Eliza Newlin Carney

Eliza Newlin Carney is a weekly columnist at The American Prospect. Her email is ecarney@prospect.org.


Recent Articles

Convention Floor Fight May Still Loom

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
rules-logo-109.jpeg Republicans are running out of ways to reclaim their grip on a GOP that many party leaders regard as spinning out of control, now that Donald Trump is its presumptive presidential nominee. Some have thrown in the towel and reversed course to endorse Trump, having previously condemned him. Some still hold out hope that a third party Republican might at least carry the banner for traditional conservative values. Some plan to sit out both the party’s convention on Cleveland in July and possibly the entire election. But there is one way that anti-Trump Republicans may still yet wield substantial influence over the shape of their party’s presidential ticket: the billionaire businessman’s choice of a running mate. The Republican Party’s rules for nominating a vice presidential contender differ sharply from those that govern the top of the ticket, and give convention delegates considerable control over who ends up as Trump’s running mate. Now...

Trump Fallout Hurts GOP Campaign Coffers

AP Photo/Michael Conroy
rules-logo-109_2.jpg Donald Trump’s emergence as the Republican Party’s all-but-inevitable presidential standard-bearer deepens a growing ideological rift between the GOP and its traditional allies in the business community, who have long been the party’s leading political donors. The damage incurred by Trump, whose inflammatory rhetoric has deeply alienated women, Latinos, and young voters, among others, will play out on many levels. But in the practical sphere of campaign financing, Republicans are already feeling the pinch . Having championed Supreme Court rulings and government regulations that permit corporate donors to spend freely on elections, Republicans in this election have been abandoned by a long list of big GOP contributors put off by Trump. The latest sign that the GOP is in trouble with some of its traditional corporate allies is the soul-searching now going on among business associations and trade groups, as well as among many major corporations,...

Fighting Over Secret Money

(Photo: AP/Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
rules-logo-109.jpeg The biggest problem with the campaign-finance system is also the hardest to correct: the escalating millions spent on politics behind a veil of secrecy. On its face, this should be an easy problem to fix. Why not simply require donor disclosure for all campaign activities? The hard part is that many groups that claim to be engaging in advocacy or public education are actually making political expenditures. The courts have ruled that advocacy groups have a right to keep their donors private, lest the government tread on constitutionally protected free speech. But that means that disclosure rules must be carefully crafted to protect both voters’ right to know who is paying for American elections, and organizers’ rights to petition the government without harassment or intrusion. Right now, the regulatory regime tilts heavily in favor of secret spenders, while leaving American voters increasingly in the dark. That’s in part because the Supreme Court...

Clinton Campaign Money Legal but Problematic

(Photo: AP/Matt Rourke)
rules-logo-109.jpeg In legal terms, Bernie Sanders’s complaint that Hillary Clinton’s joint fundraising agreement with the Democratic National Committee improperly benefits her campaign doesn’t withstand close scrutiny. The Sanders camp’s professed shock that the Hillary Victory Fund is collecting contributions “as high as $353,400 or more” says less about Clinton’s fundraising than it does about the near-total deregulation of the nation’s campaign-finance system. Sanders lawyer Brad C. Deutsch’s letter to the DNC cites no actual rules violations, and manages to contradict itself. Deutsch in his first breath complains that the DNC has improperly spent millions to gin up small contributions to the Clinton campaign, and in his next objects that Clinton’s campaign is paying millions to cover the joint fundraising committee’s salaries and overhead. Given both the complexities of joint fundraising agreements and their legal...

Chaotic Primaries Signal Voting Trouble Ahead

(Photo: AP/Chuck Burton)
If the long lines, ballot shortages, technical glitches, and poll-worker errors plaguing this year’s presidential primaries are any indication, Election Day 2016 could prove mighty chaotic. With any luck, the nation will avoid another high-stakes recount like the one that landed the 2000 presidential election in the lap of the Supreme Court. But the polling place breakdowns in recent primaries, which have drawn just under 30 percent of voters, bode poorly for a general election that is expected to feature double that level of turnout. Consider: Arizona voters waited up to five hours to cast ballots last month in Maricopa County, where the number of polling places had been slashed to 60, down from 210 in the 2012 presidential race. Thousands of voters were turned away. The Justice Department is investigating. Michigan faced ballot shortages in Flint and several other cities, forcing voters to wait an hour or more for fresh supplies to be delivered. Many voters gave up and went...