Self-Styled Campaign Finance “Reformers” Jump the Shark

Self-Styled Campaign Finance “Reformers” Jump the Shark Ten Stunts, Antics, and Exploits That Show Many Anti-Free Speech Activists Have Lost It By Luke Wachob Introduction What do activists do when the government isn’t prioritizing their cause? What does the head of a federal agency do when she doesn’t get her way? What do “good government” […]

Filed Under: Amending Press Release/In the News/Blog, Amending the Constitution, Blog, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Enforcement, Faulty Assumptions, FEC, First Amendment, Issues, Money in Politics, Research, Super PACs, Super PACs, "John Doe", Ann Ravel, Democracy Spring, Doug Hughes, ellen weintraub, federal election commission, Gyrocopter, Larry Lessig, Mayday PAC, Udall Amendment, Zephyr Teachout, Enforcement, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Enforcement, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Super PACs, Wisconsin

Should Candidates Have Control Over Who Can Speak About Elections?

Unsuccessful candidates often blame their loss on an opponent’s spending. Sometimes those complaints are lodged at better-funded candidates, sometimes at the media, and other times at independent groups. So it is with Zephyr Teachout, whose main takeaway from the 2016 election, apparently, is that people talked about it too much. After losing to Republican John […]

Filed Under: Blog, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Issues, Money in Politics, Super PACs, John Faso, Zephyr Teachout, New York

Super PAC Funding Comes Overwhelmingly from Individuals, Again

Data from the 2016 election continues to undermine a key prediction made by critics of Citizens United in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s famous 2010 ruling. Once again, super PACs are being funded overwhelmingly by citizens, not corporations. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, “A study by the Conference Board’s Committee for Economic […]

Filed Under: Blog, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Issues, Money in Politics, Super PACs, Alan Grayson, Buckley v. Valeo, Committee for Economic Development, President Obama, SpeechNow.org v. FEC, The Conference Board, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal

What would happen if the media talked about itself the way it talks about “dark money” groups?

A shadowy organization based in Washington, D.C., recently spent an undisclosed sum attempting to swing elections in far-off places such as South Dakota and California. Due to a loophole in campaign finance law, this spending does not have to be reported to the Federal Election Commission. That means the public will never know who is […]

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, Dark Money, federal election commission, The Washington Post, California, Maryland, Missouri, South Dakota, Washington

Washington Examiner: Shield your free speech (In the News)

By Luke Wachob
The Founding Fathers knew a thing or two about freedom of speech. One, free speech is essential to a flourishing democracy. Two, it can only serve that vital role when speakers are free from retaliation…
With the internet, it’s easier than ever to access and weaponize information about someone’s views on controversial issues. Opinions in the mainstream today may seem radical decades later, but public records of your contributions will live online forever. In a country where civic engagement is on the decline – 2014 saw the lowest voter turnout in 70 years – the threat of an internet mob attacking you, your family, or your business is one more reason to stay silent.
Fortunately, we can roll back this culture of intimidation by taking a page from the Founding Fathers and the civil rights movement. They recognized that if supporters of causes could be bullied into silence, speech could not play its crucial role of challenging the establishment and driving social progress. Let’s vow not only to protect the First Amendment, but also to protect the privacy that keeps speech free.

Filed Under: In the News, Luke Wachob, Published Articles

Heritage Foundation Event Highlights Donor Privacy, CCP Cases

Attacks on donor privacy are increasingly seen as one of the foremost threats to free speech in America, if a Thursday event at the Heritage Foundation is any indication. The conservative think tank brought in four speakers to address assaults on the First Amendment ranging from infringements on religious liberty to university speech codes to […]

Filed Under: Blog, CCP v. Harris Other Links, Delaware Strong Families v. Biden Other Links, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, IRS and the Tea Party, Issues, Bradley A. Smith, Cleta Mitchell, Don McGahn, Donor Privacy, Hans A. von Spakovsky, Robert Alt, The Heritage Foundation, U.S. Supreme Court, CCP v. Harris, Delaware Strong Families v. Biden, California, Delaware, Montana, Wisconsin

Donor Privacy Frees Groups to Criticize Government

MapLight, an organization that advocates for tax-financed campaigns and stricter disclosure laws, published an analysis of presidential primary ads last week that inadvertently bolsters the case for donor privacy. Amusingly, the folks at MapLight appear to be unaware of this irony. MapLight reported that in the 2016 presidential primaries – in 23 media markets spanning […]

Filed Under: Blog, Disclosure, Disclosure Press Release/In the News/Blog, Money in Politics, Super PACs, 2016 Presidential Primary, attack ads, Dark Money, Donald Trump, MapLight, Marco Rubio, Florida

Melania Trump Controversy Shows the Silliness of Campaign Finance Laws

The controversy over Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention – well, one of them anyway – is a reminder that much of the debate over campaign finance regulation has nothing to do with preventing corruption. An employee of the Trump Organization, Meredith McIver, wrote the speech, leading many in the pro-regulation community to suspect […]

Filed Under: Blog, corporate contributions, corruption, Donald Trump, Melania Trump, Meredith McIver, Republican National Convention

Doublespeak in Reformland

CCP President David Keating recently noted that opponents of free speech in campaigns have corrupted the term “corruption.” It’s not alone. They also have trouble with “partisan.” The office of Congressman John Sarbanes put out a press release last week hyping House Democrats’ proposals to expand campaign finance and voting rights laws. The release says, […]

Filed Under: Blog, Disclose Act, Doublespeak, FEC, Representative John Sarbanes

Senate’s Attacks on Dissent Continue

Internal emails obtained yesterday by The Washington Free Beacon brought to light a coordinated campaign by Democratic lawmakers and allied environmental groups to attack nonprofits opposed to climate change legislation. The emails detail a plan in which 19 Democratic Senators were assigned specific nonprofits to call out and criticize in speeches made on the chamber […]

Filed Under: Blog, IRS and the Tea Party, "John Doe", ALEC, climate change, Dick Durbin, sheldon whitehouse, The Intimidation Game, The Washington Free Beacon, Wisconsin