Mainstream Media Baffled by National Interest in Georgia Special Election

Following the Senate’s confirmation of former Representative Tom Price as the Secretary of Health and Human Services in early February 2017, all eyes have been on Georgia’s 6th congressional district. After Democrat Jon Ossoff narrowly failed to meet the 50%-plus-one vote threshold, which would have given him the seat outright, a runoff with Republican nominee […]

Filed Under: Blog, Issues, Media Watch, Money in Politics, Georgia Sixth Congressional District, Jon Ossoff, Karen Handel, Media, Out-of-State Donors, Political Spending, Georgia

UCLA Newsroom: Newly minted UCLA School of Law graduate argues before Ninth Circuit (In the News)

By Joshua Rich 
Elizabeth Arias graduated from UCLA School of Law in May and immediately turned her attention to the first major test of her legal career… 
On June 16, Arias delivered oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in French v. Jones, a First Amendment case with potentially far-reaching implications for election-related speech.
Seizing an exceedingly rare opportunity for someone just a few weeks out of law school, Arias represented the Center for Competitive Politics, a nonprofit for which UCLA Law professor Eugene Volokh and the students in his Scott and Cyan Banister First Amendment Clinic researched and drafted an amicus curiae brief. That document supported Mark French, a 2014 candidate for justice of the peace in Sanders County, Montana, who was barred by state law from saying that the Republican Party had endorsed him. French lost that race, but his challenge to the statute has lived on.
“The case is about whether judges can associate with a political party and whether the Montana law unfairly burdens judicial speech,” said Arias, who argued that the law violates the U.S. Constitution’s protections of free speech and association.

Filed Under: In the News

Ossoff Outspends Opponent’s Campaign 5-1 but Complains About “Money in Politics”

More evidence money doesn’t buy elections Alexandria, VA – Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) President David Keating today criticized comments made by losing congressional candidate Jon Ossoff complaining about the role of money in politics in his race. Ossoff told NPR that “The role of money in politics is a major problem …. There have been super PACs in […]

Filed Under: Blog, Issues, Money in Politics, Newsroom, Press Releases, Super PACs, Georgia Sixth Congressional District, Jon Ossoff, Karen Handel, Georgia

Washington Examiner: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is a hypocrite on the First Amendment (In the News)

By Alex Baiocco 
It is heartening to see that Whitehouse is now encouraging citizens (and corporations) to engage in political speech instead of yet again attempting to silence opposing viewpoints.
His statement demonstrates that he does indeed understand the value of First Amendment-protected advocacy. However, the statement is also an example of the far too common tendency among many politicians to view only friendly advocacy as legitimate.
The First Amendment protects the right of every American to privately support an environmental group. It also supports the right of every corporation to speak in opposition to the president’s actions regarding climate policy.
But Whitehouse must realize that the First Amendment also protects the right of citizens, nonprofit groups, and corporations to engage in political speech he opposes. In the end, his anti-speech objectives will harm the First Amendment rights of his allies as much as his opponents.

Filed Under: Alex Baiocco, In the News, Published Articles

PJ Media: 5 Take-Aways From Karen Handel’s Victory Over Jon Ossoff (In the News)

By Tyler O’Neil 
As if the 2016 presidential primaries and general election were not enough, the Georgia 6 special election underscored that money does not win elections. This special election was the most expensive House election in U.S. history, and the candidate who spent the most lost.
Ossoff’s campaign raised and spent $24 million, while Handel’s campaign only raised and spent $4.5 million. Handel did receive more support from outside groups ($18.2 million supporting her or attacking Ossoff) than Ossoff did (just under $8 million supporting him or attacking Handel). But Ossoff still received $10 million more in support than Handel…
Money does not win elections, votes do. “Campaign spending facilitates speech, and ads can only persuade voters who support the candidate’s message,” David Keating, president of the Center for Competitive Politics, told PJ Media.

