Study: The First Amendment is a loophole

The Associated Press published a story today detailing a study released by the Center for Governmental Studies (CGS), a Los Angeles-based organization that advocates for taxpayer financed campaigns and other campaign finance regulations.

The study purports to show that, “[p]oliticians across the country keep finding ways to skirt campaign-finance laws, using ballot-measure committees and other avenues to raise millions of dollars in unregulated contributions,” according to the AP lede [newspaper speak for the first sentence/paragraph].

HoltzmanVogel’s blog post on the story pointed out the obvious: “These ‘loopholes’ are sometimes referred to as legal means of raising and spending funds for the purpose of engaging in constitutionally-protected political activity.”

Filed Under: Blog, California

No campaign finance fix in Conn. special session

Richard Winger at Ballot Access News reports that Connecticut’s special session gaveled to a close without any action on the state’s unconstitutional system of taxpayer financed campaigns:

The Connecticut legislature had a brief special session this week, but again it took no action to amend the law on public funding for candidates for state office. So, the original law will be the subject of the upcoming 2nd circuit oral argument on January 13, 2010. The U.S. District Court had invalidated the law on August 27, 2009, and the 2nd circuit is expediting the state’s appeal of that decision. But if the legislature had acted during December, 2009, that could have mooted the case, or at least mooted parts of it. The lawsuit is Green Party of Connecticut v Garfield.

Filed Under: Blog, Connecticut

Why does Wisconsin Common Cause hate Wisconsin voters?

Jay Heck, the registered lobbyist who is the Executive Director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, is really upset.

Heck and Common Cause have lobbyied long and hard to pass a bill, which they call the Impartial Justice Act, that we — like a pair of Federal courts — believe is unconstitutional based on the Supreme Court’s precedent in Davis v. Federal Election Commission. And Heck is really mad that Wisconsin Right to Life, represented by the “Big Bopper” (the indispensible Jim Bopp), and Wisconsin Judge Randy Kroschnick, represented by Steve Hoersting of the Center for Competitive Politics and Wisconsin attorney James Troupis of Michael Best & Freidrich, have filed separate lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the bill (the suits are not duplicative, raising different issues pertaining to the limits on candidates and speakers).  Merely to suggest that the bill is “unconstitutional” is, to Heck, speaking in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a “vicious” attack.

Filed Under: Blog