CCP testifies on ‘clean elections’ in Maryland

The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) submitted testimony today at a Maryland Senate hearing on taxpayer funded campaigns.

The testimony, by CCP’s Director of Government and Coalition Relations Kristin Meade, lays out a clear case against such welfare for politician schemes. Legislators are considering testimony on Senate Bill 663, which would implement taxpayer funded campaigns with a $5 check off system.

On the federal level, such a system has a low and declining level of public support, with only 12 percent of taxpayers deciding to participate. The testimony also points out the flaws of taxpayer funded campaigns in states that have adopted the programs, such as Arizona and Maine, and explains how grand promises of ending corruption have not been proven correct in these states.

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

‘Reform’ community proposes speech controls in Iowa

It’s not very often that the so-called reform community explicitly states their desire to censor all political speech they disagree with, but a pair of Iowa legislators have done just that.

They introduced a bill in Iowa that would ban the distribution of campaign material without the consent of the person who would benefit from such material. The bill would also ban any cartoon or caricature of a candidate or a photo of a candidate without the candidate’s approval.


Filed Under: Blog, Iowa

Obama’s War on Lobbyists means War on Talent and Experience

The game of Wack-a-Lobbyist was a regular feature of the 2008 presidential campaign, with both then-candidate-now-President Obama and Senator McCain making it clear to everyone that they believed lobbyists were part of the problem in Washington DC. Both vowed they would drive lobbyists from the temple of democracy, and I’m pretty sure McCain pledged to drive a stake through the heart of any lobbyist he saw and sprinkle the dusted remains with holy water.

Now, President Obama is finding it somewhat difficult to fill the thousands of positions his administration now has open without tapping the talent and experience of the much-maligned lobbyist community. The Huffington Post reports:

Obama’s Anti-Lobbyist Policy Causing Unintended Harm

Barack Obama made no secret of his feelings for "Washington lobbyists" during the campaign and vowed that they wouldn’t be staffing his White House.

Click here to read more about lobbyists and the Obama administration’s difficulty filling positions

Filed Under: Blog

‘Clean elections’ bill introduced in Maryland

Maryland Senate President Thomas Miller introduced a bill today to create a pilot program for publicly financed campaigns.

"This proposal to allow candidates to raid the public treasury in the name of cleaning up the political process is deeply flawed and will not change the way the legislature does business in Maryland," said Center for Competitive Politics President Sean Parnell. "The use of a check-off funding mechanism doesn’t change the fact that taxpayer dollars will be used to fund campaign ads and political consultants."

The bill funds the pilot program by placing a voluntary check-off of $5 on income tax forms. It would allow about 25 percent of candidates seeking legislative seats to participate in the 2014 election cycle, according to press reports. The federal government has a similar check-off system for the failed system of publicly-financed presidential campaigns. The system has continually declined in popularity, with 28.7 percent of taxpayers contributing in 1980 and just 11.3 percent in 2002.

Filed Under: External Relations Press Releases, External Relations Sub-Pages, Press Releases, State, State Press Releases and Blogs, Tax Financed Campaigns Press Release/In the News/Blog, Tax Financed Campaigns State, Tax-Financing

“Localism” is the new “fairness doctrine”

The bill containing Senator Jim DeMint’s amendment banning the return of the so-called "fairness doctrine" (more appropriately called the Censorship Doctrine) is currently on hold, as House leadership considers what to do with another amendment to the bill concerning gun rights.

Even if the bill passes, however, the threat to free and unfettered political speech on the radio remains. "Localism" has become the new buzzword for those seeking to put broadcasters under the thumb of censors, as demonstrated by reports that Congressman Henry Waxman is seeking the return of the "fairness doctrine" through "localism."

Brian Anderson of the Manhattan Institute explains more in a recent op-ed on the "fairness doctrine" and "localism":

Although the Obama administration has said it is not inclined to support a new Fairness Doctrine… it has suggested it might support another reform, called "localism," which should also worry defenders of media freedom.

Click here to read more about "localism" and the "fairness doctrine"

Filed Under: Blog

Amicus Brief: Sampson v. Buescher, 10th Cir.

Download Amicus Brief

Filed Under: Completed Amicus Briefs, Legal, Legal Center, Amicus Briefs, Completed Cases (Amicus), Amicus Briefs, Completed Cases (Amicus), Colorado

An alternative take on clean elections in Arizona

The Tucson Weekly, which bills itself as Tucson’s alternative newspaper and seems to have a decidedly progressive/leftist slant, provides their perspective on Arizona’s so-called “clean elections” program in a recent column. You’ve got to read the last line.


Click here to read more about the Tucson Weekly’s problem with “clean elections” in Arizona

Filed Under: Blog, Arizona

Caperton Advocacy

Advocates have an obligation to advocate zealously for their client, and an unfortunate by-product of that requirement, coupled with the rapid fire give and take of Supreme Court oral argument, the growing tendency of the justices not to hear out the answers to their questions, and the lack of any opportunity for clarification, often leads to some real distortions before the Court.  Below the fold are just a few problems and highlights we noted in today’s Supreme Court argument in Caperton v. Massey Coal Co.

Filed Under: Blog

North Carolina’s “clean elections” for judges a flop

The Supreme Court will be hearing arguments today in Caperton v. Massey Coal, a case about independent political spending and judicial recusal. The central question is this: do constitutional protections for due process require that a judge recuse himself or herself from cases involving a third party that independently spent significant funds in their race?

CCP filed an amicus brief in case arguing that the Supreme Court should not venture down the path toward forced recusal based on independent campaign speech because the “bias” standard for recusal requires a judge to have a “direct, personal, substantial, pecuniary interest” in the case being heard, which independent political speech does not create.

So-called “reform” groups and their allies are hoping for a ruling that would require recusal, opening the doors to further limits on independent political speech. Others, including the editorial page of USA Today, sense an opening for the silver bullet of taxpayer funded judicial campaigns.

Today’s USA Today approvingly cites the example of North Carolina, which doles out taxpayer dollars to candidates for judge.

Click here to read how “clean elections” for judges in North Carolina have failed

Filed Under: Blog, North Carolina

CCP Urges High Court Not to Limit Speech in Judicial Elections By Forcing Recusal

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument today in Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co., No. 08-22, a case in which the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the justices not to require the recusal of judge based on independent political speech in his judicial election.

Specifically, the case raises the question of whether an elected state supreme court justice must recuse himself because a litigant’s CEO exercised his First Amendment rights to speak out in a judicial election through his own spending and contributions to an independent advocacy group.

CCP’s brief warns the Supreme Court not to venture down the path toward forced recusal based on independent campaign speech because the "bias" standard for recusal requires a judge to have a "direct, personal, substantial, pecuniary interest" in the case being heard.  That well-established "bias" standard is a much higher bar than the "corruption" standard that the Court has used to permit regulation of political speech in its campaign finance jurisprudence.

Click here for the full CCP release on Caperton v. Massey

Filed Under: External Relations Sub-Pages, Federal, Federal Press Releases and Blogs, Press Releases

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