The Democratic Party has asked 15 mayors to submit formal bids to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention, an event that could cost a city as much as $60 million but the payout could be triple the investment or more.
The Democratic National Committee's official request for proposal or "RFP" was sent to cities late Monday and they are required to submit their bids to host the convention by June 6.
Cities that received the DNC's "RFP" include: Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus (Ohio), Detroit, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Miami, Nashville, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City.
The DNC will choose its 2016 host city by the close of 2014 or beginning of 2015 and Democrats are expected to hold the convention, where the party will officially choose its presidential nominee, in late summer 2016. ... Some cities, such as Columbus, have been lobbying hard to be chosen to host the 2016 Democratic convention. At a DNC meeting in February, Columbus officials hosted a reception highlighting reasons why the city should be the site for the Democratic National Convention. While 15 cities received RFPs on Monday, a DNC official noted that other cities could request an RFP and be considered as a host city. -CNN
Cities that definitely won't get it: New York, Salt Lake, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas
This past week, the United States Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote inMcCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission, struck down the law imposing an "aggregate" limit on the amount that one individual can give to all candidates and party committees in a single election.
A mere eleven years ago, by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court upheld a significant portion, but not all, of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (better known as McCain-Feingold) in McConnell vs. Federal Election Commission. In this opinion, the swing vote was Justice Sandra Day O'Connor with Justices Stevens, Souter, Breyer, and Ginsburg also joining in that opinion. On the other side were Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Scalia, Kennedy, and Thomas. A key part of the opinions upholding parts of McCain-Feingold was the recognition of the potential appearance of corruption from large scale expenditures (especially by corporations) even if not direct contributions to candidates.
In 2006 Justice O'Connor retired and Justice Samuel Alito took her seat. In that same term, Chief Justice Rehnquist died and was replaced by Chief Justice Roberts.
In 2007, in Federal Elections Commission vs. Wisconsin Right to Life, the Supreme Court decided by a 5-4, with Justice Alito and Chief Justice Roberts joining the McConnell dissenters, that "issue" ads run on the eve of an election were not election spending subject to FEC regulation (despite the clear intent of McCain-Feingold to regulate such ads). (An "issue" ad is an ad run by a group that typically criticizes a politician for stands on certain issues. The main difference between an issue ad and an a "campaign" ad is that the issue ad does not expressly request a vote for or against any candidate -- even though it is not hard to read between the lines and get the message as to how the ad wants the person to vote.
In 2010, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the same 5-4 majority struck down a long-time restriction on corporations using their money for independent expenditures on campaign ads. When combined with Wisconsin Right to Life, the Supreme Court essentially held that corporations (i.e. groups organized outside of campaign finance laws and thus exempt from campaign finance disclosure requirements) could spend unlimited amounts of money -- regardless of whether they phrased their ad as a mere issue ad or went the next step of asking for a vote for or against a specific candidate.
Now, the Supreme Court has gone the next step and struck down the aggregate contribution limits. The law recognizes four "base" limits on contributions to a single candidate or committee. First, a donor can only give a candidate $2,600 per election (effectively $5,200 for the two-year cycle, $2,600 for the primary and $2,600 for the general). Second, a donor can give $32,400 per year to a national party committee. Third, a donor can give per year $10,000 in federal money to a state committee. Fourth, a donor can give a federal political action committee $5,000 per year in federal money (noting, of course, that these restrictions do not apply to donations to non-PACs that make "independent expenditures"). Besides these limits on donations to a single candidate or committee, before Wednesday, the law contained three limits on aggregate or total contributions to all candidates/committees. First, a donor could only give a total of $48,600 for a two-year cycle to all federal candidates (state candidates being outside the jurisdiction of the FEC). Second, a donor could only give a total of $48,600 per two-year cycle in federal money to state and local parties and PACs (again noting that these limits do not apply to non-PACs, e.g. Americans For Prosperity). Finally, a donor could only give a total of $74,600 per two-year cycle in federal money to non-candidate committees (including national political parties).
In its decision on Wednesday, the Supreme Court found that these aggregate limits could not be based on the appearance of corruption (the reason used to uphold the base and aggregate limits in 1976 and 2003). Limitations on aggregate donation were invalid in the absence of proof of actual bribery. While the majority is technically correct that there decision on Wednesday leaves intact the base limits (and the bar on direct donations by corporations), that is simply a matter of the limits of this case. Under the reasoning of the majority, neither the base limits nor the limits on corporate donations can be justified. The most that can be justified are reporting requirements to assure that there is no "bribery" of candidates. As such, the only thing keeping the rest of current campaign finance laws in place is that the current five-Justice group is not yet ready to take the next logical step. However, until one of them retires, all campaign finance laws are at risk of being struck down at any time.
