenged by a single Republican, Alan Vera, who chairs the Harris County GOP’s “Ballot Security Committee.” This sort of individual challenge is illegal in some states, but Texas law permits it. Republicans blamed the county’s election registrar, a Democrat, for automatically suspending the registrations of 1,700 of those voters — but not before Vera boasted on his Facebook page about what he was up to: Voters whose registrations were suspended for failure to return a confirmation postcard would have to cast provisional ballots, which are “reviewed by the Ballot board,” he wrote, “and I appoint all Republican members of that board.” His “project,” he added, “could make a big difference in the November election results.” Continue Reading …

Sunlight Foundation | Spate of Anti-Protest Bills Targets Social Justice Infrastructure

By Eliza Newlin Carney, June 18, 2018

When Colorado public school teachers rallied in Denver this spring to demand better school funding and retirement benefits, two fed-up GOP legislators had a novel idea: Why not pass a bill to fire the teachers and send them to jail? The legislation introduced by state Senator Bob Gardner and Representative Paul Lundeen would also have nullified any union contract between a district and striking teachers.

Gardner and Lundeen withdrew their bill in amid public outcry. But their bid to defang unions reflects the new face of the conservative movement to crack down on public protests in 2018. Not content to simply take aim at individual protesters, some Republican state legislators seem to be setting their sights this year on progressive institutions that have long been a thorn in conservatives’ side. This includes academic institutions rife with protest, labor unions backing striking teachers, and environmental groups aligned with anti-pipeline demonstrators. Continue Reading …

The American Prospect | Is This the Year of the Latino Voter?

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Prospect Senior Editor, July 25, 2016

Miami residents of all ages streamed by the hundreds to Marlins Park on a recent spring Saturday, but they weren’t there for a baseball game.

True, the event opened with members of the crowd rising to place their hands over their hearts. But instead of singing the national anthem, the group of stadium-goers who kicked off the festivities that March 19 were reciting the Oath of Allegiance that marks the naturalization ceremony for U.S. citizenship. And the 1,600 people standing in line in the stadium loggia weren’t waiting for hot dogs. They were immigrants with green cards waiting patiently for help filling out the paperwork to apply for naturalization themselves. Continue Reading …

The American Prospect | Going After the Big Bucks

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Prospect Senior Editor, February 11, 2016

The 2016 election has thrust populist candidates and big-spending outside groups to center stage. These trends further marginalize the traditional role of the national political parties.

Thrown on defense by angry voters, self-financed candidates, and billionaire donors who thumb their noses at the political establishment, party leaders are struggling to reclaim power. A growing chorus of political analysts, election lawyers, and even some progressives argue that the solution is to give parties the same freedom to raise unrestricted, high-dollar contributions that super PACs and other outside groups now enjoy. That, presumably, would partly restore the influence of parties, and serve as a more democracy counterweight to freelance mega-money. Continue Reading …

CQ Weekly | Presidential Bids Roil Senate

By Eliza Newlin Carney, CQ Roll Call Staff, March 16, 2015

The race for the White House has already drawn three of the Senate’s most combative Republicans, thrusting the chamber into a disruptive and distracting political scrimmage.

For Texas firebrand Ted Cruz, libertarian standard-bearer Rand Paul of Kentucky and telegenic conservative Marco Rubio of Florida, the mandate for the 114th Congress is clear: seize the national spotlight with bold sound bites and bills that offer voters a clear choice.

For Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, this Congress’ mandate is essentially the opposite: unify Republicans behind a governing agenda with minimum drama and GOP infighting. That puts the Kentucky Republican on a collision course with three of his party’s most visible figures, including his fellow Bluegrass state senator. Continue Reading …

CQ Weekly | Democracy Has Become a Cash Cow

By Eliza Newlin Carney, CQ Roll Call Staff, Feb. 2, 2015

The Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling that blew the lid off campaign spending five years ago has also ushered in a Gilded Age for the booming political consulting industry.

