Danielczyk Judge Upholds Previous Decision

A week and a half ago, Judge Cacheris created quite a stir by holding a 100-year-old ban on corporate contributions unconstitutional.  It was later found that government lawyers failed to cite controlling precedent on the matter, FEC v. Beaumont, where the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of banning direct corporate campaign contributions.

Judge Cacheris decided to reexamine his decision, which leads us to the next chapter in this saga.  The Judge released a ruling today upholding his original decision, explaining:

…this court will not reinstate the dismissed counts first because Beaumont’s holding applies only to nonprofit advocacy corporations, meaning that it does not “directly control” this case for Agnostini purposes, and the second because Beaumont’s reasoning was supplanted by Citizens United.

Filed Under: Blog, Completed Case, Litigation Blog/Press Releases, United States v. Danielczyk Other Links

Congressmen urged to keep politics out of the federal acquisition process

A coalition of 156 organizations sent a letter to Congress on Monday urging the passage of the “Keeping Politics Out of Federal Contracting Act of 2011.”  Bills sponsored by Senator Collins and Representative Issa are in response to a draft Executive Order under consideration by the Obama administration that would force companies vying for federal contracts to reveal employee donations and membership payments to advocacy groups and trade associations that engage in a small amount of political speech.

The letter reminds Congress that the federal acquisition process has worked well free of political influence:

The legislation would help ensure that political spending-or the lack thereof-continues to play no role in federal contracting decisions. The legislation reaffirms the principle, currently embodied in federal procurement laws, that the Executive Branch has an obligation to procure goods and services based on the best value for the American taxpayer, and not on political considerations. It also reaffirms the principle that the Administration cannot enact through executive fiat legislation that Congress has considered and explicitly rejected.

Contributions to political candidates, parties, and PACs are already disclosed of course.  The draft order is meant to target organizations that, by law, are not political organizations but may engage in some limited amounts of political speech as part of their broader mission. The proposed executive order has kicked up bipartisan opposition, including many Democrats like Steny Hoyer who previously supported the DISCLOSE Act. Apparently even ‘reform’-minded politicians can see the danger that this executive order poses to the federal contracting process.

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

Rep. Cole fights Pres. Obama’s proposed Executive Order

Representative Tom Cole filed an amendment to current DOD Reauthorization legislation in response to President Obama’s draft Executive Order that would compel companies and private citizens who work for government contractors to reveal their donations and membership payments to trade and professional associations and social welfare groups when submitting bids for federal contracts.  The proposed amendment would prohibit government agencies from demanding this information be submitted with bids for contracts that are supposed to be free of politics.

The amendment will help keep politics out of the federal acquisition process. The Cole amendment would allow private citizens who happen to work for contractor to donate to causes that may be unpopular with both this and also future administrations without fear their personal views will jeopardize their ability to have bids fairly considered.

Filed Under: Blog

In the News: Lacrosse Tribune: Welfare for candidates doesn’t help the process

Welfare for candidates doesn’t help the process By Sean Parnell The race between Justice David Prosser and challenger JoAnne Kloppenburg was supposed to be an example of how so-called “reformers” tell us election campaigns are supposed to be. The two candidates, unsullied by private contributions, would be able to focus on issues of broad interest […]

Filed Under: In the News, Published Articles, State In the News, Tax Financed Campaigns Press Release/In the News/Blog

FENA to Corporations: Shut up, get out, fork it over

This morning the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee held a hearing on the Free Elections Now Act (FENA).  Recently re-introduced by Senator Durbin, the FENA would create a system of tax financing for Congressional elections similar in many ways to the Presidential Campaign Fund, with one major difference:

Instead of obtaining funds by having them voluntarily diverted from income tax statements, FENA will obtain funding by creating additional taxes solely on businesses that obtain federal contracts of $10 million or more.

Filed Under: Blog

Manhattan Institute: New Database Reveals Shareholder Proposal Trends

Filed Under: Other Resources – Corporate Governance – Manhattan Institute – Proxy Monitor Reports

Carey v. FEC Complete Documents

District Court (DC) (11-259) Defendant Federal Election Commission’s Answer (4/1/11) [PDF; 10 pages] Plaintiff’s Reply Memorandum in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction (3/28/11) [PDF; 29 pages] Federal Election Commission’s Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction (3/7/11) [PDF; 49 pages] Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction (1/31/11) [PDF; 45 pages] Complaint (1/31/11) [PDF; 68 pages]

Filed Under: Carey v. FEC, Legal, All CCP Legal Documents, Carey v. FEC, Completed Cases (Filings), Completed Cases (Litigation), Completed Cases (Opinions), Filings, Litigation, Opinions

In the News: Daily Caller: Why Buddy Roemer’s campaign finance pledge makes no sense

Why Buddy Roemer’s campaign finance pledge makes no sense By Jeff Patch The 2012 battle for the GOP presidential nomination is heating up, and underdog candidates are grabbing the spotlight as marquee candidates continue to play coy about their political intentions. Harvard University professor and campaign finance activist Lawrence Lessig is on a tear boosting […]

Filed Under: In the News, Published Articles

CRP shout out to reformers, including CCP

The Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org Mailbag feature featured a friendly shout out to the Center for Competitive Politics Friday.

In responding to a reader question about groups active in the campaign finance arena, CRP Communications Director Dave Levinthal wrote:

[T]here are a number of groups that advocate to one degree or another for campaign finance reform—some liberal, some conservative. Among them: Common Cause, Center for Competitive Politics, Democracy 21, Public Campaign and Public Citizen, among others.

We appreciate the plug from our friends at CRP. It may not have been intentional, but it’s just another sign that those seeking stricter regulations on political advocacy do not hold a monopoly on the concept of campaign finance reform.

Filed Under: Blog

Carey v. FEC Complaint

The federal suit, Carey et al v. FEC, asks the FEC to acknowledge what the courts have already decided: that any political action committee may make contributions to federal candidates using limited funds while also engaging in independent expenditures using segregated funds raised for that purpose. The FEC has demanded that grassroots organizations jump through burdensome […]

Filed Under: Carey v. FEC, Legal, Legal Center, All CCP Legal Documents, Carey v. FEC, Completed Cases (Filings), Completed Cases (Litigation), Completed Cases (Opinions), Filings, Litigation, Opinions

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