Quotes CCP

Daily Signal: Judge Warns 9th Circuit’s Use of Trump Campaign Pledge ‘Judicial Psychoanalysis’ (In the News)

By Fred Lucas
A federal judge is raising an alarm about “judicial psychoanalysis” resulting from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling on President Donald Trump’s executive order…
Applying campaign statements when interpreting law “sows chaos,” said Judge Alex Kozinski, who has been on the 9th Circuit since 1985, in his dissent…
The 9th Circuit majority cited three Supreme Court cases displaying precedent that “evidence of purpose beyond the face of the challenged law” can be applied in interpreting the intent of a measure…
However, those cases pertained to deliberations in making the law rather than campaign promises, noted Bradley Smith, chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics, a group that opposes restrictions on campaign speech.
“It’s definitely unusual for judges to use campaign statements to define whether an action is constitutional,” Smith, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, told The Daily Signal. “I doubt it would chill campaign speech, but it is a dangerous path. This could be very selectively enforced for candidates that use shorthand or off-the-cuff remarks. Already political discourse is too scripted. If this becomes a precedent, it will mean no spontaneity and pure teleprompter.”

Filed Under: Brad Smith, In the News, Quotes CCP

NPR: Trump’s White House Counsel Don McGahn Has Combative Record (In the News)

By Peter Overby
Peter Overby, Byline: Don McGahn was the lawyer for Trump’s presidential campaign committee. Like his boss, he takes a dim view of too much regulation. And like his boss, he isn’t shy about saying so. Consider this moment back in 2011, when McGahn was at the Federal Election Commission. He was arguing with another commissioner over the role of super PACs. Listen closely here.
(soundbite of archived recording)
Don McGahn: You don’t get to take matters in your own hands and take the book and just rip out the coordination rules, you know? And now my book’s complete because we don’t have the rules in there anymore.
Overby: And he tossed the ripped-out pages in the air. Brad Smith, head of the conservative Center for Competitive Politics, says McGahn worked hard to rein in FEC lawyers that he saw as overzealous.
Brad Smith: The vituperation he sometimes receives I think reflects the fact that he was very effective at, you know, what he sought to do, which was keeping the FEC within its constitutional and statutory role.

Filed Under: Brad Smith, In the News, Quotes CCP

Bloomberg BNA: Democrats to Probe Gorsuch Views on Campaign Finance (In the News)

By Kenneth P. Doyle
Democrats supporting campaign finance regulation have stopped short, so far, of outright opposition to Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, but key lawmakers said the burden of proof is on Gorsuch to show he won’t help extend the line of recent court decisions that rolled back limits on money in politics…
Republicans and groups critical of campaign regulation generally have supported the Gorsuch nomination. The Center for Competitive Politics, which says it is America’s “largest nonprofit defending First Amendment political speech rights,” applauded Trump’s selection of Gorsuch as a nominee for the Supreme Court.
The judge’s “opinions show an understanding that the role of a judge is not to enact his own preferences, but neither is it to rubber stamp the legislature,” said Bradley A. Smith, a former Republican commissioner on the FEC, who is chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics. “At a time when free speech often seems on the defensive, we are pleased that President Trump has nominated someone who will defend a robust First Amendment.”

Filed Under: Brad Smith, In the News, Quotes CCP

PJ Media: South Carolina Bill Attacks Free Speech, Forces Donor Disclosure (In the News)

By Tyler O’Neil
On Tuesday, South Carolina’s Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing about S.255…
This bill is one of a number of disclosure laws which seek to fight “dark money” by requiring the disclosure of donors to issue-focused nonprofit groups which speak out on political issues…
“Politicians, in concert with activist groups, desire to make it more difficult for all but the most well-connected organizations to speak about public policy,” Scott Blackburn, research fellow at the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP), told PJ Media in an email statement.
“These type of bills are often aimed at silencing speech by exposing Americans to intimidation and harassment for voicing their opinions on issues they are passionate about,” Blackburn explained…
He laid out the formula behind such legislation: “Politician X doesn’t like a group criticizing his votes, and telling voters about it. He tries to pass a law to undermine their efforts, so that they won’t do it again. The bill affects far more speech and activity than anyone thought. Politician X doesn’t care, so long as it is harder to criticize him.”

Filed Under: In the News, Quotes CCP, Scott Blackburn

Pew Charitable Trusts: Lawmakers Look to Curb Foreign Influence in State Elections (In the News)

By Rebecca Beitsch
The high court ruled that corporations and unions are associations of U.S. citizens with a First Amendment right to political expression.
Hoping to take the decision a step further, proponents of bills under consideration in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Washington state would bar political spending by businesses in which non-U.S. citizens have a significant ownership stake…
But critics say having some foreign ties – especially minimal ones – should not disqualify corporations from participating in the political process.
“Corporations have a right to speak about politics. It’s a strange calculus that says we’re going to sacrifice the rights of the 95 percent American ownership for the 5 percent foreign ownership,” said Allen Dickerson with the Center for Competitive Politics, a First Amendment group that supports the Citizens United decision…
“How much of this is an attempt to prevent indirectly what we can’t do directly, which is prevent businesses from speaking? I understand there are people who don’t like Citizens United, but it’s the law,” Dickerson said.

