Archives for August 2010

Coordination regs headed back to court?

Last week, on a bipartisan 5-to-1 vote, the Federal Election Commission approved rules for coordinated communications.

The professional reform lobby promptly objected, and this matter may be headed back to court. Fred Wertheimer, who, as HoltzmanVogel notes, also goes by the nom de guerre Democracy21, stopped just short of threatening a lawsuit challenging the newly-adopted rules in an interview with BNA.

In the interview, Wertheimer blasts the new coordination regulation as “different from the old regulation in name only—and … is yet again is contrary to law.” Actually, though, the regulation is an expansion of the coordination regulations—regulating the “functional equivalence of express advocacy” instead of the old test which only captured “magic words” such as “vote for” and “vote against.”

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, DISCLOSE, Disclose Act

Ed Schulz: Our hero on campaign finance disclosure

On his August 25th show, liberal MSNBC host Ed Schulz expressed concern about publication of personal information of people based on their political participation.  Said Ed, “A tea party blog in Maine listed the D.C. home addresses of [various prominent Democrats].  Can somebody tell me why?  What is the usefulness of this?  Do they actually want people to show up outside their door, maybe help them get the morning paper?  … This sets the table for intimidation and harassment…”

Substitute “a federal government website” [the FEC] for “a tea party blog” and you’ve got campaign finance disclosure. 

Filed Under: Blog, Maine launches campaign against Minn. taxpayers

GREENBRAE, Calif.—Today, announced a campaign to boycott Minnesota because its taxpayers donated more than $500,000 to conservative Republican Tom Emmer, who is running for governor.

“Minnesota taxpayers should be ashamed of themselves for supporting the campaign of far-right candidate Tom Emmer,” said executive director Justin Ruben. “We will urge our members and like-minded progressives to boycott Minnesota goods and forgo any travel to the Land of 10,000 Lakes.” recently launched a similar boycott against Target Corp. because it donated $150,000 to a pro-business political group that supported Emmer. Taxpayers’ support of Emmer’s campaign is even worse, Ruben said, because it’s a direct contribution to Emmer’s campaign—not just independent spending.

Filed Under: Blog, Minnesota’s corporate hypocrisy

The Institite for Justice’s Bert Gall posted an interesting analysis of a video produced by bashing Target for contributing money to a political group:

In other words, they subscribe to the same condescending attitude that is at the heart of all criticism of Citizens United: Most of the public is made up of idiots, and they’ll vote however corporations tell them to. But wait just a second. Those who stay with the video to the very end learn that the advertisement was funded by—a corporation whose business is to influence elections…

Gall cuts right to the heart of’s opposition to Target’s spending: thinks it’s okay for the right kind of corporations—those who can always be counted on to promote a progressive political agenda—to engage in as much robust political speech as they’d like. isn’t really all that coy about this point. In an op-ed for the Los Angeles Times responding to the paper’s editorial board’s criticism of the boycott, executive director Justin Ruben wrote, “Unlimited corporate spending on elections creates even more formidable obstacles to solving the biggest problems we face, including global warming and economic inequality.”


Filed Under: Blog

Campaign spending and contribution limits

The results of Tuesday’s primary elections illustrate that money doesn’t always buy voters’ love. If that’s the case, though—money doesn’t buy elections—why do we still have a very low $2,400 contribution limit at the federal level?

Filed Under: Blog, Money in Politics, Alaska, Arizona, Florida

Obama’s foreign funny money


Filed Under: In the News

Responding to Obama on DISCLOSE

This Saturday’s weekly Presidential radio address was devoted to resurrecting the DISCLOSE Act, the bill designed to stifle free speech rights recognized by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United decision.

Reviewing the transcript of his comments, I had a few thoughts:

1. Most noticeable for its absence was any mention of unions. President Obama refers to corporations no fewer than 9 times in his comments, plus the insurance and banking industries. But there’s not one mention of unions, even though Citizens United freed them to speak on behalf of their members, a freedom they have embraced with gusto (and it’s not like the White House is unfamiliar with this spending). Given the claims by DISCLOSE Act supporters that this bill treats unions and corporations identically, President Obama’s focus only on corporations is yet more evidence that the DISCLOSE Act is specifically designed to stifle corporate political speech while leaving unions free to speak.

2. The White House is still peddling xenophobia, referring to the alleged danger that “foreigners” might influence elections.

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, DISCLOSE, Disclose Act

Blogger Payola?

Filed Under: In the News

Chamber fires back at Obama’s campaign finance reform push

Filed Under: In the News

New York union stifled by ‘byzantine’ campaign finance laws

A quick read of today’s coverage of the New York union expenditure decision boggles the mind. Does New York really prevent PACs from making expenditures? How could that be? Or as my kids say, WTF (“why the face?”)?

The judge who rejected a New York union’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction yesterday issued no written opinion, which doesn’t help alleviate the confusion. No, for an explanation of what did—and didn’t—happen, you need to dig into New York’s state campaign finance laws more deeply. And that’s a path fraught with peril. So, I did it, and now you don’t have to!

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, New York

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