Fatigue and its Effects

Marc Elias is tired.

Elias is, by all accounts, an excellent lawyer; a partner in the premier political-law compliance shop in the country.  Nonetheless, yesterday before the FEC he suggested that simplicity in hybrid ad regulation is at a premium, saying wearily (but with a smile), “If I have to tell my clients one more time that ‘It’s not that simple’…”.

Click on the headline to read more. 

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FLASH: Vermont House falls short of overriding campaign finance veto

In a massive upset victory for political freedom, the Vermont House fell one vote short of overriding Governor Jim Douglas’ veto of a campaign finance bill that would have severely dampened political freedom in Vermont.

The Rutland Herald has the story.

CCP chairman Brad Smith will be on WRSA 1420 AM’s "Comment Show with Paul Beaudry" tomorrow at 8:10 AM to discuss the outcome.

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Answering Chairman Lenhard on Hybrid Ads …

FEC Chairman Robert Lenhard has posed some excellent questions in anticipation of tomorrow’s hearing on hybrid ads.  We have attempted quick answers.

Click on the title to read more …

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… And a Quick Reply to Two Assertions by the Reformers

The reformers make many strained arguments in their FEC comments on hybrid ads.  Two need addressing.

Click on the title to read more… 

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CCP Vice President to testify to FEC

On Wednesday, Center for Competitive Politics Vice President Stephen Hoersting will testify to the Federal Election Commission concerning their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in regard to "hybrid communications." 

CCP has already submitted written comments on the proposed rulemaking in which Hoersting advocates for the FEC to allow political parties and candidates to share the costs of communication.  "Any rule adopted should preserve the right of federal candidates and their parties to produce hybrid ads and allocate the costs between themselves," Hoersting wrote.

The rulemaking seeks to establish how political party committees attribute disbursements for ‘‘hybrid communications”- communications that refer both to one or more clearly identified Federal candidates and generically to candidates of a political party.

Hybrid ads came to prominence during the 2004 presidential campaign.  In the campaign, the Bush-Cheney ticket split the costs of advertisements with the Republican National Committee.  Soon afterwards, the Kerry-Edwards campaign began sharing costs with the Democratic National Committee. 

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Did WRTL KO BCRA?

CCP Chairman Bradley Smith debates Thomas Mann in the latest edition of "Dust-Up".

Click HERE to read the exchange.

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CCP Chairman Brad Smith featured all week in the online LA Times

Each week, the Los Angeles Times editorial page hosts an online dialogue between two prominent figures on a topic of public interest. The exchanges are updated daily each morning, Monday through Friday, and featured prominently on latimes.com/opinion.

This week, CCP Chairman Bradley Smith and Thomas Mann debate the future of campaign finance reform.

Click HERE to read today’s discussion about the Supreme Court’s decision in the Wisconsin Right to Life case.

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A Somewhat Tardy, Most Respectful, and Needed Reply to Mr. Cost

Jay Cost blogs on political issues at the enormously popular Real Clear Politics site.  Cost is one of the best of the political commentators to come up through the blogosphere, in large part because of his rigorous analysis and insistence on data and empirical evidence.  Thus we were disappointed with Cost’s recent foray into the field of campaign finance commentary.

It’s not that Cost is not entirely in agreement with positions usually espoused here at Campaignfreedom.org.  He is not, but he generally seems to agree with us that campaign finance is too regulated and ought to be deregulated.  Cost’s expressed concern, however, triggered by my recent article in the Wall Street Journal, is with “soft money,” which Cost believes should be regulated.  What was disappointing to us was not so much Cost’s view on regulating soft money as his justification for these views.  Click the headline for detailed commentary on Mr. Cost’s recent column.

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Friday morning pop-quiz

In school, everyone loved the Friday morning pop quiz, so we at CCP thought we’d bring it back.  There is just one question, so it’s all or nothing.

Name the candidate who said:

"The state-by-state primary spending limits have not worked. The limits have proven to be ineffective and have served to unjustifiably micromanage presidential campaigns."

Click the headline for the answer.

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Unfree Speech

On Independence Day, the Washington Post ran Robert Samuelson’s piece "Unfree Speech" that reminds us all of the loss of our political freedom to speak freely over the past 231 years.

He correctly points out that campaign contributions follow ideology and that "free speech’s value is not only a diversity of views; it is also the ability of people to contest those views."

If this argument sounds familiar, it should.  James Madison recognized the competing interests of factions in Federalist #10.  But the speech-regulators are trying to stamp out competing factions by suppressing speech, a cure that Madison recognized as being worse than the ill:

"Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency."

While Samuelson admirably highlights the problems with regulating political speech, he parts from Madisonian principles when he asserts that "free speech involves no right to secret speech."  With that, Madison, as "Publius," could not agree.

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