By Michael De Yoanna
Twelve members of Congress are supporting the Restoring Integrity to America’s Election Act, including two from Colorado: Reps. Ken Buck and Jared Polis, a Republican and a Democrat, respectively.
Buck said the commission was “set up in a way that invited deadlock, and that’s just what we’ve got.”…
The act seeks to reduce the number of commissioners from six to five. No more than two members of the commission could be from the same party. A fifth proposed commissioner would be the chairperson and nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate for a 10-year term.
Groups like Issue One, a bipartisan advocacy organization focused on government ethics and political reform, are supporting the legislation as a way to restore enforcement surrounding money in politics.
Other groups, like the Center for Competitive Politics, worry that the bill’s deciding presidential pick would create an ideological tilt on the commission.
“It would transform campaign finance law enforcement into a partisan exercise, no matter how the agency markets itself,” the group said in a press release.
By Michael De Yoanna
By Joe Albanese
The way the term “special interests” is used in practice suggests that it’s simply shorthand for “bad thing my opponent supports.” After all, depending on one’s views, “special interests” may encompass big business or big labor, fossil fuel or green energy companies, and single-issue and ideological groups like the Club for Growth or EMILY’s List.
In fact, one can fairly say that all of those groups are “special interests.” And that’s okay.
“Special interests” – or the more fitting term, advocacy groups – simplify democracy rather than subvert it. Most Americans don’t have the time or ability to analyze legislation, organize grassroots activity, or follow the ins and outs of the political process. Advocacy groups bridge the gap between citizens and government. They communicate their members’ views to public officials and inform the public of important political developments. For every advocacy group with one viewpoint, there is almost certainly another one making the opposite case. Some groups you’ll support, and others you’ll oppose, but they all contribute to the exchange of ideas that makes democracy work.
By Sean Parnell
A 2014 lawsuit challenging the California attorney general’s demands, filed by the Center for Competitive Politics, argued that mandatory donor disclosure violates the First Amendment. Several additional 501c3 nonprofit organizations, including The Philanthropy Roundtable, filed amicus briefs in support of CCP’s petition…
Unfortunately, the way campaign finance laws are written they often encompass speech by charities related to issues, not candidates or elections. This is exactly what happened to the Independence Institute, a Colorado-based think tank organized under section 501c3 of the federal tax code and thus prohibited from intervening in elections. In 2014 it wanted to pay for radio advertisements encouraging Coloradoans to contact their two U.S. senators and urge them to support criminal-justice reforms, something well within the scope of proper activity for a charity.
But because one of the state’s two senators was running for re-election at the time, the Independence Institute would have been forced to reveal its major donors if it had run the ads within 60 days of the election. It decided not to run the ads and sued to challenge the application of campaign finance law to organizations that cannot legally engage in election campaigns.
Philanthropy Magazine: President’s Note By Adam Meyerson If you are involved with a foundation, donor-advised fund, or other form of charitable giving, our mission at the Roundtable and our legislative arm the Alliance for Charitable Reform is to protect your freedom… The Philanthropy Roundtable is also committed to protecting your right as an individual to […]
Filed Under: In the News
By Bradley Smith
In Holmes v. FEC, my organization, the Center for Competitive Politics, represents plaintiffs who are challenging the timing of contribution limits in federal races, but not the limits themselves. Federal law limits donors to contributing $2,700 to a candidate for the primary election, and another $2,700 for the general election. Many incumbents, however, do not face a primary challenger. They can raise $5,400 per donor and effectively spend it all on the general…
This is not fair to donors, it’s not fair to challengers, and it serves no anti-corruption purpose. As President Barack Obama’s former White House Counsel Bob Bauer writes, “donors do not potentially corrupt candidates in the primary, or the general, or a run-off: the corruption, if it occurs, is the result of the amounts given through the date that the candidate is elected to office.”…
It wouldn’t be hard to make the insensible sensible here. Contribution limits should be apportioned by election cycle, rather than split between the general and the primary. A win for the petitioners in Holmes would make the law simpler and fairer, and that’s something we should all get behind.
By Trip Jennings
The governor vetoed Senate Bill 96…
“While I support efforts to make 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,” Martinez wrote in her veto message…
Critics of the legislation, however, celebrated Martinez’s decision to kill the legislation, saying it preserved contributors’ privacy when they donate money to nonprofits involved in the political process.
Bradley A. Smith, chairman of The Center for Competitive Politics, which touts itself as the country’s largest nonprofit defending First Amendment political speech rights, lauded Martinez for siding “with the First Amendment by vetoing this poorly written bill.”
“The purpose of disclosure laws is to allow people to monitor their government, not the other way around,” he said in a statement. “If this complex bill would have become law, only groups that could afford lawyers could safely speak out about elected officials. We should make it easy for groups of all sizes to exercise their free speech rights.”
By Trip Jennings
Senate Bill 96 would have required nonprofit groups that pay more than $1,000 for political advertising or campaigning to file a report with the Secretary of State’s Office detailing the expense and the organization’s donors. The bill would also have required that political advertisements include a disclaimer identifying the buyer…
In her veto message, Martinez echoed the concerns of critics who argued the bill would chill political advocacy, saddle nonprofit organizations with reporting requirements and drive donors away from some charities.
National groups on both sides of the issue lobbied on the bill to the end.
“The purpose of disclosure laws is to allow people to monitor their government, not the other way around,” said Bradley Smith, chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics, a Virginia-based group that opposes transparency in campaign finance laws.
Alexandria, VA – The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP), America’s largest nonprofit defending First Amendment political speech rights, released the following statement commending New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez for her veto of S.B. 96: “Governor Martinez sided with the First Amendment by vetoing this poorly written bill,” explained CCP Chairman Bradley A. Smith. “The purpose of disclosure […]
Alexandria, VA – The Center for Competitive Politics (CCP) released the following statement in reaction to today’s Senate confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court: “Today is a great day for our civil rights and our nation,” said David Keating, President of CCP. “Justice Gorsuch has a superb record of standing up for […]