Faulty Assumptions

Free Speech, Fair Elections, and Campaign Finance Laws: Can They Co-Exist?

A prominent politician once observed that, “You can either have free speech or fair elections, but you can’t have both.” In this article, CCP Academic Advisor and Professor of Law at Brooklyn Law School Joel M. Gora argues that saying has it all backwards. In fact, you cannot have one without the other. The election of 2012 […]

Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contributions & Limits, Expenditure, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Money in Politics, Research, Super PACs, Super PACs, campaign contributions, campaign finance, Contribution limits, First Amendment, free speech, money in politics, super PACs, Contribution Limits, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Contributions & Limits, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Independent Speech

Smith, Wang, Discuss FEC Reform at GW Panel

On Tuesday, CCP Chairman Brad Smith and CCP Senior Legal Fellow Eric Wang participated in a panel, “The Future of the Federal Election Commission (FEC),” held at The George Washington University Law School.  The event was sponsored by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), but was designed to be a neutral forum in […]

Filed Under: Blog, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Independent Speech

Does Less Income Mean Less Representation?

In this study by Eric Brunner of Georgia State University, Stephen L. Ross of the University of Connecticut, and Ebonya Washington of Yale University, the authors assemble a novel dataset of matched legislative and constituent votes and demonstrate that individuals with less income don’t receive less representation, as some academics have argued. The authors find […]

Filed Under: Faulty Assumptions, Issues, Money in Politics, Research, Ebonya Washington, Eric Brunner, Income, Inequality of Representation, Stephen L. Ross, Faulty Assumptions, Faulty Assumptions

An Analysis of Corporate Governance Reforms Proposed in Response to Citizens United to Limit Corporate Political Spending

Having failed to silence businesses through either litigation or legislation, campaign regulation reformers continue to try new and different tacks, corporate democracy being the latest in a long line of attempts to control money in politics. George Mason University Law Professor J.W. Verret released this report on behalf of the Center for Competitive Politics. Download […]

Filed Under: Corporate Governance, Corporate Governance Research, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Research, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, corporate governance, corporations, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment

Activist Investing In Post-Citizens United America

The Center for Competitive Politics released a report on Activist Investing intended to dispute claims made by some groups that corporations and businesses should be wary of the “economic risks” posed by engaging in political speech.

Filed Under: Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Research, activist, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, corporate governance, corporations, investing, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment

Citizens United and Its Critics

This short article examines criticism of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Citizens United v. FEC. Amidst the criticism, the author highlights what most of the decision’s opponents miss:  the Citizens United decision wasn’t about money in politics; it was about the First Amendment. By inspecting the testimony of Deputy Solicitor General Stevens and then-Solicitor General Elena Kagan, the author illustrates the decision’s potential impact on the First Amendment, had it been decided differently. The author continues, placing the Citizens United decision in context with a brief examination of several other First Amendment cases decided by the Roberts Court, and concludes with a strong message about the case and its seminal relationship to the First Amendment.

Filed Under: Citizens United v. FEC, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Research, Floyd Abrams

The Myth of the Level Playing Field: Knowledge, Affect, and Repitition in Public Debate

In this article, Jeremy N. Sheff discredits the misconception that measures taken to “level the playing field” through campaign finance reform lead to a more competitive political arena. Sheff finds that the answer to calls by proponents of reform isn’t regulation, but rather encouraging members of society to engage with their neighbors to build civic communities that bring policy problems to light so that they can be solved through rational public policy. The author emphasizes that policymakers should begin to focus on “how to ameliorate the source of non-optimal political decision-making:  the political ignorance, non-rational decision-making, and civic disengagement of the average citizen.” Sheff stresses the need to carefully consider the consequences of broad campaign finance regulations before using them as “magic bullets” to solve normative dilemmas.

Filed Under: Faulty Assumptions, Research, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Faulty Assumptions, First Amendment, Taxpayer Financed Campaigns

The Lonely Death of Public Campaign Financing

This Article argues that the game of reform, having been the victim of two major campaign finance decisions of the Roberts Court, is over. The Supreme Court’s decision in Davis v. FEC will prove to be fatal to most, if not all, asymmetrical public financing schemes, and the Court’s treatment of expenditures for issue advocacy announced in FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life (WRTL II) will leave most forms of independent expenditures beyond effective limitation. The combination may render public financing systems effectively futile. But the principles underlying WRTL II and Davis have a longstanding pedigree in that jurisprudence. Ultimately, expenditures differ from contributions. It is not the role of the state to level the political playing field. Recognizing the implication of these principles may remind us that democracy may be better served by competition than by control.

Filed Under: Faulty Assumptions, Research, Tax Financed Campaigns Research, Tax-Financing, Taxpayer Financed Campaigns, Expenditure, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Expenditure, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Taxpayer Financed Campaigns

Campaign Support, Conflicts of Interest, and Judicial Impartiality: Can the Legitimacy of Courts Be Rescued by Recusals?

Many legal scholars and observers perceive elected state courts in the U.S. as under siege by the politicization of judicial elections – most offensively, by accepting campaign contributions and support from organizations litigating before the very judges these groups helped elect. As such, the authors investigate citizen perceptions of the impartiality and legitimacy of courts. They focus on the residents of West Virginia, because that state has recently been a battleground for intense conflict over campaign support and perceived conflicts of interest and loss of impartiality. Through a representative sample of West Virginians, the authors test the hypothesis that recusals can rehabilitate a judge and/or court from perceptions of conflict of interest. Their findings were surprising, particularly in that contributions offered but rejected by the candidate have similar effects to contributions offered and accepted. To conclude, the authors’ apply their findings to the recently decided Caperton v. Massey case. They find that several of the assumptions of the majority in the case are empirically inaccurate, at least from the viewpoint of the citizens of West Virginia.

Filed Under: Faulty Assumptions, Research, campaign contributions, Contribution, Contribution Limits, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Contributions & Limits, Jurisprudence & Litigation, West Virginia

Broadcast Localism and the Lessons of the Fairness Doctrine

In this policy briefing, John Samples examines the legacy of the speech-stifling Fairness Doctrine to inform a recent broadcast localism initiative. Although the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has permanently removed the Fairness Doctrine from its regulatory books, localism isn’t going away. While the Fairness Doctrine required licensed broadcasters to share airwaves equally in order to preserve competing political viewpoints, the broadcast localism initiative would similarly silence speech by exposing it to regulation through content requirements and advisory boards that would oversee broadcast speech. Furthermore, as was the case under the Fairness Doctrine, under this proposed localism initiative, these regulations would be susceptible to exploitation by individuals who wished to use them to bully and silence their opponents. Accordingly, through a historical overview of this political intimidation culminating with the end of the Fairness Doctrine, Samples illustrates the dangers in pursuing a policy of localism and recommends that the FCC avoid this type of regulation.

Filed Under: Fairness Doctrine, Faulty Assumptions, Research, Fairness Doctrine, Fairness Doctrine