Arizona Free Enterprise v. Bennett

In 1998, Arizona enacted the “Clean Elections Act” via ballot initiative. The law is a statewide tax financing program for political candidates. This case challenges the “matching funds” aspect of the Act. Under “matching funds,” a candidate who opts into the tax financing system will receive extra government subsidies if they face a privately-funded opponent who spends beyond a certain “trigger.” Independent spending in a race outside the control of candidates also triggers additional government subsidies.

Petitioners challenge the case under Davis v. Federal Election Commission, where the Supreme Court held that campaign finance schemes designed to level the playing field between candidates did not serve a compelling state interest.

Filed Under: Legal, Legal Center, Arizona

Vote for Hasen

In a campaign coordinated* with Eric Brown’s Political Activity Law blog but not coordinated with the candidate, the blog of the Center for Competitive Politics urges our readers to vote for Prof. Rick Hasen, the proprietor of the Election Law Blog, as the top “niche” blog in the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 Contest.

Right now, Taxgirl is running away with the contest, claiming 87 votes. Hasen, with 20 votes, also trails a second tier of contenders with 30 to 48 votes apiece.

But, in the tradition of Alaska Senate candidates, Hasen will not give up until every ballot is counted—and you don’t even need to spell his name correctly.

Filed Under: Blog

The Citizens United Election? Or Same As It Ever Was?

In this article, Michael M. Franz analyzes the effects of campaign advertising on elections with a focus on the 2010 mid-term campaigns. So what impact did the easing of restrictions on independent spending, as a result of the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, have on the process and outcome of the 2010 mid-term elections? This popular question, which Franz attempts to answer in this analysis, has been asked by supporters and opponents of campaign finance regulation alike. Using data from the Wesleyan Media Project, Franz was able to determine that an increase in political activity by interest groups did not have the negative or large impact that was predicted by many opponents of the Citizens United decision. Ultimately, Franz echoes many skeptics of campaign finance reform by calling for a scaling back of limits on political parties, so that the groups that are designed to facilitate democracy may do so more easily.

Filed Under: Independent Speech, Issue Advocacy, Research

What Changes Do Recent Supreme Court Decisions Require for Federal Campaign Finance Statutes and Regulations?

In this article, Allison Hayward notes that the tide may be changing in the world of campaign finance. She discusses the various ways in which new Supreme Court and appellate court decisions will require a fundamental change in the current structure of the campaign finance regime. According to Hayward, the Supreme Court seems poised to offer protection for political speech. Accordingly, she suggests that Congress embrace the opportunity to revise current campaign finance restrictions. Ultimately, the article makes it clear that the Supreme Court and appellate decisions have the capacity to significantly alter current statutes concerning campaign finance.

Filed Under: Research, Allison Hayward, appellate, hayward, Supreme Court, Enforcement, Enforcement

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