Filed Under: Allen Dickerson, In the News, Quotes CCP

Weekly Standard: The New Assault on Privacy (In the News)

By James Piereson
On February 27 the Supreme Court turned down an appeal in a case from Colorado that would have decided whether nonprofit organizations that run issue advertisements during election campaigns can be compelled to disclose the names and addresses of their donors…
In the Colorado case, the Independence Institute, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, proposed to run a series of “issue advertisements” during the 2014 Senate campaign urging the state’s two senators to support a federal bill to reform guidelines for criminal sentences. The proposed ads addressed only this narrow issue and did not endorse or oppose any candidate for election. Nevertheless, under the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Act of 2002, the organization would have been required to make public its list of donors because the ads, though they were focused narrowly on issues, mentioned the name of a senator on the ballot within 60 days of the election…
According to the Center for Competitive Politics, more than 95 percent of all funds spent on election campaigns are subject to donor disclosure.

Filed Under: In the News, In the News Our Cases, Quotes CCP

Colorado Independent: US Supreme Court to Colorado think tank: Disclose your donors or don’t run these ads (In the News)

By Corey Hutchins
The outspoken think tank director said he saw the case as a good, clean test for the U.S. Supreme Court. So, with help from the Washington, D.C.-area Center for Competitive Politics- its motto: Campaign Freedom- up to the nation’s highest court the case went…
The High Court upheld the lower federal court ruling against the group Monday, without comment, essentially saying the lower court got it right.
“We are disappointed that the Supreme Court chose to forgo full consideration of this important appeal, and instead summarily affirmed the lower court,” said Center for Competitive Politics legal director Allen Dickerson in a statement. “We look forward to continuing our efforts to defend the right to free speech and association.”
Dickerson told The Independent he still believes there is tension between the court’s blessing of laws that regulate advocacy for or against candidates and its rulings in favor of “privacy of association” in other contexts. The radio ads were not attack ads against a candidate, he says, but rather a discussion about pending legislation that merely mentioned an officeholder who happened to be running for reelection.

Filed Under: Allen Dickerson, In the News, In the News Our Cases, Quotes CCP

Bloomberg BNA: Supreme Court Backs FEC Disclosure Rules (In the News)

By Kenneth P. Doyle
Federal Election Commission disclosure rules for political ads known as electioneering communications have been upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court (Independence Institute v. FEC, U.S., 16-743, affirmed 2/27/17)…
Lawyers for the Independence Institute, led by Allen Dickerson of the nonprofit Center for Competitive Politics (CCP), have acknowledged in court filings that previous rulings have “routinely” upheld FEC disclosure requirements. But, the challengers argued that this case presented “an opportunity to reverse this trend and broadly safeguard” a right to fund some political messages anonymously.
The institute’s lawyers argued that disclosure requirements can violate First Amendment free speech guarantees, unless the government has a strong interest in disclosure. They said the government’s “informational interest is particularly weak” in this case because it involved a radio ad focused on a legislative issue and didn’t mention anything about an election…
The center’s chairman, Bradley Smith, a former Republican FEC commissioner, said uncertainty over the limits of disclosure law has led to passage of “intrusive laws that provide little or no value to the public, and enable official and unofficial harassment of speakers.”

Filed Under: Allen Dickerson, Brad Smith, In the News, In the News Our Cases, Quotes CCP

CRP: Ann Ravel’s parting shot (In the News)

By Ashley Balcerzak
“The data compiled in Commissioner Ravel’s report are misleading and do not accurately reflect the state of enforcement decisions at the FEC,” Republican Commissioner Lee Goodman wrote OpenSecrets Blog in an email. “I assume that Commissioner Ravel has manipulated her statistics purposely in order to advance her philosophical narrative that First Amendment rights should be severely restricted.”…
“Ann has been a determined voice for regulation of First Amendment rights and I wish her well in private life after the commission,” Goodman said. “I expect her to remain engaged in the important debate that has animated our time on the commission together.”…
“What is striking to me is that she tends to lay the blame exclusively on Republican commissioners for the gridlock and they don’t take any responsibility,” said Eric Wang, campaign finance attorney and former FEC Republican staffer. “Ann Ravel’s eagerness to take her grievances against her colleagues to the press has not been helpful to the animosity and alleged dysfunction at the FEC.”

Filed Under: Eric Wang, In the News, Quotes CCP

Breitbart: Democrat Commissioner Resignation Creates Opportunity for Change at FEC (In the News)

By Sean Moran
David Keating, president of the Center for Competitive Politics, told Breitbart News, “Commissioner Ravel came from California which has a different setup than the FEC. California’s electoral board is run by the governor, entirely partisan. The FEC was enacted after Watergate, and set up as a bipartisan commission to avoid partisan control over electoral law.”…
Keating explained that with Commissioner Ravel’s resignation there is much opportunity for change at the FEC. He said, “Since all of the remaining FEC Commissioners have expired terms President Trump has an enormous opportunity to reshape campaign finance. Since there cannot be more than three commissioners of any party on the board, President Trump can have the discretion to nominate future Commissioners that are more receptive to free speech.”…
President Trump ran on “draining the swamp,” and David Keating said that Trump could easily “clear the morass of regulations surrounding electoral law.” He added, “One way to drain the swamp would be to make the rules behind political speech clear and straightforward. Clear and simple rules could ensure that freedom of expression on the Internet remains unregulated.”

Filed Under: David Keating, In the News, Quotes CCP