Bloomberg BNA: Super PAC Spending Replaces Dark Money as Election Nears (In the News)

By Llewellyn Hinkes-Jones
Major campaign spending organizations closely tied to Democratic and Republican leaders and funded by undisclosed donations-known by critics as “dark money”-have spent $26 million in key Senate races in 2016 but have significantly reduced their TV ad spending in the final weeks of the campaign, according to a Bloomberg BNA analysis of Kantar Media/CMAG data…
David Keating, president of the nonprofit Center for Competitive Politics, which opposes restrictions on political spending, dismissed the idea of dark money in general.
“It’s a pejorative term that also includes groups like the Sierra Club,” Keating told Bloomberg BNA. “And the amounts given by 501(c)(4)s are small in comparison to other groups. It’s only about 3 percent of political donations.”

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

National Constitution Center: Podcast: The First Amendment and the freedom of expression (In the News)

National Constitution Center: Podcast: The First Amendment and the freedom of expression By NCC Staff Clinton and Trump have offered thoughts and proposals on a range of First Amendment issues, from the publication of private tax returns in The New York Times and the future of Citizens United to the prosecution of terrorism-related speech and beyond. […]

Filed Under: Brad Smith, In the News

Bloomberg BNA: Ruling Against Colorado Disclosure Law Left Intact (In the News)

By Kenneth P. Doyle
The U.S. Supreme Court let stand a federal appeals court ruling that said Colorado’s campaign finance disclosure requirements could not apply to a group that raised and spent only $3,500 to influence a ballot initiative (Williams v. Coalition for Secular Government , U.S., No. 16-28, cert. denied 10/3/16).
The Supreme Court’s Oct. 3 action denying the state’s petition for review was “the final chapter for Colorado’s speech laws that buried grassroots groups in red tape,” Tyler Martinez, an attorney for the nonprofit Center for Competitive Politics (CCP), said. CCP, a critic of campaign finance regulation, represented the challenger of the Colorado disclosure law, a nonprofit group called the Coalition for Secular Government.
“When a few citizens want to voice an opinion, the government can’t subject them to burdensome disclosure rules designed for multimillion-dollar campaigns,” Martinez said.

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

Washington Post: How 10 mega-donors already helped pour a record $1.1 billion into super PACs (In the News)

By Matea Gold and Anu Narayanswamy
David Keating, the conservative activist who launched the federal appellate case that created super PACs, said he is not surprised by the size of the contributions flowing to the groups, which can accept unlimited amounts from both individuals and corporations.
And he noted that money is no guarantee of success, pointing out that former Florida governor Jeb Bush’s presidential bid fizzled, despite the backing of a well-funded super PAC.
“I think people have to keep in mind that it’s just speech, it’s just communications,” Keating said. “As we saw earlier in the year with Jeb Bush, spending money on speech doesn’t equal having a candidate you back win an election. You can talk to people, but you can’t make them agree with what you’re talking about. “
“The alternative,” he added, “is the government saying, ‘You can’t do this.’ That to me is a much scarier prospect.”

Filed Under: In the News, Quotes CCP

Bloomberg BNA: Disclosure Feud Over Corporate Campaign Money (In the News)

By Kenneth P. Doyle
Also criticizing the push for disclosure is the nonprofit Center for Competitive Politics, which views campaign finance regulation as an impediment to free speech.
“The CPA-Zicklin Index, and its supporters, are not concerned with good corporate practices,” said a blog post from CCP President Brad Smith, a former Republican FEC commissioner. “They support policies cleverly designed to suppress the speech of businesses.”…
“If the Center for Political Accountability and the Zicklin Center want to speak loudly in support of the policies they prefer, the Center for Competitive Politics fully supports their efforts,” Smith said. “Unfortunately, they’ve chosen to shut down debate by shaming companies into abstaining from supporting the causes they believe in. This shame game is bad for business, but much more importantly, it’s bad for the public who wants and deserves to hear from all sides in policy debates.”

