Disclosure versus Snooping: Do ‘reformers’ know the difference?

The Federal Election Commission has adopted new guidelines requiring political committees to include more information about the purposes of their various disbursements.  It goes without saying that the "reform community" is not pleased.  (Is there a grumpier "community" anyplace?).  This time it’s the Campaign Finance Institute, which seems to think that the purpose of disclosure is to satisfy its own inquisitive nature.

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Filed Under: Blog

Oh that Pesky First Amendment!: The New York Times’ Take

The New York Times once again pulls out its Thesaurus of invective to tackle the issue of campaign finance reform.  Next time, we suggest they grab a copy of the First Amendment, too.  Surely a newspaper must have a copy of the First Amendment lying around somewhere.

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Filed Under: Blog

FEC recap

It’s been a busy week in the world of campaign finance.  The FEC’s newly announced 527 agreements have (quite appropriately) dominated the discussion.  But that’s not the only thing the FEC did this week; yesterday’s open meeting was chock full of new developments.

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Filed Under: Blog

Never Happy

Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center are unhappy.  They describe the FEC’s ruling yesterday as “too little, too late”, though they now have the most constitutionally suspect ruling favoring "reform" in the Commission’s recent history.

Much as they won’t admit it, this is a huge victory for the reformers.

Surely something must make them happy… .

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Filed Under: Blog

Remembering the Rationale

Why are so many so eager to invoke McConnell when interpreting FECA?

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Filed Under: Blog

FEC Makes Wrong Decision on 527s

PRESS RELEASE:    December 13, 2006

Media Contact:      Bradley A. Smith (614) 236-6317

Filed Under: External Relations Press Releases, External Relations Sub-Pages, Press Releases

Regulation for regulation’s sake

On Thursday, the FEC will consider Draft Advisory Opinion 2006-33 (.pdf).  We believe the opinion mistakenly prohibits lawful activity and should be rejected by the Commission.  The Draft Advisory Opinion also illustrates the importance of staying mindful of–and the consequences of forgetting–the rationale for existing campaign finance regulation.

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Filed Under: Blog

Comments on Alternative Draft AO 2006-33 (National Association of Realtors)

CCP comments on Alternative Draft Advisory Opinion 2006-33 (National Association of Realtors). Associate Director Paul Sherman recommends that the Commission adopt this alternative draft which is consistent with the text and purpose of 11 CFR 114.5(b).

Filed Under: Blog, External Relations Comments and Testimony, External Relations Sub-Pages, Federal, Federal Comments and Testimony, Uncategorized, Comments and Testimony

“FEC Likely to Fine Several 527 Groups”

Today in Roll Call($), CCP Chairman Brad Smith offers his predictions on pending enforcement matters against 527 groups. 

Says Smith, "[T]hese cases will be big time — I think you’ll see pretty big fines come out of them.”

Filed Under: Blog

An Anniversary to Forget

Today marks the third anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in McConnell v. FEC, upholding in most all respects the McCain-Feingold law regulating political speech.

The law itself has been in place for four years, and seems to have accomplished little or nothing of value in that time.  The McConnell decision already seems dated and tired.  The narrow majority that supported it on the Court has disappeared;  Justice Breyer’s cavalier dismissal at oral argument of the notion that the law would not prohibit George Soros and others from spending millions has been proven laughably incorrect.  The primary effect of the law on politics has been to further embroil campaigns in legal allegations, and to give the parties tools they can use as partisan weapons, as in the Republicans’ lengthy effort to use the law to silence Democratic leaning "527" groups.  The Court has already begun to move away from McConnell with its decision last term in Randall v. Sorrell, striking down Vermont’s spending and contribution limits. 

Shortly after McConnell was handed down, I wrote, "Historically, decisions that sharply curtail civil librties, as does McConnell, have not stood well the test of time, and are looked upon as black moments in the Court’s history."  I believe that this process is already underway with the flacid McConnell decision.  One of our goals here at CCP will be to hurry the process along.

Happy Anniversary, McConnell v. FEC.  May your life be deservedly short.

Filed Under: Blog

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.