Contribution Limits Press Release/In the News/Blog

Campaign Finance Institute analysis shows futility of ‘reform’

Non-profit 501(c) committees and 527 committees spent more than $400 million in the 2008 election cycle, according to a new analysis by the Campaign Finance Institute (CFI). The report clearly shows that efforts by those in the so-called reform community to remove money from politics has only shifted money to different areas and trampled free speech rights in the process.

Donors to 527s and 501(c) committees are often the same donors to candidates and PACs, according to the analysis, which CFI suggests undermines "reform" efforts.

"Donors to both political candidates and these independent groups are exercising their First Amendment right to participate in the political process," said CCP President Sean Parnell. "’Reforming’ this system by over-regulating contributions to candidates and political committees is futile and tramples on citizens’ First Amendment rights. It’s time for real reform, which removes needless regulatory red tape from the political process and protects free speech for everyone – including donors who only seek to support those who agree with their beliefs."

Filed Under: Contribution Limits Press Release/In the News/Blog, External Relations Sub-Pages, Press Releases

CCP Chairman testifies before Illinois Reform Commission

Bradley A. Smith, the Chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP), testified today at a hearing of the Illinois Reform Commission. Smith provided expert advice on ideas for improving campaign finance and ethics laws in Illinois.

Smith counseled against passing reactionary legislative measures in response to the scandal involving former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. He suggested commission members compare the promises of campaign finance "reformers" with the results of past efforts before enacting any legislation that curbs free speech rights.

"The core assumption of most ‘reformers’ is that the public shares identical perspectives on important public policy issues, and absent the campaign contributions of self-interested groups the government could easily implement measures the general public supports," Smith said in prepared testimony. "This charge is not just wrong, it’s fundamentally anti-democratic. It requires you to believe the United States is a homogenous society, filled with citizens who all share roughly identical ideologies and interests, and that there is no honest disagreement among citizens about what constitutes good public policy."

Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Press Release/In the News/Blog, Contribution Limits State, External Relations Press Releases, External Relations Sub-Pages, Press Releases, State, State Press Releases and Blogs

Van Hollen intervenes in support of failed campaign finance restriction

Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland has filed papers to join the legal battle over the ‘soft money’ ban in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), raising the stakes in an effort by congressional supporters to defend their failed law restricting political speech.

"The federal government doesn’t have the power to regulate the financing of state and local elections," said Center for Competitive Politics Chairman Bradley A. Smith, a former FEC Chairman. "It shouldn’t be able to tell the national political parties they can raise only limited funds for state and local purposes. The court will have the opportunity to examine the flawed decision that national party spending on non-federal campaigns can be restricted to remedy a vague and unjustified corruption concern connected to federal politicians."

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First Amendment group releases Issue Analysis on corruption and contribution limits

The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) released an Issue Analysis today showing that campaign contribution limits do not produce less corruption by public officials. CCP Research Director Laura Renz compared Department of Justice data on public corruption convictions to information on contribution limits in all 50 states.

The analysis found no correlation at all between contribution limits and the corruption of public officials, undermining a frequent claim by supporters of campaign finance restrictions that lower contribution limits will somehow inhibit corruption and create good government. States with low limits are found in both the "high corruption" and "low corruption" categories, and states with no or very high limits are also found in both the "high corruption" and "low corruption" categories. The three states with the lowest rates of corruption, Oregon, Nebraska, and Iowa, all have no or very high limits.

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Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Press Release/In the News/Blog, External Relations Sub-Pages, Press Releases

Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to Millionaire’s Amendment

The Supreme Court announced today that it will hear a challenge to the so-called "Millionaire’s Amendment" provisions of federal campaign finance law.

The provisions, which increase contribution limits by at least 300 percent for candidates facing a self-financed opponent, are being challenged by Jack Davis, a former Democratic congressional candidate in New York’s 26th district.

In court filings, Davis argues that the Millionaire’s Amendment does not limit "the corrupting influence of campaign contributors" and instead, "serves to protect well-financed incumbents who wrote the statute."

"This case exposes and undermines the ‘corruption rationale’ used to justify most campaign finance laws," says Bradley A. Smith, chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics, which will file an amicus brief in the case. 

Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Federal, Contribution Limits Press Release/In the News/Blog, External Relations Sub-Pages, Federal, Federal Press Releases and Blogs, Press Releases

Campaign Finance Law Hurts New Yorkers

Today, New York City council considers a proposal to overhaul New York City’s campaign finance laws that will create second class political citizens and greatly expand taxpayer subsidies of campaigns.

Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Press Release/In the News/Blog, Contribution Limits State, External Relations Press Releases, External Relations Sub-Pages, Press Releases, State, State Press Releases and Blogs, Tax Financed Campaigns Press Release/In the News/Blog, Tax Financed Campaigns State, Tax-Financing

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