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.
CCP Staff Attorney Zac Morgan discusses campaign finance and lobbying regulations on Stacy on the Right (beginning at 19:20).
The flag is a symbol of our nation, the best in the world, and our freedoms. But burning it is also free speech…
While the First Amendment is always under assault, two key members of the incoming Trump administration are good friends of free speech.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence is one. He proved this in 2006 when he was one of just 18 Republicans to vote against a GOP-backed bill aimed at shutting down Democratic-leaning advocacy groups. Not only did Pence vote against the bill, he tried to get his colleagues to join him in opposing the measure.
Over Thanksgiving weekend, Trump named Don McGahn as his White House counsel. McGahn did a fantastic job when he was on the Federal Election Commission. He successfully implemented many meaningful reforms there to protect due process rights and free speech. You won’t find a stronger advocate for First Amendment free-speech rights than McGahn.
Trump’s tweet is disturbing. But knowing that he’ll get advice on free speech from Mike Pence and Don McGahn makes me feel a lot better.
By Bob Bauer
The Independence Institute, a 501(c)(3) organization, has pressed on this issue with a challenge to the application of the reporting rules to an ad lacking either express advocacy or its functional equivalent-i.e. a “genuine issue ad.” The ad named two Senators, one running for election, in appealing for support of pending legislation on criminal justice reform. A three-judge district court last month rejected the claim that the ad was constitutionally protected. The Court relied on the language of Citizens United. It appeared satisfied that even in the case of a genuine issue ad, a reference to a candidate was sufficient to trigger the electioneering communication disclosure requirements. Independence Institute v. Federal Election Commission, No. 14-cv-1500, 2016 WL656396 (D.D.C. November 3, 2016)…
For tax-exempt and other progressive issue organizations, the case is a significant one with implications of its own for the coming debate over “Trumpism” and the congressional majority’s plan to implement it. In the next election season, much of the discussion will center on the stand members of Congress (and other candidates) have taken, or would propose to take,on elements of this program. Under this decision, issue ads directed to this question would be regulated “electioneering communications.”
Forbes: Thomas More Law Center Victory Over California AG – Big Win For Free Speech Or Dark Money? (In the News)
By Peter J. Reilly
The Thomas More Law Center is very concerned about donor confidentiality and is quite pleased about its recent win in the Ninth Circuit where it was opposing the California Attorney General. The argument was over whether TMLC should be required to provide the AG with the Schedule B of IRS Form 990 that discloses information about donors who have given $5,000 or more in a year…
TMLC had a victory, but hardly a sweeping one. They won’t have to turn their Schedule B over to the California AG, but almost every other charity that wants to raise money in California still does. Stephen Yosifon of Perlman+Perlman noted in the EO Tax Journal…
“For every other organization registering in California, Schedule B must still be submitted, as determined in Center for Competitive Politics v. Harris, 784 F.3d 1307 (9th Cir. 2015), cert denied.”…
In order to get this exemption, TMLC had to make a strong showing that their donors might be subject to harassment. They managed that…
“It also satisfies the requirement of Center for Competitive Politics that an organization show “a reasonable probability” that the disclosure of TMLC’s donors would subject them to threats or harassment.”