Party fundraising

Yesterday, the FEC released the 15 month party fundraising report and it unveiled little in the way of surprises.

Both parties national commitees are down slightly from 2006 and down significantly from 2004. The RNC continues to significantly outraise the DNC, but the DSCC continued its trend of outraising the NRSC – this year by a significant margin, and for the first time in recent memory the DCCC outraised – significantly -the NRCC.

Often less noticed, but still important (esp. given McCain’s joint fundraising strategy), are the state and local party committees. At this level, the Republicans are down slightly compared to the last three cycles but still ahead of the Democrats, who continue to see upward growth in their state and local fundraising.

All told, through March 31st, Democratic party committee have raised more than $274 million and Republican party committees have raised about $287 million. And while the Republicans enjoyed a slight fundraising advantage, they find themselves with significantly less cash on hand and are trending in the wrong direction.

Filed Under: Blog

BREAKING NEWS: Pittsburgh campaign finance ordinance vetoed

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl vetoed today a campaign finance ordinance that would have undermined First Amendment political rights in the city.

More after the jump.

Filed Under: Blog

FEC Summarizes Party Financial Activity

Per a release received from the FEC:

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) announced today that receipts of the national committees of the Democratic party increased significantly during the period January 1, 2007 through April 30, 2008, while receipts of Republican national committees declined over the same period, when compared with earlier election cycles.  Republican committees were still able to raise more overall than their Democratic counterparts, though the gap is smaller now than in previous years. 

Full report available HERE.

Filed Under: Blog

Free press in Canada

A little bit off the mark for an organization like CCP that focuses on First Amendment political rights in the U.S., but Canada’s Human Rights Commission last week held a hearing to determine whether publication by the magazine Maclean’s violated the law by publishing excerpts from a book that was highly critical of Islam in the West.

Maclean’s own correspondent live-blogged the hearing, providing an extremely interesting report to anyone with a commitment to free and unfettered political speech. I highly recommend this to anyone concerned that political speech is increasingly under attack.

Filed Under: Blog

Lobbying the future president

Finally, both parties have a presumptive nominee in place.  A centerpiece of both candidates’ campaigns has been to rail against the ways of Washington and scourge the perceived influence of so-called "special interests" – interests that Sen. Hillary Clinton reminded us "represent all Americans."

Nonetheless, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain have sought to purge the perception of lobbyist and other interest group influence from their campaigns. Not surprisingly, their efforts have been wrought with fine print exceptions – what some might even call "loopholes" – that should only underscore the inanity of trying to limit those who exercise their First Amendment rights from involving themselves in political campaigns.

More after the jump.

Filed Under: Blog

There they go again…

After efforts by former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer to impose campaign finance regulation were undone for various reasons, new Governor David Paterson unveiled his own campaign finance package yesterday.

The proposed legislation is comprised of the latest soup du jour of campaign finance regulations: lower contribution limits to candidates, lower contribution limits to political parties, lower limits for lobbyists, and the inclusion of a millionaires’ amendment.

Two of these proposals - the millionaires’ amendment and disparate limits for lobbyists - are of dubious constitutional merit.

The rest of the proposal, while at least constitutional, still manages to undermine First Amendment rights, while creating its own set of unintended consequences.

More after the jump.

Filed Under: Blog

Waiting on Davis

The Supreme Court is expected to issue anyday its decision in Davis v. FEC – the challenge to the so-called Millionaires’ Amendment provisions of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

With this in mind, CCP would like to revisit some of the arguments laid out in our amicus brief against the Millionaires’ Amendment.

We argued that the Millionaires’ Amendment is unconstitutional because it relies on an egalitarian interpretation of the First Amendment that is wholly foreign to the Constitution, is inconsistent with the existing "corruption rationale" used to justify current contribution limits, imposes burdensome disclosure requirements upon candidates unevenly, and prejudiciously chills political speech by certain classes of citizens.

More details after the jump.

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Our mistake

The Center for Competitive Politics distributed a press release (text found below) on May 29th expressing concerns over provisions in the "Oklahoma Clean Campaigns Act."

It has since been brought to our attention that the language in the bill which concerned our organization was deleted from the final version of the bill. We had been concerned with language in Section 4 of the "Senate Amendments" version of the bill.

While we very much regret distributing the erroneous release, we are pleased that the language was removed from the bill.

Apologies for the false alarm.

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What will they say?

Campaign finance "reform" is supposed to guard against corruption and the "appearance of corruption" – or so we are told 

Proponents of a highly regulated campaign system like to seize on any scandal no matter how dubious or how unrelated to campaign finance laws as proof that more regulation is needed.  Skeptics of campaign finance regulation counter that nearly all improprieties by elected officials are not the result of lax campaign finance laws and should not be used as an excuse to further blunt the First Amendment.

A developing situation in New York City puts proponents of taxpayer-subsidized campaigns found in a rather delicate situation.

More after the jump.

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Supreme Court denies cert for VEC

The Supreme Court announced (ht -Eric Brown) today that it would not be granting certiorari in the case Voters Education Committee v. The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission.

CCP had filed an amicus brief with the court asking that they hear the case.

More after the jump.

Filed Under: Blog