The Center for Competitive Politics released the following statement after the United States Supreme Court denied an appeal by the state of Colorado to hear Coalition for Secular Government (CSG) v. Williams. In the case, an appeals court ruled that Colorado’s ballot issue disclosure law violates the First Amendment for groups raising or spending less than $3,500. “The Supreme Court’s action is the final chapter for Colorado’s speech laws that buried grassroots groups in red tape,” said CCP Staff Attorney Tyler Martinez. “When a few citizens want to voice an opinion, the government can’t subject them to burdensome disclosure rules designed for multimillion dollar campaigns. We were proud to represent Dr. Diana Hsieh and the Coalition in court.”
The Center for Political Accountability and the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research recently released the 2016 edition of their annual study of corporate disclosure policies regarding contributions to advocacy groups and trade associations, which seeks to stop businesses from speaking about public policies.
“We should encourage businesses, like all Americans, to voice their concerns to the public and lawmakers,” said Center for Competitive Politics Chairman Bradley A. Smith. “The aim of the Index is to push business out of the debate on public policy.”
By Brad Smith
The Center for Political Accountability (CPA) and the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research have released the2016 edition of their annual study of corporate disclosure policies regarding contributions to advocacy groups and trade associations. As in previous years, CPA-Zicklin acts as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, framing their concerns in terms of shareholder value when their true intention is to stop corporations from exercising their First Amendment right to voice support for candidates and causes. Managers and board members should not feel pressure to comply with the demands of these activists, and commentators should think twice before jumping on the CPA-Zicklin bandwagon…
If the Center for Political Accountability and the Zicklin Center want to speak loudly in support of the policies they prefer, the Center for Competitive Politics fully supports their efforts. Unfortunately, they’ve chosen to shut down debate by shaming companies into abstaining from supporting the causes they believe in. This shame game is bad for business, but much more importantly, it’s bad for the public who wants and deserves to hear from all sides in policy debates.
By L. Todd Wood
Using the agencies of the federal government to oppress and persecute opposing views used to be something only seen in Russia and other totalitarian systems. Vladimir Putin loves to use the Russian tax authorities to go after his enemies. However, the United States in now no better than a banana republic when it comes to corruption in government. The United States can no longer “give advice” or “push Ukraine and other corrupt systems to move toward freedom and democracy when the U.S. no longer is a free country.
By Rachel Bade
A new conservative outside group with deep pockets is planning a robust ad campaign urging Congress to impeach the IRS commissioner – a move sure to cause GOP leaders some headaches this fall.
Founded by GOP mega-donor Todd Ricketts, 45Committee will spend nearly $1 million on a week’s worth of cable TV and digital ads encouraging voters to pressure Congress to impeach tax chief John Koskinen…
The IRS “targeted conservatives, lied about it, got caught, ignored subpoenas, stonewalled and improperly deleted emails,” says a voice-over accompanied by dramatic violin strings in the ad.
Wisconsin John Doe
Wall Street Journal: Liberal Censors Lose Again
There are no permanent victories in politics, but the U.S. Supreme Court came as close as we’ll get Monday by rejecting the request by Wisconsin prosecutors to resurrect their abusive, secret campaign against Governor Scott Walker’s political allies…
The appeal was a long shot because the case concerned a matter of Wisconsin law. But the relentless persistence of the left in trying to prosecute political speech shows what could happen if the U.S. Supreme Court gets a five-judge liberal majority. The progressive censors will gin up cases to overturn legal precedents like Citizens United and SpeechNow v. FEC that have made it harder for government to regulate who can join with allies to influence elections.
New York Times: Supreme Court Won’t Rule on Wisconsin Campaign Finance Case
By Adam Liptak
Last year, the Wisconsin Supreme Courtshut down an investigationinto spending to oppose a 2012 effort to recall Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican. The court also ordered prosecutors to destroy the documents they had gathered.
The Guardian recently disclosed about 1,500 pages of the documents, which seemed to show substantial coordination between candidates and ostensibly independent groups.
The public version of the prosecutors’ request for United States Supreme Court review was heavily redacted but appeared to address two main questions: whether the Wisconsin Supreme Court had been too lax in policing coordination between candidates and independent groups, and whether two State Supreme Court justices who had benefited from campaign spending should have recused themselves.
Candidates and Campaigns
Huffington Post: See The Amazing Campaign Contortionists Twist The Finance Rules
By Paul Blumenthal
Every election cycle, politicians and their ethically flexible consultants aim to stretch the boundaries of campaign finance law a bit further. These day, they’re ably assisted by a Supreme Court eager to deregulate campaign finance and a bitterly divided Federal Election Commission. Since it’s October, with little more than a month to go before Election Day, let’s take a look at what candidates and their supposedly independent friends have achieved this time around…
Daily Beast: The Trump Campaign’s Legal Bills Are YUGE
By Tim Mak
Donald Trump’s campaign is spending an incredible amount of money on lawyers, raising the eyebrows of campaign watchdogs and suggesting that they are fighting legal battles behind the scenes.
In a 10-week span from mid-June to the end of August, Trump’s campaign spent $1.1 million on law firm Jones Day, nearly as much on legal services as the $1.15 million Mitt Romney’s campaign did over the course of his entire 2012 campaign.
For comparison, Hillary Clinton spent $525,000 on her main law firm, Perkins Coie, over that same 10-week period.
By David A. Fahrenthold
The New York attorney general disclosed Monday that it ordered Donald Trump’s personal charity to cease fundraising immediately after determining that the foundation was violating state law by soliciting donations without proper authorization.
The message was conveyed in a “notice of violation” sent Friday to the Donald J. Trump Foundation, of which Trump is president.
The night before, The Washington Post reported that Trump’s foundation – which has subsisted entirely on other people’s donations since 2008 – had failed to register with the state as a charity soliciting money.
By Ben Lee
The newest front in the fight for free speech is in my home state of South Dakota. This November, we’ll vote on Initiated Measure 22, a ballot measure that-if passed-would require South Dakotans giving money to any cause deemed “political speech” to report their spending to the state government.
Make no mistake: This is a full-on assault on the First Amendment cloaked in the guise of transparency. Collecting this private information would give politicians and their allies another avenue to silence and intimidate their dissenters. That’s reason enough to defeat this measure.
San Jose Mercury News: Santa Clara community claims “dark money” is influencing election
By Ramona Giwargis
A community group known for railing against the San Francisco 49ers says “dark money” may be flowing into Santa Clara politics – possibly from the NFL team’s management who they believe is trying to manipulate next month’s election.
The claims are based on the creation of a new 501(c)(4) nonprofit called BLUPAC, which emerged overnight and has taken Santa Clara politics by storm by launching attacks on Mayor Lisa Gillmor and her council allies – all of whom have been outspoken critics of the Niners.