Who We Are
The Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan organization based in Washington, D.C., is home to the nation’s premier election law experts. We are the lawyers for our democracy, fighting for your fundamental right to participate in the political process.
Most Americans do not feel they have a voice in the democratic process. As many as 80 percent of voters of both parties believe the government and our political system is out of touch with the average citizens it should represent. Recent government failures have threatened the health of our democracy. These include the U.S. Supreme Court’s gutting of the Voting Rights Act, the Citizens United decision undermining our campaign finance laws, and legislative inaction and regulatory gridlock, which have given us corrupting dark money.
But the crisis we face today is not unique. There have always been, and will continue to be, a miniscule number of extremely wealthy Americans who seek to play a dominant role in elections, while groups of voters are pushed out of the electorate, or have their voices drowned out by special interests with special access. Despite these challenges, over the course of our nation’s history – through war, political upheaval and economic disaster – Americans have continued to renew and expand our democracy.
The Campaign Legal Center, recipient of the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, is leading that charge today. Our mission is to improve our democracy and protect the fundamental right of all Americans to participate in the political process. For nearly 15 years, we have been the leader in our vision for reform. We are home to the premier election law experts and we are the only organization in the field exclusively dedicated to working through the entire cycle of democracy reform. We conceptualize and advise on drafting of laws, we fight for enforcement of the laws once passed and we defend these laws when challenged. Through our work, we aim to ensure that every American has the right to fully participate in shaping the laws and policies that directly impact their lives.
WHAT WE DO
Develop solutions that enhance our democracy
Despite recent misguided U.S. Supreme Court decisions, which have weakened our campaign finance laws, there are still many tangible solutions consistent with current constitutional decisions that can preserve and protect our democracy right now. CLC works in the halls of Congress and with state and local governments and advocates to draft model legislation and offer legal advice on how to pass the most effective and sound laws and regulations. Our work defends every voter’s right to participate in our democracy, to know who is funding elections, and to have a voice in our democratic process. We hold government officials accountable to clear, reasonable ethics rules and ensure the American people are aware of money being spent to influence many policy decisions impacting our daily lives.
Demand enforcement of laws protecting our democracy
Laws need teeth, and everyone should be held accountable for breaking the rules. Unfortunately, the federal agencies primarily responsible for enforcing campaign finance laws, media and political advertising laws, financial reporting requirements and voting rights protections are not always emboldened to take action. The Campaign Legal Center serves as a watchdog, applying pressure so these agencies go after bad actors. When they do not, we make sure the public and the courts are aware of their failure to act.
Defend and advance our democracy in court
The Campaign Legal Center litigates cases across the nation. When voters’ rights are challenged or abridged, we defend them in court. When anti-reform activists challenge important campaign finance laws and regulations, we defend those laws in court. In the Campaign Legal Center’s 15-year history, we have filed more than 100 briefs and participated in dozens of cases in both state and federal courts.
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