Words worth remembering

"And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."

Happy Independence Day

Filed Under: Blog

‘Reformer’ Aims at ‘Corruption,’ Shoots Self

Over the next several days, most of the 2008 candidates for President will be announcing their fundraising totals. Yesterday, Senator McCain announced his campaign’s take for the 2nd quarter, and the news was not good.

Not only is his total (about $11.2 million) expected to trail Mayor Giuliani and Governor Romney, his cash-on-hand is a very low $2 million. McCain’s campaign manager announced a restructuring that involves laying off scores of staffers, perhaps more than half.

But, McCain is not the first candidate to find himself in this situation. In 2004, another U.S. Senator running for President, who is also a Vietnam vet and was the early favorite to win the nomination, found his campaign floundering. Funds were short, and many people were writing off his candidacy.

To read how this candidate saved his campaign click the headline.

Filed Under: Blog

The “Reformers’ Trap”

CCP needs to spend a lot of its time disspelling myths about campaign finance (see HERE, HERE, and HERE).  If you’ve ever wondered why there are so many myths out there, then today is your lucky day.  Today, CCP highlights one of the classics – what we call the "reformers’ trap."  It’s a pretty simple concept, all you have to do is take a news account about an allegedly corrupt politician and put the blame for his shady behavior on campaign finance, instead of where it really belongs – on bribery and true quid-pro-quo.

The June 30th Politico provides a classic case of the "reformers’ trap."  The story begins with an eye-catching lede that implies that Rep. Kendrick Meek was corrupted by $5,500 in campaign contributions. If you stopped reading after the lede, then you probably would be tricked into thinking the campaign contribution was indeed the quid in an apparent quid-pro-quo.  Luckily, CCP did not stop reading and buried in the story was the fact that in addition to the campaign contributions, Rep. Meek’s mother was given $40,000 and a Cadillac.  No doubt, though, that the "reformers" will focus on the campaign contribution and gloss over the $40,000 and a Cadillac.

Click the headline to read more about the "reformers’ trap." 

Filed Under: Blog

Fortunately, It’s Only Disclosure

Even many skeptics of campaign finance regulation favor almost unlimited disclosure.  We often hear it said, "it’s only disclosure."  Former Congressman Marty Meehan is reliably reported to us to have assured skeptics that disclosure is not regulation at all.  But disclosure has its price, as Gigi Brienza found out when she contributed to John Edwards for President, and found herself targeted by animal rights activists who gleaned her contact information from FEC records.  Read her compelling tale, told in the Washington Post, here.

If federal disclosure thresholds had been indexed for inflation, contributions would now be at $600, rather than $200, and Brienza’s contributions – and her personal information – would not have been disclosed.  Is there really a compelling government interest in disclosing these small dollar contributions?

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog

A CCP must-read

CCP chairman Brad Smith has written an extended piece in this month’s City Journal about the ongoing dangers of campaign finance regulationYou can read "Campaign Finance Reform’s War on Political Freedom" by clicking HERE.

Filed Under: Blog

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