campaign finance

The confirmation of a Supreme Court justice is often a major event that ripples through American law for decades. But Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing, which opens Tuesday, is especially historic because, if confirmed, Kavanaugh is expected to solidify a hard-right majority on the nation's highest court, a majority the likes of which has not been seen since the early 1930s, and which is likely to dominate for a generation or more.

After the Watergate scandals in the 1970s, Congress passed a series of laws to reduce the influence of big donors in politics and to increase transparency. Forty years later, those laws have been weakened by additional legislation and a series of court decisions.

Where the Watergate reforms established a single regulated system used by all candidates to finance their political campaigns, there are now three separate systems.

A controversial political action committee aligned with Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser is being shut down amid concerns that it was feeding a pay-to-play political culture in the nation's capital.

FreshPAC's treasurer, Ben Soto, said in an email that the group had become "too much of a distraction for the mayor."

Founded by supporters of the Democratic mayor, the group took advantage of a little-known campaign-finance law that allows PACs to raise unrestricted donations in nonelection years.

People are all about frictionless transactions online. That's why vendors have made it as easy as possible for us to buy products or make payments with a single click, scroll or tap.

Now it's easier to make campaign contributions, too, with Twitter's Tuesday morning announcement that the social media platform's users will be able to make direct campaign contributions for the first time. The new feature has the potential to reshape how money is raised in political campaigns, especially as other social-media organizations are likely to follow suit.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

When billionaire developer Donald Trump entered the presidential race two months ago, he drew a sharp line between other candidates — needy candidates, always trading favors for money — and himself.

"I'm really rich. I assure you of that," he said as supporters cheered. "And by the way, I'm not even saying that in a bragga — that's the kind of mindset, that's the kind of thinking, you need for this country."

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