A simple question

From today’s Politico by Ken Vogel:

“[Campaign finance] watchdogs have … [become] increasingly disenchanted with [Obama’s] record on campaign finance issues.

“Obama broke a promise to participate in a Watergate-era public funding system designed to reduce the role of fundraising in presidential elections, becoming the first presidential candidate to refuse the public funds on his way to raising a record-shattering $750 million, and – many observers believe – ensuring future presidential candidates also bypass the system.”

QUESTION: Is there anyone who thinks any of the country’s current problems are caused by Barack Obama’s decision not to accept government financing in last year’s campaign?

Filed Under: Blog

State high court says campaign donations can’t force recusals

Filed Under: In the News

FEC puts Obama in a bind

Filed Under: In the News

SpeechNow.org consolidated

The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an order yesterday consolidating a preliminary injunction appeal with an en banc review of the merits of SpeechNow.org v. FEC.

The Center for Competitive Politics and the Institute for Justice are representing SpeechNow.org in its challenge of the constitutionality of FEC regulations of independent groups.

Last year, a federal judge denied a preliminary injunction request by SpeechNow.org that would have allowed it to avoid burdensome FEC regulations, including contribution limits. Last month, a federal appeals court ruled certain FEC regulations, including contribution limits, cannot apply to independent political groups in EMILY’s List v. FEC. EMILY’s List, however, already had a PAC; a favorable ruling in SpeechNow.org would broaden political free speech rights for groups across the spectrum, especially independent citizen activist organizations.

Filed Under: Blog

CCP submits comments for judicial recusal hearing

The Center for Competitive Politics has submitted comments with the Wisconsin Supreme Court in advance of a Wednesday hearing on judicial recusal rules.

“The recent Supreme Court ruling on judicial recusal stressed its limited impact and scope,” said Center for Competitive Politics Research Director Laura Renz. “Wisconsin should not overreach by crafting recusal standards that go far beyond what the Supreme Court has required, chilling free speech in the process.”

Filed Under: External Relations Press Releases, External Relations Sub-Pages, Federal, Federal Press Releases and Blogs, Press Releases, State, State Press Releases and Blogs

Senator Feingold completely loses track of reality

Skeptics of so-called campaign finance “reform” are used to a certain degree of hysteria, hyperbole, hokum, hypocrisy, and half truths coming from the “reform” community. Much of it simply boils down to the “reformers” unrealistic view of money in politics, although lurking under much of what the campaign finance “reform” community wants is a clear desire to silence and limit the free speech of those Americans who do not share their other political priorities and perspectives.

But today’s column by Elizabeth Newlin Carney of National Journal, “A World Without Rules,” is exceptional in the degree to which it shows “reformers” to have completely abandoned reality and the ability to think in a coherent fashion, and are simply attempting to inspire panic amongst the American public at the idea that a corporation or union might speak up in a campaign.

Filed Under: Blog

The role of an FEC Commissioner, and the preposterous line of the Campaign Legal Center

The Campaign Legal Center published a curious post on its blog, curious because it so fundamentally misunderstands the role of administrative agencies, and those appointed to administer them.

The CLC, like most of the regulatory community, is quite dismayed by the D.C. Court of Appeals decision in EMILY’s List v. FEC, and is now dismayed by the FEC’s decision not request an en banc hearing at the Court of Appeals. Those are both fair positions to take. It’s the CLC’s excoriation of the commissioners who voted against requesting an en banc hearing that demonstrates a gross misunderstanding of the structure of our Constitution and the role of independent agencies. 

CLC begins by declaring that the commissioner are in “gross dereliction of their duties,” and argue that the commissioners have an “obligation …to defend the agency’s regulations, and to seek en banc and/or Supreme Court review.” What?

Filed Under: Blog

Democracy 21 and EMILY’s List — in and out of love

Poor Fred Wertheimer.  The man otherwise known as “Democracy 21” is upset by the decision of the Federal Election Commission not to pursue an almost certainly futile, en banc appeal in EMILY’s List v. FEC, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held last month that regulations of the Federal Election Commission governing the solicitation of campaign contributions and the speech of independent, non-party organizations violated both the FEC’s statutory authority and the Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees.  According to Fred Democracy 21, “the three Republicans have voted to keep in place an extreme and overbroad decision by the panel that declared important FEC regulations unconstitutional.” This is part of  “their pattern of doing everything they can to emasculate the nation’s campaign finance enforcement agency and thereby to emasculate the nation’s campaign finance laws.” That was yesterday.

But back when the FEC passed these very regulations, however, Wertheimer told the Los Angeles Times that the regulations “wouldn’t stop soft-money groups ‘from blatantly violating the federal campaign finance laws.'” So, apparently the regulations won’t stop “blatant violations of the federal campaign finance laws,” but their being struck down by a unanimous Court of Appeals will “emasculate the nation’s campaign finance laws.”

We’re beginning to think that poor Mr. Wertheimer has an urequited man crush on some of the FEC Commissioners.

Filed Under: Blog

FEC decides not to seek en banc appeal in EMILY’s List case

The Federal Election Commission today voted not to seek an en banc rehearing in Emily’s List v. FEC.

We think this decision is clearly correct for a host of reasons.  To read more, and catch links to commissioners’ statements, click the headline to go behind the fold.

Filed Under: Blog

CCP comments in advace of Wis. hearing on judicial recusal

Though it’s unlikely that the Wisconsin State Supreme Court’s upcoming hearing on judicial recusal standards will receive widespread attention, the new rules being discussed have important and potentially dangerous ramifications for First Amendment protections in judicial elections.

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