David v. Goliath: The One Year Anniversary of Citizens United

The following video produced by Citizens United features a cameo by CCP Chairman Brad Smith (7:22). It features Citizens United President David Bossie, Ted Olson and many others:

Filed Under: Blog

Citizens United anniversary

One year ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court released its opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, holding that the government could not prohibit independent political speech by advocacy groups, companies and labor unions.

To mark the occasion, Center for Competitive Politics Academic Advisor Joel Gora published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal to explain the decades-long struggle between advocates of political freedom and pro-regulation forces

Filed Under: Blog

Public Citizen on Citizens United: Political speech bad; competition bad; change bad

Public Citizen is out with its one year report on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.  Its predictable claim: bad, bad, BAD!

But what odd criteria they use to come to such a conclusion.

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

Competing visions of Citizens United

Yesterday, the Federal Election Commission released competing draft regulations to implement the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which abolished government restrictions on the independent political speech of companies, labor unions and advocacy groups.

Last Jan. 21, the Supreme Court released its blockbuster opinion in Citizens United, and—unsurprisingly—the FEC’s three Democrats and three Republicans appear divided on how to modify the thicket of campaign finance regulations to reflect the Court’s holding.

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

State lawmakers to take up subsidies for Albany pols

Despite proposing some common-sense reforms, many of the ethics and campaign finance proposals pending in the New York legislature are at odds with the First Amendment and seem unlikely to achieve the bill’s intended goals.

In a letter to New York lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Center for Competitive Politics examines the legal and policy problems with New York Assembly Bill 1267 and other proposals not yet introduced as legislation.

The bill advances some sensible proposals, such as the creation of an investigatory state ethics board, mandating disclosure of candidate income, and tightening usage of campaign contributions. However, additional problematic proposals include singling out state contractors and lobbyists for lower contribution limits and creating a system of tax financed elections.

“Other states that have implemented tax financing programs cannot show a single, tangible ‘benefit’ from the programs besides the ever increasing number of politicians willing to sign up for campaign welfare,” said Laura Renz, CCP’s Director of Research and Government Relations. “There’s no evidence to support the notion that opening the public purse to subsidize lawmakers’ campaigns will reduce corruption.”

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

CCP files brief in Ariz. tax financing case

The Center for Competitive Politics filed a friend of the court brief in a case before the Supreme Court that will determine the fate of the “matching funds” subsidy in Arizona’s tax financing system for political campaigns as well as similar programs in Connecticut, Maine, and Wisconsin.

The brief, authored by CCP Vice President of Policy Allison Hayward, argues that Arizona must prove a state interest to support government intervention in political campaigns on behalf of particular candidates.

“The Supreme Court should question the assumption that ‘clean elections’ laws serve any legitimate governmental purpose,” Hayward said. “When the court considers neutral academic studies of tax financing laws, the lack of evidence of any real benefits and the larger problems inherent with state subsidization of political activity, we’re confident the court will conclude that Arizona’s program violates the First Amendment.”

Filed Under: 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, Maine

More Citizens United crazy talk

With the one year anniversary of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission coming up this week, critics of that decision are going more and more into crazy talk.

Last week, our Jeff Patch noted demented nonsense from defeated Representatives Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.) and Joe Hall (D- N.Y.)  This week it is NYU Law Professor Burt Neuborne, who states:

“The first decade of this century opened with the Supreme Court’s coup in Bush v. Gore, and closed with a putsch granting First Amendment rights to huge corporations to spend as much as they want to buy an election. At the rate the Court is going, soon we will be able to be adopted by a corporation. Maybe even marry one. Until then, I’m afraid we’ll just have to settle for being fucked by them.”

Now, our understanding was that a putsch resulted from taking power by undemocratic means, not by seeking the right to participate in democratic debate.  And usually putschists seek to silence their political opponents, putting restraints on speech, not freeing up speech. 

The reality is, of course, that Citizens United has been a huge success.  Not one of the predictions of catastrophe has come true.  The fall elections were more competitive than we’ve seen in years, with an ever expanding playing field fueled by the ability to get money into races rapidly.  It was the most issue-oriented campaign we’ve seen in a long, long while.  Unless one considers Democratic party losses to be per se evidence that the system is not working, it is hard to find anything to criticize in Citizens United.  Citizens United even resulted in greater equality in political spending, if you care a lot about that sort of thing. (We are not, by the way, of the opinion that Citizens United is a permanent plus for Republicans, although it seems to have worked that way in 2010, allowing Republicans and their allies to almost equal the spending of Democrats and their allies).

Facts stand in the way of Citizens United’s critics, so ratcheting up the rhetoric seems to be the new tactic.  But when the rhetoric is just plain silly – talk of “putsches” and “fascism” – we don’t see it fooling too many people.

Filed Under: Blog

EVENT—After Citizens United: The Future of Campaign Finance

The Center for Competitive Politics will hold a panel discussion on the eve of the one year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The event will be held Thurs., Jan. 20 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Cannon House Office Building, Room 122.

Filed Under: Blog

CRS on campaign finance

The Congressional Research Service has published a report examining campaign finance issues Congress may consider in the future, Rick Hasen notes at the Election Law Blog.

The overview, entitled “The State of Campaign Finance Policy: Recent Developments and Issues for Congress,” takes a relatively broad view of campaign finance legislative options but doesn’t offer any recommendations (per CRS’ mandate).

After a summary of campaign finance law developments, the author, R. Sam Garrett, delves into a range of options that Congress may or may not act on.

Filed Under: Blog

Comments of CCP Vice President of Policy Allison Hayward on Maryland Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on Campaign Finance Report

The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) submitted comments in response to the Maryland Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on Campaign Finance report that included several recommendations for campaign finance reform. Among other recommendations, CCP took issue with the committee’s suggestion of increased disclosure requirements, which are likely to be uninformative in addition to burdensome and unnecessary.

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Comments, Disclosure State, External Relations Comments and Testimony, External Relations Sub-Pages, State, State Comments and Testimony, Comments and Testimony, Maryland

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