McConnell slams executive order to allow White House to demand political records before awarding contracts

Filed Under: In the News

Obama may try to ram failed DISCLOSE Act down nation’s throat

Even though the DISCLOSE Act was defeated in Congress and an attempt to jam it through by fiat at the FEC has so far failed, the Obama Administration appears to be attempting to resurrect it again.  At Pajamas Media, Hans von Spakovsky dissects a leaked draft of an Executive Order, which would enforce entire chunks of the Disclose Act against government contractors.

But not, of course, for government worker’s unions:

It really is amazing – they lost in the Supreme Court, they lost in Congress, they lost at the FEC, so now the president is just going to do it by edict.

The draft Executive Order says it is intended to “increase transparency and accountability,” an interesting claim given the fact that federal contractors are already completely barred by 2 U.S.C. § 441c from making:

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

Obama administration considers moves to limit anonymous donations

Filed Under: In the News

Election Donation Disclosure Versus the Secret Ballot

CCP President Sean Parnell has this letter to the editor in today’s Wall Street Journal:

Former 2010 U.S. Senate candidate James Huffman discovered the hard way that disclosure of campaign donors comes with a steep cost, something the so-called campaign finance “reform” community has denied or ignored for decades (“How Donor Disclosure Hurts Democracy,” op-ed, April 11).

His experience is not unique. Donors who have been disclosed through campaign finance reports have lost their jobs, faced boycotts of their businesses, suffered harassment at the hands of enraged political opponents, been threatened with losing government contracts, and in one case been targeted by an animal-rights terrorist group.

Excessive disclosure not only exposes contributors to retaliation, it invades privacy and hides possibly useful information about larger donors amidst an avalanche of information about small donors. Sharon Angle’s final pre-election campaign finance report was more than 9,000 pages, mostly identifying the name, address and occupational information of citizens who gave fairly modest sums to support her campaign.

Disclosure comes with a steep cost for our political system, and it’s time we revisit what information should and should not be available to the public when it comes to the political views of private citizens.

Sean Parnell
Center for Competitive Politics

Alexandria, Va.

Filed Under: Blog

More on the Durbin pay to play scheme: A particularly dumb idea

Reformers who want tax financed campaigns never cease to come up with Rube Goldberg type schemes finance their plans, but Senator Durbin has a particularly dumb idea.

Filed Under: Blog

Election Assistance Commission May Be Closing

Filed Under: In the News

Iowa tax on political speech proposed

In the landmark case McCullough v. Maryland, Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that “the power to tax is the power to destroy.” This maxim hasn’t escaped the notice of state Rep. Chuck Isenhart (D-Dubuque), an advocate of tax funded campaigns.

A state cannot simply ban all private contributions to candidates or causes. Such a law would certainly violate the associational and speech rights recognized in the First Amendment. Isenhart, no doubt mindful of how private donors supposedly undermine his goal of requiring the government to subsidize political campaigns, has suggested a novel idea.

He’s simply proposing to tax every contribution over $250 to any campaign or political action committee at a rate of five percent. His bill, House File 140, would also tax independent ads by political groups at five percent.

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

FEC not to blame for election law

Filed Under: In the News

FENA to Corporations: Shut up, get out, fork it over

This morning the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee held a hearing on the Free Elections Now Act (FENA).  Recently re-introduced by Senator Durbin, the FENA would create a system of tax financing for Congressional elections similar in many ways to the Presidential Campaign Fund, with one major difference:

Instead of obtaining funds by having them voluntarily diverted from income tax statements, FENA will obtain funding by creating additional taxes solely on businesses that obtain federal contracts of $10 million or more.

Filed Under: Blog

Big Apple unions may challenge City disclosure law

A coalition of unions may be gearing up to fight a recent New York City campaign regulation. According to City Hall, a recent ballot measure would require outside groups, including unions, to disclose “every dollar spent advocating for or against candidates.” 

To require disclosure of all expenditures, without even a de minimis exemption for minor expenses, imposes an enormous burden on the ability of unions, corporations, and advocacy groups to participate in the political process.  Simply put, disclosure of minutiae is expensive. Any well-run organization monitors its income and spending, but having to classify every penny as either a political expenditure or otherwise – and risk state intervention and sanction over minor expenses – imposes heavy organizational costs without doing anything to “clean up” elections.

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

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