Fourth Circuit Upholds Ban on Corporate Contributions in Danielczyk

While every other attorney in the country is reading the lengthy opinion regarding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, we at CCP offer a much shorter opinion that directly impacts Americans’ political speech rights. Today, in the case of United States v. Danielczyk, the Fourth Circuit upheld the Federal government’s direct ban on corporate […]

Filed Under: Blog, Completed Case, Featured Content, Litigation Blog/Press Releases, United States v. Danielczyk Other Links, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, corporate contributions, Danielczyk

The Supremacy Clause. It’s a Thing.

Today, in two paragraphs, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge by the state of Montana to blithely ignore the Court’s holding in Citizens United. For centuries, from Marbury v. Madison to this case, the Supreme Court has consistently held that its interpretation of the Constitution is supreme and final over state courts. After all, the United States […]

Filed Under: Blog, Completed Case, Litigation Blog/Press Releases, Western Tradition Partnership v. Bullock Other Links, Montana, Supremacy Clause, Supreme Court, Montana

The Anniversary of SpeechNow.org and the Rise of the Super PAC

Citizens United gets all of the attention: the protests, the whole being called the “Dred Scott of our generation” thing. But if you really think that super PACs are the root of all evil, then you ought to take your attention elsewhere. All Citizens United permitted was corporate or union independent expenditures. Under Citizens United, as long as it did […]

Filed Under: Blog, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Featured Content, Super PACs, free speech, incumbents, SpeechNow.org, super PAC, District Of Columbia

Lessig’s Corruption Conundrum

Yesterday, Professor Lawrence Lessig went on Bloomberg Law to discuss his new e-book, One Way Forward. It was a pretty surreal interview. Professor Lessig said the real problem with campaign finance was corruption. Not the corruption that could be punished under any existing statute, of course, but what he referred to as “legal corruption.” And what is “legal […]

Filed Under: Blog, Super PACs, District Of Columbia, New York

In Defense of Millionaires

In 1996, Bob Dole won the Iowa caucuses and the South Carolina primary, ending the race for the Republican nomination. Dole’s candidacy was backed by Establishment figures, Establishment money, and was the best organized and best staffed. While Dole’s campaign inspired little ardor outside of mistaken pineapple enthusiasts, it more than made up for this […]

Filed Under: Blog, Featured Content, Super PACs, Bob Dole, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, First Amendment, super PAC, super PACs

The Anniversary of Citizens United

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Today, you will hear a lot about the so-called corrosive […]

Filed Under: Blog, Featured Content, Money in Politics, Super PACs, anniversary, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, Stephen Colbert, super PACs

FEC Investigations are No Joke

Last night, The Colbert Report and The Daily Show continued their on-going gag involving the “Definitely Not Coordinating With Stephen Colbert Super PAC”. We’ve embedded the clip below, where Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (with call-in legal advice from former FEC Commissioner Trevor Potter) get as close to the line of “not coordinating” as humanly […]

Filed Under: Blog, Featured Content, Super PACs, Colbert, coordination, Stewart, super PAC

Phone Lines are Open

Campaign-related speech is more than just contribution limits and donor disclosure statutes.  Right now, a case is before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on the merits of a state law banning political campaigns from making so-called auto-dialed calls, or “robocalls.”

We’re all familiar with robocalls, those annoying recorded missives from national politicians urging us to cast a vote for Local Candidate X.  Of course, the Head On commercials are annoying too, and nobody is talking about prohibiting those…

 

Filed Under: Blog

Florida: Where the First Amendment Goes to Die: Part I-Contribution Limits

For most of us, Florida brings images of flamingos, mojitos, good fishing, and retirement.  For those of us defending the First Amendment, Florida is a constitutional wasteland.  In a good faith effort to regulate campaign finance, Florida has managed to build a system that, nigh-wholly root and branch, cannot exist in concert with the First Amendment.  This post is the first in a series analyzing the constitutional deficiencies of Florida’s regulations. 

In 2006, the Supreme Court held that Vermont’s contribution limits were so low  that were actively styming effective political competition and de facto suppressing the speech of political challengers.  The dollar amount considered too small? $400 for the governor’s race.  In Florida, a state with a population of 18.5 million, or about 30 times the size of Vermont, the maximum contribution to a statewide candidate in a primary or general election campaign is a paltry $500. 

 

Filed Under: Blog

Stifling speech – This Time in Court

In their aptly-titled piece “Silencing a Watchdog,” Anthony J. Franze and R. Stanton Jones of Arnold & Porter denounce the government’s effort to block the filing of an amicus brief by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). Long story short: CREW does not buy the government’s case against John Edwards. The government argues that asking wealthy friends for cash to keep Rielle Hunter quiet was the same as accepting contributions exceeding the legal limits. And the government doesn’t want CREW’s dissenting arguments being made in court.

Amicus briefs (sometimes called ‘friend of the court briefs’) allow third parties to chime in on issues before a court.  Usually, these briefs point out other rationales or introduce new evidence that the parties may have missed or chosen not to argue. Amicus briefs ensure that the court gets a 360-degree view of the issues, and understands the full ramifications of a decision.  For example, CCP recently filed an amicus brief before the Ninth Circuit, arguing against contribution limits for recall committees, but using a different rationale from that argued by the appellee.

Because amicus briefs can be so helpful, most courts have a very permissive attitude toward permitting amici to file.  CREW is a frequent filer (often on behalf of the government); and their amicus brief in the Edwards case presents a compelling argument that the government’s novel case is simply bunk.  

 

Filed Under: Blog