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- "The Supreme Court on Wednesday continued its abolition of limits on election spending, striking down a decades-old cap on the total amount any individual can contribute to federal candidates in a two-year election cycle" in a 5-to-4 decision. (New York Times)
- "Despite the hype, the impact of the Supreme Court's decision striking down aggregate donation limits ... is limited. The ruling doesn't mean that people can give unlimited amounts of money to candidates; it means a small pool of well-heeled donors can simply dole out donations to more candidates and party committees. But campaign finance reform advocates are getting increasingly nervous over the longer-term impact of the Court's McCutcheon v. FEC decision, bolstered by other recent rulings on the subject. Experts see the possibility of a future battle over a more consequential subject: the decades-old cap on the amount an individual donor can give to a campaign." (National Journal)
- The RGA raised a record $23.5 million in the first quarter of 2014 and has $59.6 million cash on hand. (release)
- In GA SEN, philanthropist Michelle Nunn (D) launched her first TV ad, emphasizing her work at the Points of Light Foundation, a nonprofit group that promotes volunteerism, with George H.W. Bush. (release)
- Also in GA SEN, a recently surfaced video from January shows businessman David Perdue (R) knocking former Secretary of State Karen Handel (R) as "a high school graduate." Perdue: "I mean, there's a high school graduate in this race, OK? I'm sorry, but these issues are so much broader, so complex." Handel "left a broken home at 17, finished high school and went to work but never finished college." Handel's campaign blasted Perdue as demeaning in response. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- In MI SEN, Rep. Gary Peters (D) appeared alongside President Obama during his push to raise the minimum wage in Michigan on Wednesday. (AP)
- In MN SEN, the Citizens United Political Victory Fund endorsed state Sen. Julianne Ortman (R). (Politico)
- In MS SEN, Mississippi Conservatives, the pro-Sen. Thad Cochran (R) super PAC, launched a new TV ad attacking state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R) for taking "both sides" on tort reform and earmarks. (release)
- In NE SEN, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-01) endorsed Midland University President Ben Sasse (R). (release)
- In the OK SEN Special, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) endorsed former state House Speaker T.W. Shannon. (release)
- The LIBRE Initiative launched a new round of TV ads attacking Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) in AZ-01 and Rep. Ron Barber (D) in AZ-02 for supporting Obamacare. The group is spending $700,000 to air the ads. (Washington Post)
- In CA-07, former Rep. Doug Ose (R) launched his first TV ad of the race, touting his conservative credentials. (Roll Call)
- In CA-17, former Obama administration official Ro Khanna (D) raised "over" $460,000 in the first quarter and has "nearly" $2 million cash on hand. (release)
- In NY-01, state Sen. Lee Zeldin (R) released his first TV ad, pledging to repeal Obamacare, cut taxes and create jobs. The ad will air on cable starting Thursday. (release)
- In NC-03, the Emergency Committee for Israel released a new TV ad saying Rep. Walter Jones (R) "once was a conservative, but he's changed." The spot goes on to attack Jones's positions on Iran and Israel. (Daily Caller)
- In MN GOV, Marijuana Policy Project released a new TV ad going after Gov. Mark Dayton (D) for opposing a medical marijuana bill. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
- In PA GOV, a new Franklin & Marshall College poll of Democratic RVs, conducted March 25-31, shows businessman Tom Wolf (D) leads Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D) 33-7%, while Treasurer Rob McCord (D) is at 6% and former Department of Environmental Protection secretary Katie McGinty (D) is at 4%. (release)
Hotline editors weigh in on the stories that drive the day
• Americans for Prosperity is the arm of the Koch nonprofit network leading the way on early TV advertising against congressional Democrats. But though it's the biggest-spending effort connected to the billionaire brothers, it's not the only one: Two other connected nonprofits dropped well over $1 million against four Democrats in the past few days. The LIBRE Initiative, which focuses on Hispanic outreach, announced another $700,000 ad buy against Kirkpatrick and Barber, while earlier this week the American Energy Alliance dropped a half-million dollars on energy-themed ads against Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK) and continued its steady drumbeat of ads against Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV). -- Scott Bland
• While the Democratic House and Senate committees have enjoyed good fundraising cycles, the RGA continues to be the GOP campaign committee regularly outraising its Democratic counterpart. The group reported a record-breaking haul for the first quarter of the year unlikely to be matched by the DGA. The DSCC and the DCCC have outraised their Republican counterparts in February and most other months, partially due to the strength of their online and small dollar donor bases. But the RGA undeniably has the big-dollar and star power edge. It helps to have a 2016 presidential contender like Christie in charge who can command the attention of major donors. -- Karyn Bruggeman
