Manifest Dynamism: Independent Organizations in the 21st Century

One week after The Hill reports that 527 legislation is in trouble on the Hill, IRS reports show that the Left, or certainly its non-“reformist” wing, is funding 527 organizations in anticipation of aiding Democrats in the 2006 elections.  The financiers are no less than Republican bogeymen George Soros and Peter Lewis, and the object of their beneficence, America Votes, aims to weaken Republicans where they like it least by creating “the largest voter mobilization and education effort in America today.”  Kenneth P. Doyle, “Soros, Lewis Contributing Again to 527 Groups Favoring Democrats,” BNA, Money & Politics Report, July 17, 2006 (subscription required).  This move by the Left, so soon on the heels of a principled letter to Majority Leader Bill Frist that all but promises a filibuster on 527 regulation, will spark criticism and tactical finger pointing in Republican circles directed at those seven conservative senators, led by Virginia’s George Allen, who, in signing the letter to Frist, have staked their futures on a future of political freedom.

But the latest out of America Votes, or BNA for that matter, should not cause these seven senators to reconsider.

To read more, click on the title above.

Filed Under: Blog

When “Reform” = Bias

The speech-regulation community is touting a new bill to scrap the current, bipartisan Federal Election Commission and replace it with a powerful Campaign Finance Czar (or as some would say, Tsar). There are many flaws in the proposal, but one of the most interesting are the proposed restrictions on who could serve.

To read more, click on the title above.

Filed Under: Blog

The Federalist Society’s Free Speech and Election Law Practice Group’s 2006 Election Law Series

Public Financing of Campaigns on July 26th 2006 at the National Press Club

The Federalist Society is hosting a debate on public financing of campaigns and the effectiveness of partial funding and “clean election” laws. CCP’s Academic Advisors David Primo and Jeffrey Milyo suggest that these reforms are being adopted without sufficient attention to scientific studies, which to date, find little-to-no systematic impact from existing funding programs. CCP Litigation Consultant Erik Jaffe will serve as Moderator, and Panelists include Prof. Michael P. McDonald of George Mason University and CCP Academic Advisor Prof. David M. Primo of the University of Rochester.

Please register as seating is limited.

Filed Under: Blog

Newsreel I

MOSCOW — Six years into the presidency of Vladimir Putin, who will host President Bush and other leaders of the industrial world at a summit this weekend, political freedom is severely constrained in Russia.

While tolerating dissent in some pockets of society, the state is relentlessly tightening its control in parliament, political parties, regional governments, courts, activist organizations and the mass media.

* * *

Opposition parties sometimes find that the entire bureaucracy seems to be conspiring to block even their most basic operations.

– Peter Finn, "Putin Will Host G-8 In a Russia Under Ever Tighter Control," The Washington Post, A1, July 13, 2006 

To read more, click on the title above

Filed Under: Blog

Arizona’s “Clean Elections” Commission Moves into Licensing the Press

The organized press has long served as a complaisant cheerleader for campaign finance restrictions, confident that the regulations they enthusiastically support will never come back to be used against them.  After all, most all campaign finance laws include a “press exemption.”  

But there ought to be growing apprehension among traditional media reporters and editorialists about their support for campaign finance restrictions.  According to this story, the Arizona “Clean Elections” Commission will soon be in the business of deciding whose endorsements are “legitimate” news and whose are not.

To read more, click on the title above. 

Filed Under: Blog, Arizona

Kudos to the Federal Election Commission

CCP’s Co-Founder and Senior Advisor Brad Smith gives kudos to the Federal Election Commission, which has decided to defend its 2004 decision not to regulate all so-called "527" committees in his diary at For those who are not familiar with the controversy over 527s, Smith explains, "…regulating all 527s as political committees is taking the hated 30/60 day brownout and applying it year round".

Filed Under: Blog

Washington Municipalities’ No New Gas Tax Argument has no Amici

IJ’s Michael Bindas notes in the Seattle PI that while CCP and others have filed amicus briefs for the No New Gas Tax Initiative Committee in the Washington State Supreme Court, no one has filed a brief on behalf of the government.  This, says Bindas, is because “[t]he campaign’s appeal is no publicity stunt or political cause.  It is an American cause … The groups know, as do most Washingtonians, that the municipalities’ suit agaist the I-912 campaign was a threat to the very principles upon which our nation was founded.”

Filed Under: Blog, Washington

Online Freedom of Speech Act is Needed, says Smith – at RedState

CCP’s Co-Founder and Senior Advisor Brad Smith reports in his diary at that the FEC wisely loosened the rules applicable to bloggers. Nevertheless, he alerts that the Online Freedom of Speech Act is still needed because the anti-free speech community, which sees "every bit of freedom … as a potential threat", can still use litigation in an effort to stalemate any attempts to liberate free speech.

Filed Under: Blog

Diverse Coalition Lines Up to Support Free Political Speech

The Institute for Justice joins hands with CCP and other supporters such as the Cato Institute to fight Vermont’s Act 64, which imposes expenditure limits on candidate campaigns, and has some of the lowest contributions limits in the country.

To obtain a copy of the brief, click on the title above. 

Filed Under: Blog, Vermont

John McCain: Clean Government is Preferred to First Amendment Rights

CCP’s Co-Founder and Senior Advisor Brad Smith doubts in his diary at whether Senator John McCain took an oath to defend the Constitution because, according to his own words on Don Imus’s  show, he “would rather have a clean government than one where … First Amendment rights are respected”. Smith reminds us that McCain himself is an extremely successful fund raiser and he has had some “corruption” issues of his own in the past.

Filed Under: Blog

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