Newsroom

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Going green (In the News)

By Editorial Board
According to data compiled by the Center for Competitive Politics, the number of ads by Clinton and her supporters outnumbered the number of pro-Trump ads by 3-to-1. Meanwhile, outside groups raised and spent more than three times as much to tout Mrs. Clinton as to promote Mr. Trump.
Not only did the Clinton cash machine fail to deliver a win, the Democratic candidate actually did worse where her spending was highest. In the six states she directed the most financial resources – Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Iowa – Mrs. Clinton and her supporters ran 3.3 ads for every one supporting Mr. Trump. Yet Mrs. Clinton wound up losing all of those states except Nevada.
Excessive, fruitless spending wasn’t limited to the Clinton campaign. Each of the three biggest-spending super PACs supported candidates who lost. PACs backing Mrs. Clinton, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio dropped $275 million on the race, with Mrs. Clinton the only one who made it to the general…
Democrats love to complain about political spending. But they’ve shown time and again that they’re willing to shell out as much as it takes to guarantee victory. Trouble is, money is no guarantee of anything.

Filed Under: In the News, Quotes CCP

Los Angeles Times: Taxpayers’ group sues Gov. Brown to overturn law allowing public financing of campaigns (In the News)

By Patrick McGreevy
A taxpayer group has filed a lawsuit against Gov. Jerry Brown that seeks to invalidate a new law that will allow public funds to be used for political campaigning.
The lawsuit was filed in Sacramento Superior Court by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. The legal challenge says that a law signed by Brown in September that allows cities and counties to use public financing for political campaigns violates Proposition 73, which voters approved in 1988 and prohibits public funds from being used in campaigns.
“It runs directly contrary to the expressed language of the Political Reform Act,” Jon Coupal, president of the association, said on Tuesday. He said the law cannot be changed without another vote of the people.

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

More Soft Money Hard Law: The White House Counsel and Donald Trump (In the News)

By Bob Bauer
There is a long history of congressional pressure for the appointment of Commissioners with dependable perspectives on the constitutional limits of regulation and the reasonableness of specific statutory interpretations… Republicans even before McGahn have strongly favored more permissive readings of the rules, more insistence on what they judged to be the constitutional limits.
And the Republican party and its congressional leaders could be fierce in advancing their positions. They pressed successfully for the nomination of one Commissioner who wrote a book expressing the view that the 1970’s federal campaign finance reforms were in material respects, in both design and enforcement, incompatible with the First Amendment…
And during the period of McGahn’s tenure, he had the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence running in his direction. This was a Court, after all, that in Citizens United endorsed the dark view, expressed by Justice Kennedy for the majority at the time, that the FEC exercises “power analogous to licensing laws implemented in 16th- and 17th-century England, laws and governmental practices of the sort that the First Amendment was drawn to prohibit.” 558 U.S. 310, 335 (2010).

Filed Under: Brad Smith, In the News

Courthouse News Service: Taxpayer Group Fights California Political Reform (In the News)

By Nick Cahill
Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1107 on Sept. 9, eliminating a longstanding, voter-approved ban on public financing of local campaigns. While the bill breezed through the Legislature, its critics have not quieted down.
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and a former judge sued the governor on Monday, claiming that changes to the Political Reform Act require voter approval…
“We think this is a pretty clear violation of the [state] constitution,” said Anthony Caso, plaintiffs’ attorney. “Any actions taken to enforce this are going to be an illegal expenditure of taxpayer money.”
Political law attorney Chuck Bell and Allen Dickerson with the Center for Competitive Politics also represent the plaintiffs.
he taxpayer association and Quentin Kopp, a former state senator and retired San Mateo County Superior Court judge, request an injunction to stop the amendments from taking effect on Jan. 1. They want SB 1107 ruled invalid and sent to voters on a statewide ballot.

Filed Under: Allen Dickerson, hjta v Brown, In the News, In the News Our Cases

Time: The Forgotten Tool in Donald Trump’s ‘Drain the Swamp’ Effort (In the News)

By Dave Levinthal/CPI
Donald Trump panned “pay-to-play” politics, blasted “rigged” elections and vowed to “drain the swamp” that is Washington, D.C.
But Trump has so far forsaken the very government agency Congress created after Watergate to work as the nation’s campaign season Roto-Rooter.
The Federal Election Commission’s six commissioners, including the agency’s three Republicans, say neither Trump nor his transition team has contacted them…
And, save for Ravel, all of the FEC commissioners’ six-year terms have expired. But they continue to serve, because no law compels them to leave, and their authority remains the same. Come April, Weintraub will have served 10 years past her term’s expiration date, Walther eight years. Petersen’s term ended nearly six years ago, Hunter’s term four years ago.
“Congress has limited commissioners to one six-year term, and that was precisely because at the time many commissioners had been there for many years,” said Brad Smith, a former Republican FEC chairman who now leads the Center for Competitive Politics, which favors campaign deregulation. “Clearly, Congress did not want commissioners being there forever.”

