Republican National Committee Opposes 527 Regulation

At its 2007 Winter Meeting, the Republican National Committee reiterated its opposition to regulation of "527" organizations and urged deregulatory reforms to the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act, commonly known as McCain-Feingold.  Interesting…  Click the headline for more.

Filed Under: Blog

“Senate Does Right by Grass-Roots Lobbyists”

CCP Executive Director Steve Hoersting has an op-ed in Monday’s Roll Call ($), responding to the paper’s claim that the absence of grassroots lobbying disclosure in S.1 is a "major deficiency" in the bill.

We’ve reposted the op-ed for our readers.  Here’s a sample:

Roll Call says the provision may have failed because of “confusion over the wording of the Senate draft bill.” But on the most offensive aspect of grass-roots lobbying disclosure there is no confusion (albeit an apparent lack of understanding), for even Roll Call asserts that the House should “require professional lobbyists who form and manage coalitions to disclose what groups comprise them and how much money they are spending to drum up appeals to Congress.”

Requiring grass-roots organizations to register or compelling lobbyists to disclose when they assist groups in contacting fellow citizens would strip consultants of constitutionally guaranteed anonymity and would deprive organizations championing unpopular causes of skilled representation. This anonymity, long recognized and protected by the Supreme Court, fosters political association, guards against unwarranted invasions of privacy and protects the consultants who assist such groups from possible retribution.

Click the headline to read more.

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog

Filthy Lucre?

An editorial cartoon in today’s edition of USA Today depicts a black-robed preacher standing, his right hand held aloft, his left clutching a bag of money.  His eyes are pointed down, watching a saw (labeled "IRS") cutting out the floor beneath him.  And he is speaking a single word: "Vote. . . ."

The cartoon accompanies an op-ed titled "Turning a blind eye, IRS enables church politicking" by Dan Gilgoff, senior editor at U.S. News & World Report.   And while the bag of money clutched in the preacher’s hand merely suggests impropriety, the op-ed makes the claim explicit: churches are flouting the law, and the IRS must do something about it.

That the IRS has been lax in its enforcement of the prohibition on political intervention by churches cannot be denied, but is that really such a terrible state of affairs?

Click the headline to read more.

Filed Under: Blog

More on the Tillman Centennial

 CCP Chairman Brad Smith offers more commentary on the centennial of the Tillman Act, the first federal campaign finance law.  This time he takes a closer look at Sen. Benjamin Ryan "Pitchfork Ben" Tillman to see what this early proponent of "reform" can teach us about the contemporary push for greater regulation of political speech.

Money quote:

The example of Tillman teaches us that campaign-finance reform is not an unadulterated good, nor does it exist free from other political agendas. Rather, it is a tool used to support other agendas — agendas which can be good or bad.

Read the whole thing in the Columbus Dispatch, here.

For earlier posts discussing Senator Tillman and the law bearing his name, see here and here.

Filed Under: Blog

“It’s an unhappy birthday as campaign finance reform turns 100”

Surveying a century of “reform,” what has been accomplished? When was the last time you heard anyone say, “Thank goodness corporations, unions, and ‘fat-cats’ no longer influence elections”; “Thank goodness elections are not so negative as they used to be”; or “Thank goodness campaign finance laws have put an end to political corruption?”

So asks CCP Chairman Brad Smith and Associate Director Paul Sherman in a Washington Examiner op-ed, as they note the 100th anniversary of the Tillman Act, the first federal campaign finance law.  Their conclusion: "One hundred years after the Tillman Act, perhaps it is time to put a halt to ‘reform.’"

Read the whole thing here

Filed Under: Blog

Hillary Won’t take Tax Dollars: Feel the Corruption!

Hillary Clinton has announced that she will not take taxpayer money to fund her race for the presidency, either in the primaries or the general election.  Is this the death knell of the tax financing system in presidential races?  Quite possibly.  Does it matter?  Click the headline.

Filed Under: Blog

CCP Files Brief Supporting FEC’s Regulations on Coordinated Communications

PRESS RELEASE:  January 22, 2007

Media Contacts:

Stephen M. Hoersting: (703) 682-9359

Bradley A. Smith: (614) 236-6317

Filed Under: Press Releases

Changes at the FEC

Federal Election Commission General Counsel Larry Norton and his top deputy, Jim Kahl, are leaving the agency to join the law firm of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice (whose lead name partner is the late Bunyan Snipes Womble – really – known to friends as "B.S." – really.).  Naturally, the "reform" community is alarmed.  For a few thoughts on their departure, the ridiculous reaction of the extremists that make up the so-called "reform" community, and the bizarre coverage by the press, click the headline.

Filed Under: Blog

The Real “Astroturf” Lobbyists

Over the years, supporters of speech regulation have been extremely successful at using language to shape the terms of debate.  Their very success in having the issue perpetually identified as campaign finance "reform" (even when they are fighting tooth and nail to preserve the status quo) is evidence of that prowess with language. 

Their latest language grab is "astroturf lobbying."  But who are the real "astroturf" lobbyists?  Click the headline for more.

Filed Under: Blog

Senate Rejects Grassroots Lobbying Disclosure

PRESS RELEASE:  January 19, 2007

Media Contacts:

Stephen M. Hoersting: (703) 682-9359

Bradley A. Smith: (614) 236-6317 or (540) 287-8954

Filed Under: Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, External Relations Sub-Pages, Press Releases