As the dissent notes, the claim that the base limits are enough is simply not accurate. Without the aggregate limits, a person can form unlimited PACs and use each of those PACs to give additional money to the same candidate without limits. The giving of money to committees with the understanding that the money is to be spent on a specific race is already a problem that is difficult to police. This new ruling makes it even harder to enforce the restriction on targeted donations. Furthermore, the ruling undermines the entire justification for the base limits. It is hard to tell what will happen next. As noted above, there is no indication in the majority opinion of any substantial basis for distinguishing what is left in campaign finance law from what has already been struck down.
RNC’s Announces Next Phase of the 2016 Republican National Convention Site Selection Process
Posted April 2, 2014
WASHINGTON – Today the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) Site Selection Committee (SSC) voted to narrow the list of sites in contention for the 2016 Republican National Convention from eight to six cities. Cities moving on to the next round of consideration are Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, and Las Vegas.
A small team of RNC staff will visit the six cities for a more in-depth and technical look at financing, convention venues, media workspace, and hotels. The SSC will reconvene soon after the RNC’s Spring Meeting to make a determination on which of these six cities will receive official site visits from the full RNC delegation.
Following today’s vote, SSC Chair Enid Mickelsen released the following statement:
“After a painstaking review, I’m pleased to announce that six cities have moved on to the next round of consideration for the 2016 Republican National Convention. The eyes of the world will be on the RNC and our host city in the summer of 2016, and these six cities have shown they have what it takes to move forward.
“In any other year, Columbus and Phoenix could have topped the list, but with so many strong cities competing, the committee had to make the difficult decision to narrow the field. Phoenix and Columbus are great American cities, and I hope they’ll pursue a future bid for an RNC convention. “I want to thank each city for their tireless efforts and hard work throughout this process, and I look forward to this next phase as we select a city to help us nominate the next Republican President of the United States.” - GOP.com
On Monday, Helen Van Etten, the Republican National Committeewoman for Kansas, said the Republican National Committee's site-selection committee is due to trim two or three cities out of its list of candidate sites for the 2016 convention within the next week or two. She did not say exactly when the choice will be made but said it will be entirely up to Committeewoman for Utah Enid Mickelsen's site-selection committee. - Kansas City Business Journal
Fast Eddie Rendell is heading the committee to raise $50 million to bring the 2016 DNC Convention to Philadelphia. He's being joined by Bob Brady who ostensibly said:
“I don’t know what the hell is in Columbus,” U.S. Rep. Bob Brady told the Daily News. “I hope they are the competition. We’ll blow them away.” (Source)
Philadelphia is thought of as being second to Columbus because Ohio is, well, Ohio. Conventions like to be in swing states, but there are additional considerations. As Oreo reported, the Federal hit will be $18 million. Can Columbus raise that? We know Philly can: it raised $66 million for the 2000 GOP Convention, with $39 million coming from the City itself. Plus, Philly will provide a dry run for a large function in 2015, when the Pope comes here for an International Conference on Families. Proven security.
Not to mention the logistics of a convention. There's a lot of walking at a convention. Venues are spread. While there are a lot of daily happenings at the Convention Center itself, there are a ton of other activities "around and about". Philadelphia is a walking city, with tons of great restaurants, meeting halls, and things to do for the spouses, significant others and families of delegates, plus all the visitors. We even have the hotel rooms, mass transit to move people around, even a direct train route down to the stadiums where the nomination would surely be held.
Charlotte set a great standard in 2012 with a huge cadre of people who didn't attend the convention events itself, but filled the streets as guides and other types of volunteers. Look at the posted photograph and imagine it filled with happy Democrats. (We'll get back to that photo.) Outside speeches on various topics.
And let's not forget the Jersey factor. Media reach of Philadelphia is well into Jersey. Just another slap in the face to Fat Boy Slim and his cronies, who will hopefully be in jail by then, or at least out of office.
