Hayward on Citizens United in Washington Examiner

CCP board member Allison Hayward published this op-ed in the Washington Examiner on Citizens United: “Ban on small-business political bucks is unconstitutional.”

Here’s an excerpt:

In addition to material already available in this context, I recently reviewed the archives of an interesting — but long-forgotten — series of prosecutions of corporations for making political contributions. In those materials, I found clear indication that notwithstanding political enthusiasm for the prosecution, both U.S. attorneys involved had doubts about the constitutionality of their position…

Prohibiting corporations and unions categorically from political spending has always been controversial, for good reason, as the court’s reargument in Citizens United illustrated yet again.

Filed Under: Blog, Michigan

CCP files friend-of-the-court brief in Colorado free speech case

The Center for Competitive Politics joined other organizations concerned about First Amendment political rights in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in Independence Institute v. Buescher today. The Institute for Justice is representing the Independence Institute in its challenge of Colorado’s restrictive campaign finance laws.

The Institute’s petition for certiorari is under consideration at the Supreme Court, which will decide whether to hear the case this fall.

“Unfortunately, today in Colorado, citizens giving as little as $20 to an organization speaking out about referenda issues could have their identities disclosed on the Internet without their permission,” said Center for Competitive Politics attorney Benjamin Barr, the author of the brief. “Whether supporting the NRA, the Sierra Club, or a local think tank, the First Amendment protects the rights of citizens to associate and speak without government intervention.”

Filed Under: Press Releases

Congressional spam and a ‘level playing field’

Advocates of taxpayer financed congressional campaigns [known as the Fair Elections Now Act (FENA)] argue that such a system is necessary to level the playing field, thereby granting opportunities to candidates with a wide base of public support who just can’t compete with what they call special interest-funded candidates (also known as candidates who accept voluntary, private donations). They never mention a glaring problem: when incumbents “level the playing field” by writing campaign finance legislation, they invariably create a system that favors themselves.

Politico just published a story that sheds a bit more light on how incumbents would have greater control over the political debate under taxpayer funded campaigns:

Congress is on the verge of giving itself a bump in its annual budget – even as local governments, families and businesses across the country are tightening their belts in the worst recession in decades… The measure includes a hodgepodge of new funding for lawmakers: a $500,000 pilot program for senators to send out postcards about their town hall meetings… [P.S. the “pilot program” has been in place for five years.]

Filed Under: Blog

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