Amicus Brief: COMPAC v. City of San Jose

Amicus brief of Center for Competitive Politics

Filed Under: Blog, Completed Amicus Briefs, External Relations Comments and Testimony, Legal, Legal Center, amicus brief, COMPAC, San Jose, Amicus Briefs, Completed Cases (Amicus), Amicus Briefs, Completed Cases (Amicus)

Amicus Brief: in Support of WRTL

Amicus Briefs from the AFL-CIO, Alliance for Justice, American Center for Law and Justice & Focus on the Family, a Coalition of Public Charities, Sen. Mitch McConnell, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, et al.

Filed Under: Completed Amicus Briefs, Legal, Legal Center, amicus brief, WRTL, Amicus Briefs, Completed Cases (Amicus), Amicus Briefs, Completed Cases (Amicus), Wisconsin

Is Steny Hoyer Corrupting Congress?

Is the House Democratic Leadership corrupting Congress?  The Center for Public Integrity ("CPI") thinks so.  As the campaign finance "reform" movement becomes increasingly sclerotic and prone to a knee jerk opposition to any project that leads to appearance of money and politics on the same page of your daily newspaper, it gets increasingly ridiculous and extreme in its arguments.  Now the CPI believes that Steny Hoyer is corrupting his fellow Democrats.  Click the headline to read more.

Filed Under: Blog

Hillary Clinton: Free Speech Advocate (and “Reform” Skeptic?)

Following up on Monday’s post, here’s Sen. Clinton’s response when asked if the "1984" mashup should be taken down:

"You know, that’s for somebody else to decide. . . . I don’t have an opinion one way or another. I think anything that drives interest in these campaigns and gets people who otherwise are not at all interested in politics, I think that’s pretty good. . . ."

Well said.  Happily, Sen. Clinton was not alone in defending the ad (and, by extension, the First Amendment).  From the L.A. Times

"The beauty of the Internet is that speech is free. It costs virtually nothing to create an ad for or against a candidate and post it on YouTube for the world to see, so the exchange of ideas (and insults) is refreshingly brisk. Not long after the Clinton slam caught fire, someone did an anti-Obama version of the same piece. Meanwhile, other clips praising or slamming the candidates proliferate on the website.

"The potential for anonymous potshots and dirty tricks online is real and always will be. But the answer isn’t more regulation."

We hope this skepticism of "regulatory" solutions to the "problem" of free speech continues to be a growing trend among politicians and editorial boards.

Filed Under: Blog

“Political Video Smackdown”

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that a political remix of Apple Computer’s famous 1984 Super Bowl ad is getting people’s attention:

"It may be the most stunning and creative attack ad yet for a 2008 presidential candidate — one experts say could represent a watershed moment in 21st century media and political advertising."

But what will the "reformers" think of it?

Click the headline for more.

Filed Under: Blog

Mad scientists in the laboratories of democracy

Yesterday the Brennan Center for Justice released another in a series of studies analyzing state-level campaign finance regulation in the Midwest.  Their conclusion:  "Michigan’s campaign finance system is broken and badly in need of reform."

This conclusion should sound familiar to anyone who read the press release announcing their previous report on Illinois: "Illinois’s campaign finance system is broken and badly in need of reform."

And both of those conclusions should sound familiar to anyone who read the press release announcing their Wisconsin report: "Wisconsin’s campaign finance system is broken and badly in need of reform."

The Center has promised two more reports, covering Ohio and Minnesota.  We have a hunch about how they’ll turn out.

Click the headline to read more.

Filed Under: Blog

Capitol Hill Briefing Recap

For those who were unable to attend the recent Capitol Hill Briefing on grassroots lobbying disclosure, the Cato Institute has made the audio available for download on their website.

BNA also published a recap ($) titled "Disclosure Foe Faults Those ‘Sitting Out’ House Debate Over ‘Grass Roots’ Lobbying."  The titular "disclosure foe" is none other than CCP’s Executive Director, Steve Hoersting, who warned that "reform groups supporting disclosure will push for more sweeping requirements if they can secure a legal precedent for any new mandatory reporting."

Filed Under: Blog

Reform Desperation

Proponents of "reform" have sent a letter to the presidential candidates, urging them to follow the lead of Barack Obama and John McCain, both of whom have reserved the right (thanks to a recent FEC ruling ) to return contributions solicited for the general election and accept taxpayer financing if their opposing party’s nominee does the same.  Yet, when commenting (pdf) on the FEC Advisory Opinion under which this scheme was held permissible, both Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center urged the FEC to hold that the scheme violated both the letter and purpose of the campaign finance laws.  Among other complaints, they noted:

"Under the approach proposed in the AOR, Senator Obama, and any other presidential candidate who took the same position, would not be free of the ‘rigors of soliciting private contributions’ for the general election, a principal goal of the statute. Similarly, the goal of the statute to reduce ‘the deleterious influence of large contributions’ would not be met, since the circumstances and concerns that relate to the raising of private contributions would still occur, even if the contributions were subsequently returned."

So why the change of heart?  Why are reform groups now inviting candidates to submit to the "rigors of soliciting private contributions" and the "deleterious influence of large contributions?"

Click the headline to read more. 

Filed Under: Blog

Capitol Hill Briefing: A Skeptical Look at Grassroots Lobbying Disclosure

On Friday, March 9th, CCP Executive Director Steve Hoersting will be participating in a Capitol Hill Briefing on the subject of grassroots lobbying disclosure. 

Click the headline for more information on the event and how to register.

Filed Under: Blog

Christmas Comes Early for Election Lawyers: FEC Unveils New AO Search Engine

We see that the FEC has launched its new AO search engine, the first glimpse of which we blogged on back in December.  For those who follow this stuff closely, this is an exciting (or at least very useful) development.  The new search engine brings up AOs and related documents in PDF format, much more pleasing to the eye than the old HTML format they were previously presented in.  More importantly, it allows researchers to Shepardize AOs.

The advanced search has more options, and even allows users to search for AO comments by specific groups.  But don’t go searching for "Center for Competitive Politics" just yet.  It appears that in entering our name into the system we’ve become the "Center for Competitive Poltiics" (time to order new letterhead).  Also, the new search engine currently only works as far back as 1996.  Years 1995 and before will be available "as soon as possible."  Once it’s fully updated, though, and glitches like "Poltiics" are ironed out, it should be a great resource.

Update:  The glitch we reported earlier is fixed.  A search for comments by the "Center for Competitive Politics" now brings up all of the comments we’ve submitted.  Thanks to the folks at the FEC for getting that fixed so quickly.

Filed Under: Blog

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