Legal challenges involving political campaigns or elections present some of the most difficult, high-profile, and time-sensitive matters to come before federal courts. They also may test the bounds of judicial independence and the appearance of impartiality. Their consequences are often far-reaching. A panel of three distinguished election law experts will participate in a conversation to help navigate through this thicket. They will discuss perennial issues arising in election law, such as the Voting Rights Act, redistricting, and the regulation of money in politics. They also will tackle several more recent hot topics, including voter fraud, voter suppression and protection, the regulation of micro-targeting, the Purcell principle (relating to court-ordered changes shortly before an election), the Electoral College, faithless electors, and foreign interference with U.S. elections.
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit: Public Confidence in the Election Process (Video)
By Jena McGregor
The report released Tuesday, by the nonpartisan Center for Political Accountability and researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research, creates an index that ranks companies based on the disclosure, oversight and policies about their election-related spending…
The study ranks companies based on the information they provide on their web sites about factors such as payments to super PACs and tax-exempt organizations like 501(c)(4)s, whether or not senior managers or board members oversee political spending and activities, and what kind of policies they outline for how and where money can be spent…
One critic of the index is the Center for Competitive Politics’ Brad Smith, a former Federal Election Commission chair who says much political spending by corporations is already disclosed and that the index is a “one-size-fits-all” model that does not necessarily have corporations’ best interests at heart. He suggests those behind the index “tend to think corporate involvement is a bad thing — they want to get corporations not to participate. But most Americans, I think, believe corporations do have a role to play in terms of politics.”
Daily Caller: Is Facebook Using Foreign Influence As An Excuse To Censor Conservatives? (In the News)
By Michael Thielen
Political speech is rightly entitled to the highest level of protection under the First Amendment, as freedom to discuss political views and criticize the government form the foundation of our constitutional system of government.
Foreign persons and entities are completely prohibited from making contributions or spending money related to any federal, state, or local election in the U.S. …
In Congress, Democrats have recently introduced the DISCLOSE Act of 2017 aimed at “reforming” the FEC to give it greater power to restrict speech and enacting more burdensome requirements on political speech. While this proposal is couched in the currently popular language about foreign interference in our elections, it is just a recycled version of legislation introduced annually since Citizens United was decided in 2010, as a barely disguised and unconstitutional effort to overturn it…
While we may resent many attempts at interference in our elections, it is more of a foreign policy matter than a campaign finance or disclosure matter. But what we cannot do is allow this resentment to fuel so-called reforms that clearly infringe upon Americans’ right or ability to engage in political speech.
Filed Under: In the News
By Edward Graham
Bradley Smith, a former Republican FEC chairman and the current chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics, cautioned against a rush to impose new disclosure requirements that might limit First Amendment rights before understanding the extend of foreign involvement in the presidential election.
Smith added that current federal law already requires disclaimers for paid ads supporting or opposing candidates, including those online – although he said there are exemptions for smaller campaign items, like bumper stickers and small internet ads like Google search advertisements.
“I think we need to be careful about what the response should be, making changes that we can make that are effective,” Smith said in a Wednesday phone interview. “But we should realize that, if this is really a case of the Russian government involved, this is something in which the FEC and campaign finance disclosures have a really small role to play. It’s really something for counterintelligence operations or the Department of Justice.”
An FEC spokesperson would not comment on Klobuchar and Warner’s legislative efforts, but pointed to the commission’s vote at its Sept. 14 open meeting to reopen the comment period on proposed rulemaking on internet disclaimers for an additional 30 days.