Burning Down the House Campaign Committees: the Reformers’ Fight Against “Firewalls”

The Supreme Court has said that political party committees have a First Amendment right to speak independently of and in coordination with the candidates they care about.  Exercising both rights has always been tricky.  How does one party committee of finite resources, managed at the end of the day by one executive, have its operation coach, coax and counsel candidates, yet, at the same time, advertise independently?  The answer is "With firewalls"; to subdivide operations within the operation: one political director managing interactions with the campaigns, and another to manage independent expenditures.

If firewalls are good enough for the Washington Post, shouldn’t they be good enough for Rep. Shays and the Reformers?

Click on the title to read more.

Filed Under: Blog

CCP welcomes the newest member of its team, Paul Sherman

PRESS RELEASE:  September 13, 2006

Media Contact:

Stephen M. Hoersting: (703) 682-9359

Filed Under: Press Releases

Yes, senator, McCain-Feingold does censor political speech

CCP Chairman Brad Smith answers Sen. Feingold’s assertion that speech is not censored under McCain-Feingold.  Says Smith in today’s Examiner:

Feingold’s position is disingenuous. For just a few sentences after telling us the law “doesn’t ban or censor any speech,” he tells us that McCain-Feingold was necessary to prevent some voices from being “drowned out” by others. As McCain-Feingold does nothing to affirmatively create or encourage speech — it offers no subsidies or platform for political speech — the only way it can prevent anyone’s voice from being “drowned out” is through the suppression of other speech — and that is indeed what McCain-Feingold does, as the senator must know.

Read the entire article from the Examiner


Filed Under: Blog

The License in Licensing

Mr Carlson: I had one of my disc jockeys, Dr Johnny Fever, give me the lyrics to a song. He wants to know if you’d let him play that song on the air.
Dr Bob, reading: “Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky. Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too. Imagine no possessions[?] Imagine all the people sharing all the world[?]” That sounds like communism to me: if there’s no heaven, and no religion, then, I assume, no God.
Mr Carlson: There’s not an obscene word in here.
Dr Bob: Not the way I see it.
Mr Carlson: Does it go on your list?
Dr Bob: Arthur, this is typical of the kind of secular, liberal humanist point of view that gluts our airwaves.
Mr Carlson: Yeah, but we’re not talking obscenities here anymore, Bob, we’re talking about ideas — political, philosophical ideas. First you censor a word, and then you censor the idea.
Dr Bob: The idea is man-centered. [A]rthur, this song says there’s no heaven.
Mr Carlson: Ah. No, it says just imagine there’s no heaven.
Dr Bob: That’s blasphemy.
Mr Carlson: On the list or not?
Dr Bob: I have no choice but to say on.
Mr Carlson: That decision was made by one man.

— WKRP In Cincinnati, “Clean Up Radio Everywhere”

Click the title to read more

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

Block the Vote: Abusing Election Laws to Limit Competition

In this Washington Post op-ed, former Federal Election Commission Chairman and CCP Senior Advisor Bradley Smith notes the growing use of election laws to stifle competition rather than assure orderly elections.  The article deals with laws regulating access to the ballot.  It is worth noting, however, that campaign finance laws are also abused in this fashion.

Filed Under: Blog

Newsreel III

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia — The girl in the gold Lexus waved at Husam Thobaity.  She was in the back seat, covered by a black veil that hid everything but her eyes.

"She had the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen," Thobaity recalled.  " So I gave her my number by Bluetooth."

Click on the title above to read more. 

Filed Under: Blog

CCP Academic Advisor Allison R. Hayward Asks: Buckley as Superprecedent?

CCP Academic Advisor and Law Professor Allison R. Hayward, of George Mason University Law School, examines whether Buckley has become unassailable.  Review a draft of The Per Curiam Opinion of Steel: Buckley v. Valeo as Superprecedent?  Clues from Wisconsin and Vermont, forthcoming in the Cato Supreme Court Review, and available now on SSRN.

Filed Under: Blog

Contribution Contradiction in North Carolina

North Carolina Governor Mike Easley has been busy. On July 23, 2006, he signed into law H.B. 1845, which prohibits the personal use of contributions by candidates and campaign committees. Andrew Ballard, “N.C. Gov. Signs Law Restricting Use of Campaign Contributions,” BNA Money & Politics Report, July 26, 2006. On August 4, he signed H.B. 1843, which prohibits lobbyists from making campaign contributions to legislators or public servants. Andrew Ballard, “New N.C. Lobbying Restrictions Signed Into Law by Governor,” BNA Money & Politics Report, August 7, 2006. In an era of Abramoff investigation into already illegal activity and its concomitant legislative proposals for further “reform,” it is worth mentioning an oft unnoticed contradiction represented in Governor Easley’s recent enactments.

To read more, click on the title above.

Filed Under: Blog, North Carolina

Newsreel II

NEW YORK — Internet giants Yahoo, Microsoft and Google were today challenged to reveal which words they have banned from blogs and Web searches in China.

Amnesty International has accused the companies of ‘corporate complicity’ in suppressing the internet in the Communist state.

Amnesty UK director Kate Allen said: ‘Yahoo, Microsoft and Google have all facilitated or colluded in China’s censorship of the net.” [But Yahoo, Microsoft and Google] claim they are obeying local law[.]’

“Internet Giants Challenged Over China Ban”, Daily Mail, July 20, 2006

To read more, click on the title above

Filed Under: Blog

Sunlight, Sunburn, and an Earmarking Proposal from Senator Coburn

The $3 trillion annual federal budget contains $460 billion in grants and $340 million in contracts, but there is no simple way for the public, the media, or even lawmakers to discover exactly where this money is being spent, complained Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.). Coburn sponsored the new disclosure legislation [S. 2590] and chaired the hearing of a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on the bill.

– Kenneth P. Doyle, “Transparency in Federal Funding Touted in Battle Against ‘Earmarks’” BNA, Money & Politics Report, July 19, 2006.

To read more, click on the title above.

Filed Under: Blog

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