CCP testimony supports political freedom in Pa.

Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Senate State Government Committee held a field hearing in Meadville, Pa. to discuss two pieces of legislation regarding contribution limits and enhanced disclosure requirements.

I testified on behalf of CCP in support of preserving the state’s free system of allowing citizens to contribute to candidates of their choice without arbitrary government restrictions.

Filed Under: Blog, Pennsylvania

The Ground Zero mosque, DISCLOSE, and the abuse of power

On August 18, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a rather incredible comment. With polls showing roughly 70 percent of Americans believe the Cordoba Project mosque near Ground Zero is a bad idea (though a constitutionally protected one), and further that the apparent support voiced by the President and various liberal commentators for the mosque was causing a bleeding in Democratic support barely two months before the next election, the Speaker suggested that it would appropriate to have an investigation into the sources of political opposition to the mosque location. No further analysis of these grossly inappropriate remarks is necessary. As lawyers would say, res ipsa loquitur—”the thing speaks for itself.”  Or, as the rest of America might say, “’nuff said.”


Or maybe not. What DISCLOSE and Speaker Pelosi’s comments have in common is an intention to intimidate speakers opposed to the agenda of the ruling party, by threatening to misuse the power of government against them if they continue to speak.

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, DISCLOSE, Disclose Act

Nancy Pelosi in desperate need of refresher on First Amendment

The Center for Competitive Politics has avoided getting dragged into the fray over the proposed Cordoba House project (AKA “Ground Zero Mosque”) in New York City. The focus of the Center is on the First Amendment political rights of speech, assembly, and petition, and the discussion and debate raging over the appropriateness of the Cordoba House location definitely fall outside of our areas of interest and expertise.

But it is worth noting when political figures, addressing the Cordoba House controversy, stumble into those areas of the First Amendment that the Center does address. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in no uncertain terms stumbled (trampled?) over the First Amendment right of free speech in comments yesterday when she seemed to suggest that opponents of Cordoba House should be investigated:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday said she supports an investigation into groups opposing the building of a mosque near ground zero in New York.

Pelosi told San Francisco’s KCBS radio that “there is no question there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some.”

“I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque being funded,” she said. “How is this being ginned up?”

The chilling effect of government investigations into citizens who dare to dissent from whatever agenda Speaker Pelosi approves of would be severe. That the third highest ranking official in the land, second in line to the presidency behind Vice President Joe Biden, would casually suggest government investigations of political opponents is stunning and should be deeply disturbing and offensive to any American who values the First Amendment’s guarantees of free and unfettered political speech.

Speaker Pelosi should immediately repudiate, in full and without qualification, her call for investigations into those who do not share her perspective on the appropriateness of the Cordoba House location.

Filed Under: Blog

Testimony of CCP Research & Government Relations Director Laura Renz to the Pennsylvania Senate State Government Committee

Written testimony of CCP Research & Government Relations Director Laura Renz to an August 17, 2010 hearing before the Pennsylvania Senate State Government Committee on the topic of contribution limits and disclosure.

Filed Under: Blog, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Comments, Contribution Limits State, Disclosure, Disclosure Comments, Disclosure State, External Relations Comments and Testimony, External Relations Sub-Pages, State, State Comments and Testimony, Comments and Testimony, Pennsylvania

DISCLOSE back from the dead?

Yesterday, the Hotline reported that Senate Democrats plan to force another vote on the DISCLOSE Act “to score political points.”

This is not exactly a surprise, as Schumer has said he planned to bring up DISCLOSE multiple times: “[W]e will go back at this bill again and again and again until we pass it,” he told The Hill last month after the DISCLOSE Act failed to clear a procedural vote in the Senate.

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, DISCLOSE, Disclose Act, Maine

Shadowy group says it will spend millions on Connecticut elections

“Shadowy group says it will spend millions on Connecticut elections”

Hartford Courant
Aug. 14, 2010

With Connecticut’s gubernatorial and state legislative elections less than three months away, a shadowy group is promising to spend millions of dollars from undisclosed contributors this fall in an effort to influence the state’s elections.

The shady group, which calls itself “The State of Connecticut,” has pledged to spend as much as $46 million this cycle.

“This is a flagrant, outrageous violation of the spirit of Connecticut’s law,” said Washington, D.C. lobbyist Fred Wertheimer of the reform group Democracy 21. “Nobody knows where this money is coming from. It’s time for Connecticut to pass real reform and require the disclosure of who is really behind the big money in campaigns.”

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog

Lawmakers stick it to the poor in return for campaign funds

Licking their chops at the prospects of reaping millions in campaign dollars, Connecticut lawmakers today overrode Governor Jodi Rell’s veto of the state’s revised “clean elections” law, despite calls to spend the money on social services. 

Filed Under: Blog

CREW’s curious FEC lawsuit

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) has filed a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission after the FEC declined to pursue two CREW complaints.

CREW has a history of filing FEC complaints against candidates as part of its advocacy campaign to increase political speech regulation. Many, if not most, go nowhere-unsupported by law or evidence. Like some of these complaints, the current lawsuit looks less like a serious attempt to address a legal issue and more like a P.R. gambit.

For starters, CREW’s lawsuit seems premature. In one of the matters CREW cites, the FEC notified CREW July 23 that the matter had been closed. As even CREW recognized, the FEC has 30 days from that date—Aug. 22—to make public commissioners’ reasons and other materials. Nonetheless, CREW filed its lawsuit Aug. 11.

CREW is right that some Statements of Reasons have been late. Yet CREW never bothered to bring this issue to the FEC. They never, so far as we can discern, contacted commissioners about these concerns, and when the FEC held open hearings about agency procedures in Jan. 2009, no one from CREW bothered to show up.

This complaint isn’t exactly frivolous, but it’s unclear what sort of remedy CREW hopes for beyond a P.R. boost to its effort to raise its profile as a member of the pro-regulation community. In its complaint, CREW seeks an order declaring the FEC’s actions “contrary to law” and another order “compelling the FEC to explain the basis for complaints within 60 days of any dismissal.” Good luck with that. What does CREW think a federal judge is going to do? Head down to 999 E Street NW and sit on the 9th floor until all the commissioners finish their homework?

Filed Under: Blog

No magic wand for changing FPPC’s ‘magic words’


Filed Under: In the News

House overrides veto, adds $3 million to public funding for governor

Filed Under: In the News

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