Finally, while I have every intention of winning Pennsylvania in 2016 (AGAIN) it's not a given. If you harken back to 2008, my battle cry was "To win Pennsylvania, McCain has to win the 5 counties. To do that, he's got to win Chester County. To do that, he's got to carry Tredyffrin, and for that, he needs W-5, and the little blonde girl says to do THAT, he's got to get past me, and I say no. NO! Hell no." I didn't foresee Tom Corbett and 2010 in the vibrancy and joy of 2008. Never saw the teabaggers coming. Thought we were finished with that sort of racism. But when we hold the Senate this year, and the obstructionism continues, Pennsylvania will be in play. How historic it will be if it's Philadelphia that nominates the first woman Presidential candidate of a major party.
Now back to that picture. I took it from the second floor balcony of the Constitution Center. Be with me in that photo. You're looking south across the mall to Independence Hall. Think of the men and women guilty of treason against the crown so today, we can breathe free. During all of the First Continental Congress, and parts of the Second Continental Congress and development of the Articles of Confederation and the writing of the Constitution, Philadelphia was the country's capitol. Imagine walking over 200 years ago across that mall, turning left near the Hall, and into the cobblestone streets once walked by Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, Madison, et. al. On to Elfreth's Alley, the oldest, continually occupied residential street in America.
Columbus? Really? Don't get me wrong, I've spent time there, and it's a pleasant place. I like the annual state fair Ohio throws there. There are a good number of hotel rooms, however, they're spread around. The trains? Nope, only buses, and we know how well they do in mass traffic. The food? Think bbq and fried cookies, not world class fare. The people? Nice. Friendly. But lacking that Philly attitude.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will take its second look at the Affordable Care Act. This time the issue is whether the requirement of the Affordable Care Act that employers purchase health insurance for their employees or pay a penalty violates the religious freedom of corporations. In particular, the specific requirement at issue is that the health insurance policy must cover the purchase of medications, including contraceptives. Several corporations have filed law suits claiming that, because they believe that some contraceptives are immoral (because they believe that these contraceptives prevent a fetus from implanting in the uterus and thus are morally equivalent to an abortion), requiring them to purchase insurance for their employees that includes coverage for such contraceptives violates their religious freedom. These claims are raised under both the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (passed to overturn a Supreme Court decision narrowly interpreting the Free Exercise Clause).
There are three basic questions in the case. First, can a secular corporation (i.e. one not formed for a religious purpose or by a religious organization) have religious beliefs? Second, if a secular corporation does have religious beliefs, who gets to decide what the corporation believe. Third, assuming that a corporation can have religious beliefs, does the "contraceptive mandate" violate the right of the corporation to act on its religious beliefs?
The first two questions are questions of corporate law. Corporations are legally separate persons from their owners and managers for a long list of long-established reasons. A corporation is not the majority shareholders; it is not the board of directors; and it is not the officers of the corporation. In particular, the board of directors, the officers, and the controlling shareholders are not free to do what they want without taking into consideration of the best interests of everyone who might have a legal interest in the corporation. Even when all of the shareholders agree on something that they would like to see done, the corporation is not simply the alter ego of the shareholders. There is a real possibility that the Supreme Court will look at the potential implication of this case on corporate law and find that none of the corporations in this case have a religious belief. Of course, that merely punts the real decision down a term or two because there are religious foundations waiting in the wings.
The last question (assuming that the court reaches this issue) may come down to how the court frames the issues. Anybody who follows recent American politics knows how multiple Republican consultants have looked at the work of George Orwell and drawn inspiration from the Ministry of Truth in 1984. One thing that they have made abundantly clear is that the answer to a political question depends upon how the question is framed. While true in the battle for public opinion (whether the estate tax is seen as a "death tax" or a "greedy heirs tax" matters to whether people support it), it is normally less true in legal cases. This case unfortunately is an exception to the rule.
The corporations want to frame this issue as they are being forced to pay to give their employees access to "immoral" contraceptives separate from the rest of the requirement to provide insurance. The government wants to frame this issue as the companies being required to provide insurance coverage to employees as part of the "salary" of the employee. How, the employee uses this insurance coverage is up to the employee. If potential misuse of an employee's salary allowed an employer to refuse to pay that salary, then an employer should be free to replace a pay check with a series of non-transferable vouchers to assure that the employee does not use their pay to purchase alcohol or cigarettes or questionable literature or guns or gas-guzzling vehicles or high-fat food or to gamble.
