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When “Stand By Your Ad” is Irrelevant

The FEC is currently considering alternative drafts of a new Advisory Opinion that asks whether a campaign committee receives a prohibited in-kind contribution if an incorporated television stations charges them the Lowest Unit Charge ("LUC") for advertising time when the committee is not statutorily "entitled" to the LUC because of failure to comply with the "Stand by your Ad" disclaimer requirements. 

We believe believe that this is not a prohibited in-kind contribution, for reasons CCP Chairman Brad Smith expressed while serving as a Commissioner on the FEC.  For those interested in this issue, we offer the text of Commissioner Smith’s dissent in AO 2004-43 (Missouri Broadcasters Association):

Click the headline for more.

Filed Under: Blog

And now for something completely different…

In recognition that the blog post below is a bit on the "heavy" side, and because it’s Friday, we thought our readers might appeciate something a little lighter (although still campaign related) courtesy of The Daily Show.

Click the headline for more.

Filed Under: Blog

FEC to be renamed “Ministry of Free Speech”

The term “Orwellian”, which has come to embrace a number of different definitions, sometimes crops up in the campaign finance debate.  This post considers three common definitions ("Big Brother", doublethink, and language manipulation) to see whether they accurately describes some of the problems inherent to campaign finance "reform".

Click the headline to read more.

Filed Under: Blog

A Persuasive Campaign for Coercion

Jared DeMarinis, of the Maryland State Board of Elections, has referred Governor Bob Ehrlich’s campaign to a state prosecutor because Ehrlich employed a common fundraising tactic known as the dollar-bill mailer.

Meanwhile, the reformers have a new tactic of their own.  And their latest, no less than their earlier ones, is designed to embolden “DeMarinises” everywhere.  It is the latest in the reformers’ persuasive campaign; a campaign for coercion.

Click on the title to read more.

UPDATE: More than two weeks later Maryland prosecutors determined that Ehrlich did nothing wrong.

Filed Under: Blog, Maryland

This Just In: Corruption in Politics is a Bad Thing!

Democracy 21 is up with a press release revealing that the American public does not like corrupt politicians.  Shazam!  For this you get six and seven figure dollar Pew and Carnegie Grants?  Of course the public is concerned about corruption.  The question is, does the public buy into Democracy 21’s speech squelching agenda? 

Click the headline to read more.

Filed Under: Blog

“Emboldened bloggers target financial disclosures”

CCP Chairman Brad Smith offers his thoughts on the push by bloggers for electronic filing of Senate campaign-finance reports in this article from The Hill.  Money quote:  "[F]or the most part [bloggers better] represent average citizens than the editorial page of The New York Times." 

Commissioner Smith’s own blog post on the issue can be found here.

Filed Under: Blog

Tea Leaves in Alaska and Maine: The Sup. Ct. denies cert. in two electioneering cases

The Supreme Court has denied certiorari in Alaska Right to Life v. Miles and Christian Civic League of Maine, Inc. v. FEC.

What might this mean for the future of campaign finance jurisprudence?

Click on the title to read more. 

Filed Under: Blog, Alaska, Maine

George Will: “Speechless in Seattle”

In the Oct. 9th, 2006 issue of Newsweek, George Will discusses three recent campaign finance cases, including the Seattle talk radio case, San Juan County v. No New Gas Tax, in which CCP submitted an amicus brief.  He also mentions IJ’s Parker North case, which I blogged about here.

After reviewing the cases, Will observes:

This is the America produced by “reformers” led by John McCain.  The U.S. Supreme Court, in affirming the constitutionality of the McCain-Feingold speech restrictions, advocated deference toward elected officials when they write laws regulating speech about elected officials and their deeds.  This turned the First Amendment from the foundation of robust politics into a constitutional trifle to be “balanced” against competing considerations–combating the “appearance of corruption,” or elevating political discourse or something.  As a result, attempts to use campaign regulations to silence opponents are becoming a routine part of vicious political combat.

Read the whole thing here

Filed Under: Blog, Washington

“Stand by Your Ad” Corrupts a Campaign

Thank goodness for McCain-Feingold.  Now, every candidate for federal office must end his or her ads with the statement, “I’m _________, and I approve of this ad.”  This is helpful, because undoubtedly most Americans used to think that candidates did not approve of their campaigns ads.

But the provision isn’t working, and it’s messing with the ability of candidates and voters, rather than lawyers, to determine campaign outcomes.  Click the headline for the whole story.

Filed Under: Blog, Colorado

“Election law keeps son who killed mom free”

A bizarre case out of Brazil offers an international perspective on election law.

Click the headline to read more.

Filed Under: Blog