John Cornyn

Supreme Court decision may increase role of money in politics

The Supreme Court has issued a new landmark ruling on campaign finance laws that could have a major impact on the midterm elections. Wednesday, the Court ruled 5-4 to reject a current law that limits how much money overall individuals can donate to candidates, political parties and political action committees. Previously, the limit was set at $123,200. Now, wealthy donors can give to candidates across the board without worrying about hitting the cap.

Supporters of the law say it will create more transparency by diverting money away from political action committees. Sen. John Cornyn., who supported the change, said in an interview with Capital Tonight’s Paul Brown that the ruling is consistent with free speech. We asked Senator Cornyn if he would be in favor of lifting all limits, even for individual candidates, a suggestion by Justice Clarence Thomas.

“I think, honestly, it’s probably better regulated by the marketplace. We see that happening in Texas in the governor’s race, without any dollar limitation on contribution. And then that could be part of the campaign where people look who’s contributing money, they can ask why, what their motive is and that can be decided by the voters in the election.”

Detractors — including the president — say it makes money play an even bigger role in the election process. Again, the ruling only overturns the overall cap; it does not overturn the limit on donations to individual candidates. That cap is still set at $2,600 per election to candidates for president or Congress.

First US Senate campaign ads set to hit air

We are about to begin seeing the first US Senate campaign ads hit airwaves across Texas. As Politico first reported today, the first major ad buy is sponsored by a super PAC that supports Sen. John Cornyn. The ad, paid for by Texans for a Conservative Majority, is an attack on Cornyn’s GOP challenger, Rep. Steve Stockman.

According to Politico, the 30-second spot will first be seen in southeast Texas and Houston, which is the part of the state Stockman represents. The ad accuses Stockman of “Lies, shady deals and ethical failings in Washington” and alleges that Stockman of failed to disclose off-shore business dealings.

You can watch it, below.

Cruz, Cornyn file Fort Hood shooting legislation

Texas’ two U.S. senators are moving forward with a bill to reclassify the Fort Hood shooting as a terrorist attack. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz introduced the Honoring the Fort Hood Heroes Act on Capitol Hill Thursday.

The shooting is currently classified as an act of workplace violence. Changing the designation would give the victims and their families the same benefits and honors as victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. It would provide life insurance, tax breaks for death in a combat zone and other combat-related pay.

The measure also has sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives. Reps. John Carter and Roger Williams are introducing similar legislation in the lower chamber. Lawmakers say they expect bipartisan support for the bill and hope to have it passed through Congress by the end of the year.

Last month Maj. Nidal Hasan was convicted of killing 13 people and injuring dozens more in the 2009 shooting. He is sitting on death row at Fort Leavenworth.

Capital Tonight: More political fallout after abortion bill filibuster

Perry vs. Wendy

Gov. Rick Perry is giving his take on Tuesday’s failed bid to pass three bills before the special session deadline.

Speaking at the National Right to Life convention in Dallas, Perry talked about Sen. Wendy Davis’ filibuster, which effectively killed abortion restrictions he’d been pushing for. He referred to the night’s events as the “hijacking of the democratic process,” then made a comment about Senator Davis herself that some say went too far.

Going after Dewhurst

Sen. Dan Patrick is looking to move up the political ladder. He announced his bid Thursday as the “authentic conservative” candidate for lieutenant governor. It’s a move that could be seen as part of a bigger backlash against the current lieutenant governor.

After the Filibuster

Plus, immigration reform got a long-awaited vote in Congress, but despite the claims of both U.S. Senators from Texas, some local activists say the border security measures go too far.

Alaska Republican’s racial slur draws swift response from Cornyn

A Republican congressman’s racial slur against Hispanics is drawing swift condemnation from fellow lawmakers, including Sen. John Cornyn.

In an interview on Alaskan radio station KRBD, Republican Rep. Don Young used a derogatory term to describe migrant workers. He spoke about the changing nature of American industry, and used the term to describe workers on his father’s ranch.

Sen. Cornyn issued a statement in response: 

“Migrant workers come to America looking for opportunity and a way to provide a better life for their families. They do not come to this country to hear ethnic slurs and derogatory language from elected officials. The comments used by Rep. Young do nothing to elevate our party, political discourse or the millions who come here looking for economic opportunity.”