Needless to say, if the view that the company is buying insurance and not a particular part of the insurance coverage (with the worker choosing what they use the insurance for), the owner's concern about the immoral activities of their employees is not a sufficiently substantial concern to exempt them from the mandate, any more than it exempts them from minimum wage or similar law. On the other hand, if the Supreme Court separates the contraceptive coverage from the rest of the insurance policy, then the religious objection becomes more substantive. In that case, the odds are that the court will, at the very least, find that the mandate to include contraceptive coverage violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which places a higher burden on the government. (There is at least one or two justices who might vote to find that the mandate violates the RFRA who have voted for a lower standard in Free Exercise cases.)
Congress managed to do its job last week, passing legislation to boost research funding for pediatric disorders and presenting a bill to President Obama that the White House says he'll sign. The nation should be dancing in the streets (Congress actually accomplished something and for sick children, no less!) but the national party committees are less-than-pleased about the cost.
The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, which was championed by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, provides $126 million over 10 years to fund research into pediatric autism, cancer, and other diseases. But it's paid for by taking away taxpayer funding for national political conventions.
That presents a big problem for the national party committees. A quarter of the spending on the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., and 28 percent of the funds for the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., came from taxpayer money. Historically, the other 75 percent is covered by loans and donations, largely from corporate sponsors and a few wealthy donors. - National Journal
But the GOP wants unlimited donations allowed to make up for it
Supporters of campaign finance restrictions decried the GOP’s new push to lift the ban on unlimited donations to bankroll their presidential conventions.
They say current rules prevent potential conflicts of interest by prohibiting parties from soliciting major checks from outsiders for the high-profile events.
But Republican Party chief Reince Priebus said Tuesday a change is needed to help host cities — which might be Dallas in 2016. Last week, Congress eliminated an $18 million subsidy for each party for nonsecurity operating costs.
Priebus wants parties to be able to raise “soft money” — made up of donations free of certain federal limits — to make up for the loss. - Dallas News
Milwaukee was out of the running before the bids even happened according to the Milwaukee Business Journal. Requirements of 100 skyboxes and the need to have control of the venue two months before the convention put Milwaukee out of the picture.
Some additional requirements are:
At least 200,000 square feet of indoor work space for the media in immediate proximity to the convention facility;
At least 200,000 square feet of outdoor, paved space close to the facility for satellite trucks and other equipment, along with another 180,000 square feet in the immediate proximity for staging of at least 250 vehicles;
A commitment of at least 17,000 full-service hotel rooms and 1,000 suites within 30 minutes of the convention facility. Participating hotels must commit 80 percent of their rooms and 100 percent of meetings and convention space to the convention;
At least 250 buses for the exclusive use of the convention. Buses should have a “clean air” component;
Reserved, 24-hour parking space for at least 5,000 vehicles adjacent to the convention complex.
Click here to read the entire list of requirements.
EXCLUSIVE: Las Vegas is one of the RNC's finalists for the 2016 convention, and plenty of Republicans are calling it the favorite, based on the hope that casino magnate Sheldon Adelson would contribute generously, obviating the financial worries that plague most host committees. But Playbook has learned that American Bridge, the Democratic tracking and opposition research outfit founded by David Brock and run by Brad Woodhouse, plans to devote up to three dozen trackers with video cameras to Sin City if the GOP picks it. American Bridge has committed to deploy what a source called a "tracking operation on steroids" to cover the plethora of venues sure to attract Republican politicians and operatives.
Per a Democratic source: "American Bridge's plans would scatter trackers with video cameras from one end of the Strip to the other and would include a rapid response war room in the city to turn the footage into instant products -- even potentially television ads -- exposing whatever activities and hypocrisies they catch on film. … American Bridge's efforts ... would be looking to capture everything from the late night carousing of politicians to simply filming candidates who claim to be the bastion of family values entering and exiting bars and casinos."
--AMERICAN BRIDGE has already opened a website that promises: “[I]f the RNC does choose Las Vegas, this is the site for all the action. What happens in Vegas... will go right here.” www.sincitygop.com - Politico
After Bob Beauprez’s entrance into the Colorado governor’s race this week, the Republican has relinquished his role as chairman of Denver’s effort to win hosting duties for the 2016 Republican National Convention. A familiar face — Pete Coors — is taking over. Coors, the chairman of Molson Coors Brewing Co. and MillerCoors, ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 2004.
Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter has sent a letter to the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee expressing interest in hosting the party’s 2016 national convention.
Philadelphia city councilman Jim Kenney went so far as to introduce a resolution in City Council saying Council should accept Schultz’s invitation, “since the Administration does not plan to convey interest in recruiting this massive economic boost to Philadelphia.”