The paychecks earned by the professionals who create and place ads, raise money, take polls, manage communications and direct strategy draw less scrutiny than the billionaire donors who now drive the increasingly deregulated political marketplace. But political consultants have cashed in handsomely, and are earning more money with less oversight than ever before.

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CQ Weekly | ‘Max PACs’ Seek Big Bucks

By Eliza Newlin Carney, CQ Roll Call Staff, May 5, 2014

Within a week of the Supreme Court’s April 2 ruling to relax limits on campaign contributions, top Republican Party officials unveiled a new special fundraising account that is now free to collect six-figure contributions for the first time.

The Republican Victory Fund brings together the three major GOP committees backing presidential, House and Senate candidates, and it positions them to take full advantage of the ruling known as MucCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission.

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CQ Weekly | The Vanishing Trail of Campaign Cash

By Eliza Newlin Carney, CQ Roll Call Staff, March 10, 2014

Three Republican operatives who started an opposition research group after the 2012 election set out to emulate the success of a Democratic operation called American Bridge 21st Century, which captures the gaffes of GOP candidates on video and spins them into scathing commercials.

American Bridge had collected $17 million during the presidential race through its super PAC, which may raise and spend unlimited amounts independent of candidates, and an affiliated tax-exempt advocacy gruop. Its ads portraying Mitt Romney as a ruthless capitalist willing to “let Detroit go bankrupt” had thrown the GOP presidential nominee on the defensive.

But in fashioning their own Republican tracking operation, which they called America Rising, former Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoads and GOP organizers Tim Miller and Joe Pounder chose an unusual structure for a priarily political organization. Unlike its Democratic role model, America Rising operates principally as a limited liability company, or LLC – a type of hybrid business entity that is common in the broader business sphere but occupies an obscure and little-regulated niche in the world of politics.

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CQ Weekly | No Entry

By Eliza Newlin Carney, CQ Roll Call Staff, March 3, 2014

With his tacit admission that Congress will not overhaul the immigration system this year, House Speaker John A. Boehner has won a temporary truce within his party, and the chance at a midterm election season unmarred by GOP infighting on the issue.

But Boehner’s immigration cease-fire, while it may reap rewards for Republicans on Election Day 2014, could come at a heavy price politically and economically. Having effectively removed immigration from the table, members of Congress – particularly Republicans – are now facing the fallout.

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CQ Weekly | Keeping Score: The Power of ‘Report Cards’

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Roll Call Staff, Jan. 21, 2013

On the late December day when House Speaker John A. Boehner hastily called a news conference to tout his Plan B for averting an economic crisis from the fiscal cliff, the Ohio Republican had some influential allies in his corner.

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CQ Weekly | When Money Is Short, Strategy Reigns

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Roll Call Staff, July 28, 2012

Soon after Election Day 2010, EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock convened a meeting of top labor, women’s and environmental organizers at the political action committee’s headquarters in downtown Washington.

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CQ Weekly | The Election’s Second Front

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Roll Call Staff, Feb. 25, 2012

Eight months before Election Day, two hard-fought political battles are unfolding on the campaign trail — one highly visible, the other largely tactical.

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National Journal | Super Donors

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Contributing Editor

In the most recent election, lobbyist Larry O’Brien and his wife, Helen, personally donated more than $150,000 to the Democratic party and its candidates. By contrast, the median household income in the United States in 2006 was $48,201, according to the Census Bureau.

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National Journal | Six Myths About Campaign Money

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Contributing Editor

When the Supreme Court decided in January to toss out the decades-old ban on direct corporate and union campaign spending, U.S. politics changed overnight.

In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the high court ruled 5-4 that unions and corporations could spend money from their vast treasuries on campaigns. The decision applies to for-profit and nonprofit corporations alike, scrambling the ceck for political players of all stripes.

The ruling also intensifies the never-ending political money wars: Democrats have fought in vain to push through a broad new disclosure bill, and republicans have renewed their systematic legal assault on the remaining campaign finance laws.

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