Los Angeles Times: Taxpayers’ group sues Gov. Brown to overturn law allowing public financing of campaigns (In the News)

By Patrick McGreevy
A taxpayer group has filed a lawsuit against Gov. Jerry Brown that seeks to invalidate a new law that will allow public funds to be used for political campaigning.
The lawsuit was filed in Sacramento Superior Court by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. The legal challenge says that a law signed by Brown in September that allows cities and counties to use public financing for political campaigns violates Proposition 73, which voters approved in 1988 and prohibits public funds from being used in campaigns.
“It runs directly contrary to the expressed language of the Political Reform Act,” Jon Coupal, president of the association, said on Tuesday. He said the law cannot be changed without another vote of the people.

Filed Under: In the News, In the News Our Cases

More Soft Money Hard Law: The White House Counsel and Donald Trump (In the News)

By Bob Bauer
There is a long history of congressional pressure for the appointment of Commissioners with dependable perspectives on the constitutional limits of regulation and the reasonableness of specific statutory interpretations… Republicans even before McGahn have strongly favored more permissive readings of the rules, more insistence on what they judged to be the constitutional limits.
And the Republican party and its congressional leaders could be fierce in advancing their positions. They pressed successfully for the nomination of one Commissioner who wrote a book expressing the view that the 1970’s federal campaign finance reforms were in material respects, in both design and enforcement, incompatible with the First Amendment…
And during the period of McGahn’s tenure, he had the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence running in his direction. This was a Court, after all, that in Citizens United endorsed the dark view, expressed by Justice Kennedy for the majority at the time, that the FEC exercises “power analogous to licensing laws implemented in 16th- and 17th-century England, laws and governmental practices of the sort that the First Amendment was drawn to prohibit.” 558 U.S. 310, 335 (2010).

Filed Under: Brad Smith, In the News

Daily Media Links 12/16: Democratic donors call for Clinton campaign post-mortem, Vindication for Citizens United, and more…

In the News   More Soft Money Hard Law: The White House Counsel and Donald Trump By Bob Bauer There is a long history of congressional pressure for the appointment of Commissioners with dependable perspectives on the constitutional limits of regulation and the reasonableness of specific statutory interpretations… Republicans even before McGahn have strongly favored more […]

Filed Under: Daily Media Links

Courthouse News Service: Taxpayer Group Fights California Political Reform (In the News)

By Nick Cahill
Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1107 on Sept. 9, eliminating a longstanding, voter-approved ban on public financing of local campaigns. While the bill breezed through the Legislature, its critics have not quieted down.
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and a former judge sued the governor on Monday, claiming that changes to the Political Reform Act require voter approval…
“We think this is a pretty clear violation of the [state] constitution,” said Anthony Caso, plaintiffs’ attorney. “Any actions taken to enforce this are going to be an illegal expenditure of taxpayer money.”
Political law attorney Chuck Bell and Allen Dickerson with the Center for Competitive Politics also represent the plaintiffs.
he taxpayer association and Quentin Kopp, a former state senator and retired San Mateo County Superior Court judge, request an injunction to stop the amendments from taking effect on Jan. 1. They want SB 1107 ruled invalid and sent to voters on a statewide ballot.

Filed Under: Allen Dickerson, hjta v Brown, In the News, In the News Our Cases

Time: The Forgotten Tool in Donald Trump’s ‘Drain the Swamp’ Effort (In the News)

By Dave Levinthal/CPI
Donald Trump panned “pay-to-play” politics, blasted “rigged” elections and vowed to “drain the swamp” that is Washington, D.C.
But Trump has so far forsaken the very government agency Congress created after Watergate to work as the nation’s campaign season Roto-Rooter.
The Federal Election Commission’s six commissioners, including the agency’s three Republicans, say neither Trump nor his transition team has contacted them…
And, save for Ravel, all of the FEC commissioners’ six-year terms have expired. But they continue to serve, because no law compels them to leave, and their authority remains the same. Come April, Weintraub will have served 10 years past her term’s expiration date, Walther eight years. Petersen’s term ended nearly six years ago, Hunter’s term four years ago.
“Congress has limited commissioners to one six-year term, and that was precisely because at the time many commissioners had been there for many years,” said Brad Smith, a former Republican FEC chairman who now leads the Center for Competitive Politics, which favors campaign deregulation. “Clearly, Congress did not want commissioners being there forever.”

Filed Under: Brad Smith, In the News, Quotes CCP

Daily Media Links 12/15: Today Is Bill of Rights Day, Trump urged to tackle campaign finance in ‘swamp draining,’ and more…

In the News Washington Post: Don McGahn was one of the most principled members of the FEC By Bradley A. Smith Federal Election Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub’s attack on former FEC commissioner Donald F. McGahn was misleading [“A disquieting pick for White House counsel,” op-ed, Dec. 11]. Ms. Weintraub claimed Mr. McGahn said, “I’m not enforcing […]

Filed Under: Daily Media Links

Issue One Launches Plan to “Return Government to the American People” By Empowering Government

On Wednesday morning, the self-styled campaign finance “reform” group Issue One hosted an event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. The event, entitled “Returning Government to the People,” was billed as the launch of a new policy initiative to further regulate our campaign finance system. Several members of the press were in attendance […]

Filed Under: Amending Press Release/In the News/Blog, Amending the Constitution, Blog, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Press Release/In the News/Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, External Relations Sub-Pages, Issues, Money in Politics, Connie Morella, Dan Glickman, Issue One, Ray LaHood, Tim Roemer, Zach Wamp

Daily Media Links 12/14: Citizens Union sues Cuomo, Schneiderman, JCOPE over disclosure requirements, City Council Rushes Through Campaign Finance Bills, and more…

CCP Massachusetts Businesses and Labor Unions Are Entitled to the Same Free Speech Rights By Joe Albanese The ability of businesses and unions to participate in electoral politics has long been a contentious topic, particularly in the years since Citizens United v. FEC, which struck down a federal ban on independent expenditures from those entities, […]

Filed Under: Daily Media Links

Washington Post: Don McGahn was one of the most principled members of the FEC (In the News)

By Bradley A. Smith
Federal Election Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub’s attack on former FEC commissioner Donald F. McGahn was misleading [“A disquieting pick for White House counsel,” op-ed, Dec. 11]. Ms. Weintraub claimed Mr. McGahn said, “I’m not enforcing the law as Congress passed it. I plead guilty as charged.” However, the article containing that quote noted, “McGahn’s admission of ‘guilt,’ however, came with a catch: He argued that it wasn’t his job to enforce this law as Congress passed it. Instead, he said, the commission’s job was to enforce the law as it’s been upheld by the judicial branch of government.”
Mr. McGahn made an important and correct point: The Supreme Court has ruled that many campaign finance laws are unconstitutional. If Mr. McGahn had said he would “ignore decisions of the Supreme Court,” he would face just and vociferous criticism.

Filed Under: Brad Smith, In the News, Published Articles

Massachusetts Businesses and Labor Unions Are Entitled to the Same Free Speech Rights

The ability of businesses and unions to participate in electoral politics has long been a contentious topic, particularly in the years since Citizens United v. FEC. That decision struck down a federal ban on independent expenditures from those entities, but not a ban on direct donations from businesses and unions to candidates and parties (those […]

Filed Under: Blog, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits Press Release/In the News/Blog, Contribution Limits State, Issues, Buckley v. Valeo, Goldwater Institute, Kentucky, Massachusetts