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A broken record keeps on playing

Democracy 21 highlights on their website a Bloomberg News article that regurgitates the dubious arguments of those who advocate ever tightening campaign finance and speech regulations.

The article begins by comparing the amount of money that the U.S. spends per capita on elections with other industrialized nations and laments the thought that the 2008 election cycle could top $5 billion.  "It isn’t clear that we have any comparative advantage from all this freedom to spend money," concludes Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institute.

Fred Wertheimer adds that the election is a spending "arms race" in which "reality disappears, paranoia reigns as you just try to top the other guy."

Click the headline for more.

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Brad Smith on Cam and Company

CCP chairman Brad Smith will be a guest on Sirius Satellite Radio’s "Cam and Company" tonight at 10:20.

You can listen to the webcast live by clicking HERE.

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Millionaire’s Amendment

The so-called "millionaire’s amendment" took center stage today with a NY Times article detailing efforts by the GOP to find candidates with the ability to self-finance.

The Times noted that "a 2002 rule known as the millionaires’ amendment has tended to discourage wealthy candidates from pouring large sums into their own campaigns early on. The rule raises campaign contribution ceilings to candidates whose opponents spend large amounts of their own money."

But former House candidate Jack Davis is challenging the constitutionality of the "millionaire’s amendment." Davis’s challenge has caught the eye of both Bob Bauer and George Will.

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“Hollywood stars mum on donations to GOP”

CCP has often worried about the chilling impact that disclosure requirements can have on political speech.  Today, we find out that perhaps nowhere is that impact more deeply felt than in Hollywood.

Andrew Breitbart, author of Hollywood Interrupted, told the Washington Times that celebrities "learn very quickly, if they know what’s good for them, to donate to the Democratic Party.  If they were to donate to the Republican Party, they would be exposed to career-ending ridicule, period."

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Missouri State Senator: Donor limits need removal,

Missouri Senate Majority Leader Charlie Shields announced yesterday that he is interested in pushing a campaign finance system without contribution limits in the next legislative session.

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The Censor’s Torch: Lessons from Anthony Comstock and Justice O’Connor

The desire to censor that which offends, embarrasses, or angers us is natural and has existed as long as man has had the power and inclination to silence his fellow man.  However, once unleashed, the censor’s torch may be difficult to extinguish and may even rage out of control.  This danger is manifested today in the speech and actions of the campaign finance “reformers.”

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Randolph decision

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has issued its decision in California Pro-Life Council v. Liane Randolph.

The decision can be read by clicking HERE.

The court concluded "that California has demonstrated the existence of a compelling governmental interest and that the PRA’s definition of ‘contribution’ is narrowly tailored to promote its compelling informational interest. However, California has failed to demonstrate how the additional political committee-like requirements are narrowly tailored to advance its compelling governmental interest."

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A victory for fishermen and free speech

The Hawaii Campaign Spending Commission, citing the Supreme Court’s WRTL decision, dismissed a complaint today against several fishermen who had taken out advertisements in Hawaii newspapers two days before the 2006 elections.

The ruling should also offer an important lesson to public officials everywhere – don’t disparage the political activism of fishermen.

Click the headline for more.

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Campaign finance laws so complex even state political parties can’t comply

The Institute for Justice released a study this week that details the hurdles that campaign finance laws present to ordinary citizens.  The study found that most citizens find campaign finance disclosure laws to be virtually incomprehensible.

But its not just ordinary citizens that find campaign finance laws incomprehsible - state political parties find it increasingly difficult to comply with all the campaign finance laws.

Click the headline for more.

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NJ “clean elections”: no proof of increased competitiveness

CCP compared electoral competitiveness in New Jersey between "traditional" fundraising districts and districts particpating in the "clean elections" pilot project.

The results indicate that government financing does not guarantee more competitive elections and by many measures can result in less competitive elections.

Click HERE to see the results.

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