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A Survey of Campaign Finance and Lobbying Laws in the 50 States, District of Columbia, New York City, and Seattle

March 19, 2019  •  By Eric Wang   •  , , , , ,

The Institute for Free Speech (“IFS”) has reviewed the laws in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, New York City, and Seattle regulating ...

Free Speech Index – Grading the 50 States on Political Giving Freedom

March 2, 2018  •  By Scott Blackburn   •  , ,

Foreword by Chairman Bradley A. Smith and President David Keating On behalf of the Institute for Free Speech, we are pleased to present Part ...

Issue Analysis No. 10: Do Taxpayer-Funded Campaigns Increase Political Competitiveness?

June 7, 2017  •  By Joe Albanese   •  ,

The Institute's tenth issue analysis examines the claim by proponents of taxpayer-funded political campaigns that such systems improve the political process by exposing incumbent ...

Self-Styled Campaign Finance “Reformers” Jump the Shark

December 6, 2016  •  By Luke Wachob   •  , ,

This Issue Brief tells the alarming story of radical activists and government leaders pushing for new restrictions on political speech in the wake of ...

Eternal Inconsistency: The Stunning Variability in, and Expedient Motives Behind the Tax Regulation of Nonprofit Advocacy Groups

June 10, 2015  •  By Matt Nese   •  ,

For many, a meeting of the American Bar Association’s Tax Section’s Exempt Organizations would not be expected to elicit much excitement. A typical audience for ...

The Udall Amendment: A Briefing Book

September 9, 2014  •  By Matt Nese   •  , ,

Senator Tom Udall’s (NM) S.J. Res. 19 would revoke nearly four decades of campaign finance jurisprudence from the Supreme Court and greatly reduce the quantity ...

Misusing Disclosure: How a Policy Intended to Increase Voter Knowledge Often Misleads the Public

August 18, 2014  •  By Luke Wachob   •  ,

Campaign finance disclosure laws generally require candidates, political parties, and citizen groups that primarily work to elect or defeat candidates, to register with the government ...

Overwhelmingly Opposed: An Analysis of Public and 955 Organization, Expert, and Public Official Comments on the IRS’s 501(c)(4) Rulemaking

July 21, 2014  •  By Matt Nese   •  ,

Beginning in March of 2010, the Internal Revenue Service began scrutinizing groups applying for 501(c)(4) tax-exempt status using politically biased criteria.1 Those groups with names ...

Policy Primer: Campaign Contribution Limits – A Cap on Free Speech

July 18, 2014  •  By Matt Nese   •  , ,

There is a false perception that most states limit all forms of campaign contributions. While many states impose some limits on political giving, the reality ...

State False Statement Laws: Should the Government Act as the Truth Police?

July 17, 2014  •  By Matt Nese   •  , ,

Generally, false statement laws prohibit “false” speech about candidates or public officials (including their official voting records). Analogous libel and slander statutes – which also ...

Explainers

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What Would H.R. 1 Mean for My Group?

PDF available here By Eric Wang, Senior Fellow[1] One way to better understand how H.R. 1 would affect nonprofit civic and advocacy groups is ...

Regulating the Internet: A Dangerous Trend for Free Speech

August 9, 2018  •  By Luke Wachob   •  ,

The First Amendment is facing a new threat in state legislatures. A spate of bills that would regulate political and issue advertising on the ...

Be on the Lookout: Four Red Flags in Bills that Will Chill Online Speech

August 9, 2018  •  By Eric Peterson   •  , ,

The Internet and social media outreach are more important than ever to campaigns. As a result, legislators face a temptation to regulate this growing ...

Four Constitutional Red Flags in State Disclosure Laws

August 7, 2018  •  By Luke Wachob   •  ,

The First Amendment protects the right of Americans to associate privately with others. Nonprofits across America have long relied on this right to organize ...

NAACP v. Alabama: When “Transparency” Becomes Censorship

June 28, 2018  •  By Luke Wachob   •  , , , ,

The freedom to associate with others and speak as a group is foundational to democracy. Individuals rarely can change their society, government, or laws ...

Debunking Three Myths about the “Honest Ads Act”

May 30, 2018  •  By Luke Wachob   •  , ,

The deceptively-named “Honest Ads Act” is a proposal in Congress that would increase regulations for paid political and issue advertising on the Internet – ...

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

April 26, 2018  •  By Luke Wachob   •  , , ,

Can the government silence speech about an election simply because the speaker is a corporation? Can it deny voters the opportunity to hear a ...

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

March 26, 2018  •  By Luke Wachob   •  , , ,

SpeechNow extended First Amendment rights already protected for individuals to groups of people who pool their resources to speak. The case legalized what is ...

Understanding the Differences Between Political and Issue Advocacy

March 1, 2018  •  By IFS Staff   •  , , ,

This Issue Brief explains the differences between political and issue advocacy in both layman’s terms and as viewed by the courts. In particular, the ...

Three Myths About… Campaign Contribution Limits

January 1, 2018  •  By IFS Staff   •  ,

Forty-five of the 50 states and the federal government in some way impose limits on the amount individuals or groups can contribute to the ...

Academic Research

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Risky Business: Do disclosure and shareholder approval of corporate political contributions affect firm performance?

May 8, 2019  •  By IFS Staff   •  , ,

Abstract: The role of corporations in the U.S. political process has received increased scrutiny in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ...

Free Speech Under Fire: The Future of the First Amendment

December 2, 2016  •  By Joe Albanese   •  , , ,

In a set of remarks preceded by Brooklyn Law School President and Joseph Crea Dean Nicholas W. Allard, famed First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams muses ...

Freedom of Speech and Equality: Do We Have to Choose?

December 2, 2016  •  By Joe Albanese   •  ,

In this essay, Nadine Strossen, the John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law at New York Law School and former president of the ACLU, ...

A Landmark Decision Turns Forty: A Conversation on Buckley v. Valeo

December 2, 2016  •  By Joe Albanese   •  , ,

In this series of essays by Brooklyn Law School President and Joseph Crea Dean Nicholas W. Allard, U.S. Court of Appeals Senior Judge and ...

Free Speech Matters: The Roberts Court and the First Amendment

December 2, 2016  •  By Joe Albanese   •  , , ,

In this article, Brooklyn Law School Professor Joel M. Gora, an IFS Academic Advisor, examines the impact of the Roberts Court on First Amendment ...

Outsourcing Politics: The Hostile Takeovers of Our Hollowed out Political Parties

December 1, 2016  •  By Matt Nese   •  ,

In this article by New York University School of Law Professor Samuel Issacharoff, the author examines the effect of multiple factors, including strict campaign ...

The Academy, Campaign Finance, and Free Speech Under Fire

September 27, 2016  •  By Matt Nese   •  ,

In this short essay, Institute for Free Speech Chairman and Co-Founder and Capital University Law School Professor Bradley A. Smith argues that academic efforts ...

Pre-Primary News Coverage of the 2016 Presidential Race: Trump’s Rise, Sanders’ Emergence, Clinton’s Struggle

June 1, 2016  •  By Matt Nese   •  ,

This analysis by Thomas E. Patterson of the Harvard Kennedy School and Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy evaluates news media coverage ...

When do the Rich Win?

May 1, 2016  •  By Matt Nese   •  ,

Abstract: There is exploding academic and non-academic interest in the relative influence of economic “haves” and “have-nots” on public policy. In a recent, widely referenced ...

Do State Campaign Finance Reforms Increase Trust and Confidence in State Government?

The political and legal battle over campaign finance reform hinges on differing views about the importance of such regulations for preserving and enhancing the integrity ...