Understanding Super PACs

You’ve probably heard the term tossed around over the past couple of years, but what exactly is a “super PAC”? These organizations have been given a bad name by their competitors – powerful politicians and media corporations – who previously held a monopoly on political speech. However, the reality is much different than what opponents of free speech would have you believe. Check out the Institute’s newest infographic to understand what super PACs are really about.

Filed Under: Featured Content

Amy Klobuchar Knows Exactly What She’s Doing, and It Should Scare You

We have written extensively before about the dangers of the so-called “Honest Ads Act,” a bill introduced late last year by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mark Warner (D-VA), and John McCain (R-AZ). Purported to be legislation intended to stymie Russian efforts to influence our elections, the bill would actually regulate and restrict online internet ads […]

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure Federal, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, Amy Klobuchar, Honest Ads Act, Internet Speech Regulation, Russia, S. 1989

Amicus Brief: Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky

The Institute has urged the Supreme Court to strike down overbroad speech restrictions at the voting booth in Minnesota. In this case, the Eighth Circuit upheld a law prohibiting a voter from wearing a T-shirt that depicted the Gadsden flag, the historic American emblem depicting a coiled rattlesnake and the words, “don’t tread on me.”

Filed Under: Featured Content, Uncategorized

Amicus Brief: Lozman v. Riviera Beach

Filed Under: Featured Content

Political Contributions are Speech: Jeff Flake Edition

Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake recently made a $100 contribution to Alabama’s Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, Doug Jones. Along with the donation, Flake sent out this tweet: Country over Party pic.twitter.com/JZMTaEYdxQ — Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) December 5, 2017 Why’d Flake do this? To make a political statement. From Flake’s perspective, the message is: I […]

Filed Under: Blog, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Federal, Contribution Limits Press Release/In the News/Blog, Issues, Money in Politics, Doug Jones, Jeff Flake, Alabama, Arizona

Let’s Talk Turkey: Comparing 2016 Election and Thanksgiving Spending

Over Thanksgiving, one of your relatives may have mentioned the amount of money ($6.4 Billion) spent in the 2016 election cycle, asserting that there is “too much money in politics.” Many advocates for greater government regulation of political speech would say the same. But, compared to what Americans spent over 5-days beginning on Thanksgiving, $6.4 Billion over a two-year period doesn’t seem like so much.

Filed Under: Featured Content

Roy Moore, Taco Bell, and How We Use Disclosure Data

Breaking news! Taco Bell is supporting Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore. How could the home of the Doritos Locos Tacos and the Cheesy Gordita Crunch do such a thing?? The reaction by the enraged? Let’s boycott. Obviously, Taco Bell is not supporting Roy Moore. But in many ways, this is the inevitable, absurdist conclusion of […]

Filed Under: Blog, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Press Release/In the News/Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, Issues, Media Watch, Money in Politics, Super PACs, Roy Moore, Taco Bell, The Daily Beast, Alabama

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Scott Blackburn column: Wave election possible because of Virginia’s campaign finance laws (In the News)

By Scott Blackburn
That wave elections happen is welcome news for democracy. Incumbent legislators have many advantages over challengers, particularly those without a political pedigree. The only way many new faces get a chance in politics is on the back of a political groundswell.
But how many newcomers get to “ride the wave” depends greatly on how easy or hard it is to run a campaign. Luckily for candidates in Virginia, the state has some of the most pro-free speech campaign laws in the country.
Like just 10 other states, Virginia has no limit on how much individuals may donate to a candidate’s campaign…
In every seat that flipped parties in the election, the candidate who won received a contribution that would have been prohibited as too large under federal campaign finance rules…
Ironically, now the wave of newcomers becomes the incumbents… 
More importantly, they will have the ability to reshape campaign rules for the future.
Let’s hope that they don’t tilt those rules in their own favor. That they are good stewards of democracy. That they remember that campaigning is hard, that campaigns are expensive, and that the goal of the law should be to make it as easy as possible for the future outsider to get into politics. 

Filed Under: In the News, Published Articles, Scott Blackburn

2016 Online Ad Spending in Perspective

The use of online advertisements by Russia to meddle in the 2016 campaign has featured heavily in the news. Those in favor of more regulation would have you believe that the problem is great enough to necessitate government intervention. Check out this infographic to see just how expansive these ads were.

Filed Under: Featured Content

2016 Election Spending vs. Consumer Spending

A common refrain from proponents of greater speech regulation is that Americans spend “too much money on politics.” In the 2016 election cycle, “too much money” amounted to $6.4 billion. That may sound like a lot, but when compared to consumer spending on a variety of frivolous or non-essential goods, the amount Americans spend speaking about candidates and elections pales significantly in comparison. Check out the Institute for Free Speech’s newest infographic.

Filed Under: Featured Content

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