Judges Gone Wild

Filed Under: In the News

Decade Brought Change to Campaign Finance

Filed Under: In the News

Christmas blogging slow-down notice

Most of the staff of the Center for Competitive Politics will be spending time with their families between Christmas and New Year’s Day, so expect light blogging until Jan. 4.

Filed Under: Blog

Study: The First Amendment is a loophole

The Associated Press published a story today detailing a study released by the Center for Governmental Studies (CGS), a Los Angeles-based organization that advocates for taxpayer financed campaigns and other campaign finance regulations.

The study purports to show that, “[p]oliticians across the country keep finding ways to skirt campaign-finance laws, using ballot-measure committees and other avenues to raise millions of dollars in unregulated contributions,” according to the AP lede [newspaper speak for the first sentence/paragraph].

HoltzmanVogel’s blog post on the story pointed out the obvious: “These ‘loopholes’ are sometimes referred to as legal means of raising and spending funds for the purpose of engaging in constitutionally-protected political activity.”

Filed Under: Blog, California

No campaign finance fix in Conn. special session

Richard Winger at Ballot Access News reports that Connecticut’s special session gaveled to a close without any action on the state’s unconstitutional system of taxpayer financed campaigns:

The Connecticut legislature had a brief special session this week, but again it took no action to amend the law on public funding for candidates for state office. So, the original law will be the subject of the upcoming 2nd circuit oral argument on January 13, 2010. The U.S. District Court had invalidated the law on August 27, 2009, and the 2nd circuit is expediting the state’s appeal of that decision. But if the legislature had acted during December, 2009, that could have mooted the case, or at least mooted parts of it. The lawsuit is Green Party of Connecticut v Garfield.

Filed Under: Blog, Connecticut

Why does Wisconsin Common Cause hate Wisconsin voters?

Jay Heck, the registered lobbyist who is the Executive Director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, is really upset.

Heck and Common Cause have lobbyied long and hard to pass a bill, which they call the Impartial Justice Act, that we — like a pair of Federal courts — believe is unconstitutional based on the Supreme Court’s precedent in Davis v. Federal Election Commission. And Heck is really mad that Wisconsin Right to Life, represented by the “Big Bopper” (the indispensible Jim Bopp), and Wisconsin Judge Randy Kroschnick, represented by Steve Hoersting of the Center for Competitive Politics and Wisconsin attorney James Troupis of Michael Best & Freidrich, have filed separate lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the bill (the suits are not duplicative, raising different issues pertaining to the limits on candidates and speakers).  Merely to suggest that the bill is “unconstitutional” is, to Heck, speaking in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a “vicious” attack.

Filed Under: Blog

CCP files lawsuit; reformers wonder what the Heck happened

The Center for Competitive Politics joined local counsel James Troupis in filing a federal lawsuit on behalf of Judge Randy Koschnick challenging Wisconsin’s recently-passed “Impartial Justice Act.”

CCP’s press release is here. An op-ed written by CCP Chairman Brad Smith for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the constitutionally-flawed bill is here. A lawsuit filed last week by Wisconsin Right to Life Political Action Committee raises similar issues.

Filed Under: Blog, Wisconsin

Suit seeks to block public financing for Supreme Court races

Filed Under: In the News

CCP files lawsuit challenging Wis. taxpayer financed judicial campaigns

Wisconsin Circuit Court Judge Randy Koschnick filed a federal lawsuit challenging the state’s recently passed bill enacting taxpayer funded campaigns for state Supreme Court.

Koschnick is represented by James R. Troupis of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP and Stephen M. Hoersting of the Center for Competitive Politics. The case is Koschnick v. Doyle, 3:09-cv-00767.

“Schemes that give the government power to penalize candidates for exercising their First Amendment rights have been ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and two federal courts,” said Center for Competitive Politics Vice President Stephen M. Hoersting. “A candidate who decides to not accept government welfare in a state Supreme Court race should not be forced to, in effect, reward his opponent’s campaign by simply speaking out.”

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

CCP files brief in Conn. taxpayer financed campaigns case

The Center for Competitive Politics has filed a friend-of-the-court brief with a federal appeals court in a challenge to Connecticut’s taxpayer financed campaigns system.

A federal judge ruled in August that the program discriminated against minor parties and infringed on the free speech rights of non-participating candidates. The ruling is stayed pending the state’s appeal

“Government does not further the interests of the First Amendment by razing the speech of some to amplify the voices of others,” said Center for Competitive Politics attorney Benjamin Barr, the brief’s author. “Connecticut’s innovative, but flawed, system of campaign finance reform runs head-on against the protection of the First Amendment, itself being historically hostile to any content-based regulation of speech.”

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

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