In the News
By Leo Wolfson
Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Buchanan is contesting a recent federal court ruling that allowed the firearms advocacy group Wyoming Gun Owners to keep a list of its contributors private.
Buchanan and the state attorney general’s office on Friday notified the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals of the state’s intent to challenge the ruling narrowing the spectrum of entities that need to declare political campaign expenditures in the Cowboy State.
In March, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl ruled the state could not force Wyoming Gun Owners to share the names of its donors…
In an interview with Cowboy State Daily Monday morning, Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Cheyenne) said the ruling sets a precedent for any charitable nonprofit organization that takes part in an election. He added Wyoming Gun Owners is being specifically targeted because it is a pro-gun rights group.
Bouchard said the NAACP was targeted in a similar way during the civil rights movement of the late 1950s by the State of Alabama, and won its case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
“It’s not surprising in their quest for power,” Bouchard said of the state’s appeal. “They don’t want opposing opinions. They don’t want people to know what they’re doing. This doesn’t just affect gun owners. Want to have a list of people who contribute to a gun group? This is a gun registration.”
By Rose Wagner
The former head of Kentucky’s Democratic Party lost a bid Monday to contest his campaign-finance conviction before the nation’s highest court.
Gerald Lundergan, 74, was convicted in 2019 for making more than $200,000 in un-reimbursed contributions from his catering and events business to his daughter’s 2014 Senate campaign…
His attorneys argued that the money should not have been classified as a corporate contribution and Lundergan’s prosecution amounts to a violation of the First Amendment because the money was given to a family member.
“In permitting the corporate-contribution ban to be applied to a category of contributions that the government failed to connect to any risk of quid pro quo corruption, the court of appeals has extended the government’s regulatory reach far beyond what the First Amendment permits,” the petition for a writ of certiorari states.
The Supreme Court declined to hear Lundergan’s appeal and, per its custom, did not comment on the denial. The case was one of dozens denied in a list of orders Monday that also included three grants.
By Amy Howe
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Monday that the city of Boston violated the Constitution when it rejected an application to fly a Christian flag on one of the three flagpoles in front of city hall. Because the city program that allowed other private groups to raise and fly their own flags was not speech by the city, the court held, the city could not refuse permission to fly a particular flag because of the views that it expressed.
By Grace Panetta and Brent D. Griffiths
Pelosi, the authors wrote, grew increasingly “frustrated” with the White House for not taking a more hands-on role in lobbying for [H.R. 1] on Capitol Hill…
And “if Pelosi was incensed, Biden’s advisers were equally annoyed by her attachment to the catch-all bill, especially some of the proposed campaign finance restrictions that they feared would hinder Democrats more than Republicans,” the authors wrote.
The book did not specify which campaign finance reforms White House officials objected to in the bill.
But the bill included major elements of the DISCLOSE Act, a bill that would crack down on nonprofit and social welfare organizations that aren’t required to disclose their donors spending so-called “dark money” to influence elections. It also called for an overhaul of the bipartisan Federal Election Commission, whose commissioners often disagree on how to enforce federal campaign finance laws.
Many Democrats have denounced the rise of “dark money” on the right. But Democrats are increasingly benefiting from “dark” and hard-to-trace campaign spending themselves. Liberal nonprofits are catching up to and, by some accounts, even exceeding “dark money” spending from conservative money in both federal and state-level elections.
And Biden, who has so far declined to take executive actions that would dramatically reshape the FEC, was “somewhat ambivalent” about the legislation’s priorities.
“The president’s main concern was not gerrymandering or campaign finance reform, but election subversion by foreign enemies or domestic saboteurs,” the authors wrote. “Pelosi’s cherished bill did nothing to address that threat.”
By Kelly Hooper
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Sunday defended the department’s new disinformation board amid pushback from conservatives who say the effort is Orwellian.
“It works to ensure that the way in which we address threats, the connectivity between threats and acts of violence are addressed without infringing on free speech — protecting civil rights and civil liberties, the right of privacy,” Mayorkas told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”
By Stephanie Slade
In 2010, the Supreme Court held that “political speech does not lose First Amendment protection ‘simply because its source is a corporation.’” The case was Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and the conservative justices sided with a group barred by the government from airing a political documentary.
Republicans used to celebrate that decision. “For too long, some in this country have been deprived of full participation in the political process,” said Mitch McConnell, then the majority leader. The Supreme Court, he added, “took an important step in the direction of restoring the First Amendment rights of these groups.”
Mr. McConnell was standing up for a principle: People have a bedrock right to form associations, including corporations, and to use them to speak their minds.
In the last few years, however, as large companies have increasingly agitated for left-of-center causes, many Republicans have developed a sudden allergy to corporate political speech, one that will have vast consequences for both the party and the nation.
The Atlantic: Ron DeSantis Aims at Disney, Hits the First Amendment
By David French
In plain English…the government cannot use its awesome power of contracting, employment, permitting, and taxation to reward political and ideological friends and punish political and ideological enemies. Indeed, the Court specifically dismissed the government’s so-called patronage interest as an excuse for viewpoint discrimination in government contracting.
Given the vast economic power and authority of federal, state, and local governments, the Court’s ruling is indispensable to a free society. Granting the government carte blanche to extend or withhold benefits on the basis of politics or ideology would create a two-tier or multitiered society, but with the caste system based on politics rather than, say, race. This strikes at the heart of an American social compact that protects the free-speech and free-association rights of every American, equally.