The latest effort to stifle political speech

For those of you following the attempt to suppress talk show hosts by reviving the so-called “Fairness Doctrine,” the Center for American Progress (CAP), along with a group called Free Press, has released a report claiming to show the need for clamping down on dissent from liberal orthodoxy on the nation’s airwaves.

The report actually does an impressive job of documenting the obvious, namely that conservative talk show hosts are far more prevalent than liberals on talk radio. Beyond that, it’s a mix of errors, unsupported claims, conjecture, ill-thought-out statements, and ultimately a call for letting government bureaucrats decide who you should be allowed to listen to on the radio (all in the public’s interest, of course).

For those of you willing to slog through the report (about 30 pages, but 10 of those are just lists of stations thrown in to make the report look impressive and well researched), you can find it HERE.

Filed Under: Blog

Today’s Must Read – “Disclosure for Thee, but not for Me”

This simply must be read by anyone who cares about the efforts of US PIRG and other groups to regulate grassroots lobbying by forcing citizen groups to disclose their supporters.

Our favorite quote, courtesy of US PIRG’s Gary Kalman: "The notion that the government would make private organizations have to disclose their donors is highly problematic."

Indeed. 

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

The Reform Disconnect

We have commented in the past on the disconnect between advocates of campaign finance "reform" and the reality of the electoral process, money in politics, and democracy generally.  This disconnect was on display at yesterday’s hearing on S. 1285, the oddly titled, "Fair Elections Now Act," or FENA – not to be confused with the incompetent disaster relief agency FEMA.  The humor and pithy commentary is behind the fold – click the headline for the good stuff.

Filed Under: Blog

Outrageous hyperbole during S. 1285 hearings

Sen. Arlen Specter, co-sponsor of the "Fair Elections Now Act" (S. 1285), described the decision in Buckley v. Valeo striking down expenditure limits as, "the worst decision of the Supreme Court of the United States since the Dred Scott decision." 

Worse, apparently, than either  Plessy v. Ferguson or Korematsu v. United States.

Just last year, six justices of the Supreme Court reaffirmed that holding of Buckley in Randall v. Sorrell, in which CCP filed an amicus brief (.pdf).  No word from Sen. Specter on whether this is the new worst decision since Dred Scott, or merely a runner up.

Seriously, is there any limit to the hyperbole "reform" proponents are willing to engage in?

Archived video of the hearing is now available.  To hear Sen. Specter’s comment, skip ahead to 18:20.

Filed Under: Blog

Government Financed Elections

Overview and CCP Vice President Stephen Hoersting’s Senate Testimony on Government-Financed Elections.

Filed Under: Research, Tax Financed Campaigns Research, Tax-Financing, Taxpayer Financed Campaigns, Taxpayer Financed Campaigns

Steve Hoersting to testify on taxpayer-financed campaigns

CCP Vice President Steve Hoersting will be testifying Wednesday, June 20th at 10:00 a.m. before the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration.  The topic is the "Fair Elections Now Act" (S. 1285), which would create a taxpayer-funded system for senatorial campaigns.

To watch a video of the hearing, click here

To read Steve’s written testimony, click here

Filed Under: Blog

Testimony of CCP Vice President Steve Hoersting to the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration

Written testimony of CCP Vice President Steve Hoersting at a June 20, 2007 hearing before the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration on the topic of the Fair Elections Now Act.

Filed Under: Blog, External Relations Comments and Testimony, External Relations Sub-Pages, Federal, Federal Comments and Testimony, Uncategorized, Comments and Testimony

CCP Vice President Testifies Before Senate Committee about Government Financed Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Steve Hoersting, vice president at the Center for Competitive Politics, will testify tomorrow at 10:00 Am to the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration about the “Fair Elections Now Act” (S. 1285).

Filed Under: External Relations Press Releases, External Relations Sub-Pages, Press Releases

A Reform Paradox

Reducing the amount of money in politics has long been a goal of the “reform” community.  In Philadelphia, proponents of contribution limits believed that contribution limits would reduce the costs of election.  Well, in Philadelphia, the “reformers” got their contribution limits but they did not get reduced spending.

The Philadelphia Inquirer found that campaign spending in Philadelphia’s first ever primary with contribution limits was, surprise, “comparable to past campaigns.”  The only difference, as noted by the Inquirer, is that “candidates had to work harder to raise the money.”

So it turns out that instead of reducing the amount of money in politics, contribution limits force candidates to spend more time groveling for money. Unfortunately, the “reform” community also complains that candidates spend too much time fundraising.

Undoubtedly the reformers already have a solution to this paradox in mind: more campaign finance laws.

Filed Under: Blog

What Davenport v. WEA does not stand for

Paul Ryan of the Campaign Legal Center repeats Marty Lederman’s argument, that Davenport is a reaffirmation of the principles in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce that spells doom for the plaintiffs in Wisconsin Right to Life.  CCP Chairman Brad Smith explained yesterday why this interpretation of Davenport is incorrect.  But to dispel any lingering doubt, let’s take a look at what Paul Ryan claims and what the Court actually said.

Click the headline to read more. 

Filed Under: Blog