Issue Advocacy

A Longitudinal Analysis of Interest Group Influence in Retirement Policy

In this article, John C. Scott analyzes the interaction of interest groups and how they benefit each other within the retirement policy lobbying realm. Scott argues that interest groups find it mutually beneficial to belong to a network of similarly interested organizations as these networks reduce the costs for government agents when they are tasked […]

Filed Under: Issue Advocacy, Lobbying, Research, congress, interest groups, John Scott, lobbying, Issue Advocacy, Lobbying, Issue Advocacy, Lobbying

Keep Out: How State Campaign Finance Laws Erect Barriers to Entry for Political Entrepreneurs

In this report, the author explains how forms of state legislation stifle the political speech of political entrepreneurs, those individuals and organizations who form and grow new political voices and movements. Specifically, the report examines the effects of two types of state campaign finance regulations that act as barriers to independent citizen groups:  contribution limits and political action committee (PAC) requirements. A lack of appreciation for the role of political entrepreneurs in promoting innovative public policy and electoral competition on the part of those in power has resulted in the erection of barriers for outside groups who wish to speak out. The report concludes that instead of encouraging civic engagement, states are attacking independent political advocacy through unnecessary, speech-limiting regulations.

Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contributions & Limits, External Relations Sub-Pages, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Issue Advocacy, Research, Super PACs, campaign contributions, Contribution, Contribution Limits, Disclosure, Expenditure, Political Committees & 527s, Contributions & Limits, Disclosure, Expenditure, Political Committees & 527s, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Citizens United, Citizens’ Lives: A comparison of states with and without prohibitions on corporate independent expenditures

President Obama has claimed that the U.S Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission will empower “powerful interests” to “drown out the voices of everyday Americans.” In an analysis of state-specific data, CCP president Sean Parnell dispels this myth that the “public interest” will be adversely affected by the elimination of limits on independent political spending. CCP compared several policy and general welfare indicators considering that 24 states restricted political spending pre-Citizens United (contrasted with the 26 states which allowed unlimited independent spending). In this analysis, CCP demonstrates that there is no positive correlation between corporate spending and policy outcomes. There is no evidence that freedom for corporations, unions and advocacy groups to exercise their First Amendment rights in 26 states has caused any adverse impact on policy compared to the 24 states that restricted such spending.

Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contributions & Limits, Independent Speech, Issue Advocacy, Research, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Jurisprudence & Litigation, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Jurisprudence & Litigation

Mowing Down the Grassroots: How Grassroots Lobbying Disclosure Suppresses Political Participation

Grassroots lobbying is any effort to organize, coordinate or implore others to contact public officials in order to affect public policy. Through grassroots lobbying, like‐minded citizens can alert elected officials to constituents’ preferences, educate fellow citizens and make their voices heard, and even persuade the public to adopt new views. In short, grassroots lobbying is quintessential representative democracy in action. However, as this report documents, sweeping lobbying laws in 36 states threaten to strangle grassroots movements in red tape and bureaucratic regulation. Twenty‐two states explicitly include grassroots lobbying in the definition of lobbying, while another 14 consider any attempt to influence public policy to be lobbying, as long as a certain amount is spent. Thus, such common activities as publishing an open letter, organizing a demonstration or distributing flyers can trigger regulation and force organizers to register with the state and file detailed reports on their activities, as well as the identities of supporters. These regulations raise the costs of political activity and set legal traps for unsuspecting citizens, thus making it more difficult for ordinary citizens to participate in politics-all with little or no benefit to the public. These findings suggest elected officials should listen to constituent concerns or debate ideas in the open, rather than mowing down the grassroots with regulation.

Filed Under: Issue Advocacy, Lobbying, Research, grassroots, lobbying, lobbyist, milyo, primo, Disclosure, Lobbying, Disclosure, Lobbying, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Locking Up Political Speech: How Electioneering Communications Laws Stifle Free Speech and Civic Engagement

Under the guise of campaign finance “reform,” government regulation of political speech has spread far beyond the mere financing of campaigns to monitor and control everyday political speech by ordinary citizens.  The latest wave of such regulation is state and federal laws targeting so-called “electioneering communications.”  The term is most closely associated with the federal Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, and describes broadcast ads that merely mention a federal candidate and that air shortly before an election.  Soon after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld that law, states began to follow suit.  Fifteen states now have “electioneering communications” laws, and more are considering them, and most of those laws impose more onerous requirements and cover more political speech than the federal law.

Filed Under: Independent Speech, Issue Advocacy, Research, Florida

Campaign Finance Red Tape: Strangling Free Speech & Political Debate

Raymond J

Twenty-four states provide citizens the ability to make laws directly through ballot measures. However, these states also strictly restrict the First Amendment rights of citizens to speak out about these ballot measures. As such, various disclosure requirements result in complex registration and reporting requirements that are difficult for even the most highly educated citizens to decipher. In an effort to prove this, the author used an innovative experiment, where a sample of 255 citizens was asked to complete actual disclosure forms. Unsurprisingly, not one person completed the forms correctly. Using these findings, the author argues that these disclosure laws are both unnecessary and an obstacle to the free speech guaranteed to all.

Filed Under: Disclosure, Disclosure, Expenditure, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Issue Advocacy, Research, campaign contributions, Contribution, Contribution Limits, Disclosure, Expenditure, Contributions & Limits, Disclosure, Expenditure, California, Colorado, Missouri

The Per Curiam Opinion of Steel: Buckley v. Valeo as Superprecedent? Clues from Wisconsin and Vermont

Randall v. Sorrell and Wisconsin Right to Life v. FEC brought before the Supreme Court a variety of campaign finance regulations, from contribution limits and expenditure limits to restrictions on incorporated entities. Despite expressions of discomfort by many Justices with the way modern campaign finance is regulated, the Court declined to rework Buckley v. Valeo‘s […]

Filed Under: Contributions & Limits, Issue Advocacy, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Research, Buckley v. Valeo, Randall v. Sorrell, Wisconsin Right to Life v. FEC, Contribution Limits, Issue Advocacy, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Contributions & Limits, Issue Advocacy, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Vermont, Wisconsin

Free Speech and the 527 Prohibition

Stephen M. Hoersting’s briefing paper for Cato Institute questions the constitutionality and wisdom of regulating independent Section 527 organizations. He believes that measures to make independent section 527 organizations into “political committees” under the Federal Election Campaign Act, would leave much activity unregulated and would induce a shift of activity from one legal structure to another, thus rendering any perceived partisan advantage arising from the measures improbable or incalculable. Therefore, says Hoersting, organizations engaged in independent speech and association with no connection to candidates or officeholders cannot be made to register with the Federal Election Commission simply because they mention candidates.

Filed Under: Independent Speech, Issue Advocacy, Research, Political Committees & 527s, Political Committees & 527s

Direct Democracy Works

Until recently, direct democracy scholarship was primarily descriptive or normative. Much of it sought to highlight the processes’ shortcomings. In this paper, John G. Matsusaka describes new research that examines direct democracy from a more scientific perspective. We organize the discussion around four “old” questions that have long been at the heart of the direct […]

Filed Under: Expenditure, First Amendment, Issue Advocacy, Political Committees & 527s, Research, committees, democracy, expenditure, John Matsusaka, money, Political Parties, super PACs, voter, Expenditure, Issue Advocacy, Petition Rights, Political Committees & 527s, Expenditure, Issue Advocacy, Petition Rights, Political Committees & 527s