Daily Media Links 4/30: Brad Smith Discusses Future of FEC Tomorrow at GW, U.S. District Court Rules Against Anonymous Blogging About Candidates, and more…

Brad Smith Discusses Future of FEC Tomorrow at GW 
By Sarah Lee
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) founder and chairman Brad Smith, a former Chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), will be in Washington, D.C., tomorrow, Tuesday, April 30, at the George Washington University at 12:15 pm to discuss the future of the FEC. The discussion will be moderated by Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and Bill McGinley of Patton Boggs, and will begin at 12:15 pm in the school’s Jacob Burns Moot Court Room, 2000 H Street, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20052.  
Ballot-Access: U.S. District Court Rules Against Anonymous Blogging About Candidates
On September 9, 2012, a U.S. District Court ruled that Maine does not violate the U.S. Constitution when it bans anonymous blogs that make commentary about a candidate for public office. The court refused to stop the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics from fining Dennis Bailey for refusing to identify himself on his own blog, “The Cutler Files.”  
More Soft Money Hard Law: The Right to “Do Politics” and Not Just to Speak: Thinking about the Constitutional Protections for Political Action
By Bob Bauer
Such is the standing framework within which the constitutional issues affecting campaign finance are judged: one form of speech or the other, each weighed differently on the First Amendment scale. And trailing along behind them is the right to association, a distant third, and really an echo of the first two, as the associational interest here is typically treated as “expressive” in nature. 
Reuters: Judge orders plaintiffs’ firms to detail campaign contributions 
By Nate Raymond
U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco made the demand of Chitwood Harley Harnes and Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein. The firms represent the Mississippi Public Employees’ Retirement System (MissPERS) in a lawsuit against Diamond Foods Inc.  
The judge said he wants the firms to file under seal itemized contributions made directly or indirectly by the law firms and their partners to the Democratic Attorneys General Association since 2012. They have until Monday to comply.  

Corporate Governance 

Harvard Law School: Responding to Objections to Shining Light on Corporate Political Spending (5): The Claim that Shareholder Proposals Requesting Disclosure Do Not Receive Majority Support
By Lucian Bebchuk and Robert Jackson Jr.
Several opponents of the petition have argued that the SEC should not mandate disclosure of corporate political spending because, in many cases, shareholder proposals seeking such disclosure at individual companies are supported by less than a majority of voting shares. For example, Paul Atkins, a former SEC commissioner, argued in a recent article that “majorities of shareholders routinely refuse to support mandatory disclosure” of corporate political spending—and, thus, that shareholders are simply not interested in this information.   


Washington Post: Wyden and Murkowski have a bill to fight super PACs. Does it go far enough? 
By Dylan Matthews
As Ezra noted in his profile of Oregon’s senior Senator, Ron Wyden’s staff have a funny-cos-it’s-true joke about their boss. “You got a problem?” they say to one another. “Ron Wyden has a comprehensive, bipartisan solution to fix it.” 
Well, independent campaign spending by super-PACs is, arguably, a problem. And Wyden now has a comprehensive, bipartisan solution to fix it. 

Candidates, Politicians and Parties

Review Journal: Judicial nominee’s law firm gives $150,000 to PAC linked to Harry Reid 
By Steve Tetreault
While apparently legal, the donations were called “problematic” by a legal expert, who said they could be perceived as attempting to buy a judicial appointment as Dorsey’s confirmation is pending before the Senate.  
State and Local
California –– LA Times: No on Proposition C
The decision didn’t go as far as some of its detractors imagine. For example, it didn’t eliminate laws prohibiting corporations from contributing directly to political campaigns, nor did it strike down restrictions on political spending by foreign corporations. Contrary to popular belief, Citizens United didn’t authorize rich people to spend unlimited amounts of their own money on political advertising. They already had that right under a 1976 Supreme Court decision.  
Virginia –– Washington Post: Cuccinelli amends disclosure forms 
By Laura Vozzella
Cuccinelli’s disclosure lapses — both unintentional, the attorney general said — could complicate his bid to position himself as the straight-shooter in the race for governor against former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe. Republicans have touted Cuccinelli as a blunt-but-honest politician who can be trusted more than McAuliffe, whose fundraising for Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton and fledgling electric car venture have drawn controversy.  
Virginia –– Washington Post: Virginia has one of nation’s most lax ethics laws for politicians 
By Laura Vozzella
But there is nothing illegal or unusual about accepting such largesse in the Old Dominion, one of just 10 states that allow officeholders to take personal gifts of unlimited value, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. McDonnell’s predecessor, Sen. Timothy M. Kaine (D), also received sizable gifts, including an $18,000 Caribbean vacation from a wealthy supporter.  
Vermont –– VT Digger: Cheryl Hanna, Vermont Law School professor, warns lawmakers not to risk another campaign finance court battle 
By Nat Rudarakanchana
Hanna, a well-known Vermont Law School professor, advised legislators on how they could best avoid potential lawsuits in light of recent federal court rulings, including a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2006 that threw out Vermont’s attempts to curb campaign spending.  
Rep. Annie Mook, D-Bennington, told Hanna that other witnesses urged the committee to be “risky” and “brave” in instituting substantive oversight of money in politics.  
But Hanna replied cautiously: “No matter what you do, I suspect there could be a constitutional challenge to this [legislation]. That’s just the nature of the world these days.”  

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