Kendall fumbles Fiesta Bowl argument

Doug Kendall, writing in the Huffington Post, attempts a defense of Arizona’s flawed tax financing system—without ever addressing the system itself.

As Kendall sees it, state Sen. John McComish (R-Ariz.) has two problems. First, he’s the plaintiff in McComish v. Bennett, the constitutional challenge to an Arizona law that rescues tax-funded candidates from being outspent by their traditionally-funded opponents. Second, Sen. McComish “was forced to file an amended financial disclosure report, acknowledging that he had accepted from Fiesta Bowl officials a gift of more than $500 in value involving a trip to the Big 12 Championship in Dallas in 2009, and had not disclosed this fact as required by Arizona law.”

Of course, these two things have nothing to do with each other. There are laws regulating campaign finances, and there are separate laws regulating gifts to sitting legislators. Sen. McComish’s transgression has nothing to do with campaign finance law, or the case currently before the Supreme Court. Moreover, other members of the Arizona Legislature committed the same offense despite having availed themsleves of public financing.  (You can find a sortable list of legislators who accepted tax funding here.)

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

L.A. public campaign finance law threatened

Filed Under: In the News

CCP releases tax financing poll, FENA introduced in Congress

The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) released the results of a poll on tax financed political campaigns today as a bill to subsidize congressional campaigns with government funds was re-introduced in Congress.

Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. John Larson re-introduced the “Fair Elections Now Act” (FENA) today. The bill would allow the government to provide a 4-to-1 match of contributions of $100 or less to candidates who agree to participate. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the proposed legislation April 12.

CCP’s poll found that Americans do not support tax funding for political candidates, and that the level of intensity shifts based on the wording of the question. The poll of 1,000 adults was developed in collaboration with University of Missouri professor Jeff Milyo and was conducted in October by YouGov as part of the recently released 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election Survey, a multi-university research partnership.

“Promoters of tax financed campaigns tout many supposed benefits such as increased competition, greater candidate diversity, less corruption and reduced interest group influence, but no credible research supports those claims,” said Center for Competitive Politics Vice President Allison Hayward. “Americans are leery of a billion dollar bailout for politicians based on the unproven assumptions of Washington, D.C. interest groups.”

Filed Under: External Relations Sub-Pages, Press Releases, Tax Financed Campaigns Press Release/In the News/Blog, Tax-Financing

Manhattan Institute: New Database Reveals Shareholder Proposal Trends

Filed Under: Other Resources – Corporate Governance – Manhattan Institute – Proxy Monitor Reports

Center for American Progress releases latest lame attack on Koch brothers

We’ve noted before the continuing attack against Charles and David Koch, wealthy brothers who donate generously to libertarian and limited government causes, by Common Cause and the Center for American Progress (CAP), among others.

Today the ‘Action Fund’ of CAP released the latest, and certainly a contender for lamest, installment in this crusade against the right of private citizens to support causes that are out of favor with the progressive community.

Titled The Koch Brothers: What You Need to Know About the Financiers of the Radical Right, the document (I just can’t call anything this silly a report) purports to “shed light” on donations by the Koch brothers, Koch Industries, Koch PAC, and something called the “Koch Network.” It notes that “Charles and David Koch would prefer to keep their influence behind the scenes” and credits their own efforts in ferreting out the information that “exposes” the Koch’s agenda and efforts to support that agenda.

But after reviewing the report, it’s pretty clear that it’s just a recycling of previous charges against the brothers, based on information readily available to the public.

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

CCP files brief in Colo. case

Yesterday CCP, with the capable help of our friends at Patton Boggs, filed an amicus curiae brief with the Colorado Supreme Court, in Colorado Ethics Watch v. Senate Majority Fund. In this case, the CEW is urging the state to follow one of several legal innovations in their continuing effort to end run recent campaign finance decisions.

The particular technique CEW advocates is the conflation of “express advocacy” and “the functional equivalent of express advocacy”—then taking this new vague standard and making it the test for political committee status. Thus a 527 group engaged in electioneering (and reporting the same), but not express advocacy, will under CEW’s approach become a political committee, if the electioneering is deemed the “functional equivalent” of express advocacy. 

What’s that, you ask?  Well…  If CEW had its way, the analysis would include subjective intent and contextual factors.  Isn’t that contrary to Buckley v. Valeo? Yes. Did the Court revise that express advocacy analysis when it wrote McConnell v. FEC or Wisconsin Right to Life? The Colorado Court of Appeals didn’t think so. Neither has the Fourth Circuit, a federal district judge in Utah, or a state judge in Arizona. Neither do we.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a fun argument without some nay-sayers. CEW can find some company in the weird staff analysis generated on this point by the staff at the California FPPC. One hopes the Colorado Supreme Court will see this implausible minority position for what it is, and uphold the ruling of the court of appeals.

Filed Under: Blog, Colorado

Court weighing limits on speech

Filed Under: In the News

Obama FEC Filing Confirms No Public Funds for Re-Election

Filed Under: In the News

Carey v. FEC Complete Documents

District Court (DC) (11-259) Defendant Federal Election Commission’s Answer (4/1/11) [PDF; 10 pages] Plaintiff’s Reply Memorandum in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction (3/28/11) [PDF; 29 pages] Federal Election Commission’s Memorandum in Opposition to Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction (3/7/11) [PDF; 49 pages] Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction (1/31/11) [PDF; 45 pages] Complaint (1/31/11) [PDF; 68 pages]

Filed Under: Carey v. FEC, Legal, All CCP Legal Documents, Carey v. FEC, Completed Cases (Filings), Completed Cases (Litigation), Completed Cases (Opinions), Filings, Litigation, Opinions

Reforming The Electoral College: Federalism, Majoritarianism, And The Perils of Sub-Constitutional Change

In this paper, Norman R. Williams, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Law and Government at Willamette University, explores the efforts of opponents of the Electoral College to secure passage of the National Popular Vote Compact (NPVC). If passed by enough states amounting to a majority of electoral votes, the NPVC would go into effect, ensuring the election of our President by the national popular vote. Williams argues that the NPVC is an unnecessary and dangerous reform that could have disastrous consequences for our republic. He points out that the NPVC has huge flaws that could make electoral “misfires” much more common, risking a broken electoral system. Through his research, Williams makes it clear that the NPVC is a sub-constitutional agreement that risks the integrity of the Constitution and should be rejected.

Filed Under: Electoral College, Research, national popular vote, npv, Electoral College, Electoral College