Congress takes up two campaign finance measures

Today was quite the day in Congress for campaign finance.

First, the House Administration Committee advanced a program for taxpayer financing of congressional races:

“… The [committee] voted to divert hundreds of millions, even billions, of taxpayer dollars into the campaign coffers of fringe candidates, incumbents, and candidates favored by well-organized interest groups able to provide the necessary contributions to qualify for public funding,” said CCP President Sean Parnell. “These are not just the conclusions of Republicans opposing the bill, but of 2 Democratic members of the committee including an ardent supporter of the concept of taxpayer funding for political campaigns.”

The so-called Fair Elections Now Act is not expected to receive a vote on the House floor anytime soon.

Then, the Senate voted again on the DISCLOSE Act this afternoon…

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

DISCLOSE Act redo fails to pass procedural test

The DISCLOSE Act failed again in the Senate today as Republicans blocked the measure for the second time on a 59-39 vote.

“The DISCLOSE Act was not a serious attempt at campaign finance reform,” said Center for Competitive Politics Chairman Bradley A. Smith, a former Federal Election Commission Chairman. “This bill was written behind closed doors by the majority party to benefit incumbents. Democratic leaders made no serious attempt to pass a bipartisan bill, writing a bill that silences business groups while leaving labor unions largely unfettered.”

Filed Under: Disclosure, Disclosure Federal, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, External Relations Press Releases, External Relations Sub-Pages, Federal, Federal Press Releases and Blogs, Press Releases

House committee approves Fair Elections Now Act

The House Committee on Administration today voted to send the Fair Elections Now Act, H.R. 6116, to the floor of the House of Representatives. The following is the statement of Center for Competitive Politics President Sean Parnell

“Today the Committee on House Administration voted to divert hundreds of millions, even billions, of taxpayer dollars into the campaign coffers of fringe candidates, incumbents, and candidates favored by well-organized interest groups able to provide the necessary contributions to qualify for public funding. These are not just the conclusions of Republicans opposing the bill, but of 2 Democratic members of the committee including an ardent supporter of the concept of taxpayer funding for political campaigns.”

“In addition to these concerns raised by Democratic Congressmen Artur Davis and Michael Capuano, the simple fact is that this welfare-for-politicians scheme cannot deliver on its promise of cleaner politics, more responsive elected officials, reduced corruption, improved public perception of Congress, or increased civic participation, any more than the failed programs in Arizona and Maine have. Congress should not waste its time with a floor vote on H.R. 6116.”

The Center for Competitive Politics prepared a detailed analysis of the Fair Elections Now Act (then H.R. 1826) last summer, which can be read here

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

Senate Democrats add another reason to vote against #DISCLOSE Act

I’ve been listening off and on to C-Span 2 today, which political junkies know covers the U.S. Senate. According to the chiron, Senators have been giving “General Speeches” this morning and into the afternoon. For Republicans the topics are random – I heard Senator Bond of Missouri speaking on economic policy, and Senator Johannes of Nebraska spoke out regarding one of his constituents who had tragically lost his life serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington just spoke about the DREAM Act, which I understand to have something to do with immigration.

But for most Democrats in the Senate, today apparently is the day to push the DISCLOSE Act, presumably a lead-up to tomorrow’s expected vote.

Listening to them speak, it’s become even more clear than ever that not only are the Senate advocates of the DISCLOSE Act wrong (a subjective opinion, of course, although one we can amply defend) but they are almost completely ignorant of what this legislation would do, what current law on the subject is, and what the court ruled in Citizens United.

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

Senate’s DISCLOSE Act redux an election-year stunt

The Senate will debate the DISCLOSE Act again Wednesday, with a vote scheduled for Thursday, according to a Twitter message from a top aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Senate Democrats will bring up the same version of the DISCLOSE Act that failed to pass a procedural hurdle in July. Republicans filibustered the bill, noting that it would provide special advantages to unions over business groups, wasn’t up for amendment through the committee process and would advance partisan interests at a time when other priorities loom large.

“Congress hasn’t even passed a budget yet and Senate Democrats are still finding time to rehash a campaign finance bill,” said Bradley A. Smith, the chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics and a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission. “While Americans are concerned about the economy and jobs, Senate Democrats seem most concerned about their own political careers.”

Filed Under: Disclosure, Disclosure Federal, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, External Relations Press Releases, External Relations Sub-Pages, Federal, Federal Press Releases and Blogs, Press Releases

‘Fading disclosure’?

In a recent report, self-styled reform organization Public Citizen decried the trend it sees in the 2010 campaign, where some groups speaking out about candidates are keeping the identities of their donors under wraps. Implicit in this report is a call for the Federal Election Commission to require donors to groups be identified, regardless of whether they meant to fund the group’s communications. The folks at Public Citizen support additional disclaimer and donor reporting such as those set forth in the DISCLOSE Act.

First, why is this year different?

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

DISCLOSE and disclaimers

MoveOn.org, a liberal advocacy group, is running a round of attack ads against Republican candidates Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire and Rand Paul in Kentucky.

The ads link the candidates to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce as part of a campaign to “expose the shadowy corporate groups that are trying to influence the elections,” the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. For the record, here’s the Chamber’s response to the baseless allegations. The Huffington Post noted that the MoveOn.org campaign is part of a coalition with the Media Matters Action Network and ThinkProgress.org to “push back against, and even dissuade, conservative groups and funders from launching major election-themed ad campaigns.”

An interesting aspect about the ads not reported by the press, though, is the difference between the disclaimers in the MoveOn.org ads and the disclaimers MoveOn.org and self-styled reform organizations would force upon political groups in the DISCLOSE Act, which Senate Democrats plan to bring up for another vote as early as next week.

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

Schnur’s scarlet letter

Dan Schnur, ubermensch of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, is providing us all with a valuable object lesson: its not just the text of campaign finance restrictions that can suppress political expression—the attitude of state regulators matters just as much.

BNA’s Money & Politics Report quotes Schnur this morning as saying this:

“Political consultants in both parties too often engage in borderline behavior under the assumption that being fined in the months after the election is the worst thing that can happen to their candidate,” Schnur said. “Well, that’s not the worst thing that can happen. Before you step too close to the line, ask your candidate if he or she would like their name in a headline along with the words ‘FPPC’ and ‘investigation’ in the weeks before an election.”

This is a threat.

Filed Under: Blog, California

CCP releases DISCLOSE poll

The Center for Competitive Politics released a poll today focusing on issues in the DISCLOSE Act, which the Senate may take up again as soon as next week. We’ve issued a press release analyzing the results in detail, the poll questions and crosstabs.

The Election Law Blog’s Rick Hasen and The Washington Independent’s Jesse Zwick were kind enough to mention our poll, and they both raise issues that merit a response.

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

Shackles taken off corporate political donations in Ohio

 

Filed Under: In the News

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