- Jun 17, 2016
Campaign Legal Center associate counsel Brendan Fischer appeared on The Big Picture to discuss a Koch-backed bill to lessen disclosure of dark money donors from the IRS.
- Jul 19, 2016
The IRS Should Reject Charitable Status for Both Parties’ Host Committees
For the first time in recent memory, the Internal Revenue Service has rejected the Democratic convention host committee’s application for 501(c)(3) “charitable” status. This is a long overdue step, since corporations should not be getting a tax deduction for buying political access and influence at the party conventions.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the “IRS has turned down the long-running effort by the Democratic convention’s Philadelphia host committee to win a tax exemption. … a setback for efforts to raise the last of the $60 million needed to help pay for [next week’s] convention.”
- Aug 2, 2016
New ads from the Koch-backed Freedom Partners Action Fund attack candidates for allegedly supporting policies that benefited their campaign supporters, even as the Koch network fights to keep campaign spending secret.
- Aug 23, 2016
Unethical lawyers and consultants have made a cottage industry out of forming PACs that send urgent solicitations asking for small donations, ripping off well-intentioned activists to line their own pockets. Now, they are about to get richer.
- Sep 13, 2016
Campaign Legal Center Associate Counsel Brendan Fischer appeared on WHNT News 19 to discuss 501(c)(4) organizations.
- Sep 15, 2016
We now have a rare glimpse into the inner workings of a broken campaign finance system.
The Guardian this week published 1,500 previously unreleased emails and financial documents leaked from a now-halted investigation into alleged campaign finance violations by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his allies.
- Sep 15, 2016
There are reports that Trump doesn’t really want to win the White House. A new examination of his international business dealings around the world, however, does provide one reason why he might want to be victorious in November: to boost his family’s wealth.
Also documents released to The Guardian appear to show Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker engaged in illegal campaign activity. We discuss the matter with the Campaign Legal Center’s Brendan Fischer. And later, we break down a government watchdog report that has some surprising news about at least one component of the national security state that is shrinking.
- Oct 28, 2016
The Campaign Legal Center is trying to get the Federal Election Commission to enforce its own rules.
- Oct 28, 2016
Earlier this month, the Campaign Legal Center filed complaints alleging that three super PACs — one supporting Hillary Clinton and two supporting Donald Trump — have violated federal election law by coordinating with the two presidential candidates.
- Dec 12, 2016
Last week the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 submitted comments in support of the agency’s proposal to revise the definition of “public communication” to take into account that paid ads seen on Internet applications are no different than paid ads seen on websites.
- Jan 19, 2017
The incoming Trump administration—like some of its predecessors—is quite literally selling access to his inauguration in exchange for those big checks.
How Trump’s Plan to Repeal the Johnson Amendment Could Unleash ‘Super Dark Money’ Into Our ElectionsFeb 3, 2017
Rolling back limitations on political activities by charities and churches could offer billionaire donors a way to not only influence elections anonymously, but also to get a charitable tax deduction for doing so.
- Feb 14, 2017
The scandal surrounding President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is indicative of why the Constitution bars U.S. officials from accepting anything of value from a foreign government: to prevent even the possibility of influence by foreign powers.
- Feb 19, 2017
CLC Associate Counsel Brendan Fischer appeared on CTV to discuss President Trump's unprecedented early declaration of candidacy for 2020.
- Feb 21, 2017
During the 2016 campaign, Trump described the political system as “broken.” He now has a chance to show whether he has any interest in fixing it. The FEC will be down to five members all serving on expired terms with the announcement that Ann Ravel is leaving her post.
- Mar 23, 2017
At a Kentucky campaign rally on Monday, President Donald Trump appeared to take credit for “keeping former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick out of a job,” as CNN put it. That could spell trouble for President Trump. Although the president is exempt from many ethics laws and regulations, he is subject to 18 U.S.C. 227, which prohibits any official “from influencing the employment decision of a private entity on the basis of partisan political affiliation.”
How Allowing Charities to Spend on Politics Would Flood the Swamp That President Trump Promised to DrainMay 3, 2017
In February 2017, at his first National Prayer Breakfast address after taking office, President Donald Trump made headlines for using his remarks to talk about television ratings for his former reality TV show. But the most important element of President Trump’s comments was his vow “to get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment.”
- May 16, 2017
CLC Federal and FEC Program Director Brendan Fischer appeared on Bloomberg regarding Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen fundraising letter to a woman's employer.
- Jun 8, 2017
The Great America PAC - a group attacking former FBI Director James Comey - example shows how dark money nonprofits—like Great America Alliance—can be used to hide foreign money in U.S. elections.
"By a donor being allowed to support a public official above and beyond the legal contribution limits undermines the law’s anti-corruption purpose" (KPCC)Aug 22, 2017
CLC Director of Federal and FEC Reform, Brendan Fischer appeared on KPCC (Los Angeles) regarding the large contributions made by donors at the "behest" of Mayor Eric Garcetti.
- Sep 7, 2017
A Kremlin-linked firm spent at least six figures on political Facebook ads in the 2016 elections. But any Americans who may have lent a hand to a private company being called a “troll farm” with ties to Putin may be in the greatest legal jeopardy.
- Nov 30, 2017
Revelations last month that the Clinton campaign’s joint fundraising agreement with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) fueled accusations that the primary was “rigged.”
The agreement was certainly problematic. It appeared to grant Clinton a degree of control over the DNC, months before voters had a chance to cast their ballot, further tilting the political landscape toward the interests of megadonors rather than voters. President Trump even called the joint fundraising agreement evidence of “real collusion and dishonesty.”
But now, the Republican-controlled Senate is pushing a measure to grant presidential candidates even more control over how parties spend those massive joint fundraising checks.
- Dec 28, 2017
Although President Trump was elected on a pledge to “drain the swamp” and limit the power of donors and special interests, the money and influence game accelerated rather than slowed in 2017.
- Feb 20, 2018
On February 23, 2018, Brendan Fischer, CLC Director of Federal and FEC Reform, appeared on Al Jazeera in regards to the ethical climate of the Trump administration.