HAIR OF THE DOG
Millcreek Township (Pa.) supervisors "along with the Millcreek water and sewer authorities, have passed separate measures that limit the amount of coins that can be used to pay bills or fees. The action was taken after a Millcreek woman paid most of her estimated $200 sewer bill on March 20 with nickels, dimes and quarter." (Erie Times-News)
FRESH BREWED BUZZ
- "Anti-Obamacare messages have already blanketed the airwaves in the nation's competitive Senate and House races. But so far, the Republican Party's signature issue has played a conspicuously small role in 2014's competitive gubernatorial races." (Hotline reporting)
- "Nebraska Is New Front in Battle for Control of GOP" (AP)
- Charles Koch took to the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal today to defend himself from his critics: "Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents. They engage in character assassination. (I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks.) ... Rather than try to understand my vision for a free society or accurately report the facts about Koch Industries, our critics would have you believe we're 'un-American' and trying to 'rig the system,' that we're against 'environmental protection' or eager to 'end workplace safety standards.'" (Wall Street Journal)
- The RNC "has narrowed the list of cities it is considering to host the 2016 GOP convention to six, and announced Wednesday it is no longer considering Phoenix and Columbus, Ohio." (CNN)
- 'There is growing evidence that Utah will return in the next two campaign cycles as a site of Senate campaign action, as it was in 2010 and 2012." Sen. Orrin Hatch's (R) "expected retirement in four years will create the Beehive State's first open-seat Senate race since 1992. ... [I]n the more immediate future, some Utah Republicans perturbed with" Sen. Mike Lee's (R) "role in the government shutdown are considering a primary challenge to the first-term incumbent in 2016." (Roll Call)
- Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) "and his wife, Columba, attended a dinner with" former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) "on Sunday night in New York. ... Bush is on the board of Bloomberg Philanthropies and he and the former mayor have long worked on education reform." (Tampa Bay Times)
- KY SEN candidate/businessman Matt Bevin's (R) "itinerary listed a Saturday morning event ... as a 'states rights rally,' but event organizers say the sole purpose was to build support to legalize cockfighting in Kentucky. Bevin addressed the crowd of about 700 people at the event. ... Bevin said he did not realize the event had anything to do with cockfighting." (Corbin News Journal)
- Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) apologized Tuesday after arriving late to a hearing with General Motors CEO Mary Barra and saying: "I'm sorry for being late, but my plane was canceled for mechanical reasons. Probably an ignition switch." GM's "ignition switch recall" has "been linked to 13 deaths in auto accidents." (KETV-TV)
- "Today's decision of the United States Supreme Court to strike down any real limit on the purchase of our democracy by big money may be the worst decision made by any Supreme Court since the Dred Scott case reaffirmed slavery in 1857." -- SD SEN candidate Rick Weiland (D), on McCutcheon v. FEC (release)
- "If we were visited someday I wouldn't be surprised. I just hope it's not like 'Independence Day.'" -- Bill Clinton, talking about extraterrestrial life in an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (ABC News)
PLAY OF THE DAY!
- The Senate returns at 9:30 a.m., while the House is back at 10 a.m.
- House Majority Leader Eric Cantor hosts a bipartisan meeting with Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa. (U.S. Capitol, 11 a.m.)
- Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hold an event to recognize the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams and delegations for representing the U.S. during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. (White House, 3:20 p.m.)
- Obama and Vice President Biden meet with congressional leadership to discuss the president's recent trip to Europe and the ongoing situation in the Ukraine. (White House, 6 p.m.)
- Have an event for us to highlight? Email us!
- Rep. Tim Walberg's (R) MI-07 district elected a Republican in 2006, a Democrat in 2008, and a Republican in 2010.
- Here's today's Swizzle Challenge: "Who was the only president to be sworn in by his father?" The 3rd correct e-mailer gets to submit the next question.
NJ'S EARLY BIRD SPECIALS
- Republicans Have the Edge in the House, Top Democrat Concedes
- 'Ready for Hillary' Slate Sweeps D.C. Elections
- After Venting Over 'Sneaky' Doc-Fix Vote, House GOP Coalesces Behind Ryan Budget
- How Can Government Prevent a Leadership Vacuum?
- Wendy Davis Allies Try Again With Texas Abortion Lawsuit
"Blockbuster $1.5m book deal for Ted Cruz memoir" (Dallas Morning News)
Adam Wollner, Editor