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Court Ruling on Independent Expenditures Creates New Risks for Groups

A recent federal district court ruling threw out a long-standing Federal Election Commission independent expenditure donor reporting rule. There are many unanswered questions about the impact and reach of the decision. Some of these questions raise very serious First Amendment concerns about associational and donor privacy.

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure Federal, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, Featured Content, CREW v. FEC, Crossroads GPS, Enforcement, Independent Expenditure Reporting

NAACP v. Alabama: When “Transparency” Becomes Censorship

In order for civic groups to be effective, Americans must be able to associate with their fellow citizens
privately. People behave differently when they are being watched, and this is especially true when people are monitored by the very government they are trying to reform. The right to privacy is therefore essential to the protection of First Amendment freedoms. To understand the vital relationship between privacy rights and freedom of association, we need only look to the landmark 1958 Supreme Court case, NAACP v. Alabama.

Filed Under: Featured Content

Did a D.C. Federal Court Fail the “Major Purpose Test”?

A recent opinion by Judge Christopher R. Cooper of the federal District Court in Washington, D.C. poses new risks for advocacy groups and their supporters. The ruling erodes a constitutional limitation on the power of the government to compel Americans speaking about policy issues to register themselves as political committees (PACs) with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Filed Under: Featured Content

First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti: Protecting the Right to Hear Others

Can the government silence speech about an election simply because the speaker is a corporation? Can it deny voters the opportunity to hear a corporation’s views on issues? Forty years ago, the Supreme Court answered no in First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti.

Filed Under: Featured Content

SpeechNow.org v. Federal Election Commission: Protecting the First Amendment Rights of Americans

If one person can speak about a candidate without limit, can Congress ban two, three, or hundreds of people from joining together to do the same? That was the simple question presented in the case SpeechNow.org v. Federal Election Commission. Fortunately, a unanimous 2010 D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision said no, such a limit would violate the First Amendment. Americans can now form independent expenditure groups to raise and spend money on campaign speech without limits. Learn more about this important case.

Filed Under: Featured Content

Understanding Super PACs

You’ve probably heard the term tossed around over the past couple of years, but what exactly is a “super PAC”? These organizations have been given a bad name by their competitors – powerful politicians and media corporations – who previously held a monopoly on political speech. However, the reality is much different than what opponents of free speech would have you believe. Check out the Institute’s newest infographic to understand what super PACs are really about.

Filed Under: Featured Content

Amicus Brief: Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky

The Institute has urged the Supreme Court to strike down overbroad speech restrictions at the voting booth in Minnesota. In this case, the Eighth Circuit upheld a law prohibiting a voter from wearing a T-shirt that depicted the Gadsden flag, the historic American emblem depicting a coiled rattlesnake and the words, “don’t tread on me.”

Filed Under: Featured Content, Uncategorized

Amicus Brief: Lozman v. Riviera Beach

Filed Under: Featured Content

Let’s Talk Turkey: Comparing 2016 Election and Thanksgiving Spending

Over Thanksgiving, one of your relatives may have mentioned the amount of money ($6.4 Billion) spent in the 2016 election cycle, asserting that there is “too much money in politics.” Many advocates for greater government regulation of political speech would say the same. But, compared to what Americans spent over 5-days beginning on Thanksgiving, $6.4 Billion over a two-year period doesn’t seem like so much.

Filed Under: Featured Content

2016 Online Ad Spending in Perspective

The use of online advertisements by Russia to meddle in the 2016 campaign has featured heavily in the news. Those in favor of more regulation would have you believe that the problem is great enough to necessitate government intervention. Check out this infographic to see just how expansive these ads were.

Filed Under: Featured Content

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