CCP Chairman Bradley Smith Testifies Tomorrow Before Senate Judiciary Subcommittee about Campaign Finance Law Enforcement

April 8, 2013   •  By Sarah Lee
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CCP Chairman Bradley Smith Testifies Tomorrow Before Senate Judiciary Subcommittee about Campaign Finance Law Enforcement

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Tomorrow morning, CCP Founder and former FEC Chairman Bradley Smith will testify before the the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, as part of a hearing on “Current Issues in Campaign Finance Law Enforcement.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

Smith will be testifying on the second panel, which also includes Lawrence M. Noble, President, Americans for Campaign Reform and Gregory L. Colvin, Principal, Adler & Colvin. Before Smith testifies, there will be another panel of witnessesincluding Mythili Raman, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, United States Department of Justiceand Patricia Haynes; Deputy Chief, Criminal Investigation, Internal Revenue Service.

Smith will testify that “the history of criminal and tax enforcement of campaign finance law is largely one of political prosecutions that should serve as a warning to this body.” He will also include a warning about outsourcing enforcement to agencies such as the SEC and the IRS that lack expertise in campaign finance matters. “Those who seek to push regulation onto other agencies often do so precisely because they seek to bypass such constitutional sensitivities that are, and ought to be a hallmark of the FEC – the agency charged by Congress with ‘exclusive civil enforcement’ of campaign finance laws,” Smith writes.

Instead, Professor Smith will urge Congress to provide incentives for political participation that will help political parties and candidate campaigns remain competitive with super PACs and 501(c)(4)s. “Drawing more money into these formal structures and away from the other organizations [is]more effective than devoting more effort to enforcement and reducing First Amendment protections for politically involved citizens and groups,” says Smith.

Other recommendations include a new look at the prohibitively expensive current disclosure regime, and a simplification of already existing campaign finance law. “Generally speaking, we as a society, believe that moderation in law enforcement is good. Few of us wish to live in the police state necessary to try to prevent all violent crime, for example – and even then, we don’t think we could really end all violent crime. Even the most ardent proponents of vigorous enforcement of border security understand that there will be some illegal immigration,” Smith writes. “The same principle is true in campaign finance.”

A copy of his testimony can be found here.

For more information or to interview Smith, please contact CCP Communications Director Sarah Lee at 770.598.7961.

The Center for Competitive Politics promotes and defends the First Amendment’s protection of the political rights of speech, assembly, and petition. It is the nation’s largest organization dedicated solely to protecting First Amendment political rights.


Sarah Lee

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