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

SCOTUSblog: Petition of the day (In the News)

By Aurora Barnes 
The petition of the day is:
Patriotic Veterans, Inc. v. Hill
Issues: (1) Whether Indiana’s Automatic Dialing Machine Statute creates a content-based restriction that cannot survive strict scrutiny under Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona; and (2) whether the ADMS is a valid time, place and manner restriction.

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

Mississippi Supreme Court Dismisses Attempt to Discipline Judge over Protected Speech

CCP amicus brief: voters, not government, evaluate appropriateness of candidate expression Alexandria, VA – The Mississippi Supreme Court last week dismissed with prejudice an attempt to discipline a judge over constitutionally protected speech. The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP), represented by the UCLA Scott & Cyan Banister First Amendment Clinic, filed a brief in the case […]

Filed Under: Blog, Newsroom, Press Releases, Eugene Volokh, Judge Gay Polk-Payton, Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance v. Judge Gay Polk-Payton, UCLA Scott & Cyan Banister First Amendment Clinic, Mississippi

Springfield News-Leader: Privacy for nonprofits should be common sense (In the News)

By Luke Wachob
Missouri Governor Eric Greitens believes that individuals should be able to support causes they believe in privately. Missourians who donate to nonprofit groups such as the National Rifle Association, he says, should not be forced to have their name, address, occupation and employer appear in a public and searchable government database… 
Governor Greitens should be commended for bucking the trend of politicians, like Schumer and McCaskill, who attempt to silence their critics. In supporting privacy and free speech, the governor protects both his supporters and detractors from retaliation.
Policymakers should seek balance between transparency and privacy. We have a right to know what our government is doing, but the government has no right to monitor our political affiliations or beliefs. Requiring candidates and parties to disclose their donors, while protecting privacy for nonprofit advocacy groups, is a compromise everyone should get behind.

Filed Under: In the News, Luke Wachob, Published Articles

Washington Times: Paying politicians to run for office (In the News)

By Joe Albanese 
A new report by the Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) asks a key question: would tax-funded campaigns help challengers beat incumbents more often? The study examines state legislators running for re-election in two groups of states. One group consists of the five states with some form of tax-financed campaigns (Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, and Minnesota). The other group is the remaining 45 states.
CCP’s report shows incumbents win at sky-high rates no matter what state group they’re in. From the 2010 to 2016 election cycles, 89 percent of incumbents won in tax-financing states, and 91 percent won in the others. The gap between these states is statistically insignificant – there is basically no difference between them. This is like when a poll says candidate A will beat candidate B, but the survey is within the margin of error; meaning B could be tied with or even beating A. The situation is the same here. We cannot tell the difference between re-election rates in tax-financing states and other states…
Our new report shows that Americans should be skeptical of public financing and its claimed benefits. Any “reform” that subsidizes politicians should be seen for what it is: a program that spends your tax dollars on politics. 

Filed Under: In the News, Joe Albanese, Published Articles

Bloomberg BNA: Trump Campaign Statements Protected in Travel Ban Case, Group Says (In the News)

By Kenneth P. Doyle 
Relying on statements President Donald Trump made during his campaign to argue against his proposed immigration restrictions could chill free speech in campaigns, posing “an unacceptable risk to First Amendment interests,” according to a new brief filed with the Supreme Court ( Trump v. International Refugee Assistance Project, U.S. No. 16-1436, brief filed 6/9/17).
The friend-of-the-court brief filed by the nonprofits Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) and Public Policy Legal Institute (PPLI) urges the high court to grant review of a lower court decision that struck down Trump’s executive order…
“A review of campaign speech-even speech that sheds light on the reasons for later official action-chills expression and conflicts with numerous long-standing protections for campaign speech,” the brief said…
Dickerson, CCP’s legal director, said in a statement regarding the new Supreme Court brief in the travel-ban case: “If courts begin probing campaign statements to determine the legality of later official actions, candidates will be less inclined to give their frank opinions. The true victims of this principle are voters, who rely on unfiltered campaign speech to evaluate candidates’ fitness for office.”  

Filed Under: In the News, Quotes CCP