The First Amendment…United

In this article, CCP Academic Advisor Joel M. Gora, a Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School, offers a through recounting of the outcomes of the much maligned Supreme Court case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The article defends the case by highlighting the Court’s endorsement of First Amendment protections for the political speech of corporate, labor, and non-profit entities. In doing so, the Court reversed statutes which had previously made it illegal for these groups to speak out in elections. Aside from several more minor immediate effects, Gora explains that the lasting legacy of Citizens United lies in its enthusiastic support for the First Amendment. While overviewing the arguments of the “reformers,” who wish to regulate the political speech of the aforementioned entities, the article illustrates the deficiencies of their viewpoints when weighed against long-standing First Amendment principles. Ultimately, Gora predicts that the Citizens United decision will enable the further erosion of current speech-chilling regulatory measures—a legacy of the “reformers'” stamp on the existing campaign finance landscape.

Filed Under: Expenditure, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Issue Advocacy, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Research, Joel Gora, First Amendment, Jurisprudence & Litigation, First Amendment, Jurisprudence & Litigation

Campaign Finance Red Tape: Strangling Free Speech & Political Debate

Raymond J

Twenty-four states provide citizens the ability to make laws directly through ballot measures. However, these states also strictly restrict the First Amendment rights of citizens to speak out about these ballot measures. As such, various disclosure requirements result in complex registration and reporting requirements that are difficult for even the most highly educated citizens to decipher. In an effort to prove this, the author used an innovative experiment, where a sample of 255 citizens was asked to complete actual disclosure forms. Unsurprisingly, not one person completed the forms correctly. Using these findings, the author argues that these disclosure laws are both unnecessary and an obstacle to the free speech guaranteed to all.

Filed Under: Disclosure, Disclosure, Expenditure, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Issue Advocacy, Research, campaign contributions, Contribution, Contribution Limits, Disclosure, Expenditure, Contributions & Limits, Disclosure, Expenditure, California, Colorado, Missouri

Direct Democracy Works

Until recently, direct democracy scholarship was primarily descriptive or normative. Much of it sought to highlight the processes’ shortcomings. In this paper, John G. Matsusaka describes new research that examines direct democracy from a more scientific perspective. We organize the discussion around four “old” questions that have long been at the heart of the direct […]

Filed Under: Expenditure, First Amendment, Issue Advocacy, Political Committees & 527s, Research, committees, democracy, expenditure, John Matsusaka, money, Political Parties, super PACs, voter, Expenditure, Issue Advocacy, Petition Rights, Political Committees & 527s, Expenditure, Issue Advocacy, Petition Rights, Political Committees & 527s

It’s the Spending, Stupid: Understanding Campaign Finance in the Big-Government Era

In this briefing paper, Patrick Basham confronts the concern that the United States spends too much money on campaigns and elections. That proposition is difficult to sustain since the nation spends so little of its wealth on campaigns. In addition to accounting for inflation, any increase in election spending should also be seen in the […]

Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contributions & Limits, Expenditure, FEC, Political Committees & 527s, Political Parties, Research, expenditure, FEC, government, Patrick Basham, Political Committees, Political Parties, spending, super PACs, Contribution Limits, Expenditure, Political Committees & 527s, Contributions & Limits, Expenditure, Political Committees & 527s, Political Parties

A Simple Explanation for Why Campaign Expenditures are Increasing: the Government is Getting Bigger

In this paper, John R. Lott, Jr. explains that most of the recent increases in campaign spending for federal and state offices can be explained by higher government spending. This result holds for both federal and state legislative campaigns and for gubernatorial races as well as across many different specifications. The author also examines whether […]

Filed Under: Expenditure, External Relations Sub-Pages, Issues, Money in Politics, Research, money in politics, Expenditure, Expenditure

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