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Coverage of Senate hearing on FEC nominations

CCP chairman Bradley Smith was quoted in various news accounts of the Senate Rules Committee hearing to consider nominees to the FEC.

 Click HERE for the Washington Post article and HERE for a longer article from The Hill.

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“In defense of lobbying”

This morning, USA Today published a column by Rutgers University political science professor Ross Baker "in defense of lobbying."

The piece begins "This country’s Founders actually set up a system to encourage the petitioning of government. And yes, like it or not, that means lobbyists have the same claims to the First Amendment as our free press does."

Click on the headline for more highlights of the column.

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Go, exercise your First Amendment rights, maybe

Back in January, CCP wrote about a California church, All Saints, that was under investigation by the IRS for potentially violating the tax code when its pastor, Reverend George Regas, delivered a sermon two days before the 2004 presidential election in which he imagined Jesus participating in a debate with John Kerry and George Bush.

At the time, CCP predicted that "All Saints [probably won't] lose its tax-exempt status, but it is a mistake to conclude [as a USA Today editorial did] that All Saints has suffered no consequences.  All Saints has been incurring legal bills in connection with this investigation since 2004.  And thanks to the hopelessly abstruse ‘facts and circumstances test’ used by the IRS to evaluate political intervention, it is unlikely that the conclusion of the investigation will leave All Saints with any better idea of how to avoid investigation in the future, other than to avoid all discussion of political issues."

Click the headline to find out if we were right.

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Hearing on FEC nominations

This morning at 10:00 AM, the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration will consider the nominations of Steven Walther, David Mason, Robert Lenhard, and Hans von Spakovsky to be members of the Federal Election Commission.

You can watch the hearing live by clicking HERE.

UPDATE:

The Committee passed all four nominees out of committee without recommendation.

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WSJ: In defense of the New York Times

This morning, the Wall Street Journal weighed in with a must read editorial on the MoveOn.org and DailyKos "controversies."

Click HERE to read the editorial.

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Campaigning for charity

The Associated Press reports an innovative charity fundraiser that involves bidding on access to Elizabeth Edwards on the campaign trail.

Click the headline for more.

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Quote of the Day: The New York Times Comes Out Against Campaign Finance Reform

1:07 p.m.

“If we’re going to err, it’s better to err on the side of more political dialogue. … Perhaps we did err in this case. If we did, we erred with the intent of giving greater voice to people.”

        -Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., publisher of the New York Times.

 We’re glad to see that the Times has finally decided to stand up for free speech in the political arena.

Instant Update (1:08 p.m): We’re told Sulzberger was describing why his paper accepted MoveOn.org’s "General Betray Us" ad despite the papers policy against accepting ads that constitute "personal attacks," not it’s policy toward the First Amendment.  Nevermind.

More lengthy commentary on the Times’ problem – it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy" – can be found here.

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More Dirt in “Clean Elections”

Proponents of government-financed elections like to claim that government-financing will help "clean up" politics.  Opponents counter by arguing, among other things, that government-financing is a waste of taxpayer money.

In Maine, the case of former state representative William Walcott provides insight into which side is right.

Click the headline for more.

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Dan Rather’s Sues CBS – Some Questions for Campaign Finance Reform?

Dan Rather’s lawsuit against CBS News and its corporate owner Viacom raises some serious questions about why campaign finance laws should exempt the institutional press.  In fact, the arguments for regulating paid political advertising and campaign contributions apply equally to regulating CBS News.  Can we survive, with a meaningful First Amendment, under such a legal regime?  Click the headline for more.

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Soul mates find love through Obama giving program?

The Hotline reports on a new fundraising program being rolled out by Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

The program encourages individuals to contribute money by knowing that their donation will be matched by another supporter who agreed to match that amount.

Click the headline for more.

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