Dissenting Opinion of Chairman David Mason

Dissenting opinion of Federal Election Commission Chairman David Mason in the draft advisory opinion for SpeechNow.org.

Filed Under: Uncategorized, campaign contributions, Contribution, Completed Cases (Litigation), Completed Cases (Opinions), Litigation, Opinions

Electioneering communications in Wisconsin

The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) submitted comments today to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board (GAB) in regards to its review of issue advocacy regulation.

The GAB is scheduled to review next week GAB 1.28, "Scope of regulated activity; election of candidates," to determine whether its regulation of certain types of political communication should be amended.

At the heart of the debate is whether or not citizens groups who engage in issue advocacy should face greater regulation when it engages in so-called "electioneering communication." Electioneering communication broadly defined at the federal level is any "broadcast, cable or satellite communication" that occurs within 30 days of a primary, convention, or caucus, or 60 days of a general election, and mentions the name of a candidate for office. 

CCP’s submitted comments urge the GAB to reaffirm the state’s current regulations so as to best comply with recent United States Supreme Court rulings and give citizens groups adequate room to engage in issue advocacy.

More after the jump.

Filed Under: Blog

McCain and lobbyists

Sen. John McCain, who rebuilt his reputation after the Keating Five scandal in large measure by championing campaign finance restrictions and attacking lobbyists, issued his strongest denouncement of the lobbying industry in an interview with Politico yesterday.

This Spring the McCain campaign banned anyone who is a registered lobbyist or works for a foreign agent, "or receives compensation for any such activity" from working on the campaign. The campaign also barred part-time volunteers "from involvement in any Campaign policy-making on the subjects on which they are registered." And McCain "also announced that it will be his policy that anyone serving in a McCain Administration must commit not to lobby the Administration during his presidency."

Yesterday, McCain ratcheted up his lobbyist scourge by calling lobbyists "birds of prey" and reiterated that officials in his administration would not be allowed to "go back to lobby" (two points: it is unclear how McCain could enforce this and it appears that a McCain presidency would still be able to draw on lobbyists to serve in the administration, they just couldn’t go back to lobbying the administration while McCain is still in power – but they could also still lobby Congress).

More after the jump.

Filed Under: Blog

Comments of the Center for Competitive Politics on Issue Advocacy Regulation in Wisconsin

The Center for Competitive Politics comments to the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board in regards to its review of issue advocacy regulation.

Filed Under: Blog, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Comments, Contribution Limits State, Disclosure, Disclosure Comments, Disclosure State, External Relations Comments and Testimony, External Relations Sub-Pages, State, State Comments and Testimony, Comments and Testimony, Wisconsin

ACLU North Carolina chapter files lawsuit challenging total ban on lobbyist contributions

(HT – Rick Hasen) The North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s year round ban on certain state campaign contributions from lobbyists.

Read the press release HERE and the complaint HERE.

UPDATE:  CCP Vice President Steve Hoersting blogged on some of the problems with the NC lobbyist law (and another NC law) more than two years ago. His commentary is available HERE.

Filed Under: Blog

The Money Race

Newsweek’s Andrew Romano has any interesting look at the money race in the presidential campaign. 

Read the piece by clicking HERE.

Filed Under: Blog

Center for Competitive Politics adds legal director

The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) announced today that it bolstered its legal team by hiring Reid Cox as the organization’s new legal director.

"Reid has dedicated much of his professional life to defending the Constitution and brings a wealth of experience that will aid the Center for Competitive Politics mission to protect and expand First Amendment rights," said CCP President Sean Parnell  "We are excited that he is bringing his expertise and enthusiasm to the organization."

Cox joins CCP after serving nearly 3 years in the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, where he was a trial attorney for the Employment Litigation Section. 

More after the jump.

Filed Under: Blog

Selling Out at a Discount?

Several decades ago, I recall trading "several shiny pennies" to my younger sister in return for the practically-falling-apart, tattered dollar bill she had somehow come by (when you’re an aspiring con man at age 7, 5-year olds are pretty much the only marks available). The "progressives" at Blue America PAC seem to think Democratic Rep. Chris Carney has chosen a few shiny pennies from someone else over their own cash, judging by their angry denunciations being directed at him.

We all know the basic premise of "reformers" – nasty special interests (always on the other side of the issues, of course) give heaps of cash to politicians in the form of contributions, and politicians then turn around and vote the interests of their donors.

Enter Democrat Chris Carney, fresh off a win over an incumbent Republican in a rural, somewhat conservative Pennsylvania Congressional district in 2006. A quick look at Congressman Carney’s 2006 contributor list on OpenSecrets.org reveals that ActBlue (the parent of Blue America PAC) was the leading contributor to his campaign according to how OpenSecrets classifies such things, followed by MoveOn.org. Between the two of them Carney received about $50,000.

To discover why Rep. Chris Carney is probably smarter than a 5-year old while "reformers" may not be, click on the headline above.

Filed Under: Blog

Brennan “Critiques” CCP Preliminary Research Results

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law released a critique of CCP’s preliminary results of our survey of contributors to New Jersey’s "clean elections" program in 2007.

We won’t be doing a point-by-point refutation of their analysis, in large part because most of what they raise can be answered by noting that the results we released were preliminary (a fancy word for "wait until the final report for your questions"). Some of their criticisms are essentially a matter of opinion – we’re quite skeptical of taxpayer-funded political campaigns, while they’re extremely enthused – and their conclusions are necessarily going to tilt in a different direction where there is less than perfect clarity. Fair enough.

But it’s probably worth noting a few things about their critique, which I do after the jump…

Filed Under: Blog

What if McCain got his way?

This weekend, the two presumptive presidential candidates particpated in the "Saddleback Civil Forum on the Presidency" with Pastor Rick Warren.

During the forum, Rev. Warren asked Sen. John McCain: "Which existing Supreme Court Justices would you not have nominated?"

Sen. McCain replied: "With all due respect, Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, Justice Souter, and Justice Stephens."

Some commentators have wondered whether McCain’s love of campaign finance regulation "may get in the way of nominating properly conservative judges." Does McCain’s response to Rev. Warren’s question adequately answer this concern?

Filed Under: Blog