Archives for October 2010

Jefferson and Adams attack!

Check out this new video from

Filed Under: Blog

‘Wha Happened’ to DISCLOSE Act? Only the Shadowy know!

Previously I suggested that the DISCLOSE Act was doomed by a variety of almost entirely self-inflicted wounds by so-called campaign finance “reformers” (although we at CCP like to think we had a major role in this process too, by among other things pointing out the nature of these wounds to the public and Members of Congress and their staff with our analysis and commentary).

Drawing upon the immortal catch-phrase of ‘Mike Lafontiaine’ from A Mighty Wind to explain ‘Wha Happened?’ to DISCLOSE, I wrote that among the disastrous decisions by “reformers” was the near-exclusive rhetorical focus on corporate spending freed up by Citizens United which the DISCLOSE Act was intended to counter, while at the same time attempting to pitch to Republicans in Congress that the bill treated both corporations and unions the same.

Today I’ll note another stunningly inept decision made by self-styled “reformers” in their rhetoric, which is their use of terms like “shadowy,” “anonymous,” and “front group” to describe pretty much any group that might chose to speak out in politics, without regards for whether the organization was a relatively new entity with uncertain interests or a long-established organization with which most Americans are familiar with and have a pretty clear understanding of their interests and motivations.

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

Trick or Treat! Billions of undisclosed, unregulated funds flood America this political season

Americans are expected to spend approximately $5 billion this month on Halloween costumes, decorations, and candy.  Meanwhile, over the two year election cycle ending on Tuesday, it is estimated that Americans will spend approximately $2 billion on political races for the U.S. House and Senate.

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

Allison Hayward in National Review Online today: Disclosing a Dem Double Standard

CCP Vice President for Policy Allison Hayward has a piece published today over at National Review Online, titled “Disclosing a Dem Double Standard.”

Here’s an excerpt:

A mysterious ad attacked a federal candidate with blistering ferocity, ominously distorting the office holder’s record. Shocked observers issued stark warnings that the backers of the ad must be outed. One “made the surprising remark that disclosure protects us against the risk of foreign interest influence over our elections,” according to an account by White House general counsel Bob Bauer.

Was Bauer writing about the 2010 campaign cycle and the “secret” funds gushing from the coffers of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or American Crossroads?

No. Bauer, then the head of the political-law practice at the Perkins Coie firm, which represents mainly Democrats and liberal groups, was describing a parody of Apple’s famous 1984 ad – a parody that lambasted then-presidential-candidate Hillary Clinton as an authoritarian-in-waiting.

“Some had to know, then, who created this ad,” Bauer wrote on his now-defunct blog. He explained that self-styled campaign-finance reformers supported disclosure of the identity of political communications because they claimed that “this knowledge is useful in evaluating its truthfulness or judging merit.” As for Bauer, he had no time for such nonsense. “An argument is fully open to evaluation without attention to the person making it,” he blogged in March 2007. “In fact, this is evaluation on the merits; it is precisely to keep the argument focused on the merits, not judged by the appeal or reputation of the author, that some authors choose not to reveal themselves. It has always been remarkable that proponents of ‘deliberative democracy,’ with their emphasis on reasoned debate, will favor a style of argument that forces reason into the background while propelling personal authorship to the foreground…”

You can read the whole piece here.

Filed Under: Blog

Supreme Court to consider First Amendment challenge

One of the most important votes this election season will not take place at the ballot box.  On Friday, October 29, the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to grant review in v. Federal Election Commission, a case that asks if Americans may be forced to get the government’s permission simply to speak.

SpeechNow.orgrepresented by the Institute for Justice (IJ) and the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP)wants to defend freedom of speech by speaking out against political candidates who do not support First Amendment rights.  The group allows individuals to amplify their voices by pooling their funds and buying ads that support or oppose particular candidates.

Under current federal law, however, groups like cannot speak without first registering with the government and forming heavily regulated political committees or “PACs.”  PACs are subject to hundreds of pages of federal statutes and regulations that are often as complicated as the tax code.  PACs must appoint treasurers who are legally responsible for complying with federal law; they may spend money only from designated bank accounts; they must fill out lengthy disclosure forms and detailed schedules on a regular basis and disclose what they raise or spend in federal campaigns.  PACs must even obtain permission from the FEC to disband.

In March, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the government could not limit contributions to groups like because its independent speech poses no threat of corruption.  But the court upheld the requirement that the group become a heavily regulated PAC in order to speak

“In a free country, citizens should not have to register with government bureaucrats and comply with onerous regulations just to speak,” said CCP Chairman Bradley A. Smith, a former FEC chairman. “Americans should not have to disclose broad, non-campaign activities to the government, and they should not have to get the government’s permission to disband.”

Filed Under: Press Releases

Disclosing a Dem Double Standard

Filed Under: In the News

Nonparty Groups Eroding National Party Committees


Filed Under: In the News

Justice Douglas on campaign finance reform (and Citizens United?)

Brad Smith notes that liberal thinking has gone from staunch support for free speech to a language of regulation and limitation, quoting William O. Douglas’s dissent in United States v. United Auto Workers, 352 U.S. 567 (1957):

Under our Constitution it is We The People who are sovereign.  … It is therefore important—vitally important—that all channels of communication be open to them during every election, that no point of view be restrained or barred, and that the people have access to the views of every group in the community….

[E]ndorsing a candidate for office does not, however, deserve to be identified with anti-social conduct.  Until today political speech has never been considered a crime.  The making of a political speech up to now has always been one of the preferred rights protected by the First Amendment.  It usually cost money to communicate an idea to a large audience. But no one would seriously contend that the expenditure of money to print a newspaper deprives the publisher of freedom of the press.  Nor can the fact that it costs money to make a speech—whether it be hiring a hall or purchasing time on the air—make the speech any the less an exercise of First Amendment rights….” 

Filed Under: Blog

Meet the lawyer who argued money is speech, and won



Filed Under: In the News

U.S. Subsidiaries: You Think Our Money’s Dirty? Give it Back!


Filed Under: In the News

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