Blog Category: FEC
Year-end FEC filings show campaigns using Aristotle software raised more money in 2012 election cycle
Patent-Pending Data Mining Techniques Powering Election-Year Fundraising Success
WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – Post-Election reports filed by 1,689 candidates with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show that those campaigns that used Aristotle software performed significantly better in fundraising than those who used any one of the next three most popular software products for fundraising and disclosure utilized in 2012.
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Since April, most of the TV ads supporting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have come from outside groups, not from Romney’s own campaign. And those groups raised more than half of their money from secret donors, according to a six-month study of ads…
Citizens United allowed corporate spending in support of individual candidates. But former Federal Election Commission Chairman David Mason says the big effect was on donors’ thinking.
“I think there are two things going on. One is that the explosion of reported spending sort of encouraged more big donors to get into this space, to give large sums of money and be more active in politics,” Mason says.
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Those of you who struggle to comply with election law probably have a lot of choice words for it.
Super-election lawyer Jan Baran kicked off a recent PLI conference on election law with “arcane”. Jan cited a New York Times crossword clue looking for the a-word with the text “like election law.”
For Aristotle clients, and the 200 or so compliance professionals who sat through the 2 day PLI program, this is no surprise, but it is notable that this fact has crept into popular (well, at least New York Times-popular) consciousness.
While no one who has had to deal with the enforcement process at the Federal Election Commission enjoys it, the FEC has put significant emphasis in recent years on dismissing unjustified complaints. The Commission uses a “no reason to believe” (no RTB) finding to express its conclusion that a complaint was not justified.
Getting that No RTB finding is now a lot harder thanks to a ruling by a Federal court here in Washington. In LaBotz v. FEC, D.D.C., Civil Action No. 11-1247 (RC), the court’s opinion concluded that the FEC improperly dismissed a complaint by a minor party candidate who had been excluded from a debate. The judge ruled the dismissal improper because the Commission lacked “substantial evidence” to support its decision, arguing it was based on a weak affidavit. (The affiant did not claim personal knowledge of the facts involved and presented no contemporaneous evidence to support its claims.)
Pay to play (P2P) laws prohibit government contractors and key contractor employees from making contributions to the campaigns of politicians who may be able to influence the award of government business.
P2P rules have proliferated, often including “death penalty” provisions such as contracting bans, voiding contracts, or even requiring contractors to provide services without compensation. And sometimes it is not clear which officials may be in a position to influence a contract.
We had heard that some financial firms reacted by prohibiting employees from making political contributions altogether. We recently ran across a firm with a policy nearly that broad.
A self-appointed nanny group has asked NBC to ban Super PAC ads during the Olympic Games. Their argument? They claim such ads go “against the spirit and values of the Olympic Games.” This is on top of the ad the Obama campaign is running during the opening ceremony and the Olympic Committee’s ban on use of their footage in political ads.
If you ask me, the Olympics long ago gave up the pretense of being limited to amateur athletes, so what is the “spirit” that’s being protected from politics?
Take the International Olympic Committee’s $4 billion-plus fee from NBC for the latest broadcast rights, including nearly $1.2 billion for the London Games alone. Then note that tickets for the opening ceremonies in London can set spectators back more than $3,000 a seat. That is more than a presidential campaign is allowed to charge.
A multi-event package for this year’s summer games is more expensive than a Super PAC fundraiser.
To recover most of its costs, NBC is selling ads. Leading sponsors include carmakers, fast food emporia, smart phone manufacturers, and purveyors of all manner of luxury goods.
I have nothing against fast food, fast cars, fast phones and flashy watches. But in the midst of the multi-billion dollar commercialized extravaganza of the modern Olympics, the “spirit” of the games is a poor excuse to censor discussion about a presidential election.
The efforts to ban political ads and footage are really nothing more than efforts to force those these groups disagree with to shut up. Surely, that’s not in the spirit of the games.
David M. Mason, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, is senior vice president, compliance services at Aristotle International.
How political contributions are like impulse purchases, and other insights from David Mason of Aristotle, the political intelligence company.
David Mason, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, is now Senior Vice President for Compliance Services at Aristotle International, a political technology company. Aristotle uses its technological wizardry to help political campaigns identify supporters and get out the vote; it recently announced a partnership with Intermarkets to provide microtargeting for political advertisements online, as well as a service to help campaigns glean more information from text message donations.
To read the Fast Company interview with Dave Mason, click here >>
In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court on Monday reaffirmed a landmark 2010 ruling that allows corporations to make unlimited political expenditures, reversing a Montana Supreme Court ruling from December without hearing arguments.
The summary reversal of American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock, which directly rebutted the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, indicates the Supreme Court will stand by its view of corporations as people. It also clarified that the 2010 rules apply on the state level…
Many have already implemented regulations to conform with Citizens United, said Mason, currently a senior vice president at the data-mining and compliance company Aristotle. The impact has been felt in gubernatorial and, to a lesser extent, state legislator races, he explained.
“Montana was the only state out of 50 that didn’t acknowledge the Citizens Uniteddecision,” Mason said. “[This ruling] removes any illusion that the Supreme Court jurisprudence is going to change anytime soon…”
“John Aristotle Phillips, CEO of Aristotle, an organization that helps campaigns organize donations by text, says savvy campaigns will benefit not just by raising money, but by spinning donor relationships into a broader network. Of text donations, Phillips says,”It’s helpful to the campaign. It’s not just the money, it’s the indication of support.” Phillips explains that large numbers of small donors will help establish a network campaigns can rely on. This election cycle, he says, donations by text “might be unsurpassed” as an organizing tool.“
…Former FEC Chairman David Mason, now a senior vice president at political technology firm Aristotle International, used the decision to make an immediate sales pitch. “Aristotle’s mobile number reverse append service for campaigns can provide the name and address associated with the number originating text contribution,” he wrote on the company blog, noting that campaigns won’t automatically receive identifying information about people making donations to them. In the Twitterverse, @KurtDWalters mused: “The news here is the FEC did *anything*” Tweeted @keull: “Welcome to the 21st century…”