Filed Under: Brad Smith, In the News, Quotes CCP

Washington Post: Don McGahn was one of the most principled members of the FEC (In the News)

By Bradley A. Smith
Federal Election Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub’s attack on former FEC commissioner Donald F. McGahn was misleading [“A disquieting pick for White House counsel,” op-ed, Dec. 11]. Ms. Weintraub claimed Mr. McGahn said, “I’m not enforcing the law as Congress passed it. I plead guilty as charged.” However, the article containing that quote noted, “McGahn’s admission of ‘guilt,’ however, came with a catch: He argued that it wasn’t his job to enforce this law as Congress passed it. Instead, he said, the commission’s job was to enforce the law as it’s been upheld by the judicial branch of government.”
Mr. McGahn made an important and correct point: The Supreme Court has ruled that many campaign finance laws are unconstitutional. If Mr. McGahn had said he would “ignore decisions of the Supreme Court,” he would face just and vociferous criticism.

Filed Under: Brad Smith, In the News, Published Articles

Roll Call: Activists Brace for Fight Over Campaign Finance Law (In the News)

By Alex Roarty
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina said last month that they will introduce legislation next year that would let a single donor contribute as much as he or she wanted to the candidate of their choice…
“A lot of people who may like the idea of contribution limits are saying, ‘What the heck is the point?'” said David Keating, president of the Center for Competitive Politics, a group that opposes most restrictions on how candidates and parties raise and spend money. “A lot of people don’t see much difference between making a contribution to a super PAC backing one candidate and making a contribution to a candidate directly.”…
Keating said he doubts the Meadows-Cruz legislation will get past a Democratic-led filibuster in the Senate. But he is hopeful that smaller changes – such as raising the contribution limits, pegging them to inflation, or increasing the amount of “coordinated money” that parties and candidates can spend together – could make it through.
The system itself needs an overhaul, he argued.
“There’s years’ worth of crap that needs to be removed,” he said. “Because it’s just a lot of nonsense that’s in the law.”

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

New York Times: In Donald McGahn, Donald Trump Gets a Combative White House Counsel (In the News)

By Eric Lichtblau
Mr. McGahn, Donald J. Trump’s pick for White House counsel, fought for years to strip away limits on big money in politics long before the Supreme Court blessed the idea…
“Don is very smart, he’s very combative, and he’s very dogged,” said Robert Bauer, a former White House counsel under Mr. Obama.
Those qualities worry some Democrats who have tangled with him over the years, particularly during his time, from 2008 to 2013, as a commissioner at the Federal Election Commission…
Mr. McGahn’s admirers, however, chafe at the suggestion that he might become a rubber stamp for Mr. Trump.
“I don’t see any way that Don McGahn is going to be a yes man,” said Bradley A. Smith, a professor in election law at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, who has worked with Mr. McGahn on election issues. “I’m not sure there are too many good Republican campaign finance lawyers who could have handled Mr. Trump, and Don was able to do that.”

Filed Under: Brad Smith, In the News

CRP: Could campaign finance overhaul help solve congressional gridlock? (In the News)

By Ashley Balcerzak
Should we restrict political contributions? How have weakened political parties impacted this election? Can public financing work? President-elect Donald Trump pledged to “drain the swamp,” yet has not proposed changes to the campaign finance system. So experts in the field with various viewpoints ran through scenarios at a forum organized by New York University and law firm Sidley Austin on Thursday.
Vice President Joe Biden headlined the event, breezing by the subject except to call “the role of big money” in our system “corrupting,” and saying, “If you want to change overnight the way of the electoral process in America, have public financing.”
Experts argued about what form that corruption – if it exists – takes, with some disputing Biden’s suggested cure. David Keating, president of the conservative Center for Competitive Politics, maintained there is no evidence stricter contribution limits affect the amount of corruption in politics.

Filed Under: David Keating, In the News

Urban Family Talk: Zac Morgan of CCP, On SOTR (In the News)

CCP Staff Attorney Zac Morgan discusses campaign finance and lobbying regulations on Stacy on the Right (beginning at 19:20).

Filed Under: Broadcast, Video, Audio, In the News, Zac Morgan