By Michelle Casady
Trainor has previously represented conservative group Empower Texans, which has fought the Texas Ethics Commission on the disclosure of political donors.
But David Keating, president of the nonprofit group Center for Competitive Politics, an organization whose stated mission is to “promote and defend First Amendment rights” said there is a big difference between being a lawyer, paid to advocate for your client, and being a commissioner on the FEC. Naysayers may be conflating the two, he said.
Keating, who said he has met Trainor on a few occasions while in Austin testifying before the Texas Ethics Commission, said Trainer is “very knowledgeable” on election law.
“There are groups that don’t like him, so they’re trying to dig up what they can to make it controversial,” he said. “Trey clearly is someone who believes in free speech. I think he’s going to apply the law as it’s written and not come up with a hair-brained interpretation of what the law is.”
Keating said that although it is historically not common, senators have been able to block some “highly qualified” candidates for the post in the past, such as one put forward by Obama who had to withdraw his nomination, he said. He said he doesn’t think that will happen in Trainor’s case.
By Michelle Casady
By Jordan S. Rubin
Though the justices are asked to decide whether the Fourth Amendment applies in Carpenter’s case, some of the outside briefs are concerned with another amendment: the First.
One of the First Amendment-focused briefs comes from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 19 media organizations. Another was filed by a diverse band of racial justice and economic freedom groups, led by the Center for Competitive Politics, an organization whose goal, according to its website, is “to promote and defend the First Amendment’s rights to freely speak, associate, assemble, publish, and petition the government.”…
The competitive politics brief’s concern is that, in “a world where tracking information is so precise that individual rooms can be differentiated, the locations of multiple people can be amalgamated, allowing the government to assemble an extraordinarily precise picture of citizens’ memberships, meetings, and associations.”
Thus, “the government’s warrantless access to this information threatens Americans’ First Amendment right ‘to pursue their lawful private interests privately and to associate freely with others in so doing,'” they argue, quoting NAACP v. Alabama…
A ruling against Carpenter, then, could “discourage Americans from engaging in public gatherings and private meetings of all types, chilling both social and political association and the collective speech it fosters,” they conclude.
By Sarah Kleiner
Seizing on the specter of Russian election influence, they’ve ramped up their quixotic effort – with minimal effect – to blunt Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the controversial 2010 Supreme Court decision that unleashed a torrent of special interest spending on U.S. elections.
In doing so, they’ve introduced two dozen bills related to money in politics…
Bradley A. Smith, a former Republican chairman of the FEC, said campaign finance deregulation, in general, makes sense.
Smith, founder and chairman of pro-deregulation nonprofit Center for Competitive Politics, sees many of the Democratic proposals on the table now as efforts to rig the system in their favor.
The FEC, for example, isn’t as divided as some people make it out to be; the vast majority of money raised and spent in U.S. elections is already disclosed; and government probably shouldn’t be in the business of financing campaigns, he said.
There’s strong reason to believe people such as Sens. Chuck Schumer and Sheldon Whitehouse want reform because “they think it will stifle speech that opposes their agenda,” Smith said.
By Ashley Balcerzak
State lawmakers this year are engaging in full-throated debate on campaign finance proposals – with some surprising outcomes.
New Mexico’s secretary of state may have found a way to enact rules that the governor vetoed months before…
In April, Gov. Susana Martinez, a Republican, vetoed legislation that doubled contribution limits but tightened donor-disclosure rules.
Just two months later, newly elected Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver proposed a campaign-finance rule that included elements of the failed bill, though not the increased contribution limits. This angered opponents of increased disclosure requirements…
“The proposed rule attempts to legislate rather than implement existing law,” Tyler Martinez, an attorney with the conservative Center for Competitive Politics and no relation to New Mexico’s governor, wrote in public testimony to the secretary of state.
Americans for Prosperity: Prosperity Podcast #75: Are Democracy Vouchers Good or Bad for Democracy? (In the News)
Should you be taxed to fund political campaigns? Seattle has experimented with so-called democracy vouchers, or tax financed campaigns, and the results haven’t been good. Property taxes on businesses and individuals in the Emerald City have been hiked by $3 million per year to finance these campaigns, and the money has almost all gone to incumbents. Other cities, including Washington, D.C., are considering joining Seattle in tax financed campaigns. Scott Blackburn, a senior research analyst at the Center for Competitive Politics, joins the podcast to explain why that’s a bad idea.
