Andy Kroll

Andy Kroll

Senior Reporter

Andy Kroll is Mother Jones' Dark Money reporter. He is based in the DC bureau. His work has also appeared at the Wall Street Journal, the Detroit News, the Guardian, the American Prospect, and TomDispatch.com, where he's an associate editor. Email him at akroll (at) motherjones (dot) com. He tweets at @AndrewKroll.

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Candidates and the Totally Unrelated Super-PACs That Love Them

| Fri Jan. 20, 2012 7:00 AM EST
The only thing breaking coordination rules here is Stephen Colbert's outfit.

"God bless you all! And God bless Citizens United!"

So roared a beaming Stephen Colbert, arms spread wide, on his show a week ago. He'd just handed over control of his super-PAC to his Comedy Central colleague Jon Stewart—just in time to unveil an exploratory committee to run for "president of the United States of South Carolina." Colbert, of course, won't succeed in his comical presidential bid. But the latest stunt in his long-running super-PAC gag intentionally laid bare what campaign-finance advocate Fred Wertheimer calls "the campaign finance scandal of the 2012 elections."

In the wake of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision nearly two years ago, super-PACs can raise and spend unlimited sums of money to support or attack candidates, but with one catch: They can't coordinate with the candidates they're backing. In other words, Colbert can't tell Stewart how to run the pro-Colbert super-PAC. But is Stewart really running the PAC independently of his friend and coworker? Who knows, and besides, the rule is virtually impossible to enforce. To rub in the ridiculousness, Stewart said he'd rename his new super-PAC "The Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super-PAC." Hyuk, hyuk.

More Than 1 Million Signatures Collected for Scott Walker Recall

| Tue Jan. 17, 2012 3:47 PM EST

Gary Porter/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.comGary Porter/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com

It's on in Wisconsin.

On Tuesday afternoon, the grassroots group United Wisconsin announced that it had collected more than a million signatures in the past two months to trigger a recall election of Republican Gov. Scott Walker—nearly twice the 540,208 minimum. That's almost as many signatures as votes Walker received in his 2010 gubernatorial election (1.12 million), and hundreds of thousands more than the 720,000 signatures Walker predicted on Rush Limbaugh's show Tuesday. Democrats also said 845,000 signatures had been collected to recall Walker's right-hand woman, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. Additionally, enough signatures were bagged to recall GOP state Sens. Pam Galloway, Terry Moulton, and Van Wangaard.

Scott Walker Banks on AIG Mogul to Fight Recall

| Tue Jan. 17, 2012 12:10 PM EST

On Tuesday afternoon, Grassroots groups and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin will unveil their signature haul in the effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. They need at least 540,208 signatures to trigger recall elections for Walker and Kleefsich, but it's clear they've easily surpassed that mark.

So where will Walker be when the final signature tally is announced? In the state capital or the governor's mansion, standing his ground and defending his record? Nope. He'll be in New York City at the world headquarters of the megabank Citigroup raising money for his recall defense effort.

Tuesday's Walker fundraiser, first reported by the New York Daily News, is hosted by no less than Hank Greenberg, the former CEO of American International Group, the global insurance corporation that needed $150 billion in bailout funds in 2008 and 2009 from the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve. The cost of attending is $2,500 per person or $5,000 per couple.

Here's the invitation:

New York Daily NewsNew York Daily News

Thanks to a loophole in Wisconsin elections law, Walker can raise unlimited amounts of money to defend himself in a recall election (the typical limit for gubernatorial races is $10,000). Brad Courtney, chair of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, admitted last fall that raking in unlimited donations was central to Walker and the Republicans' defense strategy, according to audio obtained by Mother Jones. Walker began fundraising in November, and has until "a recall primary or election is ordered, or after that time if incurred in contesting or defending the order" to raise unlimited donations. In other words, Walker's unlimited fundraising window could extend well into next month.

Walker raised $5.1 million dollars between July 1 and December 10, a period that includes his recall fundraising. Out-of-state donors accounted for almost half of that money, according to campaign finance records. The biggest donor to Walker's recall defense is Bob Perry, the Texas homebuilding magnate and who bankrolled the infamous Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign that caused trouble for Sen. John Kerry's 2004 presidential bid. Perry gave $250,000 to Walker. Other top Walker backers are Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein, who own the Uline shipping company and chipped in $205,000, and Foster Friess, a Wyoming-based investor and frequent GOP donor, who donated $100,000.

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Mon Dec. 16, 2013 10:47 AM EST