Wall Street Journal: Not Even Reformers Can Follow Campaign-Finance Law (In the News)

By Scott Blackburn
‘Embrace the Irony.” That’s the slogan of Mayday PAC, the self-described “Super PAC to end all Super PACs” and brainchild of Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig. But there is unintended irony as well. Mayday PAC, which supports more campaign-finance regulations, repeatedly violated existing campaign-finance laws. 
In a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission in late November, the Center for Competitive Politics, a nonprofit for which I work, reported 12 instances of political ads run by Mayday PAC that failed to include the legally mandated disclaimers, omitted information about the purchaser of the ad, or both. For example, in at least two television ads and eight radio ads run before New Hampshire’s Sept. 9 Republican primary (which favored U.S. Senate candidate Jim Rubens, who lost to Scott Brown ) the announcer failed to say that “Mayday PAC is responsible for the content of this advertising.” 
How can a law professor—a self-avowed campaign-finance expert who has maintained that he is “a strong supporter of disclosure legislation”—running a $10 million super PAC fail to follow the law? Responding to the Center for Competitive Politics complaint, Mr. Lessig wrote on his blog that no one “could be confused about whom the ad was from, and anyone who cared could identify whom the PAC was funded by.” Undoubtedly true. But why not follow the law as written?  

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