By Edward Zuckerman
The Center for Competitive Politics said in a friend-of-the-court brief that imposing an $18 million fine for failure to meet a registration requirement of Washington State’s election law is barred by the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition against “excessive fines.” CCP said the fine, levied against the Grocery Manufacturers of America for expenditures to promote defeat of a ballot measure, is “a death sentence for most groups, with tremendous potential to chill specially protected speech.”
By Edward Zuckerman
By Anders Gyllenhaal
After a century of building free speech rights into our laws and culture, Americans are backing away from one of the country’s defining principles.
Set off by the nation’s increasingly short fuse, students, politicians, teachers and parents are not just refusing to hear each other out, we’re coming up with all sorts of ways of blocking ideas we don’t agree with…
“When people quit listening to each other, there’s that lack of discussion and a lack of understanding,” said Bradley A. Smith, the former chairman of the Federal Election Commission and professor at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio. “That’s when there’s a growing tendency to think the other side shouldn’t be able to say what they think.”…
Today’s conflicts are the most complicated yet and show no sign of easing. But as more than one scholar has pointed out, free speech is the starting place for all our other rights. We shouldn’t lose sight of what’s at stake: Without the free flow of ideas, the American experiment cannot succeed.
Portland Mercury: A National Right-Wing Group Wants to Keep Big Money in County Elections (In the News)
Portland Mercury: A National Right-Wing Group Wants to Keep Big Money in County Elections By Doug Brown “They gave me a call,” says TAO Executive Director Jason Williams. “And I’m glad they’re around. I hate these laws that try to limit free speech.” Owen Yeates, the lead CCP attorney representing TAO in opposing the reform […]
By Edith Roberts
At the Center for Competitive Politics, Luke Wachob “discusses three consequences of an America without the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Buckley v. Valeo,” and concludes that “[p]reserving Buckley is essential to protecting the First Amendment right to free speech.”
By Bob Egelko
The Electoral College is good for democracy and regulation of political campaign financing is generally bad, one expert on election laws told a judicial conference in San Francisco on Tuesday…
Organizers of the panel on law and politics at the annual conference of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals were evidently looking for a diversity of viewpoints, and got what they were looking for…
As for regulation, Smith – author of the 2001 book “Unfree Speech: The Folly of Campaign Finance Reform” – said laws requiring disclosure of campaign contributions provide little useful information to the public. He endorsed the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling that allowed corporations and unions, as a matter of free speech, to make unlimited political donations…
Ravel, also former chairwoman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, said she was particularly concerned with high-tech “micro-targeting” of voting populations, aimed at lowering their turnout with fabricated campaign ads and “fake news spread by bots.”
But Smith said voter participation was suffering because “campaigns are now centralized, in part because you have so many laws.”
Courthouse News Service: Voter Fraud Extremely Rare, Conference Panel Agrees By Matthew Renda Professor Richard Hasen, co-editor of the Election Law Journal, Ann Ravel, a law professor and former chair of the Federal Elections Commission and Bradley Smith, a professor who also formerly chaired the FEC, discussed some of the most pressing issues regarding voter […]
Santa Fe New Mexican: Both sides in ‘dark money’ debate voice concerns at hearing By Andrew Oxford Opponents and some supporters of proposed rules to expand required disclosure of political spending agree on one thing: The regulations could reach beyond big-spending “dark money” groups. The first of three public hearings on the rules proposed by […]
Santa Fe New Mexican: Rules combatting “dark money” in politics facing growing opposition (In the News)
By Steve Terrell
In an opinion piece published by The New Mexican this week, Gessing and Bradley Smith, chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics and a former member of the Federal Election Commission, wrote, “Bureaucratic rule-makings can serve an important function. They help to implement and clarify laws that are passed by the Legislature. But here, instead of implementing the law, the Secretary of State’s Office is enacting rules that were rejected in the constitutional lawmaking process.”…
Toulouse Oliver’s proposed rule is based on a bill that passed the Legislature with bipartisan support this year but was vetoed by Gov. Susana Martinez. Martinez wrote in her veto message, “While I support efforts to make our political process more transparent, the broad language in the bill could lead to unintended consequences that would force groups like charities to disclose the names and addresses of their contributors in certain circumstances. The requirements in this bill would likely discourage charities and other groups that are primarily non-political from advocating for their cause and could also discourage individuals from giving to charities.”
By Rachel del Guidice
“I’ve been contacted by dozens of constituents with concerns over their rights to privacy, and possible harassment by organizations or individuals, or even their employers, if their donation histories are made public,” Oklahoma state Rep. Mark Lepak, a Republican, told The Daily Signal in an email…
Two states known for their donor disclosure laws are California and New York.
Both states “require nonprofits to violate the privacy of their supporters,” Matt Nese, director of external relations at the Center for Competitive Politics, an organization dedicated to defending First Amendment rights, told The Daily Signal in an email.
However, Nese said it is difficult to know how widespread the push for donor disclosure is.
“It’s hard to quantify the exact number of states that have laws on the books requiring nonprofits to report the private information-names, home addresses, and, in some cases, occupations, and employers-of their supporters to the government for publication in a permanent, searchable, online database,” Nese said.
Featuring Luke Wachob and Caleb O. Brown
Luke Wachob of the Center for Competitive Politics argues that the misnomer of “dark money” is hardly the scourge it’s made out to be.