Nashville officials expressed cautious interest Thursday in bidding to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
"It's an honor for Nashville to be considered for a national convention like this one," [Mayor Karl] Dean spokeswoman Bonna Johnson said. "Interest like this reaffirms that Nashville is a major league city. We will have to see all the details of what the host requirements are — and we may not meet them this time — but we are clearly on track to being able to handle such an event in the coming years."
Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. spokeswoman Andrea Arnold said the agency is "responding to the DNC that we are indeed interested."
Cities that have to claim they're major league cities, well, aren't.
Slightly over eight months ago, the United States Supreme Court issued one opinion (in Windsor v. United States) striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and another opinion (in Perry v. Hollingsworth) declining to consider whether there was a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. The net result of these two opinions was to invalidate Section 3 of DOMA (banning federal recognition of same-sex marriages) but to leave intact Section 2 of DOMA (allowing states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states) and state law bans on in-state same-sex marriages (except for California's ban). The reasoning in Windsor, however, inspired a new wave of challenges in state and federal courts to Section 2 of DOMA and to state bans on in-state marriages.
Since then, particular in the last three months, federal district courts have started to issue rulings on these cases. As of this point, federal courts in Kentucky, Oklahoma, Utah, Texas, and Virginia have struck down state law bans on same-sex marriages and a federal court in Ohio has struck down Section 2 of DOMA, finding that Ohio had to recognize marriages performed in other states. Furthermore, the state attorney generals in Nevada, Oregon, and Virginia have concluded that there is no valid legal basis to defend their state laws banning same-sex marriage.
Going forward, all of these decisions are currently being challenged on appeal. The first round of arguments will be the Tenth Circuit (which includes both Oklahoma and Utah) in April. Given normal court practices, the earliest likely date for an opinion from the Tenth Circuit would be August or September. The losing party would then have the option of asking for rehearing or simply proceeding to ask for the Supreme Court to review the case. My hunch is that, if the losing party in any of the Circuit Courts asks for rehearing by the entire court, there is a decent chance that they will get it, considering the significance of this issue. (In the Court of Appeals, cases are normally heard by a three-judge panel. While parties can request that the entire court -- or for the Ninth Circuit, a panel of about half the court -- rehear the case after the initial opinion, the full court denies that request almost all of the time. Given this practice, it is probably more likely that a request for rehearing would be declined, but the significance of these issues is likely to cause the judges to give the request closer consideration than in most cases.)
The key date for all of the pending appeals is probably around September 1 for the mandate from the Court of Appeals. The losing party on appeal has ninety days after the issuance of the mandate (normally issued within days of the denial of rehearing or the expiration of time to request rehearing) to file with the Supreme Court. The winning party has thirty days to file a response to the any petition filed with the United States Supreme Court. However, both parties can request extensions. Once a case is filed in the Supreme Court, the key day is in early January. If the response is filed by early January, the case can still be considered at a January conference and argued on the April argument calendar. If a case goes to the first February conference, the case will probably be bumped to the a fall argument calendar.
Given how tight the schedule is, I think it is unlikely that the Supreme Court will consider any cases on the merits of same-sex marriage until the fall of October 2015, potentially putting any decision on this issue into the Spring of 2016. What the Supreme Court does when these cases reach them will depend in large part on what happens in the various Courts of Appeal. If all of the Circuit Courts take an expansive reading of Windsor (as the District Courts have so far), there is a good possibility that the Supreme Court will decline to take a case on the state law bans, and instead take a case like the Ohio case challenging Section 2 of DOMA. Such an approach would satisfy those on the Supreme Court who want to proceed cautiously on this issue until such time as a decision authorizing same-sex marriage is almost an afterthought (i.e. when almost every state is already allowing same sex marriage). If a split develops in the Circuit Courts, however, the Supreme Court would be likely to take a case on the ultimate issue of whether there is a constitutional right to same sex marriage sooner.
The steady march of rulings by federal courts striking down state law bans has, to some extent, started to produce a reaction in "red" states with legislatures considering (but so far not enacting) religious conscious laws designed to allow folks to opt out of providing wedding-related services to those same-sex couples planning a wedding. To date, these laws have been extremely broadly written (allowing discrimination against homosexuals generally) which has led to their failure. I would expect to see a second version of these laws coming forward soon that will be more narrowly tailored to limit them to certain types of services.