By Jack Crowe
There were 9,791 registered lobbyists at the end of June, the lowest number at any point since 2008, and special interest spending on lobbying reached its lowest point in the last decade in the second quarter of 2017, according to a Boston Globe review of the last decade of lobbying data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics.
The Trump administration’s legislative agenda has been marred by a failure to achieve a bipartisan coalition on major legislative priorities. The failure of GOP leadership to whip the necessary votes required for Obamacare repeal in early July likely serves as a signal to special interests that the legislative arena will remain resistant to major breakthroughs for the foreseeable future.
“There’s nothing happening,” Center for Competitive Politics President David Keating told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The fact that nothing is really happening, no legislation is really going anywhere, which means that no one feels the need to ramp up. The biggest bill that came down the pike was the health care bill and nothing came of it.”
By Gordon R. Friedman
A Multnomah County judge heard hours of what he said were “illuminating” arguments Tuesday for why new political campaign spending limits should be allowed or overturned.
Multnomah voters overwhelmingly approved new limits on campaign contributions last year. But the Oregon Supreme Court, citing the state constitution’s strong free speech protections, has largely said no, no, no…
Attorney Owen Yeates, representing the Taypayer Association of Oregon, countered: “It doesn’t matter if 89 or 99 percent of the voters agree to something if it tramples on the rights of voters and of speakers in the county,” he said.
“We have to protect the ability of people to make meaningful communications to the public. And here, that costs money,” said Yeates, of the Center for Competitive Politics, a Virginia-based group that has argued against campaign finance limits.
Bloch, the judge, promised to provide as a ruling “as quickly as I possibly can.” That’s expected to be before September 1, when the new campaign spending limits take effect.
He said his decision will likely not be the final one, given that both sides have indicated their openness to appeals.
By Alex Swoyer
Some of the world’s biggest tech companies pleaded with the Supreme Court this week to update decades-old precedent governing telephones, saying that cell-tracking technology threatens Americans’ most fundamental privacy rights…
Lower courts have split over whether data held by a third party is protected, and Selina MacLaren, an attorney for Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said there’s a lot of excitement surrounding Carpenter’s case.
She said the case could even affect the way reporters go about their jobs.
“This type of surveillance threatens to reveal where journalists go and where their sources go,” she said.
David Keating, president of the Center for Competitive Politics, said he feared governments trying to monitor Americans engaged in other First Amendment activities such as freedom of association.
“In many respects, this is potentially a lot more serious than all the concern about the NSA telephone call records and where they’ve analyzed calls being made overseas and such, because this is tracking movements of U.S. citizens in the United States and the government being able to get that information without having to get a warrant,” said Mr. Keating.
Oregon Public Broadcasting: Is Multnomah County’s Political Contribution Cap Constitutional? (In the News)
By Jeff Mapes
The stakes go well beyond Multnomah County. Both sides say it could activate statewide contribution limits that were passed by Oregon voters 11 years ago.
“This case could bring to life the 2006 measure that the Supreme Court so far has said is just dormant,” said Greg Chaimov, a former chief lawyer for the state Legislature who is representing several business groups challenging the Multnomah County limits.
In addition, the Virginia-based Center for Competitive Politics is seeking to intervene in the Multnomah County case. The group participates in legal cases around the country fighting restrictions on political spending…
Owen Yeates, an attorney for the Center for Competitive Politics, said the Multnomah case is “one of the first few challenges” in the courts trying to “push Citizens United the other way.”
He said a major reason his group is seeking to intervene in the Multnomah County case is to make sure that “U.S. Supreme Court protections for independent speech remains strong.”
SiriusXM Patriot: David Keating on The First Amendment in the Social Media Age David Keating, President at the Center for Competitive Politics, speaks with Tom & Deneen Borelli about the First Amendment, Elected Officials and Social Media in light of lawsuits being filed by the ACLU on behalf of constituents who have been blocked by […]