New CED Study Dispels Myth of a ‘Wild West’ in Campaign Finance

Since Citizens United, the landscape of campaign finance law has often been described as a “wild west” where politicians, donors, and interest groups can do as they please. But a new study from the Committee for Economic Development (CED) dispels this myth. Their findings? The overwhelming majority of funds used to speak about candidates are […]

Filed Under: Blog, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Federal, Contribution Limits Press Release/In the News/Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure Federal, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, Money in Politics, Super PACs, CED, Committe for Economic Development, Dark Money, Nonprofit Advocacy

Let Us Protect You From Speech

You know that feeling when you read an op-ed on a pertinent issue and all of a sudden you realize there is no author listed? Your heart starts beating out of your chest. Your palms get sweaty. Pupils dilate. You have just been exposed to the immense danger of ANONYMOUS POLITICAL SPEECH. No, of course, […]

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, Anonymous Speech, climate change, Dark Money, free speech, NSA Surveillance

How to Problematize Issue Advocacy

A recent Pacific Standard article offers a master class in how to spin run-of-the-mill issue advocacy into a spectacular conspiracy. “Awash in Dark Money, a Western Think Tank is Leading the Charge Against the Antiquities Act” is a must read, though not for the reasons the author intends. The subject – or target – of […]

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, Issues, Media Watch, Money in Politics, Antiquities Act, Dark Money, Issue Advocacy, Jimmy Tobias, Pacific Standard, Private Giving, Sutherland Institute, Utah

New CCP Issue Brief: “Dark Money” Drops to 2.9% of Campaign Spending in 2016

Brief finds that nonprofits have never accounted for more than 5% of all election campaign spending Alexandria, VA – The Center for Competitive Politics, America’s largest nonprofit defending First Amendment political free speech rights, released a new Issue Brief today analyzing the amount of so-called “dark money,” or election campaign spending by nonprofits that are not required […]

Filed Under: Blog, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Issues, Money in Politics, Newsroom, Press Releases, Dark Money, Nonprofit Spending, Political Committee Spending

Putting “Dark Money” In Context: Total Campaign Spending by Political Committees and Nonprofits per Election Cycle

PDF available here Not every group that spends money on campaigns or candidate-related speech is a political committee. If that were so, only politicians, parties, and PACs would have a voice in election campaigns. In addition to political committees, nonprofit groups are permitted to engage in a limited amount of campaign spending. These groups are […]

Filed Under: Blog, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Issues, Money in Politics, 501(c)(4)'s, 501(c)(5)s, 501(c)(6)s, Dark Money, Nonprofit Spending, Political Committee Spending

CLC Says CCP’s Wrong about “Dark Money.” Here are the Facts. Readers can Decide.

In a blog post from earlier today, the Campaign Legal Center’s Brendan Fischer critiques a mid-April CCP blog post I authored highlighting “Five Lessons about Spending in the 2016 Campaign You Might Have Missed.” In his post, Fischer labels CCP’s analysis that “‘dark money’ was nearly non-existent in 2016” as “wrong,” “misleading,” and “an alternative […]

Filed Under: Blog, Issues, Money in Politics, 2016 Election Cycle, Brendan Fischer, Campaign Legal Center, Center for Responsive Politics, Dark Money, Grey Money, LLCs, One Nation, OpenSecrets

Five Lessons about Spending in the 2016 Campaign You Might Have Missed

The Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) recently released their final tally of spending in the 2016 election cycle. Here are 5 takeaways: Despite hyperbolic predictions, “dark money” was nearly non-existent in 2016. As CCP has long explained, the amount of political spending by nonprofit groups that aren’t required to report the private information of their […]

Filed Under: Blog, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Issues, Money in Politics, Super PACs, 2016 Election Cycle, Center for Responsive Politics, Dark Money, Lowest Union Rate, OpenSecrets, The Media

What would happen if the media talked about itself the way it talks about “dark money” groups?

A shadowy organization based in Washington, D.C., recently spent an undisclosed sum attempting to swing elections in far-off places such as South Dakota and California. Due to a loophole in campaign finance law, this spending does not have to be reported to the Federal Election Commission. That means the public will never know who is […]

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, Dark Money, federal election commission, The Washington Post, California, Maryland, Missouri, South Dakota, Washington

Donor Privacy Frees Groups to Criticize Government

MapLight, an organization that advocates for tax-financed campaigns and stricter disclosure laws, published an analysis of presidential primary ads last week that inadvertently bolsters the case for donor privacy. Amusingly, the folks at MapLight appear to be unaware of this irony. MapLight reported that in the 2016 presidential primaries – in 23 media markets spanning […]

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, Money in Politics, Super PACs, 2016 Presidential Primary, attack ads, Dark Money, Donald Trump, MapLight, Marco Rubio, Florida

Freedom and Equality vs. Cliches in the Fresno Bee

There’s a remarkably silly op-ed column in The Fresno Bee this week. Unfortunately, it’s typical of hundreds of editorials published around the country every year. This one is by a professor of political science at Fresno State University named Thomas Holyoke, who has written a book called “The Ethical Lobbyist.” It’s probably unfair to rip […]

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, Media Watch, americans for prosperity, Common Sense, Dark Money, Federalist Papers, Fresno Bee, Fresno State, Thomas Holyoke

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