Filed Under: In the News, Quotes CCP

Supreme Court Rejects Colorado Appeal In Coalition For Secular Government Case

Alexandria, VA – The Center for Competitive Politics released the following statement after the United States Supreme Court denied an appeal by the state of Colorado to hear Coalition for Secular Government (CSG) v. Williams. In the case, an appeals court ruled that Colorado’s ballot issue disclosure law violates the First Amendment for groups raising […]

Filed Under: Blog, CSG v. Gessler, In the News, In the News Our Cases, Press Releases, CSG v. Williams, U.S. Supreme Court, Current Cases (Litigation), Colorado

San Francisco Chronicle: Citizens United is about free speech (In the News)

By Debra J. Saunders
“It’s become a code word for everything you dislike about politics,” Bradley Smith, former Federal Election Commission chair and now chairman of the Center for Competitive Politics, told me. The public has come to think that a reversal of Citizens United will end the supersize role of money, especially corporate money, in politics. They forget that the 5-4 decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy denied the government’s authority to censor a political documentary. The conservative group Citizens United had produced an unflattering 90-minute film called, “Hillary: The Movie.” The FEC prohibited the film’s airing on pay-per-view stations to comply with the 2002 McCain-Feingold ban on “electioneering communications” funded by corporations or labor within 30 days of a presidential primary.
If the Big Bench were to overturn Citizens United, Smith added, the court likely will make it “impossible to air a documentary movie close to the election” – whether the filmmaker is Citizens United or Michael Moore – but would not cleanse politics of corporate funds.

Filed Under: In the News, Quotes CCP

Townhall: Show-Me Human Rights (In the News)

By Paul Jacob
A year ago, the unethical Missouri Ethics Commission fined Ron Calzone $1,000 for not paying a silly $10 fee. To register as a lobbyist. They also ordered him to stop talking to state legislators until he complied.
Citizen Calzone didn’t register. He didn’t pay. And he didn’t shut up. On principle.
Instead, he contacted the Freedom Center of Missouri, co-founded by attorneys Dave and Jennifer Roland, and the Center for Competitive Politics, the national outfit that defends our rights to participate in our supposedly participatory and representative democratic republic.
On Monday, a judge ruled in Ron’s favor, tossing out the “ethics complaint” against him. On a technicality, actually. The complaint hadn’t been filed by a “natural person,” as the law requires, but by the attorney for the Missouri Society of Governmental Consultants, the state lobbyist guild.
Winning is better than losing, of course, but too bad the result did not better bring out and bolster the underlying issue: the critical ability of people to speak to public officials, to agitate, to support and oppose legislation without opening themselves up to government reprisal.

Filed Under: In the News, In the News Our Cases Doing What the Feds Won’t on Corporate Political Disclosure (In the News)

By Kathy Kiely
A former journalist, Capitol Hill staffer and even (briefly) a lobbyist, Freed 13 years ago started the Center for Political Accountability, a small, Washington-based nonprofit that over the years has managed to persuade, cajole and browbeat some of the nation’s largest corporations into providing some public disclosure of what they’re doing to influence the electoral process…
The work of the David-like Center has drawn opposition, however, from a political goliath: The US Chamber of Commerce (2014 revenues: $206 million), is a critic. A smaller nonprofit (but still with revenues about five times those of Freed’s organization), the Center for Competitive Politics, argues that the Center is in the business of “silencing corporate speech.”

Filed Under: In the News, Quotes CCP

CPA-Zicklin Index Chills Free Speech

Alexandria, VA – The Center for Political Accountability and the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research recently released the 2016 edition of their annual study of corporate disclosure policies regarding contributions to advocacy groups and trade associations, which seeks to stop businesses from speaking about public policies. “We should encourage businesses, like all Americans, to […]

Filed Under: Blog, Corporate Governance, Corporate Governance Press Release/In the News/Blog, Press Releases, center for political accountability, CPA-Zicklin Index, Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research