dave levinthal

IS TWITTER REPLACING THE SMOKE FILLED ROOM?:

There are no smoke-filled backrooms in cyberspace — or even a spot for a simple hallway conversation.

So some lobbyists are shocked these days to walk into congressional offices and find staffers communicating not by phone but through Facebook. They’re surprised to witness members of Congress transfixed by their iPhones while updating their Twitter feeds. They’re puzzled to hear government officials suggest “meeting” by Google-chat.  

These communication platforms are heady stuff for many veteran influence brokers, particularly those accustomed to communicating in a slightly more corporeal manner. And while just about every politico in the nation’s capital now amplifies message and mantra through social media, professional lobbying firms, which have long ranked among D.C.’s most social and media-savvy power brokers, have largely opted out.

Continue reading Dave Levinthal’s column HERE

Is the NRA’s electoral might a myth?

More surprising that day was the failure of the Manchin-Toomey background check expansion, which in some national polls was supported by more than 80 percent of respondents.

Taken together, the votes seemed to reconfirm one of the most commonly held and oft-repeated beliefs in American politics: When it comes to gun policy, there’s no beating the National Rifle Association, which had lobbied heavily against the legislation.

A counter-narrative is developing, however, one portraying the power of the NRA as a self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuated by unsupported assumptions, not quantifiable evidence.

Both views of the NRA may be valid at once. While evidence of the gun lobby’s electoral impact is less compelling than assumed, the political class’ belief in the group’s power in electoral campaigns has historically given it significant legislative influence.

Even so, changes may be coming. As a re-energized gun control movement emerges, buoyed by the largess of groups like Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the shocking nature of recent shootings, the NRA could find itself challenged to a degree never before seen.

Keep reading

Meet the Top Politicians, Mega-Donors Who Mingled at Secretive Conference
Eleven potential GOP presidential candidates among the dozens attending

By Dave Levinthal & Michael Beckel Mar 19, 2015 

AEI 2015 ‘World Forum’ agenda
DOCUMENT: http://www.publicintegrity.org/2015/03/19/16926/aei-2015-world-forum-agenda

Eleven potential Republican presidential candidates, several media titans and a gaggle of top political donors ranked among attendees this month of a secretive politics and policy conference, according to an attendee roster obtained by the Center for Public Integrity.

Likely White House hopefuls listed as participants include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and former Amb. John Bolton.

Their names, along with about 300 others, appear within disclosure documents filed today by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii — who, along with Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, was one of the handful of Democrats who participated in the annual conference sponsored by the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

The “World Forum” event, conducted March 5 through March 8 at a luxurious resort in Sea Island, Georgia, has been conducted annually since 1982.

Sessions at the invitation-only, off-the-record affair came with such titles as “Campaign 2016: What to Expect,” “The Shape of Education Reform in the Post-Obama Era” and “Bipartisan Agreement in Economic Policy.”

Among the top Republican bankrollers and fundraisers on the attendees roster: political consultant Karl Rove, coal king Joe Craft, real estate developer Harlan Crow, Goldman Sachs executive Jim Donovan, businessman Sam Fox and brokerage executive Joe Ricketts, who founded what’s now TD Ameritrade.

They joined World Wrestling Entertainment executive Linda McMahon, former Facebook executive Sean Parker, developer Ross Perot Jr. — son of 1992 presidential candidate H. Ross Perot — and businessman Dick DeVos, who leads the direct-selling giant Amway that specializes in health and beauty products.

Media figures include Rupert Murdoch, whose corporate empire controls Fox News and the Wall Street Journal among other media outlets, and New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger.

Add Wall Street Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, former CNN journalist Campbell Brown and New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks to the list, as well.

Other bold-faced names include former Vice President Dick Cheney, former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, soon-to-be former Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois and Chick-fil-A honcho Dan Cathy.

Legistorm first reported that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise — who has faced withering criticism of late for once speaking before a white supremacist group — skipped the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Selma, Alabama, civil rights march to attend the conference.

The American Enterprise Institute conference stands in stark contrast to other early-year conservative gatherings such as the annual Conservative Political Action Conference near Washington, D.C., which is open to the public and press.

Judy Mayka Stecker, an American Enterprise Institute spokeswoman, previously told the Center for Public Integrity that “the event is private and off-the-record” in order to “maintain intellectual freedom and free discourse.”

As a sitting member of Congress, Gabbard was required to file disclosure documents with the U.S. House because the American Enterprise Institute paid for her travel, lodging and meals.

Gabbard reported their value was about $3,700.

http://www.publicintegrity.org/2015/03/19/16927/meet-top-politicians-mega-donors-who-mingled-secretive-conference

Meet The Top Politicians And Donors Who Mingled At A Secretive Conference This Month

Meet The Top Politicians And Donors Who Mingled At A Secretive Conference

By Dave Levinthal and Michael Beckel

This story is from The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative news organization in Washington, D.C. To sign up for more of their money in politics investigations, go here or follow them on Twitter.

Eleven potential Republican presidential candidates, several media titans and a gaggle of top political donors ranked among attendees this month of a secretive politics and policy conference, according to an attendee roster obtained by the Center for Public Integrity.

Likely White House hopefuls listed as participants include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and former Amb. John Bolton.

Their names, along with about 300 others, appear within disclosure documents filed today by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii — who, along with Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, was one of the handful of Democrats who participated in the annual conference sponsored by the conservative American Enterprise Institute. 

The “World Forum” event, conducted March 5 through March 8 at a luxurious resort in Sea Island, Georgia, has been conducted annually since 1982. 

Sessions at the invitation-only, off-the-record affair came with such titles as “Campaign 2016: What to Expect,” “The Shape of Education Reform in the Post-Obama Era” and “Bipartisan Agreement in Economic Policy.”

Among the top Republican bankrollers and fundraisers on the attendees roster: political consultant Karl Rove, coal king Joe Craft, real estate developer Harlan Crow, Goldman Sachs executive Jim Donovan, businessman Sam Fox, brokerage executive Joe Ricketts, who founded what’s now TD Ameritrade. 

They joined World Wrestling Entertainment executive Linda McMahon, former Facebook executive Sean Parker, developer Ross Perot Jr. — son of 1992 presidential candidate H. Ross Perot — and businessman Dick DeVos, who leads agriculture giant Amway.

Media figures include Rupert Murdoch, whose corporate empire controls Fox News and the Wall Street Journal among other media outlets, and New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger. Add Wall Street Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, former CNN journalist Campbell Brown and New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks to the list, as well.

Other bold-faced names include former Vice President Dick Cheney, former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, soon-to-be former Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois and Chick-fil-A honcho Dan Cathy. 

Legistorm first reported that House Majority Leader Steve Scalise — who has faced withering criticism of late for once speaking before a white supremacist group — skipped the 50th anniversary commemoration of the Selma, Alabama, civil rights march to attend the conference.

The American Enterprise Institute conference stands in start contrast to other early-year conservative gatherings such as the annual Conservative Political Action Conference near Washington, D.C., which is open to the public and press.

Judy Mayka Stecker, an American Enterprise Institute spokeswoman, previously told the Center for Public Integrity that “the event is private and off-the-record” in order to “maintain intellectual freedom and free discourse.”

As a sitting member of Congress, Gabbard was required to file disclosure documents with the U.S. House because the American Enterprise Institute paid for her travel, lodging and meals. Gabbard reported their value was about $3,700.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/19/meet-the-top-politicians-_n_6906396.html See More at : www.whatsnewworld.info