First sequel to Citizens United; Circuit Court argument Wednesday

Filed Under: In the News v. FEC before D.C. Circuit Court Wednesday

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations may fund independent political ads without government-imposed limits.  Tomorrow (Wednesday, January 27, 2010), a federal appeals court will consider whether individual Americans who join together to fund political ads share that same unrestricted freedom of speech.  This will be the first case in which a lower court considers the impact of last week’s Citizens United decision on other provisions of campaign finance laws. v. Federal Election Commission, litigated together by the Institute for Justice and the Center for Competitive Politics, will be heard at 9:30 a.m. by the entire U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  The argument will take place in Courtroom 20 at 333 Constitution Ave., N.W., in Washington, D.C.

The individuals who came together to form want to advocate the election of federal candidates who favor free speech and the defeat of those who favor speech restrictions in the name of campaign finance “reform.” is completely independent of any political party or candidate.  It will not contribute to candidates or parties; its members and supporters simply want to spend their own money on their own independent speech.  Federal law, however, requires to establish a separate “political action committee” in order to speak, under which the group would be subjected to extremely burdensome rules and limits on the amounts of money it can raise from donors and thus spend on its speech.  These limits and red tape-which the U.S. Supreme Court just described as a type of prior restraint on speech-make it virtually impossible for independent groups like to raise funds and to speak effectively to voters.

Filed Under: Press Releases

McCain: Campaign finance ‘reform’ is dead

On the CBS program “Face the Nation” with Bob Schieffer, Sen. John McCain declared that campaign finance reform is dead after Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, according to the CBS write-up:

Schieffer asked McCain if he thought the issue of campaign finance reform was “dead.”

“Oh, I think so.” He predicted a backlash would occur when people see the amounts of unfettered money, from corporations and unions, that will go into political campaigns.

“But in the short term, the Supreme Court has spoken. I respect their decision,” he conceded.

Filed Under: Blog

The Citizens United Fallout

Filed Under: In the News

Debunking the Citizens United Horror Stories: Episode 1: Foreign Corporations

Critics of the Jan. 21 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC are trotting out their horror stories with increasing shrillness. In the next few days, we will be making a series of posts with the straight dope.

Today’s episode one discusses the biggest horror story of them all: Citizens United will allow foreign corporations — from China! From North Korea! to pour millions into our elections. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Bob Menendez said so this morning on ABC, and the President himself has made the claim, “even foreign corporations may now get into the act.”

Really? No, not really. Go below the fold to find out why…

Filed Under: Blog

Schumer’s ‘barely true’ comments on Citizens United, a project of the St. Petersburg Times, shredded a statement by Sen. Chuck Schumer (and implicitly all other “reformers” using similar demagoguery) that in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, “the (U.S. Supreme Court) decided to overrule the 100-year-old ban on corporate expenditures.”

On its trusty “Truth-o-Meter” the site rated Schumer’s comments “Barely True.” Ouch.

Here’s more:

Schumer said the Supreme Court “decided to overrule the 100-year-old ban on corporate expenditures.” But he ignores the fact that the ban on direct donations from corporations to campaigns still exists. And the oldest law that specifically banned independent expenditures dated to 1947. You could also argue that we should be dating this from the 1970s campaign finance laws, or even the 1990 Austin case. So he’s exaggerating the scope of the ruling and how long the laws have been on the books. We rate Schumer’s statement Barely True.

Filed Under: Blog

Clinton on Citizens United v. FEC?

An excerpt from a speech by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Jan. 21, the day the U.S. Supreme Court struck down certain restrictions on political speech by corporations, unions and advocacy groups:

And censorship should not be in any way accepted by any company from anywhere. And in America, American companies need to make a principled stand. This needs to be part of our national brand. I’m confident that consumers worldwide will reward companies that follow those principles.

We are also supporting the development of new tools that enable citizens to exercise their rights of free expression by circumventing politically motivated censorship.

Countries that censor news and information must recognize that from an economic standpoint, there is no distinction between censoring political speech and commercial speech.



Filed Under: Blog

Chicken Little, Inc.

A professional campaign of fear and loathing is in full effect post the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United. While some controversy surrounds the Court because of its strong stance in protecting the First Amendment, a great whimpering of fear and emotional confusion surrounds what really happened. 

For starters, Citizens United v. FEC is the election law equivalent of Brown v. Board of Education, not “the worst Supreme Court decision since the Dred Scott case,” as Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida and MSNBC talking head Keith Olbermann howled.

Filed Under: Blog

The Shoddy Scholarship and Intellectual Ignorance of Ruth Marcus

In today’s Washington Post, under the headline “The High Court’s Shoddy Scholarship,” Ruth Marcus accuses the Citizens United majority of, well, “shoddy scholarship,” and also “stunning… intellectual dishonesty.” I won’t accuse Ms. Marcus of “intellectual dishonesty” herself, because I know Ms. Marcus a bit and don’t think she is intellectually dishonest. But I do attribute her column to intellectual ignorance.

Let’s look at her accusations, one by one, below the fold…

Filed Under: Blog

Newsflash: First Amendment Upheld

Filed Under: In the News

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