Federal Election Commission Agrees to Decide Rights of Independent Speech Groups

The Federal Election Commission yesterday agreed to decide whether a new independent speech group may advocate for or against candidates free of contribution limits imposed on political committees under federal law.  The Commission has 60 days to issue an "advisory opinion" responding to a request from SpeechNow.org and its lawyers with the Center for Competitive Politics and the Institute for Justice.

SpeechNow.org is a nonpartisan independent speech group that supports free speech and associational rights.  It plans to speak out in support of candidates who favor free political speech and oppose those who back so-called campaign finance "reform" legislation that restricts the rights to speech and association.

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SpeechNow.org Files Advisory Opinion Request with FEC

A new organization of citizens formed to promote free political speech has filed an advisory opinion request with the Federal Election Commission.  The organization, SpeechNow.org, is represented before the Commission by the Center for Competitive Politics and the Institute for Justice.  

SpeechNow.org is hopeful that the Commission will find that SpeechNow.org poses no threat of corruption or the appearance of corruption to candidates or the electoral process, and that SpeechNow.org may operate as requested.

Click on the title to better understand and read the Advisory Opinion Request.

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Brad Smith on Cam and Company

CCP chairman Brad Smith will be a guest on Sirius Satellite Radio’s "Cam and Company" tonight at 10:20.

You can listen to the webcast live by clicking HERE.

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A broken record keeps on playing

Democracy 21 highlights on their website a Bloomberg News article that regurgitates the dubious arguments of those who advocate ever tightening campaign finance and speech regulations.

The article begins by comparing the amount of money that the U.S. spends per capita on elections with other industrialized nations and laments the thought that the 2008 election cycle could top $5 billion.  "It isn’t clear that we have any comparative advantage from all this freedom to spend money," concludes Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institute.

Fred Wertheimer adds that the election is a spending "arms race" in which "reality disappears, paranoia reigns as you just try to top the other guy."

Click the headline for more.

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The case of the disappearing candidate

Prosecutors allege that former congressional candidate Gary Dodds staged his disappearance following a car crash last year, in part to delay an audit of his campaign’s finances by the FEC.

Click the headline for more.

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Millionaire’s Amendment

The so-called "millionaire’s amendment" took center stage today with a NY Times article detailing efforts by the GOP to find candidates with the ability to self-finance.

The Times noted that "a 2002 rule known as the millionaires’ amendment has tended to discourage wealthy candidates from pouring large sums into their own campaigns early on. The rule raises campaign contribution ceilings to candidates whose opponents spend large amounts of their own money."

But former House candidate Jack Davis is challenging the constitutionality of the "millionaire’s amendment." Davis’s challenge has caught the eye of both Bob Bauer and George Will.

Click the headline for more.

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“Hollywood stars mum on donations to GOP”

CCP has often worried about the chilling impact that disclosure requirements can have on political speech.  Today, we find out that perhaps nowhere is that impact more deeply felt than in Hollywood.

Andrew Breitbart, author of Hollywood Interrupted, told the Washington Times that celebrities "learn very quickly, if they know what’s good for them, to donate to the Democratic Party.  If they were to donate to the Republican Party, they would be exposed to career-ending ridicule, period."

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Randolph decision

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has issued its decision in California Pro-Life Council v. Liane Randolph.

The decision can be read by clicking HERE.

The court concluded "that California has demonstrated the existence of a compelling governmental interest and that the PRA’s definition of ‘contribution’ is narrowly tailored to promote its compelling informational interest. However, California has failed to demonstrate how the additional political committee-like requirements are narrowly tailored to advance its compelling governmental interest."

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The Censor’s Torch: Lessons from Anthony Comstock and Justice O’Connor

The desire to censor that which offends, embarrasses, or angers us is natural and has existed as long as man has had the power and inclination to silence his fellow man.  However, once unleashed, the censor’s torch may be difficult to extinguish and may even rage out of control.  This danger is manifested today in the speech and actions of the campaign finance “reformers.”

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Missouri State Senator: Donor limits need removal,

Missouri Senate Majority Leader Charlie Shields announced yesterday that he is interested in pushing a campaign finance system without contribution limits in the next legislative session.

Click the headline for more.

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