Vitter’s Cat (not his alleged Cathouse)

According to the quandary known as Schroedinger’s Cat, the cat is neither alive nor dead until it is observed, and when observed is thought to be half-alive and half-dead simultaneously.

In a recent enforcement action we can observe the FEC in quandaries of its own: confusion over the importance of "observer effect" and over the dividing line between public polling and political advertising.  Call the quandary "Vitter’s Cat." 

Click on the headline to understand why the quandary is unnecessary, and how the FEC’s ruling would foul-up a candidate’s internal numbers.

Filed Under: Blog

“Subversive” Verse: A Reply to Bauer; and Why 2008 May Look Like 2004

Bob Bauer uses verse to have the last word on the FEC’s rulemaking on electioneering communications.

Bauer’s advice seems so sagacious and dispassionate that it is easy to forget that he and his colleagues filed comments on behalf of clients in the FEC’s rulemaking.

Click on the headline to find out who these clients are, and why 2008 may look a lot like 2004.

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog

Comments of CCP Vice President Steve Hoersting on WRTL Rulemaking

Written comments of CCP Vice President Steve Hoersting on a October 1, 2007 message to the Federal Election Commission on the topic of WRTL rulemaking.

Filed Under: Blog, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Comments, Contribution Limits Federal, Disclosure, Disclosure Comments, Disclosure Federal, External Relations Comments and Testimony, External Relations Sub-Pages, Federal, Federal Comments and Testimony, Comments and Testimony

Bundler’s Bungalow

“One of the biggest sources of political donations to Hillary Rodham Clinton is a tiny, lime-green bungalow that lies under the flight path from San Francisco International Airport.”  So begins a story yesterday from the Wall Street Journal, and we see come to life one of the Supreme Court’s three reasons for upholding ongoing reporting requirements for political committees: to gather the data necessary to detect violations of the contribution limitations.

Click on the title to read more. 

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog

The Internet Isn’t the Problem

Yesterday, the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission held a hearing on the rise of political activity over the internet.

But increased internet activity isn’t fueling a need for regulation: the internet is democratizing politics now more than ever.

Click on the title to read more.


Filed Under: Blog

Vote Hope 2008 marks little hope for 527s in 2008

Vote Hope 2008 is an independent, nonconnected, political action committee established to further the candidacy of Barack Obama.  The Boston Globe says the “effort employs a tactic that could transform the way campaign-related money is collected and spent in presidential campaigns.”  The truth is, Vote Hope 2008 doesn’t break ground so much as concedes it to recent enforcement actions and rulemakings from the FEC.

Vote Hope 2008 is new only in the sense that it is now necessary.

Click on the title to read more.

Filed Under: Blog

The Functional Equivalent of Express Advocacy is not a kind of Express Advocacy

Well, Jim Bopp, Rich Coleson and the James Madison Center have finally done it; they’ve wrestled the FEC to the ground in the latest round of grassroots lobbying ads.  In just a few weeks the FEC has agreed not to choose district courts as the place to wrestle further over the contours of FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life (WRTL II), or the arguably broader set of ads in the related case, Christian Civic League of Maine v. FEC (CCLM).  The FEC has announced it will open a rulemaking, read the Supreme Court opinion for itself, and shape the contours of a conforming exception to BCRA’s electioneering communications provisions.

Click on the title to read more. 

Filed Under: Blog

Plan is Welfare for Politicians

CCP President Sean Parnell sees bad policy headed for North Carolina.  As Parnell says, in the Fayetteville Observer:

Proponents of government financed elections are trying to pull a fast one on the citizens of North Carolina. Their game plan is simple. Start with a “pilot program” … .  Later, expand government financing to other offices and subtly complete the socialization and bureaucratization of all campaigns in North Carolina.


North Carolina’s voters and taxpayers don’t need to provide welfare to politicians in order to have clean, honest government, and should be concerned about this attempt to reduce politicians’ accountability to voters.

Read the whole thing here.

Filed Under: Blog

Fatigue and its Effects

Marc Elias is tired.

Elias is, by all accounts, an excellent lawyer; a partner in the premier political-law compliance shop in the country.  Nonetheless, yesterday before the FEC he suggested that simplicity in hybrid ad regulation is at a premium, saying wearily (but with a smile), “If I have to tell my clients one more time that ‘It’s not that simple’…”.

Click on the headline to read more. 

Filed Under: Blog

Answering Chairman Lenhard on Hybrid Ads …

FEC Chairman Robert Lenhard has posed some excellent questions in anticipation of tomorrow’s hearing on hybrid ads.  We have attempted quick answers.

Click on the title to read more …

Filed Under: Blog

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