New CCP Issue Brief: “Dark Money” Drops to 2.9% of Campaign Spending in 2016

Brief finds that nonprofits have never accounted for more than 5% of all election campaign spending Alexandria, VA – The Center for Competitive Politics, America’s largest nonprofit defending First Amendment political free speech rights, released a new Issue Brief today analyzing the amount of so-called “dark money,” or election campaign spending by nonprofits that are not required […]

Filed Under: Blog, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Issues, Money in Politics, Newsroom, Press Releases, Dark Money, Nonprofit Spending, Political Committee Spending

Roosevelt Institute Study on “Political Money” is Not the Revelation It Claims to Be

A new study on the impact of “money in politics” has been released by the Roosevelt Institute, and sympathetic outlets are already hailing it as a vindication of those who long argued that political spending directly influences policymaking in government. Despite its headline-grabbing claims, however, the study exaggerates the scale of political spending, overestimates its […]

Filed Under: Blog, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Federal, Contribution Limits Press Release/In the News/Blog, Issues, Money in Politics, bribery, corruption, Dodd-Frank, Jie Chen, Paul Jorgensen, Roosevelt Institute, Thomas Ferguson

Uproar in New Jersey after Congressman Names and Shames a Critic

A troubling story came to light this week out of New Jersey, where a bank employee resigned her position in part due to pressure over her political advocacy. House Appropriations Committee Chair Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) had sent a fundraising letter to the board member of a bank with a handwritten note singling out an employee, […]

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, Harassment, Privacy, Rodney Frelinghuysen, New Jersey

Greeley Tribune: We should oppose Ken Buck’s rotten proposal to dismantle the FEC (In the News)

By Brad Smith
Buck’s proposal would give the president the power to choose the pivotal fifth vote. In theory, no more than two commissioners could be from the same party, so no party would have a majority. But that would be illusory. For example, a Democratic president could appoint Socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders; Donald Trump could appoint a registered Independent, such as his daughter Ivanka. The president would also name one commissioner to a 10-year term as chairman, meaning the disadvantaged party will spend a full decade on the losing end, even if it managed to win the presidency in between. The result, before long, will be a partisan agency not trusted by roughly half of Americans.

Filed Under: Brad Smith, In the News, Published Articles

Putting “Dark Money” In Context: Total Campaign Spending by Political Committees and Nonprofits per Election Cycle

PDF available here Not every group that spends money on campaigns or candidate-related speech is a political committee. If that were so, only politicians, parties, and PACs would have a voice in election campaigns. In addition to political committees, nonprofit groups are permitted to engage in a limited amount of campaign spending. These groups are […]

Filed Under: Blog, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Issues, Money in Politics, 501(c)(4)'s, 501(c)(5)s, 501(c)(6)s, Dark Money, Nonprofit Spending, Political Committee Spending

Washington Examiner: Is the Supreme Court about to give state and local political parties a boost? (In the News)

By Bradley A. Smith
As part of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance “reform” of 2002, virtually everything these local parties do was brought into the web of federal regulation, and their sources of funding largely cut off. A poorly-reasoned Supreme Court decision, McConnell v. Federal Election Commission, upheld these restrictions against a constitutional challenge in 2003. Cases decided since McConnell, however, have relied on traditional First Amendment reasoning to overturn many parts of that decision. One of the few parts that remains is the restrictions on state and local parties.
The Supreme Court now has a chance to rectify this element of the McConnell decision. Currently before the court is the case of Republican Party of Louisiana v. Federal Election Commission, which challenges those legal restrictions on state and local party activity. The party’s position is simple: Why can super PACs, or a nonprofit like Planned Parenthood Action Fund, accept and spend unlimited sums from any source to influence elections, while political parties cannot? And how can parties corrupt their own candidates by trying to help them win elections?

Filed Under: Brad Smith, In the News, Published Articles

National Press Foundation: Why Limit Campaign Contributions? (In the News)

By Chris Adams
David Keating, president of the Center for Competitive Politics, hears all about efforts to “reform” campaign finance and he asks, Why?
Reviewing the literature on electoral competitiveness, public corruption and the flow of money into campaigns, Keating finds no relationship between money spent and important indicators of robust politics or clean governance. Since adoption of the Federal Election Campaign Act in the 1970s, for example, the number of elections with double-digit shifts in Republican or Democratic seats in Congress has dropped. And over the past 40 years, trust in government has dropped as well.
“I think the impact of these contributions is way overblown,” said Keating.
Keating and his center work to promote and defend First Amendment rights to free political speech, engaging in litigation and training designed to ease restrictions on political donations. In a presentation with NPF Paul Miller fellows, Keating said he would like to get rid of contribution limits to campaigns; substantially raise the financial threshold for something being declared a political action committee; and raise the threshold for what constitutes a small donor who doesn’t have to be disclosed (right now, it’s $200; he would raise that to $1,000).

Filed Under: David Keating, In the News, Quotes CCP

Daily Media Links 5/10: The Trump Executive Order and IRS Politics, Democrats take on Trump over court vacancies, and more…

In the News           Washington Examiner: Is the Supreme Court about to give state and local political parties a boost? By Bradley A. Smith As part of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance “reform” of 2002, virtually everything these local parties do was brought into the web of federal regulation, and their sources of funding largely […]

Filed Under: Daily Media Links

CLC Says CCP’s Wrong about “Dark Money.” Here are the Facts. Readers can Decide.

In a blog post from earlier today, the Campaign Legal Center’s Brendan Fischer critiques a mid-April CCP blog post I authored highlighting “Five Lessons about Spending in the 2016 Campaign You Might Have Missed.” In his post, Fischer labels CCP’s analysis that “‘dark money’ was nearly non-existent in 2016” as “wrong,” “misleading,” and “an alternative […]

Filed Under: Blog, Issues, Money in Politics, 2016 Election Cycle, Brendan Fischer, Campaign Legal Center, Center for Responsive Politics, Dark Money, Grey Money, LLCs, One Nation, OpenSecrets

Daily Media Links 5/9: President Trump seizes on election rules to push his agenda in new ways, Federal judge blocks parts of Missouri law meant to curb influence of money in politics, and more…

CCP           AEI Panel Explores the Reasons for Congressional Gridlock By Joe Albanese The general thread between speakers was that reforming governing institutions can have unintended consequences. For instance, attempts to make government more transparent and democratic may have actually created greater polarization between the parties. Over time, politicians have relied less and less […]

Filed Under: Daily Media Links

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