Independent Speech

Citizens United, Citizens’ Lives

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 Research, Contributions & Limits, Independent Speech, Issue Advocacy, Research, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Jurisprudence & Litigation

Judicial Recusal and Expanding Notions of Due Process

This piece considers the merits of applying the Mathews v. Eldridge balancing test when an elected judge threatens a litigant’s due process rights. We argue that this approach is particularly compelling in light of the Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co. In Caperton, the Supreme Court recognized that a litigant’s due process may be violated if the judge harbors an objective “probability of bias.” In perhaps his most vigorous dissent since joining the Court, Chief Justice Roberts posed over forty questions about the potential scope of the decision. Given the Court’s 2002 decision in Republican Party of Minnesota v. White, Justice Roberts has good reason to be concerned. In White, the Court ruled that once a state allows judges to be elected, it can’t muzzle them – candidates for judicial office have the right to announce their views on contentious issues of the day. Taken together, Caperton and White provide the makings of a constitutional crisis. On the one hand judges have a First Amendment right to say almost anything, even if it seems to effectively bind them in future cases. On the other hand, litigants have a due process right not to face a judge whom a reasonable person may deem biased given his previously advertised views. This Article argues that weighing the due process violation by using the reliable and flexible approach developed in Mathews v. Eldridge keeps both decisions intact, while protecting the rights of both the judicial candidates and the litigants.

Filed Under: Jurisprudence & Litigation, Research, Independent Speech, Jurisprudence & Litigation, West Virginia

DISCLOSE Act—The Legislative “Fix” to Citizens United

On Jan. 21, 2010, the Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Since then, congressional critics of the Court’s broad holding have promised a legislative “fix.” These Members believe that the decision to recognize constitutional protection for corporate (and labor) independent expenditures in federal elections will have a pernicious effect on American politics. Accordingly, on April 29, 2010, Senator Charles Schumer and Representative Chris Van Hollen introduced the “DISCLOSE Act.”

The DISCLOSE Act contains two main features. First, it requires corporations to include certain notices in their expenditures and file additional disclosure reports. Second, the DISCLOSE Act identifies certain types of corporations that would not be permitted to make independent expenditures.Leaders in both the Senate and the House have promised expedited consideration of this legislation. The sponsors intend for it to enter into effect for much of the 2010 election cycle. 

Filed Under: Disclosure, Disclosure Research, Research, campaign finance, campaign finance disclosure, DISCLOSE, Disclose Act, Disclosure, Coordination, Disclosure, Independent Speech, Jurisprudence & Litigation, Stand By Your Ad

After Citizens United

In this law review article, Michael S. Kang analyzes the trends in the Supreme Court’s rulings on campaign finance cases in light of the landmark decision in Citizens United v. FEC. Kang argues that Justice Anthony Kennedy’s views are driving the direction of the Roberts Court towards a narrower justification for government regulation of campaign [...]

Filed Under: Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, External Relations Sub-Pages, First Amendment, Independent Speech, Issues, Research, Super PACs, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, First Amendment, super PACs, Supreme Court, First Amendment, Independent Speech

The Michigan Auto Dealers Prosecution: Exploring The Department of Justice’s Mid-Century Posture Toward Campaign Finance Violations

In this article, Allison Hayward examines the impetus behind a 1948 decision by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) to prosecute a Flint businessman for making illegal corporate contributions and the legacy of what transpired. Ultimately, lawyers on both sides questioned the legality of the “corruption” laws, and the case ended without a single conviction. The tenacity of the DOJ in its quest to make convictions is of great interest to Hayward throughout this piece, which she eventually proves was unwarranted. The results beg the question:  why weren’t campaign finance laws enforced before the Voter Registration Act of 1974? Using this case as context, Hayward thoroughly overviews campaign finance regulations before 1974 and provides an interesting look at campaign finance regulation in its infancy.

Filed Under: Enforcement, Research, Independent Speech, Jurisprudence & Litigation

Social Pressure and Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment

In this article, the authors perform a large scale analysis to determine the effects of “robocalling” on voter turnout. The authors determine that turnout increases only marginally when civic duty is primed, but increases significantly when social pressure is applied to establish a norm of civic duty. The authors therefore surmise that “robocalling” is wholly unable to affect voter turnout, which contrasts with critics’ charge that automated political telephone calls drive down voter participation. They conclude that, in order to affect voter turnout, exterior pressures from social norms would have to exist.

Filed Under: Independent Speech, Research, Uncategorized, Independent Speech

Policy Primer: A Constitutional Solution to the Problems of Control and Accountability in Party Independent Expenditures

Control and accountability in party independent expenditures can be restored constitutionally.  As this Policy Primer indicates, one way is to eliminate the dollar limit on candidate-coordinated advertising by party committees.

Filed Under: Uncategorized, Independent Speech, Political Parties

Testimony of CCP Chairman Bradley A. Smith to the Committee on House Administration

Written testimony of CCP Chairman Bradley A. Smith at a September 22, 2005 hearing of the Committee on House Administration on the topic of the regulation of political speech on the internet.

Filed Under: External Relations Comments and Testimony, External Relations Sub-Pages, Federal, Federal Comments and Testimony, Uncategorized, Independent Speech, Internet Regulation, Comments and Testimony