By Kate Howard
In its conference of February 24, 2017, the court will consider petitions involving issues such as . . . whether Congress may require organizations engaged in the genuine discussion of policy issues, unconnected to any campaign for office, to report to the Federal Election Commission, and publicly disclose their donors, pursuant to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002…
Independence Institute v. Federal Election Commission
Issue: Whether Congress may require organizations engaged in the genuine discussion of policy issues, unconnected to any campaign for office, to report to the Federal Election Commission, and publicly disclose their donors, pursuant to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.
By Kate Howard
By Brad Smith
The year is 2019. The government sends in a SWAT team to seize any corporate property it wants without the due process or just compensation required by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. The government also has the power to swipe bank assets, raid newspaper offices without warrants or just cause, and even censor any news published by a media corporation.
No, it’s not the plot of a newly-unearthed Orwell novel. These tactics, and more, would be legal under an amendment to the U.S. Constitution cosponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.
Whitehouse’s proposal, introduced this year by Montana Democrat Jon Tester, is a constitutional amendment that aims to strip rights from corporate entities…
Oddly enough, in the momentous Citizens United decision, not even the court’s dissenters ever mentioned the issue of “corporate personhood.” Why? Because they all understood that corporate personhood is a longstanding doctrine that is not controversial in law, and was not what the case was about…
Constitutional amendments such as that offered by Whitehouse will not pass in the next few years – but they indicate the general hostility to free speech that many senators have, and their willingness to silence speakers they don’t like.
By John Elwood
Welcome back from the longest break from Supreme Court news that you’ll get all term! From this point on, there will be a fairly steady stream of conferences until June arrives and the Justices begin their rigorous schedule of summer teaching duties. And that means a steady stream of drivel about relists.
This week, we won’t be able to live up to even our usual low standards, between the short work week and the demands of actual paying work. But we will pause briefly to highlight some of the more interesting relists on the docket this week…
And Independence Institute v. Federal Election Commission, 16-743, presents an issue very similar to one the court denied cert on last term in Center for Competitive Politics v. Harris, 15-152: whether it is constitutional to require organizations engaged in the genuine discussion of policy issues and unconnected to any campaign for office to disclose their donors.
By Ashley Balcerzak
“The data compiled in Commissioner Ravel’s report are misleading and do not accurately reflect the state of enforcement decisions at the FEC,” Republican Commissioner Lee Goodman wrote OpenSecrets Blog in an email. “I assume that Commissioner Ravel has manipulated her statistics purposely in order to advance her philosophical narrative that First Amendment rights should be severely restricted.”…
“Ann has been a determined voice for regulation of First Amendment rights and I wish her well in private life after the commission,” Goodman said. “I expect her to remain engaged in the important debate that has animated our time on the commission together.”…
“What is striking to me is that she tends to lay the blame exclusively on Republican commissioners for the gridlock and they don’t take any responsibility,” said Eric Wang, campaign finance attorney and former FEC Republican staffer. “Ann Ravel’s eagerness to take her grievances against her colleagues to the press has not been helpful to the animosity and alleged dysfunction at the FEC.”
FEC Commissioner Ann Ravel announced over Presidents’ Day Weekend that she would resign from her post with only a few months left in her term. In an accompanying New York Times op-ed, she cited the “gridlock” on the Commission as a major reason for resigning and took some parting shots at her colleagues. The first […]
San Francisco Examiner: Retired judge Kopp appears headed for reappointment to Ethics Commission (In the News)
By Joshua Sabatini
Retired judge Quentin Kopp appears headed for reappointment to the Ethics Commission for a full six-year term…
Common Cause rallied opposition against Kopp for his opposition to the passage last year of Senate Bill 1107, a Common Cause-supported state law reversing the 1988 voter-approved Prop. 73 ban on public financing. Kopp pushed Prop. 73 at the time and he has since filed a lawsuit over SB 1107.
Charter cities like San Francisco were exempted through litigation from Prop. 73, which is why San Francisco has a public financing program.
Common Cause members said that Kopp’s views on public financing should prevent him from serving on the commission since it is an integral component of The City’s campaign finance system.
Kopp’s supporter Larry Bush, head of Friends of Ethics, defended Kopp’s position on SB 1107, calling it about voter rights and not about Kopp’s position on public financing.
“It is totally unrelated to us in San Francisco,” Bush wrote in an email to the committee. “It is about the authority to create changes in other cities, by the voters or action by political leaders in Sacramento.”
By Sean Moran
David Keating, president of the Center for Competitive Politics, told Breitbart News, “Commissioner Ravel came from California which has a different setup than the FEC. California’s electoral board is run by the governor, entirely partisan. The FEC was enacted after Watergate, and set up as a bipartisan commission to avoid partisan control over electoral law.”…
Keating explained that with Commissioner Ravel’s resignation there is much opportunity for change at the FEC. He said, “Since all of the remaining FEC Commissioners have expired terms President Trump has an enormous opportunity to reshape campaign finance. Since there cannot be more than three commissioners of any party on the board, President Trump can have the discretion to nominate future Commissioners that are more receptive to free speech.”…
President Trump ran on “draining the swamp,” and David Keating said that Trump could easily “clear the morass of regulations surrounding electoral law.” He added, “One way to drain the swamp would be to make the rules behind political speech clear and straightforward. Clear and simple rules could ensure that freedom of expression on the Internet remains unregulated.”